Of Dice and Men

I haven’t written up a book on this site, even a game book, but I wanted to share this little gem: Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons and Dragons and the People Who Play It by David M. Ewalt.

OfDiceAndMenI had been hiding out in the library. We were selling our house, and we had to leave when prospective buyers wanted to come see it. So the dog (Prince Henry the Navigator) got a walk, then had to stay in his crate in the back of the SUV. Alison (my wife and editor) sat in the car and read, and I went into the library, to work on The Sun Below: Sleeping Lady.

Eventually I got up to stretch, and decided to look for books on game design. Nothing. So I did a search for role playing games, and Of Dice and Men showed up. Despite the glowing back blurb by Felicia Day, I picked it up with low expectations.

Two pages in I’m blown away by David Ewalt’s writing. Then I find he’s an editor at Forbes. He covers gaming as part of his job. I’ve read this guy on before, and liked him.

What you get is the history of roleplaying games, mostly D&D, told within a framing device of David’s own campaign. From the earliest games found in Egyptian tombs to 5th Edition D&D, he covers a lot of ground. When he jumps back to his own campaign, it reads like mix of great swords and sorcery with post apocalyptic adventure. You want to know what happens next.

And then he cuts to the first GenCon, or the rise of D&D and the media attack on this “satanic” past-time. You want to keep going, but he’s back to his campaign. Works really well.

Well done, even includes some great GM advice from Frank Mentzer, one of the original D&D designers. The way I figure it, if you can’t game, at least you can read about gaming. Highly recommended.

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