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Designers & Dragons: The 70s by Shannon…

Designers & Dragons: The 70s (2014)

by Shannon Appelcline

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A slightly gushy but informative look at the birth of the roleplaying game industry in the 1970s. Shannon Appelcline has divided his histories into companies split by decade. This works but involves a bit of repetition and backtracking, as many RPG companies were intricately connected with the employees and business outcomes of the others. Overall it is a good study of a connected group of small publishers and game designers and how they were affected by internal and external events over several decades of RPG history. ( )
  questbird | Apr 24, 2017 |
This book covers an ambitious project, the birth of modern role-playing gaming and then the inclusion of all companies associated with it. A history of that industry yet, a book written by an amateur at history as is shown by the many stylistic choices that seem to confuse the narrative as well as leave out the details necessary to be an informative accounting that gives one context for it.

Now, I grew up in the era described. I was 13 when I found role-playing, playing D&D for the first time in 1975 (the 2nd year of it's life, and owning one of the first 5000 sets) I saw these companies come onto the scene thru various magazines and at gamestores with the release of product. Thus I know the vernacular. Those who do not have decipher Appelcline's use of the TSR Module nomenclature but will easily become lost when this is not put in context or description and detail not given to various products, and one must try and place them.

Further the book is riddled with a timeline that jumps about as Appelcline likes to group trends and themes together and thus a large part of the book repetitively tells you how we will return later to a topic or a person or a game. So many as we will see laters that you want to put yourself out of your misery should you ever have read any other history before, knowing that professionals who write of times past do not do this. If becomes difficult to follow.

Thus these errors detract.

Though should you like to learn where the industry came from, this is indeed a comprehensive place to look. ( )
3 vote DWWilkin | Jul 5, 2015 |
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