Games Theory

Fifty Years of Dungeons & Dragons Table of Contents

Cover of "Fifty Years of Dungeons & Dragons" showing two bearded warriors fighting against a dragon.

Zach Howard, over at the Zenopus Archives, has posted the Table of Contents for Fifty Years of Dungeons & Dragons, which is very exciting. I have cross-posted the TOC from his blog (see below). It is particularly exciting to see the article he and Tony Rowe have written, alongside the article written by Gary Alan Fine and myself. But that’s not all:

  • Esther MacCallum-Stewart, who is the chair of the 2024 World Science Fiction Convention in Glasgow, is also represented here, which is very cool to see.
  • Evan Torner, who is a friend and colleague at the University of Cinncinnati, writes about combat in D&D.
  • Jon Peterson, whose work is already well-known, has a fascinating article included, as well. I provided some advice to Jon for The Elusive Shift, and I look forward to the second edition of Playing At The World.

I am honored to appear alongside Zach, Tony, Esther, Evan, Jon, and all of the other stellar writers whose work appears in the anthology. Particular thanks to the editors, Premeet Sidhu, Marcus Carter, and José P. Zagal for their commitment to this project and especially their support for me and my work.

You can order your copy of the anthology from MIT Press (it is also available through Amazon):

Fifty Years of Dungeons & Dragons from the MIT Bookstore

PREFACE – page xi

1. Is This The Golden Age Of Dungeons & Dragons? – page 1
by Premeet Sidhu, Marcus Carter, and José P. Zagal (co-author of the new Seeing Red: Nintendo’s Virtual Boy, also from MIT Press)

Introduction To Designer Vignettes – page 13
by Sam Mannell

Designer Vignettes I – page 15

2. Fantasy Games At Fifty: An Academic Memoir – page 17
by Gary Alan Fine (author of the 1983 book Shared Fantasy)

3. Exploration And Experience: The Game Changers – page 23
by Jon Peterson (author of The Elusive ShiftGame Wizards, and the forthcoming second edition of Playing at the World).

4. Combat In Dungeons & Dragons: A Short History Of Design Trajectories – page 43
by Evan Torner

5. “Doctor Holmes, I Presume?”: How A California Neurology Professor Penned The First Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set – page 63
by Tony A. Rowe And Zach Howard

6. Reflections On The Open Game License: An Interview With Ryan Dancey – page 79
by Michael Iantorno

7. Playing Custom: A Curious History Of Dungeons & Dragons–Based Digital Games Modifications – page 91
by Mateusz Felczak

8. A Return To The Magic Circle: Dungeons & Dragons And Friendship & Magic Fifty Years On – page 109
by Stephen Webley


Designer Vignettes II – page 119

9. “You’re Going To Be Amazing”: The Mercer Effect And Performative Play In Dungeons & Dragons – page 121
by Esther Maccallum-Stewart

10. The Other D&D: Religion(S) In Dungeons & Dragons From Deities & Demigods To Today – page 141
by Adrian Hermann

11. Spelling With Dice: The Role Of Dungeons & Dragons In Contemporary Speculative Fiction 161
by Dimitra Nikolaidou

12. Classrooms And Dragons: Learning From Dungeons & Dragons – page 179
by Premeet Sidhu

13. An Ensemble Of (Role-)Players? Exploring The Influence Of Performance On Dungeons & Dragons – page197
by David Harris And Josiah Lulham

14. Forging Family Through Queer Dungeons & Dragons – page 211
by Jay Malouf-Grice


Designer Vignettes III – page 229

15. “Race” And Race: Longitudinal Trends In Dungeons & Dragons Character Creation – page 231
by Amanda Cote And Emily Saidel

16. Hack The Orcs, Loot The Tomb, And Take The Land: Reflections On Settler Colonialism, Indigeneity, And Otherwise Possibilities Of Dungeons & Dragons – page 259
by Daniel Heath Justice

17. Seeking The Unimaginable: Rules, Race, And Adolescent Desire In Dungeons & Dragons – page 275
by Aaron Trammell And Antero Garcia

18. Defamiliarizing Dungeons & Dragons: Playing Out Western Fantasy In Singapore – page 283
by Kellynn Wee

19. Soft Communities And Vicarious Deviance In Dungeons & Dragons – page 301
by Victor Raymond And Gary Alan Fine


Designer Vignettes IV – page 323

20. D&D&D&D&D: Imagining Dungeons & Dragons At 150 And Beyond – page 325

by Jonathan Walton