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Dice Men: The Origin Story of Games Workshop

Since finishing The Sundering, I've been slowly reading my way through H.P. Lovecraft's short stories. Wanting a break, however, I decided to read something a little different and Dice Men seemed perfect.

Anyone who has read more than a couple of my reviews on this website will know that I'm a big fan of Games Workshop's Tabletop Wargames, having played them since I was a child. I subscribed to White Dwarf, their monthly magazine, for well over 100 issues until it moved to a weekly publication and bizarrely decided to cancel postal subscriptions. My first issue as a subscriber was 304, which coincided with the company's 30th anniversary and had a large feature on their history, which I found absolutely fascinating and have returned to many times over the years. While I am rather less enamoured of current Games Workshop's business practices than the company of my youth, I do still enjoy playing older versions of the games, and a chance to read about Warhammer's beginnings from two of Games Workshop's founders was a real treat.

In this regard Dice Men did not disappoint. Though the emphasis was very much on the D&D days of the company, Ian Livingstone's account of founding Games Workshop in the 70s, alongside Steve Jackson's shorter reminiscences made for fascinating reading and the almost accidental way in which the company was formed was brought vividly to life. An absolute treat for gaming geeks such as myself.

Despite my overall enjoyment of the book, there were a couple of points that detracted from the reading experience. One was the way the chronology would bounce around a little, sometimes mentioning the results of events that hadn't been covered yet, made things a little confusing at times; but the moment of confusion were few and in some respects added to the feel of it being a first person account of events. More troublesome was the bizarre choice of the publisher to make the ePub version of the book a collection of images of the print version's pages, especially as those images were not particularly high resolution; much blurry text resulted from that decision and not a little eye strain - even a fixed-layout ePub would have been a substantial improvement.

Minor quibbles aside, I really enjoyed reading Dice Men and would recommend it to anyone interested in the early years of tabletop wargaming a role playing games.