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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Hawk & Moor - Initial Impressions (D&D History)

I'm not far enough into Hawk & Moor to give a review (10% into the Trilogy according to the Kindle app), but I can give me initial impressions.

- It's approachable and an easy read. In some ways, it reminds me like a Time-Life book, but with abundant footnotes.

- The author admits to connecting the dots and filling in gaps. Not necessarily in a bad way, but with sometimes conflicting source material there are times one needs to make a best guess. There are a number of direct quotes, which is very helpful.

- It succeeds at "paining a picture", as I find myself visualizing certain scenes in my head.

Is it as true to it's source material as Playing at the World? I don't, but Hawk & Moor seems to give more opinions or rather, interpretations, whereas Playing at the World is a drier read with an impartial author's voice.

In any case, I'm thoroughly enjoying Hawk & Moor. At this rate, I'll probably have a review ready (and the trilogy finished) in another week to ten days.

1 comment:

  1. Hi! Since you keep mentioning my work in your notes here...

    As a matter of policy, I don't write reviews, or usually even offer opinions, on other works about the history of D&D. H&M describes itself as a "Chaotic" take on the history of the game in contrast to the "Lawful" view presented in PatW. It adopts pretty much the opposite of PatW's method: it takes what appears in later interviews at face value, whereas PatW only treats contemporary primary sources as evidence. I think the author of H&M understands well that this means it's not really a reliable history, but something closer to a collection of folklore with, as you say, some speculation connecting its dots. I see value in that endeavor - aggregating the way that Gygax saw his work in hindsight from myriad blogposts and later articles into a single repository serves a useful purpose. On the other hand, that also unduly magnifies Gygax's and Arneson's activities (as the title itself suggests) and removes the community context that is crucial for understanding the origins of the game.

    PatW is not for everyone, and there is plenty of room for other voices in a discussion about this history. PatW was not designed to be breezily readable, it was designed to be pedantically correct - and to prove that it is correct to a skeptical audience. If that is not your priority, you can tell a very different than PatW does.