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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 (215 )
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4.3 (200 )
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Performance
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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

    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
  •  
    Todd J. Rooks Barberton, OH 07-20-15
    Todd J. Rooks Barberton, OH 07-20-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Entertaining and informative!"

    Ewalts treatment of D&D's history was thorough and insightful. The drama woven into the narrative was also an entertaining bonus. This is a 'must read' for all table top gaming enthusiasts.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Wilmington, DE, United States 07-12-15
    Elizabeth Wilmington, DE, United States 07-12-15 Member Since 2013
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    "enjoyable"

    I really enjoyed this book. It did take me some time to figure out the narrative style, skipping back and forth between nonfiction and play journal. I may make my husband listen, since he was never a role player.

    Also it was interesting to see just how early my family adopted D&D (1977-78)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    karl dynes ANTIOCH, CA, US 06-15-15
    karl dynes ANTIOCH, CA, US 06-15-15 Member Since 2015
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    "grab your dice and sharpen your pencils it's time"

    What a great read. Mixing history and storytelling. If you are a D&D fan I highly recommend this book :) it sets a fire inside to play. From the beginning to the satanic panic to 5th edition this book covers it all.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jorge Velasco 06-09-15 Member Since 2014
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    "great book for D&D players"

    great story that covers the begins of D&D. I really had a wonderful time listening to stories similar to our group game

    0 of 0 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

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