Dicing With Dragons RPG D & D radio documentary


I don’t own many fantasy figures – these fantasy Viking warriors came with the Heroscape game and its hex tiles that I posted about recently on my Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog. 

Dicing with Dragons –  “Long before Peter Jackson made it respectable, teenage boys fought imaginary orcs and dragons”.

Writer and Presenter Kim Newman celebrates Dungeons and Dragons’ early days through interviews with Gary Gygax and others of the Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone era failing to get a bank loan for setting up Games Workshop. It mentions needing to buy the original Chainmail ancient Wargames rules as well as the early D and D books.

Repeat of a Documentary  originally made in  August 2004 –  Radio 4 Extra Debut / repeat, find this at:


Made in 2004 it speculates about when RPG  gamers give up, along with the lack of women RPG players at the time. They do find and interview one female “Dungeon Master”.  I imagine this aspect may have changed since 2004, as the few female gamers whose blogs I have come across tend towards Sci-Fi and Fantasy rather than Historical Wargaming.

Weird dice and lots of tables: I had the gift of a basic set but never really understood D&D …

Available online on BBC Radio Iplayer for about thirty days till late July /early August 2017,  it may well be around in the BBC Radio Iplayer documentary section afterwards. This may not be available to some overseas readers.

Happy Listening!

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN on July 5th 2017.


2 thoughts on “Dicing With Dragons RPG D & D radio documentary”

  1. I don’t know how I missed it as I was at uni in those days in the later 1970s. Maybe I was too busy studying. I have never played Dungeons and Dragons as such.

    I have set up games with 54mm figures where there was hidden treasure and traps. One game I set up for my daughter when she was six or seven where she had a band of Vikings in an unknown land seeking treasure and fighting ogres, orks and vampires. She had a female DSG Viking to represent herself and another heroine as Red Sonya. my friend Bob set up a game where objects were covered in green netting and revealed when various players entered those tunnels or corridors. There were skeleton warriors, AIP Boxers and other factions that I forget, all competing to get the treasure. Grey painted polystyrene made up the walls.

    I note that Frank Perry (author of First and second books of wargaming) used to play a similar game long before Dungeons and Dragons was created. He set the scene with house brick walls covered in a sheet with various traps and rewards shown as the player advanced and the sheet was gradually drawn back.


    1. I never played it too but liked some elements. I think many and varied are the precursors of D and D more than can be fitted into 30 minutes. Even the Knights Quest board game from Edwardian times that I posted about last year had that sort of feel without a Dungeon Master Umpire. Your family game sounded fun and importantly introduced female role model figures into the activity. I think a lot of the solo mechanisms work well for this hidden or surprise element of such gaming.
      I never knew that about Frank Perry. This sounds like an underground version of street fighting rules with added magic. Sadly it also sounds like one of my Service friends description of Afghanistan with IEDS – not fun or sparkly and magic at all. Best wishes, Mark Man of TIN


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