This week on the Vintage RPG Podcast, we look at Gameplayers, Stephen Bowkett’s 1986 novel. At first blush, it seems to belong in that silly microgenre of panicky novels dedicated to wondering about how kids can cope with fantasy as powerful as tabletop RPGs (see Mazes & Monsters and Hobgoblin, both 1981). What we get, though, is a coming of age story in which a D&D-like game plays a prominent role in helping the grade-school protagonist deal with the increasing complexities of real life. And not in a corny After School Special way, believe it or not! The kids talk like kids, the game feels like a plausible game and the forays into fantasy are peppered with clever monsters and interesting encounters.

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