Good PR: D&D's 40th, Diplomacy with a Diplomat & a Doctor's Advice

Every Thursday I post some news from the outside world, to reassure fellow gamers that the public at-large still thinks kindly of us.

This week I’ve got quite a few here because this is my first post. After this I’ll be posting weekly, so it won’t be so overloaded…


Of course there would be a lot of attention on the now-legendary Gygax/Arneson creation.

A Game as Literary Tutorial
by Ethan Gilsdorf, The New York Times, July 13

D&D “has influenced a generation of writers” including pop culture icons George R.R. Martin, Dan Harmon, Matt Groening and Stephen Colbert. For Pulitzer-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire, being a Dungeon Master was “some of the very first writing I did,” as he learned plot and character development through the game.

Cited is D&D’s ability to “help build the skills to work collaboratively and to write collaboratively.” Another great point I liked about the article is that it showed all fictional worlds need rules that are adhered to if they’re going to be an immersive experience.

A Visit to the Basement Where Dungeons & Dragons was Born
By Ethan Gilsdorf,, July 18

The second of two Ethan Gilsdorf-penned celebrations of D&D. This one presents Jon Peterson’s exclusive video tour of the basement (of course it was in a basement) where E. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson set out on their first adventures.

Dungeons and Dragons Saved My Life
by John Michaud, The New Yorker, July 16

In honor of D&D’s 40th anniversary, The New Yorker provides a retrospective of how D&D created the RPG genre and revolutionized the way we play games.

Instead of pieces or figurines, there were characters—avatars—who the players inhabited; instead of a board or a terrain table, there was a fictional world that existed in the shared imaginations of those who were playing; and instead of winning and losing, there was, as in life, a sequence of events and adventures that lasted until your character died. These concepts are now commonplace…but four decades ago they were revolutionary.

It’s a great reminder, too, that this cottage industry grew out of Gary Gygax’s experiences with miniature-based wargaming. But instead of moving masses of troops around a landscape, Gygax & friend created a new genre where players controlled just one character (and maybe a few NPCs…).


Here’s How Hasbro Decides Which Toys It Will Turn Into Movies
by Kirsten Acuna, Business Insider, July 15th

Acuna speaks with Hasbro CMO John Frascotti. Just your typical puff piece about a typical megacorporation. You gotta admit, though, Hasbro makes a couple good ‘gateway’ games…

Talk to Your Doctor About Board Games; aka Board Games RX
by Clever Move, YouTube, July 21st

Produced as a pharmaceutical commercial. We need more of this in our lives. I’m talking about videos…

Diplomacy tournament on This American Life
by Ira Glass,, July 25th

NPR host Ira Glass talks to writer David Hill about the board game Diplomacy. During Hill’s exploration of the game’s complexities, he decided to join a national tournament. Since he didn’t understand the game all that well, he partnered up with an actual diplomat (US Ambassador Dennis Ross) for the World Championships in North Carolina.

The link takes you to the audio as well as the transcript.

For reference, here’s the original Grantland article that inspired Glass’s piece.

The 75-Year Saga Behind a Game That Teaches Preschoolers to Code
by Cade Metz,, July 24th

Robot Turtles, a product of KickStarter, is subtitled “The Game for Little Programmers!” It was picked up by ThinkFun (the perfect choice for publisher) and is now hitting the shelves at Big Box retailers. This instant success had its first seed planted over 75 years ago.

Way back in 1937, drawing on new concepts of Boolean algebra that would drive the digital circuits at the heart of the computer revolution, Keister mapped out an electronic tic-tac-toe machine—what Bill Ritchie calls “literally the first computer game in the history of the world”—and this inspired a whole family of logic puzzles based on the ide of digital information.

  • Drew is a contributor to the Board Gamers Anonymous podcast. He's a curator by nature, compulsively reading and obsessively organizing what he's read. He's also been a gamer since the age of 3, which means he's been playing board games for... let's just say more than 40 years, and leave it at that...

  • Show Comments

You May Also Like

Almanac of Games, June 29th: Surviving the Log Cabin Canal

(Almanac of Games is a weekly feature, published every Sunday) It’s Classics Day, as ...

The Reddit Report: LCG vs. CCG, Cooperative vs. Competitive, New child vs. Game Night

(The Reddit Report is a weekly look at the most interesting Reddit threads & ...

Humor Us: Top Ten Reasons I Don’t Write Top Ten Lists

(Humor Us is a weekly series, occasionally published on Friday.) Gotcha! It’s all about ...