Of Dice and Men by David M. Ewalt

This is a non-fiction account which details the evolution of role playing games. It outlines many types, but predominantly focuses on Dungeons and Dragons. The book is half an outline of how Dungeons and Dragons began, while the other half is one man’s journey through his personal role playing experience.

Genre:  Gaming
Publisher: Scribner
Released:  2013
Stars: 4 Stars
Reviewer: Michael D. Griffiths

I found the history of role playing games very interesting and enlightening. I learned I had several misconceptions about the origins of TSR and even more I did not know. I, of course, have always been extremely fond of Gary Gygax. This book both elevated his glory, but also exposed some mistakes and bad choices which were made over the years. Dedication to the craft, mixed with overreaching and personal conflicts. Sad to learn of so many missed opportunities and loses.

David’s personal journey also proved interesting. He did a fine job building some tension and suspense which grew toward his own personal end game within the RPG world. Also his ‘in game’ threads proved entertaining. It must have been a thrill for his fellow players to see their characters discussed in print.

Downsides might include the youth of the author. I am not trying to be ageist, but the author is a second generation gamer at best. It was a bit like reading the history of punk rock where the author saw his first show in 94. If you doubt me, he mostly focuses on 3.5 rules, which is obviously three or four removed from the original. Still having a younger perspective can be valuable too. Also, outlining the game he gamed in was appropriate, but dipped a little far into self-oriented grandstanding.

I would consider this a good read for all Dungeons and Dragons lovers. If you are a casual player it might be too involved for you, but to all the people who love Dungeons and Dragons this will be a fun read. Dungeons and Dragons shaped many lives and this book celebrates the excitement of the game very well.

 

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