This book has been on my shelf for a while, but I felt it was the right time to discuss Designers & Dragons: A History of the Roleplaying Game Industry (Evil Hat Productions) now that it is the winner of the 2015 Gold ENnie for Best RPG Related Product. This book series has been a labor of love for Shannon Appelcline. He and the books deserve the recognition of the ENnie. Fans love these books, which led to a very successful kickstarter to get the 2nd edition published. These books are a fascinating read for gamers, game industry professionals, and those interested in the business history of a hobby that has been in and out of controversy over its years.
Whether you’re new to Designers & Dragons or one of the lucky few with the previous edition, there’s a lot to love about this new series. From the origins of the industry and the inside dirt on early RPG companies in the 70’s to the rise of new indie companies (like us!) and the influence of gamers (like you!) via online communities in the 00’s, we’ve got it covered. And every piece is meticulously researched, edited, and prettified. That is too a word. (From the Evil Hat Productions Website)
I have PDFs of all the books in the series, but purchased a physical copy of the first volume (1970 to 1979) because it covers the game companies that got me started into the hobby in the early 80s. For me, my first two RPGs were Villains and Vigilantes from Fantasy Games Unlimited and AD&D from TSR. I still own my original V&V box set and dice. I found it fascinating to read the early history of the companies that had such an impact on my hobbies and my life today.
If you are interested in the history of roleplaying, then I highly recommend this book series to you.