Thursday, May 17, 2012

After completing a seven-hundred-page book, an author can only feebly protest that there was not sufficient space to include all points of interest on the matter. The argument weakens further when the subject lies within the realm of popular culture, and still further when it is games. To have reached such an unnatural girth, any work on so light a subject must have been stuffed with superfluities, and if any digressions landed on the cutting room floor, for that readers should give thanks.

Playing at the World is not free of sidetracks, but as a history of wargames and role-playing games, it raises only the scaffold of a narrative, the barest support structures necessary to give the course of events a foundation and a shape. It relies only sparingly on visual illustrations. It anchors facts in a source, but rarely in a chorus of corroboration.

Work of such intensity and duration builds a momentum, and carries the author forward even when the text must become fixed for release. To glide the author gently to a halt, to clear his cutting room floor, to collect the inevitable corrections and to give more definition to the unworthy scaffold, this blog will present additional matters of interest in the history of simulating wars, people and fantastic adventures.


  1. Jon,

    Congratulations on the publication of your important book! It is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of gaming and I am enjoying it immensely. As someone who explores the history of games and play at the International Center for the History of Electronic Games and the National Museum of Play at The Strong I can recommend it highly as an invaluable resource. Thank you for writing it!

    Jon-Paul Dyson

  2. Finished reading the book and I really liked it.

    Some chapters aren't as interesting as others, but just the one on fantasy literature got me to check out so many other, older books...

    1. Yep, I thought the same (though I am only part of the way through). The war gaming stuff is intriguing, but the fantasy literature chapter was incredible. Same goes for a number of other discussions, like the partially wargaming-related discussion of how DnD staples like HP, AC and THAC0 originated.

  3. Oooo, I didn't realise you had a blog as well as the book! Amazing. I picked up the book a while ago and have LOVED it so far, meaning I am very excited to read through this blog too. Thanks for all your hard work on researching DnD/RPG etc history! 💖