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

David M. Ewalt. Scribner, $26 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4516-4050-2
Forbes editor David Ewalt offers a genial history of Dungeon & Dragons and its impact on his own geek life. In the early1970s, two Midwesterners—a college student and a cobbler—drew elements from war games and fantasy novels to create the world’s most influential role-playing game. Within a few years of its genesis, D&D had become a flashpoint in the culture wars, as practitioners were accused of leading young men to murder, suicide and the church of Satan. D&D’s star soon faded due to corporate mismanagement and the rise of video game consoles, but recent years have seen a renaissance, which Ewalt charts, along with his own guilt-ridden return to the game. He follows a number of storylines, tracing the official history of D&D, his own introduction to the game, and his adult experiences as a player and reporter. Weaving the strands together are charming tales of his cleric character in a postapocalyptic America ruled by vampires. Oddly enough, the weakest sections of the book involve Ewalt’s descriptions of his life outside the imaginary dungeons. Nevertheless, this is a highly readable account of a game that seized the imagination of a generation and maintains its grip three decades later. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/03/2013
Release date: 08/20/2013
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