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Of Dice and Men Audiobook

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 (280 )
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4.3 (261 )
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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
  •  
    E. A Dunn The beautiful South 12-28-15
    E. A Dunn The beautiful South 12-28-15 Listener Since 2004

    laineyd

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Nerrrrrrrrrrd!"

    If you ever played the game, or still do, this book is awesome. I mainly enjoyed the detailed story about the invention of the game and the rise and fall of TSR as a company. A fascinating look at the birth of something that shaped my childhood. Also interesting is the author's exploration of their own gaming past and future, where RPGs are headed.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shawn Moore 09-11-15
    Shawn Moore 09-11-15 Member Since 2014
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    "A little too one sided."

    Was more like a puff piece about Gary Gygax. Poor David Arneson was almost forgotten.

    1 of 1 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.

    3 of 4 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
  •  
    Amazon Customer Columbus Ohio 10-20-15
    Amazon Customer Columbus Ohio 10-20-15 Member Since 2015

    Pastor and PC Gamer...

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    "Dnd a fun history"

    loved this journey through the history of Dungeons and Dragons the author mixes nonfiction narrative with fictional role-playing to help move the story along

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    BestOfTheWest19 10-03-15
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    "Informative, but awkward pacing."

    It was a very good book and I learned a lot. He just did some things that surprised me. I expected it to be a straight up history of the hobby. But it is partially the author's personal history of dnd. Which I suppose is fine, just not my things. He also puts little side stories from games he has been in that is pretty cool.

    However the worst part is how he kind of glances over the Satanic panic and 3.5 and 4th edition comparatively. But that may just be me.

    I would still recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the hobby though.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Howard 09-21-15
    Howard 09-21-15
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    "A Story of D&D and David Ewalt"

    I actually thought this was a pretty good book. The performance was great, but there wasn't much about the people who play D&D unless they were quoted to expedite the history of the game. Beyond that it was basically just a little less of a self-loathing "Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks". I found the amount dislike thrown at LARP was a little uncalled for and seems to display the author's lack of knowledge beyond a twenty minute Internet search.

    In the end this was still a good book, but I wouldn't recommend this for anyone except the most devoted of RPG fans. The author claims he wrote this for a wider audience but he speaks to the veteran fans in the last 2/3 of the book. I had tears come unbidden to my eyes when the author is talking about Lake Geneva, for no other reason than that is where it all began. So, at the very least, Mr. Ewalt, I thank you for that.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dan D. 09-02-15
    Dan D. 09-02-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Uneven but Ultimately Enjoyable"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The author gushed a little too much about the details of some of his experiences playing D&D - often going into great detail about the campaign he played. It would have been nice if this was done more sparingly and only used to segue into another chapter about the history of D&D.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Although I enjoyed a majority of the book, I was definitely ready for it to be over. The last two hours of the book covered more of the author's D&D gushing.


    Did David M. Ewalt and Mikael Naramore do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    They did a great job differentiating the characters and the "rolls" (get it?) they played in the history of D&D. This was my favorite part of the book.


    Did Of Dice and Men inspire you to do anything?

    Yes, I want to play more D&D and possibly get another book about the game.


    Any additional comments?

    I enjoyed a majority of the book. It had a lot of great information about D&D the people that created it. Unfortunately there were a few chapters that were almost unbearable (one that goes into exhaustive detail about the author's experience LARP'ing in particular) that prevents the book from being great. That said, it's still worth a read/listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eleanor C Mccrary 08-07-15 Member Since 2012
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    "enlightening a cringeworthy at the same time."

    The author is an unabashed geek but some of the bad lines seem more like fan service than hiw an editor for Forbes would actually write

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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