Art & Arcana Review

Mike Hourigan books, review, tabletop Leave a Comment

Art & Arcana
Overall
4.5
  • Readability
  • Presentation (Art/Quality)
  • Information

Summary

Art & Arcana provides an extensive history of Dungeons & Dragons from its inception through its present day form, as well as its many iterations in many different forms of media. The breathtaking quality of the art pieces are an excellent companion to the written history that is meticulously researched and written in an easy to understand, interesting voice.

Pros

Excellent art and visuals The book is well thought out and set up Well researched information

Cons

It’s a hefty book!

Full Art & Arcana Review

I love RPGs. The act of group story telling really captured me from the first time that I tried it, and I’ve been hooked since. Unfortunately, that only happened comparatively recently with the release of Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition (though with the advent of Twitch and actual play programs such as Critical Role, my story is not a unique one). Luckily for me, Art & Arcana was released to give me a primer on all the rich Dungeons & Dragons history I missed, and does it do it.

Starting with the Original Dungeons & Dragons published by Gary Gygax and TSR in the 70s, the book takes a comprehensive look at each iteration of the game in fantastic detail. With a primary focus on the visual history (art, books, advertising, etc.), the book still is able to put all the visual history within the larger context of what was going on.

Delving deep into the dwarven mines of the history of the game, the authors were able to dig up module covers, full page spreads of art from the modules and handbooks, and even TSR memos that give some amazing insights into the development of the game many people have come to love.

However, one of my favorite features are the “Evilution” spreads sprinkled throughout the book. Each one takes a beloved creature or character in the lore and shows how they have evolved artistically throughout the history of the game.

The book is very much a must-have for any Dungeons & Dragons fan. The knowledge of where the game has come from can really be an invaluable tool when we’re considering where we’re taking it in the future as a community of gamers. Plus, the amazing art inside is worth looking at for anyone who is interested in practicing their own art! The authors did a fantastic job creating a book that is informational, entertaining, and beautiful to look at.

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