Shelly Mazzanoble – Confessions of a Part-Time Sorceress
Length: 182 pages
Genre: Non-Fiction, Humor
Started: 12 July 2010
Finished: 13 July 2010
Where did it come from? Handed to me by one of my friends who is constantly telling me how much I’d enjoy gaming. (Hi John!)
Why do I have it? See above.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 01 April 2010. (Actually somewhat before that, but April was when I realized that he was giving me the book rather than loaning me the book, and thus when it “officially” joined the pile.)
I’m not a gamer,
but if I were, I’d be a
sweet half-elf ranger.
Summary: Shelly Mazzanoble’s only knowledge of the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons were the pervasive stereotypes: D&D is only played by overweight, pimply, Cheeto-dust-encrusted adolescent boys that live in their mother’s basements. So imagine her surprise when she was invited to play by a co-worker… and her shock when she found herself enjoying it. In this book, Shelly relives her fledgling days as a gamer as a means of introducing newcomers to the basics of D&D: everything from creating a character, supplying your character with weapons and magic, going on adventures, and engaging in battles with the baddies.
Review: I am, without question, a nerd. (Or a geek; I’m not going to argue the distinction here.) I like nerdy things. I hang out with other nerdy people, and we spend our time doing nerdy things and making nerdy jokes. However, one of the gaping holes in my nerd-dom is role-playing games. I have been aware of their existence at least since high school, but never in all of that time have I gotten into an RPG… nor have I even been tempted to do so, despite the fact that many of my friends are avid gamers. And, while Mazzanoble’s book didn’t immediately make me run out to buy my own set of dice, I am now at least entertaining the notion of joining a game.
Which is pretty impressive, given that I’m about as far from the target audience of this book as I think you can be and still have two X chromosomes. While I am without question a nerd, I am also without question NOT a girly-girl. I dislike shopping (unless it’s for books), my daily makeup routine consists of Chapstick, and I wouldn’t be able to identify a pair of Jimmy Choos if one of them kicked me in the face. So, all of Mazzanoble’s efforts to convince girly-girls that D&D is really all about teamwork and gossip and shopping was wasted effort, and a lot of her jokes really fell flat with me. (Also, her character Astrid struck me as kind of obnoxious, and I’m a little surprised only one of her fellow players was tempted to abandon her in a dungeon somewhere.)
On the other hand, the descriptions of her gaming group’s sessions seemed like a lot of fun, and something I could see myself participating in. Since I’ve never actually played, I can’t say how effective or complete it is as a guide to D&D, but now I at least have a basic sense of the way the game is structured and played. All in all, it was a quick and light read, and funny when it wasn’t trying too hard. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: I think I would recommend this most for experienced gamers… to give to women they want to introduce to gaming.
Other Reviews: Experiments in Reading
Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.
First Line: Let me just lay it out here: I am a girly girl.
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