Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook Review posted by Club Fantasci

By Polar_Bear
In Fantasy
Sep 14th, 2014

Club Fantasci’s David Lowry takes a look at Wizards of the Coast’s 5th edition of the Player’s Handbook for Dungeons & Dragons in this new review article.



From the post:

I am pretty sure anyone reading this doesn’t really need an introduction to Dungeons & Dragons but just in case, let’s just say if it wasn’t for Dungeons & Dragons there wouldn’t be role-playing games around today. At least not as they are today or nowhere near as popular. That being said, there have been mistakes made in my honest opinion with Dungeons & Dragons over the last few years. The last incarnation in my opinion was not even close the same game I grew up with nor was it ever really role-playing to me. But Alas, here comes the new 5.0 edition of Dungeons & Dragons and can I just say, thank all that is holy!

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  • Soulfinger

    The above paragraph really nailed it on summarizing 4th edition. To paraphrase, ‘It wasn’t really role-playing.’ All these years of trying to explain my dissatisfaction by vomiting, I wish I’d thought to say that. The mechanics were as great as everyone says, but the RPG element was what you’d get from an Xbox title. As the article says, “you could have just bought on the of the three board games . . . and got exactly the same playing experience.”

    That said, they completely forgot to review the actual book, outside of saying it has a nice cover. It looks like the kind of review someone would write to justify receiving a free review copy.

  • Soulfinger,

    Thank you for reading the review of the D&D Players Handbook Manual. Obviously it had content within it that you identified with and actually commented on. That means we did our job. As I stated in the review, this wasn’t about the technical aspects of the book. Why? Because everyone reading this knows exactly what is in the book for the most part.

    We polled our audience and the flat out said, we don’t want more dry, rules oriented or boring reviews. We want to know your experience with the game. What it compares too or how it makes you feel. This is exactly what I gave you in this review. Most people who are looking at this game and are still on the fence about it is because, D&D lost is way and it’s feel a long time ago. I told them it’s back and that is reason enough for them to seriously take a look at it. My job is done. Considering how many views it got and comments I have received all over social media, I know we did our job as well especially as yours in the only negative comment.

    However, I do still appreciate your opinion and value it. Thank you again for reading the review whether you found it useful or not.

    • Soulfinger

      Mine is always the negative comment. Tally every comment on this site, and I win for negativity. That said, I do believe that most of my comment in this case was quite positive, in that something you said resonated with me in this article of yours that isn’t a review. Were it not a review, you could consider my comment an unequivocal slam dunk of positivity, which would score you a total of 1 positive comment on TGN and your own website combined. However, If your readers wanted to know your experience with the game then that wasn’t covered either. Boiled down to its core components, your article states:

      ‘WotC sure messed up D&D with the last edition. This edition is much better. You can customize your characters, and it is easy to play. The cover is thick. The art is good. Take my word for it, you should play it.’

      So, I see what you are going for there. How it makes you feel . . . mission accomplished. It’s good to know the cover is thick. You have the comparison between this edition and a nebulous amalgam of previous editions, stating that people disappointed by previous editions (just 4th?) will like this edition, which harkens to previous editions (1st, 2nd, and/or 3rd?). Kind of missed the Pathfinder comparison that, if it is not the fence you refer to, is at the very least the rambunctious Southern boy white-washing it. I’m not sure where your experience factors in though? Where’s the character you rolled up? Your three-room dungeon? Where are the anecdotes or any specificity whatsoever? It is decent enough copy, but it reads like something written to pad out a magazine like “Inoffensive Tales of the Hobby Industry, An Inflight Magazine for Gamers and Soccer Moms.”

      There could be an Elwood piece on the magazine cover, because c’mon, seriously? Out of all of the D&D artists, you miss Elwood? Jim Holloway, Erol Otis, Jeff Dee, David Trampier, Russ Nicholson, or even Will McLean. Those are the artists people cite when they want to grandstand their old school credentials and D20-shaped testicles. Larry Elmore inspires people to suck at role playing. Poll crappy gamers on who their favorite artist is, and they’ll tell you Clyde Caldwell. Nah, just kidding. It’ll be Larry Elwood.

      Of course, that you can tell your audience “it’s back and that is reason enough for them to seriously take a look at it” suggests that you have quite a cult of personality going on. That they already know the contents of the book and are just waiting for the go ahead from you is quite impressive. One word from you, and people are off that fence and dropping $50 on a book, while I can’t even convince my father-in-law that Obama is not a Kenyan Muslim who infiltrated the United States with the specific goal of taking away his guns. As someone who missed the poll though, I think the only problem is that I mistook a club newsletter for a general audience article. I’ll be sticking with “Hypercritical, Dry Rules Review, a Magazine for People With Embarrassingly Racist In-laws.”