Dice Men: The Origin Story of Games Workshop

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Dice Men: The Origin Story of Games Workshop

Dice Men: The Origin Story of Games Workshop

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In a matter of months Bryan Ansell has fucked off all the bits about London GW that he didn’t like, including its London location; gone is the generalist approach to retail, the grab-bag of board games and RPG licences and dicking about with video games. Pure nostalgia, although I suspect that if you aren't "of a certain age" where the names and games and atmosphere of this book are directly relevant to your life then you will find this less than exciting. First, the fact that such an amateurish, if enthusiastic, operation would never be able to find its feet nowadays.

To my understanding the book is now on general sale, but it was originally funded through Unbound, a crowdfunder for boutique publishing like this. You have a significant subsidiary helmed by a bloke who has already resigned twice in the last four years to force your hand in giving him more power, after telling you the reason he quit the last company he founded was because his co-owners lacked his vision and ambition. Yet despite marvelling at the most excellent tome, it’s sat (pride of place) on my bookshelf unread, daunted by the task ahead of me.He is the former Executive Chairman of video games publisher Eidos where he launched blockbuster titles Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Hitman. To an extent it’s understandable that this period of control slowly unraveling isn’t the key focus, but you do wish there was a bit more here; 1987 is the last year for which there’s any real detail given, but it would be nice to have a bit more on these latter stages, and especially the release of Rogue Trader which gets the most passing of mentions. Dealing with the negatives first, Dice Men is surprisingly flatly written given Ian Livingstone's strong credentials as a fantasy author.

I was excited when the Unbound project was initially announced, happy to be a supporter prior to publication, and gleefully received my signed copy once the finished product made its way into readers hands.For those with either a nostalgic memory of, or an interest in the seminal era of the 70s and early 80s for role-playing games (TTRPG under current nomenclature) this is a great read. Second, that it's clear from the text that Livingstone was - and is - clearly a businessman first and a gamer second. Less of a history book and more of a coffee table tome, Dice Men manages to do something quite remarkable in under 300 pages: tell a surprisingly deep story, rich with captivating imagery, without ever seeming verbose or vain.

It’s a bit art-book in feel, too; in theory it’s nearly 300 pages long, but a substantial portion of that is taken up with pictures. They started dabbling in inventing their own games too including the Warhammer Fantasy Role-playing Game. From the launch of Dungeons and Dragons from the back of a van, to creating the Fighting Fantasy series, co-founders Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson tell their remarkable story for the first time. In a later chapter, Livingstone talks about his and Jackson’s agonising over the time pressure of managing GW while also writing Fighting Fantasy novels; it’s revealing of their mindsets at the time that the two men are co-managing directors of a growing retail, manufacturing, and publishing business and they’re seriously concerned by the impact on their time of writing a kind of gimmicky fantasy book, and thinking that actually the problem is the commitment of running GW.Of course it’s much easier to see this pattern with the benefit of hindsight, when you’re reading a written account of it for leisure, than it would have been to identify it in the heat of the moment while also running a business that is successful but clearly still finding its identity and of course writing those Fighting Fantasy books. Ian was executive chairman of Eidos until 2002, where he launched global games franchises such as Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. If you’re into the GW artwork of that era there’s a bunch of that in here, and also personal photos from Livingstone and others on a range of subjects – GW’s various London offices, early Games Days, some holiday photos from Ian and Steve’s road trip around America that led to their first meeting with Gary Gygax, bits and pieces like that. We don’t share your credit card details with third-party sellers, and we don’t sell your information to others.

When Ian arrived home later that evening we excitedly told him of our plans, but it took him about 10 days or so to come around to the idea, following much cajoling, mainly by Steve.I also think that they overplay the poverty / extreme poverty of their situation for a lot of the time. This is also a business environment alien to the modern age with no e-mail or IMs; for most of the time Ansell in Nottingham is going to be running things independently from Livingstone and Jackson in London and so by necessity he is going to be out of sight – and probably out of mind – for long stretches. The thing that jumps off the page with every mention of his name is his single-mindedness and clarity of vision. Excellent book on GWs early past, and a must have for fans of old miniatures ("Oldhammer"), classic RPGs, Boardgames or Fightng Fantasy gamebooks.



  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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