An international network of researchers into all aspects of role-playing games
David Millians, Editor
Paideia School, 1509 Ponce de Leon Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia 30307 USA
LETTER FROM THE CHAIR
This month we had the opportunity to speak with Fenway Jones, founder of Jasper’s Game Day, an organization dedicated to mental health awareness and suicide prevention. Fenway is a recent CAR-PGA member and an awesome person whose tireless efforts to support mental health, particularly during a pandemic, have helped thousands of gamers.
Jasper’s Game has blossomed from support focused on a particular day to an entire week in May, which is Mental Health Awareness Month. Check out the schedule and special guests at Jasper’s Game Week, April 30 through May 9.
You can help! You can always donate directly, but you can also make a purchase at Amazon Smile and a portion of the proceeds going to Jasper’s Game Day. You can also help support Jasper’s Game Day’s mission by spreading the word about their charity game events by following, liking, and sharing on Twitter and Facebook.
Fenway was kind enough to spend her time with us even as she’s preparing for another event. She revealed a big surprise about an upcoming adventure in Jasper’s Game Week, her future plans for Jasper’s Game Day, and excellent advice on what to do when you suspect a player in your gaming group is struggling. Check out the video here.
On a personal note, I’m writing this on the birthday of my friend and long-time player who passed away last year. It’s an important reminder that mental health affects everyone in different ways and to check in on your players—sometimes, our gaming group is their only support network.
Book Review: Empire of Imagination
By Ted Skirvin
The full title of the book is Empire of Imagination: Gary Gygax and the Birth of Dungeons & Dragons. It was written by Michael Witwer, and it was published by Bloomsbury Publishing in 2015. The book is, more than anything else, a biography of Gary Gygax. It covers the entire span of his life. The book is not limited merely to his involvement in gaming. One interesting aspect of the book is that the author readily admits that much of the book is, for lack of a better term, fictional. The book relates events that are conjecture on his part. Witwer indicates that such parts of the book are based on his best guess of certain events based on his many interviews of people who knew Gygax and were related to the events in some way.
Overall, I would say the book is fairly well written, but it is no masterpiece of biographical literature. In many ways, it could be said to be an unflinching look at Gygax. It does address his use of illicit drugs and his problems with alcohol. It relates his marital infidelities when he was married to his first wife. The book does mention other less pleasant parts of his personality without holding back. Nonetheless, the book is an ode to the man. In later chapters, Gygax is mentioned in such glowing terms as the progenitor of tabletop role-playing games that one cannot doubt Gygax to be one of Witwer’s personal heroes. At times, Witwer’s praise seems a bit over the top and not sufficiently recognizant of the contributions of others who began the process before Gygax got involved.
I’m not quite sure how to react to the book. If one wants to know about Gygax, then it might be a good start, but there is the problem of Witwer’s fictionalizing. The book would be of doubtful benefit to a serious scholar of RPG history or Gygax’s life. I suppose it could one of those read-it-on-vacation-at-the-beach kind of light reading books, but it would likely only appeal to those in gaming fandom. So, I’m left not really sure of the book’s true purpose or overall value.
FROM DAVID MILLIANS
Allison, Peter Ray (2021 Apr 23) Tabletop roleplaying has given players comfort, connection and control in a world that’s taken them away. https://www.dicebreaker.com/categories/roleplaying-game/feature/tabletop-roleplaying-comfort-connection-control-covid-19. A sense of control in a time of isolation and anxiety.
Appelcline, Shannon (2021 Apr 8) TSR Connections: Licenses & Lawsuits. https://www.rpg.net/columns/advanced-designers-and-dragons/advanced-designers-and-dragons47.phtml. Litigious interactions with the rest of the growing RPG industry.
Appelcline, Shannon (2021 Apr 27) TSR Connections: Miniatures & Miscellanea. https://www.rpg.net/columns/advanced-designers-and-dragons/advanced-designers-and-dragons48.phtml. Miniatures licensing history 1972-1997.
Dix, Ellie (2021 Apr 15) Why are board games educational?. https://www.thedarkimp.com/blog/2021/04/15/why-are-board-games-educational. Educational games, good games, and learning opportunities.
DM David (2021 Apr 13) The Dungeon Mapper: From Half of D&D to a Forgotten Role. https://dmdavid.com/tag/mapping-half-of-dd-to-forgotten. Changing spatial communications since White Box D&D.
Dungeons on a Dime (2021 Feb 22) Accessibility in TTRPG Layout. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHz_YETXXOU. Discussions of making games more accessible.
Esner, Mark (2021 Apr 25) What leaders can learn from Dungeons and Dragons. https://www.tes.com/news/what-school-leaders-curriculum-could-learn-dungeons-and-dragons. Collegiality and flexibility in play and work.
Fishman, Jared & Dillon Schaevitz (2021 Jul 13) Historical Gaming in the Classroom – A How to Guide from both the Teacher and Student Perspective. https://www.hmgs.org/page/warcollege?fbclid=IwAR0vmgydjVeAGqSB_YO6sUU_d-RthZGDexO-npNCZFWJ9QP7mTBI4JTaXQ8. Research and application.
Kilmer, Elizabeth (2021Apr 27) Dungeons, Dragons, and CEs for Mental Health Professionals. https://gametogrow.org/2021/04/27/mh-track-ces. Games to Grow provides spring continuing education for psychologists and educators.
Maliszewski, James (2021 Apr 12) Before the OSR. http://grognardia.blogspot.com/2021/04/before-osr_12.html. Early D&D clones that paved the way.
Maliszewski, James (2021 Apr 14) The Perils and Pleasures of Dungeons and Dragons. http://grognardia.blogspot.com/2021/04/the-perils-and-pleasures-of-dungeons.html. Review of Moira Johnston’s article “It’s Only A Game – Or Is it?” of August 25, 1980 from New West magazine.
Morris, Dave (2021 Apr 9) Killing no murder?. http://fabledlands.blogspot.com/2021/04/killing-no-murder.html. Character behavior and morality in tabletop games.
O’Donoghue, Niall (2021 Apr 8) Green Players: The tabletop studios and designers incorporating sustainability into board games. https://www.dicebreaker.com/amp/categories/board-game/feature/board-games-sustainability-environment-eco. Choosing and reducing component and shipping materials, as well as recycling options.
Peregrine, Andrew (2021 Apr 13) The Lost Art of Dungeon-Crawling. https://www.enworld.org/threads/the-lost-art-of-dungeon-crawling.679368. Making quality dungeon adventures in the twenty-first century.
Petersen, Sandy (2021 Apr 8) How I Almost Invented Roleplaying. https://petersengames.com/how-i-almost-invented-roleplaying. It all began when he was six.
Pulsipher, Lewis (2021 ) Is There a Default Sci-Fi Setting?. https://www.enworld.org/threads/worlds-of-design-is-there-a-default-sci-fi-setting.679253. Proposed elements at the core of sci fi games.
Tabletop Theory (2021 Apr 22) The importance of trust at your RPG table // Theory Application. https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&fbclid=IwAR1wftena4vc-UT6Sc7lxhde98DaYJOlIe41Qzu1QfCVxzr4rJTpN5-29Dk&v=N-dXuN1G9QU&feature=youtu.be. Power at the table and making it work for players in your game.
Walles, Joann (2021 Mar 29) Gaming with Learning Difficulties. https://angelscitadel.com/2021/03/29/gaming-with-learning-difficulties/. Challenges for gamemasters and players and how to support them.
Walters, Clint (2021 Apr 15) Youth DM Masterclass in Videos. https://dnd4thekids.blogspot.com/2021/04/youth-dm-masterclass-in-videos.html. A huge, annotated video curriculum for developing dungeon mastering skills.
Westermeyer, Paul (2021 Jul 11) The History of War Gaming. https://www.hmgs.org/page/warcollege?fbclid=IwAR0vmgydjVeAGqSB_YO6sUU_d-RthZGDexO-npNCZFWJ9QP7mTBI4JTaXQ8. Overview.
J. R. Zambrano (2021 Apr 7) How The Call of Cthulhu Changed The Face Of Roleplaying Games. https://www.belloflostsouls.net/2021/04/with-strange-aeons-how-the-call-of-cthulhu-changed-the-face-of-roleplaying-games-prime.html. Leaving wargame roots behind.
© Copyright 2021 by the Committee for the Advancement of Role-Playing Games (CAR-PGa), ISSN 1071 7129. The CAR-PGa Newsletter is a monthly publication. For more information contact David Millians, Editor, Paideia School, 1509 Ponce de Leon Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia 30307 USA, phone (404) 808-1070, fax (404) 377-3491, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Back issues are available. Contributions of material from the membership are urged, and the byline is responsible for content. Deadline is the last weekday of the month, email preferred. Permission is granted to copy anything in the Newsletter, provided we get a credit line in the publication copying it, and it doesn’t have someone else’s copyright on it. Information, including details on joining CAR-PGa, can be obtained on the Internet at car-pga.org.