Welcome to Dragon Talk

Inspiring Conversations about Dungeons & Dragons and the People Who Love to Play It

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Pub Date Dec 05 2022 | Archive Date Dec 05 2022
University of Iowa Press | University Of Iowa Press

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If it seems like everyone you know is playing Dungeons & Dragons, it’s because they are! After nearly five decades, the iconic roleplaying game is more popular than ever. Famous Hollywood actors and directors, therapists, educators, politicians, kids, parents, and grandparents all count themselves as fans. In Welcome to Dragon Talk, hosts of the official D&D podcast Shelly Mazzanoble and Greg Tito and their surprising guests show how this beloved pastime has amassed a diverse, tight-knit following of players who defy stereotypes. 

Shelly and Greg recount some of their most inspiring interviews and illuminate how their guests use the core tenets of the game in everyday life. An A-list actor defends D&D by baring his soul (and his muscles) on social media. A teacher in a disadvantaged district in Houston creates a D&D club that motivates students to want to read and think analytically. A writer and live-streamer demonstrates how D&D–inspired communication breaks barriers and empowers people of color. Readers will see why Dungeons & Dragons has remained such a pop culture phenomenon and how it has given this disparate and growing community the inspiration to flourish and spread some in-game magic into the real world.



If it seems like everyone you know is playing Dungeons & Dragons, it’s because they are! After nearly five decades, the iconic roleplaying game is more popular than ever. Famous...

Advance Praise

“Shelly and Greg are the Regis and Kathie Lee of Dungeons & Dragons (or Kelly and Ryan, for the younger generation). They’ve been hard at work collecting the backstories of all the game’s biggest names from long before its modern renaissance, and this book is a fun and heartfelt peek behind the curtain at the game’s current champions and eccentric personalities.”—Joe Manganiello, actor, writer, producer, D&D collaborator, disciple of Tiamat

“From education to interpersonal growth to creating lasting friendships and more, the many uplifting values of D&D are recounted wonderfully by Shelly and Greg, who have grown with the game and with their many Dragon Talk interviews. This is a truly enjoyable, uplifting, and educational read . . . just like playing D&D!”—R. A. Salvatore, author, Glacier’s Edge

“Greg and Shelly know that a game is only as good as its gamers. Through Dragon Talk they've been able to boost voices and raise awareness on how creative and inventive the Dungeons & Dragons community can be. Always engaging and entertaining, Dragon Talk is at the forefront of what D&D is right now and hopefully will be far into the future, and Welcome to Dragon Talk is a gladly received addition.”—Jim Zub, comic writer, Avengers, Conan the Barbarian, Dungeons & Dragons

“Shelly and Greg are the Regis and Kathie Lee of Dungeons & Dragons (or Kelly and Ryan, for the younger generation). They’ve been hard at work collecting the backstories of all the game’s biggest...

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ISBN 9781609388591
PRICE $19.95 (USD)

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Average rating from 13 members

Featured Reviews

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I'm not familiar with the podcast Dragon Talk but was interested in learning more.

This book talks about the history of D&D and how it's evolved to the current state of D&D in pop culture and the game its self. It also talks about the history of the podcast and then each chapter is an interview or anecdote about a person who has been on the show. I imagine for fans a lot of this information may be duplicative, but it's an interesting read diving into the variety of people that play D&D and what it means to them.

Overall a nice find!

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Welcome to Dragon Talk will be out on December 5, 2022. University of Iowa Press provided me an early galley for review.

I have been a Dungeons and Dragons player since 1982. So, I am always eager to read books that talk about one of my favorite tabletop roleplaying games. I'm also into watching videos about the game (even watching folks play on streams for hours on end) and even to listen to podcasts about the game. So, this book was right in my wheelhouse.

Even so, I learned a number things I did not know before - thanks to Shelly and Greg's experiences in the industry. I found their narrative approach to be open, friendly and approachable - as I have found with some episodes I have sampled. That made this a fast and fun read for me. They've been doing their podcast for nearly 400 episodes at this point (mostly weekly) so they've had a wide array of guests and topics covered over the years. This book highlights some of those and invites further exploration into their back catalog.

This is a fantastic book that shows the benefits and the positives that can come out of tabletop roleplaying games like Dungeons and Dragons.

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As hosts of the Dragon Talk podcast, Greg and Shelly have a broader window into who makes up the D&D community than perhaps anyone else. Welcome to Dragon Talk collects thoughts from and about the people who make D&D such a wonderful game and who make the community so special into a delightful, heartwarming, and insightful book. A wonderful read both for long-time D&D players and for people curious about what makes D&D such a beloved hobby.

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I don't listen to the podcast -- or haven't yet! -- so I'm not necessarily the target audience of this book, which essentially breaks down what D&D is initially and then goes into some of the cool experiences around and behind interviewing various of the podcast guests. I found it very accessible and it was written in a fun and friendly way. It does feel a little as if it is sort of convincing people to delve deeper into the podcast (as many of the books written by people known for their youtube shows or podcasts often are!). But yeah -- fun little bit of coverage on the history of the guests of the show, who obviously are all important to D&D in some way, along with what their unique perspective provided to D&D as a whole!

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Shelly Mazzanoble and Greg Tito are hosts of the podcast Dragon Talk from Wizards on the Coast. Welcome to Dragon Talk is a compilation of Shelly and Greg talking about the podcast, why they think the podcast is important and providing highlights from various guest interviews that showcase those reasons. If you are interested in Dungeons and Dragons and/or the people involved or are thinking about listening./watching the podcast, this is a book for you. What comes across is the fun that they have doing the podcast and how much fun they think D&D in all its forms is. Plus the authors do not ramble and are entertaining.

Thanks Netgalley for the chance to read this book.

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Welcome to Dragon Talk is an engaging and very interesting set of conversations based on the Dragon Talk Podcast by Shelly Mazzanoble and Greg Tito. Released 5th Dec 2022 by the University of Iowa Press, it's 198 pages and is available in paperback and ebook formats. 

The chapters are arranged thematically by subjects and cover a very wide range of topics: what D&D and tabletop RPGs *are* how they are valuable, who plays them (and why), and a lovely selection of interviews and viewpoints from a variety of experts, therapists, researchers, and gamers on gaming who have all entered the orbit of the Dragon Talk podcast or its co-hosts. 

Well written and accessible, it's full of stories about the people from the gaming community. It's not rigorous, even the experts and research-adjunct experts who have featured on the show weren't annotated and there wasn't a bibliography or reference list, no notations, and no index, at least in the advance copy provided for review purposes. That being said, it is engaging with glimmers of profundity. I was there at D&D's nascence and played for a very long time. It's not an exaggeration to say that D&D very much helped shape the person I am. This was a nostalgic and fun read for me.

Four stars. Recommended for fans of the podcast as well as for gamers. It would be a good choice for public library acquisition, gift giving, and home library use.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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I haven’t listened to Dragon Talk the podcast, but after this I’m definitely going to start. As a DnD lover, it’s really wonderful to hear about all of the creative ways to pull people into the game and the ways they use it to teach such a wide array of concepts.

You can tell how much Shelly and Greg love the game and their jobs and the people they talk to. This is a great read for any DnD fan.

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I didn't know about the podcast but i am interested in playing DnD but it is hard to find a group to play with. So I wanted to read a book about it and learn more. It was a nice dive into the "world" and for sure made me want to play it even more.

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This was a brilliant review of the history of Dungeons and Dragons. The one concern I have is that the ebook edition doean't flow well. The sidebars appear inline so you'll get something like.

Sentence one. Sentence two. Sentence side thought about an entirely different topic for about a half page three. I ended up picking up a copy in print and I liked that much better.

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Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for giving me access to the free advanced digital copy of this book.

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