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Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and The People Who
     

Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and The People Who

4.4 16
by David M. Ewalt
 

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The Lord of the Rings meets Moneyball in this unique and authoritative book on Dungeons&Dragons—from the game’s origins through its rise to cultural prominence, and its ripple effect on popular culture today.

Even if you’ve never played Dungeons&Dragons, you probably know someone who has (whether or not they’re

Overview

The Lord of the Rings meets Moneyball in this unique and authoritative book on Dungeons&Dragons—from the game’s origins through its rise to cultural prominence, and its ripple effect on popular culture today.

Even if you’ve never played Dungeons&Dragons, you probably know someone who has (whether or not they’re willing to admit it). Released in 1974—decades before video games and the Internet took over the gaming world—Dungeons&Dragons became one of the original nerd subcultures, and is still revered by over thirty million fans today. Now Forbes senior editor David M. Ewalt explores the rich history of the game, revealing the magic that enlivened his youth, and has since re-entered his adult life in a whole new way.

From its roots on the battlefields of ancient Europe, through the hysteria that linked it to satanic rituals and teen suicides, and to its apotheosis as father of the modern video game industry, Of Dice and Men recounts the development of a game played by some of most fascinating people in the world. Chronicling the surprising history of D&D’s origins (one largely unknown even to hardcore players) while examining the game’s profound impact, Ewalt weaves laser-sharp cultural analysis with his own present-day gaming experiences.

An enticing blend of history, journalism, narrative and memoir, Of Dice and Men sheds light on America’s most popular (and widely misunderstood) form of collaborative entertainment.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Ewalt (senior editor, Forbes) contributes to the recent spate of works on role-playing games (RPGs) in general and Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), the most popular of these games, in particular. But he sets his book apart by also relating his personal journey as a D&D player, beginning with his hesitant return to the world of RPGs after ten years away from D&D, describing how he gradually became an obsessed player again. The story is interwoven with explanations of the origins of RPGs, walk-throughs of some game scenarios, and the history of D&D, which was launched in 1974, well before video and online gaming. There are also chapters on the precursors and offshoots of these games, such as historical war games and live action role-playing games (LARPs). Ewalt digs deep into the nerdy depths, but some topics are more lightly covered, e.g., D&D codeveloper David Arneson's departure from the team. The rigor of the rest of the book more than makes up for the occasional vagueness. VERDICT Ewalt's personal memoir portions of the book will draw in more than the target members of this subculture, appealing to those hesitantly curious as well as the battle-tested D&D veteran. Enthusiastically reported and honestly written, this personal exploration of the D&D world is a great read.—Paul Stenis, Pepperdine Univ. Lib., Malibu, CA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781451640526
Publisher:
Scribner
Publication date:
08/20/2013
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
168,791
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

David M. Ewalt began playing Dungeons & Dragons when he was ten years old. Now an award-winning journalist, he writes about games for outlets like Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, talks about games on television and radio, and plays games in and around his Brooklyn, New York, home. Join him or find out more at DavidMEwalt.com.

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Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and The People Who Play It 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
lovelybookshelf More than 1 year ago
David Ewalt has written this history of Dungeons & Dragons for a mainstream audience - a point he explains with humor at the start of the book, to ward off any nitpicking by hardcore fans. He stresses the fun of cooperative (as opposed to competitive) gaming, the allure of tapping into the collective imagination and having an open-ended and unlimited experience, and shows how RPGs can be a great way to make friends. Ewalt also debunks some of the myths that keep people away from the game (for many years, myself included). He gives examples showing how D&D is not playacting, how gameplay is fairly normal with players taking turns, and how you aren't "constrained to a standard medieval setting." Of Dice and Men is more than a history of D&D. It explores why people play games in the first place, their purpose, and what RPGs have in common with board or playground games. The book talks about how D&D influenced the evolution of future games, including video games. In many sections, the book reads like a memoir as Ewalt reminisces about his own gaming adventures. I did feel bogged down by the historical miniatures war games and felt those sections could have been abbreviated a bit, but I realize it was important in order to show how RPGs have evolved, and how D&D came about. Throughout the book Ewalt intersperses storylines of past games, as well as a sketch for a future game. Here he completely embraces his nerd side and displays it without embarrassment. I loved that. I'm a fairly new RPGer. I was glad to see a shout-out to Traveller (the "most complete and most epic" sci-fi RPG), since MegaTraveller has been my introduction to the RPG world. I finished Of Dice and Men with a better understanding of role-playing games overall, as well as a deeper appreciation and respect for the work of our GM (game master). I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other compensation for this review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I work at a bookstore in Los Angeles, a smaller bookstore than the usual one for this large chain of stores. Consequently we don't have a RPG section and I lament this fact every week (I'm not completely crazy...) We received Of Dice & Men into our store and found ourselves with no placement, no 'home' for this book and thus had to create a section in the store for it to go. I think that if David Ewalt knew his book caused the birth of an RPG section in a bookstore he would be very pleased. At first I was dubious about this book. I've seen & read many histories of Dungeons & Dragons, roleplaying and the culture that surrounds it. Most are not that good. So it was with extreme skepticism I picked up this title and started reading. I was pleasantly surprised by what I found inside. The book is well written and interesting and does not bog you down with minutia of jargon or endless lists of definitions that veteran gamers find tedious and newbies find perplexing. Mr. Ewalt’s writing reads like a proper D&D game should (in the opinion of this humble level 10 dwarven fighter): Interesting, fast paced and with some small digretions before getting right back to the main bulk of the story. It is clear that Mr. Ewalt has a deep love & understanding of roleplaying games. It’s also clear he’s a big nerd, but this is something the author points out himself on several occasions.  What I found most compelling about the book was Mr. Ewalt’s own personal experiences as a gamer and writer. He describes several gaming sessions with his main group in both the language of real world ‘mechanics’, the rules that propel the game forward, but also in little snippets of story that make his character and his friends come to life. I don’t know Mr. Ewalt or his friends but at the same time I think I do because I see them every week across the gaming table during my own exploits in far away lands.  And ultimately thats what’s so refreshing about this book. It shows the core precept behind D&D, and at its heart all roleplaying games. That there is more that unites us than sets us apart and if we work together towards a common goal we can overcome any obstacle and slay dragons. Or at least agree on going halfies on the snacks.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
NookJoe More than 1 year ago
I don't usually write reviews especially when it's not about the book itself! But I have started to feel the need to submit complaints regarding why B&N eBooks are more expensive, even than the paperback, and more expensive, sometimes by twice as much, than other ebook readers. B&N - this is not good business practice!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Zhul More than 1 year ago
I just finished Of Dice and Men and it was a fantastic book!  I knew a lot about the history of my favorite pastime, but this book dug deeper and taught me even more.  Ewalt spins a good tale, making what could have been dry facts fun and engaging - and making me eager to read the next chapter.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Both land center mass on each man. They fall and the bar goes quiet.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fine summer read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed most of the book. I unfortunately felt it should have ended about twenty pages sooner.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kk.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Eat fire freak!!!! *she takes 3 flaming arrows and shoots them at the dm all at the same time* *one he dodges one he blocks, but one gets shot into his stomach*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Me i am