178. Of Dice and Men (David M. Ewalt)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014
From the official website:

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.

As a former (and possibly soon to be again) gamer, Of Dice and Men appealed to me instantly. I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy.  I wasn't really sure what to expect as I haven't picked up a set of gaming dice in ... wow ... at least 25 years (card games that use similar dice don't count).  Did I need to be a (current) gamer to appreciate and enjoy this? Would they be talking about new rules that made no sense to someone who hasn't played since the early modules came out?  Was this going to be a lengthy dissertation on the intricacies of the various incarnations of the rules over the years???  Arrghh!  I needn't have worried.  

David Ewalt's book combined two subjects I love reading: history and fantasy and presents them in a way that even people who've never picked up a 20-sided dice would find interesting to read about.  Of Dice and Men will appeal to gamers and non gamers alike.  Whether you spend every Monday night in a friend's basement controlling the actions of the legendary Telvalco and his merry band of adventure seekers (ahem... Big Brother Dave) or someone who's always scoffed at those players and wonders just what they hell they see in this type of hobby, Of Dice and Men is for you.  It recounts the creation, rise, and numerous near-falls of Dungeons and Dragons, and the making of near legendary status of its creators and biggest proponents.  At the same time, it explores the why:  why do gamers game, especially those who play D&D, through the author's own personal journey and the lives of other gamers around the world.

Reading Of Dice and Men over the course of a week (Big Brother Dave finished it in a day!), it reignited those long buried memories of spending my junior high after-school hours sitting around a table in our science classroom, working my way through various adventures with my friends.  Perhaps one day soon, I'll pick up a set of dice again...

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