D&D General Finished reading my 4th "History of D&D" book. Thoughts.

I liked “Empire of Imagination“, which is a Gygax biography, (I especially liked the Lake Geneva map, which I used when it inspired me to visit) and “Slaying the Dragon“, which is interesting business history of TSR‘s founding through WotC acquisition.

In a different vein, “The Elfish Gene” is a memoir of an AD&D player.
 

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Scottius

Explorer
I've read all those as well as all of Designers & Dragons. Have to agree regarding Of Dice and Men. It's a weird read with the bizarre vampire game session bits mixed in with each chapter. Definitely the least essential read of the bunch in my opinion when covering RPG history.
 

Mull Ponders

Explorer
My recommendation (I have read at least 10 books on this) is Game Wizards and Slaying the Dragon. Jon Peterson covers the early history until the departure of Gygax in Game Wizards with a crisp historian view. Slaying the Dragon by Ben Riggs spends the bulk of time covering the Williams era and the transition to WoTC. His style is more storytelling. Combined, you get an informative and entertaining view of DnD history.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Of Dice & Men is actually the earlier book, and the writer feels that he needs to explain to his readers what RPGs even are...hence the personal anecdotes as illustrations. Not as hard hitting as Riggs or Peterson by a long shot, but I think probably the best read to offer to a total hobby outsider who is curious to learn something completely new.

Reading all of them helps provide a three dimensional perspective on the events and characters involved.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
You know what, thinking about the differences here, I think these do mark a real "elusive shift" in the culture: in 2021 (Game Wizards) or 2022 (Slaying the Dragon), the authors could expect some reasonable understanding of what an RPG or even specifically D&D is from a general audience reader, whereas waaaaay back in 2013...a lot of work needed to be put into introducing the basic concept and trying to explain it.

In 2013, no casual everyday reader would have watched Critical Role.
 


Parmandur

Book-Friend
I liked the vampire-killer homebrew campaign parts of Of Dice and Men better than the "history" part.
Well, the history has been much better since then, but it was pretty good for 2023! The awesome Gamma World like post-apocalyptic 3.5 game has aged better, in a Heavy Metal album cover sort of way.
 



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