Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Books read in 2014: No. 49 -- Of Dice and Men

by David M. Ewalt

Started: Sept. 27
Finished: Oct. 1

Notes: I don't think the average person realizes just how much of an influence the game of Dungeons & Dragons has had upon popular culture. For instance, without D&D, many video games would probably not play or even look the way they do. Hit points? That came out of D&D. Halflings? The term came from D&D. Drow? D&D. Armor class? D&D. I could go on. Hell, the very idea of a group of adventurers gathering together to go off on a quest was popularized by D&D even more than the fantasy literature that came before, or at least D&D reached out to a wider and broader audience. For any writers, especially fantasy writers, who disagree with me, how many times have you read submission guidelines that told you not to send in a story if it read like a D&D game? Case closed. Anyway, whether you agree with me or not, this book I'm reading is something of a history of D&D and tabletop roleplaying in general, from those who created such games decades ago (and today) to the modern players. I've been excited about reading this one for a while.

Mini review: Ultimately this is one writer's love letter to a game he has played most of his life and of which he has many fond memories. The experienced RPG player will not find a lot new to him or her here, and the author mentions this early on, but the casual fan or someone with interest will probably learn a few things. I have to say it was nice walking down memory lane with the author, and to experience his meeting with some of the great names in the game's history as well as his visits to some of the places which were hot spots in the game's early days.

2 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

Never played. I'm sure I would have liked it. Lana played and remembers it fondly

Ty Johnston said...

Charles, there was a role playing game in the 1990s called "Deadlands." It was basically an Old West game with undead, and some monsters and magic. You played not only with dice, but with a card deck (or 2 or 3) and poker chips. You might have liked that one. The game is still around, but apparently the rules and tools have changed quite a bit.