Book Review: Playing at the World

Oct 1, 2013 by

Title : Playing at the World

Author : Jon Peterson

Publisher: Unreason Press

Pages : 698

Reviewed by : Tyrel J. Arington, Eastern New Mexico University, Portales, New Mexico

Playing at the World is a well-written history of Wargaming and Role-playing games. It is a thorough investigation of the Role-Playing game industry. It begins with examining early table top games from the turn of the century. The book has a particular focus on Gary Gygax, the father of modern role-playing games, and Dungeons & Dragons in it’s early life. It also talks about the rules and systems used and how they evolved throughout time.

While it was quite lengthy, it is an easy read as it is wrote in a way that is simple to understand. It gets to the point quickly, while still having information available for the more complex information and history of the field. It examines, in detail, each of the original classes from the original form of Dungeons & Dragons. It also looks at Dungeons & Dragons early predecessor Chainmail. Chainmail was a miniatures wargame that used many of the same systems that Dungeons & Dragons in a fantasy setting reminisce of Tolkin fantasy.

One weakness of the book is that it does not look at more modern history in much detail. It does not examine Dungeons & Dragons after it was acquired by Wizards away from TSR, or some of the other competitors in the modern such as White Wolf games, or other D20 systems from the Open-Gaming License time of third edition of Dungeons & Dragons. While it is a thorough examination of early history, it lacks the more modern history of the Role-Playing game industry.

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