Yesterday was the anniversary of the first airing of the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon. I have so many fond memories of that Saturday morning adventure. I was just getting into the roleplaying hobby and not yet playing AD&D, but this cartoon fascinated me and made me want to try that RPG along with the superhero games I was already playing. While reminiscing about the D&D cartoon, I got to thinking about a large tome I read recently. Playing at the World by Jon Peterson delves deeply into the history of D&D the game and the wargames that spawned its existence.
Explore the conceptual origins of wargames and role-playing games in this unprecedented history of simulating the real and the impossible. From a vast survey of primary sources ranging from eighteenth-century strategists to modern hobbyists, Playing at the World distills the story of how gamers first decided fictional battles with boards and dice, and how they moved from simulating wars to simulating people. The invention of role-playing games serves as a touchstone for exploring the ways that the literary concept of character, the lure of fantastic adventure and the principles of gaming combined into the signature cultural innovation of the late twentieth century (Source: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15784870-playing-at-the-world)
I will give a minor warning: this book is not for the casual reader. If you want a more laid back view of D&D, check out the cartoon. This large tome required serious research and is more scholarly essay than coffee table book. While the information found within these 698 pages is fascinating and really helps you understand the hobby many of us are so passionate about, it honestly can get dry at times. If you have an interest in history and a passion for wargaming and/or D&D, then I highly encourage you to be persistent and devoted to finishing this book. Once you finish your quest to read to the final page, the grail of information you will have been gathered will be highly treasured.