Read Designers & Dragons by Shannon Appelcline Online


Compiled over many years from hundreds of interviews and research projects, this book is a history of the roleplaying game industry, and forms the most complete record of all the games, companies and talented individuals that have propelled roleplaying games to where they are today.Rather than being a simple, linear history, this book takes a unique perspective on the roleCompiled over many years from hundreds of interviews and research projects, this book is a history of the roleplaying game industry, and forms the most complete record of all the games, companies and talented individuals that have propelled roleplaying games to where they are today.Rather than being a simple, linear history, this book takes a unique perspective on the roleplaying industry. Reflecting that it is the creation of thousands of talented individuals and scores of talented companies, this book instead devotes individual sections to describing the histories and products of almost 60 different companies that have published roleplaying games from 1974 to the present day. The companies are laid out in a chronology based on when each began publishing in the roleplaying field.Designers & Dragons comes in a quality black leather finish, ensuring its collectibility for years to come....

Title : Designers & Dragons
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781907702587
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 442 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Designers & Dragons Reviews

  • John
    2018-11-17 09:39

    I'm not yet half way through this book, but had to make some comments before I forget them.I really like this book, and it's obvious a lot of work went into it, but there's one major failing: the lack of citations. This lack limits the usefulness of the book when it comes to any academic use, but more importantly it hampers independent analysis where either facts or conclusions are questionable.So far I've run into two areas where my own personal experience contradicts what the author has to say. One is in facts. In the review of Palladium it states that Erick Wujcik developed Revised Recon from a miniatures game. That's simply untrue. I have the original Recon game, and it was always an RPG. Basic research shows that the publisher was even named "Role Playing Games, Inc.," and was a nominee for "Best Roleplaying Game" in the 1982 H.G. Wells awards.If this little tidbit had been cited I could know where the author got his false information from and thus better evaluate other areas where questions might arise.The second area where my experience contradicts the author is less clear cut, and I admit that my own experience may be in error. This is where they discuss the failure of 4th Edition GURPS to be as successful as previous editions. The author blames a variety of reasons, but fails to mention the one that customers actually expressed in my presence when 4th was released: many of the customers for their products prior to 4th edition didn't actually play GURPS. They bought the well-written genre and historical supplements for use with other systems. The decision to no longer produce softcover supplements in the $20 to $25 price range is what caused these customers to leave, not e-publishing.Admittedly my information was from my personal experience, but covers my time as a GURPS consumer from the late 80s to the mid 00s as well as conversations with gamers in two states, including the Bay Area of California (a rather large gaming market) and a store owner in that latter area.That's the point though, I know where my information comes from, but due to the lack of citations, I don't know where the information in the book comes from, so it's harder for me to evaluate its reliability.I should point out that I had to stop and comment on these negative points because the rest of the book is awesome and I didn't want to forget about these as I got further into what are some very interesting histories of the companies involved in RPGs. I still thoroughly recommend this book based on what I've read so far.Edit: now that I'm finished, I will re-iterate that I really enjoyed this book, and look forward to checking out further updates by the author online. It's a sometimes maddening book as I read about business people with no interest in gaming screwing over some of my favorite games and companies of the past, but it's good to have a better picture of the history of this hobby I love. Even if it is somewhat depressing at times.The problems I mentioned before remain the major problems I found with the book, although there were a few other minor errors to be found, for instance the book states that the Classic Battletech Miniatures Rules from FanPro were the first time that Battletech had moved away from its hex grid maps, yet earlier rules compilations from FASA had included optional rules for playing Battletech as a more traditional miniatures game without a hex grid.That's really just nitpicking though, and the only real issue I have is the general lack of citations. Fortunately, there is an included bibliography which I will probably spend some more time going through at some point.

  • Andrew
    2018-12-03 10:06

    I love this book and, despite its faults, as it is pretty much the only book of its type I think it was a worthwhile release on a number of counts. It is largely a document of RPG companies and their fates from the early 70s through to 2010. Most of the company entries were weird, mythic rumoured names when I was a young 'un and I've found it fascinating reading, particularly the largely amateurish approach to the business by most people involved. That trend is pretty much still the case today and many of the problems faced by designers and publishers are still being faced. It appears that the same mistakes are made over and over, essentially mistakes not isolated to the RPG industry but by businesses in general. I would suggest it should be recommended reading for all indie and wanna-be publishers, there are many lessons to be learned. Other criticisms of the book for being too broad and unfocused are largely fair, after all Mongoose (publishers of this book) themselves certainly have been victims of the half-arsed approach to enthusiastic game publication. On the whole though I think, due to its pretty much unique nature, it deserves a break until something better comes along. Much like the original D&D in fact.

  • Eric Vogel
    2018-12-13 09:04

    I really enjoyed this. It is targeted primarily at people who are interested in role playing games (which I am not). But I really got caught up in view it gives of the game industry in years of my childhood and adolescence. The accounts of the suprisingly cuthroat buisness prqctices are quite entertaining. For example, I had always found it strange that TSR suddenly started publishing all this dreadful Buck Rogers stuff in the 80s; here I learn that the company owner also owned the rights to BR, and was essentially doing this as a way of giving shelf kickbacks. The book takes a very scholarly approach to its subject too. I think anyone with a longstanding interest in games (not just RPGs) will get a lot out of it.

  • Richard
    2018-11-30 09:59

    A first-rate tour through the history of the RPG industry. I almost rated it lower, but I realized that my negative reaction was to the history being told, not the writing of the history. To read the history of the tabletop RPG industry is to get a little depressed: most publishers are one frivolous lawsuit from destruction, and far too many good companies with great creativity have gone down to shady business shenanigans. Appelcline's books is also welcome in that it discusses something a lot of TRPG histories don't: the mechanics of the games involved and how the companies innovated in both game design and marketing. An excellent and thought-provoking book, though it can be a bit of slog at times.