Rob Heinsoo, the lead designer on the new edition of Dungeons & Dragons, began his new blog with an amazing story about how he stopped being colorblind: Until 2006 I was colorblind. Show me a sunset and I saw shades of green. Hand me a pink shirt and I was sure it was grey. Before my first date with Lisa, my future wife, I gave her my address and described my house as the gray house on the corner. The only gray house on a corner anywhere in the neighborhood belonged to the local drug dealers, which she realized ... read more

Last Friday, Wizards of the Coast published the fourth edition of Dungeons & Dragons, the first major release of the game in eight years. During the development of the game, the company has been so generous with confidential information that it got almost 1,000 people locked under non-disclosure agreements. The company has followed this up with a friendly warning that in spite of the game's release, these people are bound until the end of time by the agreement: Q: Can I talk about my playtest experiences, or ... read more

While reading roleplaying game designer Chris Pramas' blog this morning, I discovered that LiveJournal can display an "adult content notice" when one of its bloggers is talkin' dirty: In this case, Pramas was discussing a fight that took place at his bus stop between a drunk and a middle-aged Native American with a walker. This paragraph contains a gerund that could potentially be unsuitable to minors: As we were finding seats, somehow the tide turned. Walker guy had gotten his arms around the drunk and body ... read more

I've read a lot of tributes to Gary Gygax, the late Dungeons & Dragons cocreator who inspired me to spend my teen years with 20-sided dice, graph paper and painted metal half-orc prestidigitators. Although I mock myself as a former dungeon master -- and not the cool kind -- I disliked Wired editor Adam Rogers' tribute to Gygax in today's New York Times. Decades after his own adolescence, Rogers still feels defensive about playing D&D: Even in the heyday of Dungeons & Dragons, when his company was selling ... read more

While doing some fact-checking for Pulp Guns, a set of pulp-novel sourcebooks for the GURPS roleplaying game, I found the FBI file on Giuseppe Zangara's failed attempt to assassinate Franklin Delano Roosevelt. After Roosevelt spoke at a Miami park on Feb. 15, 1933, Zangara fired several shots with a cheap .32-caliber pistol as he was perched on a wobbly bench. He missed the president-elect but hit others, including Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak, who died from his wounds 19 days later. Zangara, a 32-year-old Italian ... read more

Roadside America, a site devoted to the cheesiest tourist attractions in the country, reports the sad news that the International Checker Hall of Fame in Petal, Miss., was destroyed by fire 10 days ago: On September 29, 2007, a still-unexplained fire started in the tower and quickly engulfed the rest of the Hall. Everything: the giant checkerboards, the library, the statue, was destroyed. "What has been lost is one of the finest checkers collections the world has ever known," said Don Deweber, director of the ... read more

The National Arbitration Forum just released its decision in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. v. World Readable c/o R.L. Cadenhead, the domain-name dispute in which the film studio tried to take Wargames.Com away from me because it owns a trademark related to the 1983 film WarGames and the upcoming sequel WarGames 2: The Dead Code. A three-member panel of arbitrators denied MGM's claim on the grounds that I established my legitimate interest in selling wargames at the domain: The picture that emerges from this ... read more