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Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and the People Who Play It | [David M. Ewalt]

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

In Of Dice and Men, David Ewalt recounts the development of Dungeons & Dragons from the game’s roots on the battlefields of ancient Europe, through the hysteria that linked it to satanic rituals and teen suicides, to its apotheosis as father of the modern video-game industry. As he chronicles the surprising history of the game’s origins (a history largely unknown even to hardcore players) and examines D&D’s profound impact, Ewalt weaves laser-sharp subculture analysis with his own present-day gaming experiences.
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Publisher's Summary

Here, there be dragons.

Ancient red dragons with 527 hit points, +44 to attack, and a 20d10 breath weapon, to be specific. In the world of fantasy role-playing, those numbers describe a winged serpent with immense strength and the ability to spit fire. There are few beasts more powerful - just like there are few games more important than Dungeons & Dragons.

Even if you’ve never played Dungeons & Dragons, you probably know someone who has: the game has had a profound influence on our culture. Released in 1974 - decades before the Internet and social media - Dungeons & Dragons inspired one of the original nerd subcultures, and is still revered by millions of fans around the world. Now the authoritative history and magic of the game are revealed by an award-winning journalist and lifelong D&D player.

In Of Dice and Men, David Ewalt recounts the development of Dungeons & Dragons from the game’s roots on the battlefields of ancient Europe, through the hysteria that linked it to satanic rituals and teen suicides, to its apotheosis as father of the modern video-game industry. As he chronicles the surprising history of the game’s origins (a history largely unknown even to hardcore players) and examines D&D’s profound impact, Ewalt weaves laser-sharp subculture 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.

(P)2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (199 )
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  •  
    brenty United States 10-03-13
    brenty United States 10-03-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Interesting...but disjointed"

    This is a very informative and well-researched book. However, seemingly in an attempt to make it more entertaining, it jumps around a lot, frequently shifting back and forth. I found that a bit confusing, distracting, and annoying.

    The content itself is great, but the manner in which it is presented and organized leaves something to be desired.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John LINCOLN, RI, United States 02-11-14
    John LINCOLN, RI, United States 02-11-14 Member Since 2008

    atari2600

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    "Interesting Topic, but Terrible Execution."
    Would you try another book from David M. Ewalt and/or David M. Ewalt and Mikael Naramore ?

    Never. I really found the narrator annoying. He completely missed the bus on what could have been an interesting history of Dungeons & Dragons. His story is not interesting, yet he seemed to decide his personal D&D history should be the primary focus. Seriously, there are long stretches of the author explaining how he named his characters when he was a kid and a chapter describing a weekend retreat that was only vaguely related to D&D (LARP). Spent most of the book just shaking my head, trying to figure out if this was a self published blog excerpt.


    What could David M. Ewalt have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Done some research beyond Wikipedia, maybe realize that the journey of a novice D&D player to a somewhat less novice D&D player wasn't that interesting. Possibly not have an arrogant sounding narrator constantly interrupt the story with a completely unnecessary old lore exposition. Maybe not end compete sections with snarky, unfunny jokes (example: it's not the size of the sword, octopuses are cool, etc.). Really the book just rubbed me the wrong way start to finish. Needed an editor to step in and add some focus to the story. Spoiler: Near the end he gets a chance to play with various co-creators of the game, and in each instance comes off as unimpressed by them, yet marvels at the old yellow tape on a ping pong table. I typically don't write reviews and read dozens of books each year, but this book was terrible.


    Would you be willing to try another one of David M. Ewalt and Mikael Naramore ’s performances?

    No


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    It won't -- don't worry.


    Any additional comments?

    Let me know if anyone finds an interesting book on this subject. It sounds fascinating.

    Loved when he described the break up of the two founders, and just glossed over the reason explaining, "no one seems to know". Seemed like he tried real hard to get to the bottom of that.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jason Mackay Sammamish, WA United States 09-01-13
    Jason Mackay Sammamish, WA United States 09-01-13 Member Since 2008
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    "Lots of fun and nostalgia for D&D players!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Of Dice and Men to be better than the print version?

    I have not read the print version.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The story is fascinating and the tale is told interestingly. The author weaves historic notes and details with bits of story telling, bringing the games he is discussing to life. He is a real good old D&D player himself and the journey back in time to go over the birth of the game and its historic impact was entertaining, educational, and full of nostalgia for those who were there. For those that have never played D&D this book could be the key to understanding what it is and why people enjoy it so much.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John C. Petersen 06-02-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Very informative, as well as exciting."

    I really loved the performances of campaign events. This book was highly satisfying. I learned a lot, and it's even inspired me to try fifths edition.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    06-01-15
    06-01-15 Member Since 2015

    mr00000ed

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    "Excellent! Great memories flooded as I listened..."

    Great insights into the evolution of the game and company. It was easy to listen too and very entertaining. I recommend it for all you gamers out there just for nostalgia's sake.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter Aberdeen, Md, United States 05-26-15
    Peter Aberdeen, Md, United States 05-26-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Excellent"

    This book is essential for those looking to find their gaming roots and for those that love a gamer and wish to understand them.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Voltron waitforit O'Brien 05-21-15 Member Since 2014
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    "modified 20"

    Overall a good tale of both the start of gaming and also bits of an "in game" storyline. I know the places and people from my youth so it hit home on that front. I'm an avid tabletop gamer so it hit there too. Over all it was very entertaining.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Josh Price 05-01-15
    Josh Price 05-01-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Entertaining look at D&D history"

    It really is just that. Where did it come from? What is it? What is it like to play it? What's happened to it? And where is it going? It's all here, with a well performed read!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas 04-06-15
    Douglas 04-06-15
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    "Adventurous and enlightening"

    Solid narration and dissertation with entertaining interludes of storytelling both relevant and relative to the historical life of one of the most impactful forms of play, storytelling and gaming ever created.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul DuChateau 04-03-15
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    "An excellent history"
    Would you listen to Of Dice and Men again? Why?

    No, but not because of the quality of the story. The non-fictional history reads like an (extremely) long but very well-written magazine article. It's fine for a reference piece, but its not really fiction


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    That it is simultaneously personal and global.


    What about David M. Ewalt and Mikael Naramore ’s performance did you like?

    The performance itself is excellent, but it's the quality of the research that went into the book that makes the story worth paying attention to. It's a remarkable performance in that it complements the perspectives so well.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    As a lifetime DnD player, there were several.


    Any additional comments?

    This might be the best book ever written about the hobby, moreso because it is aimed at both audiences who enjoyed it, as well as those who have not. It's journalism of the best possible sort: personal yet researched, and impassioned but objective. I would not have expected to see this kind of approach to storytelling about storytelling itself.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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