I was as surprised as anyone when Wizards of the Coast decided to release reprints of their old editions. It is a smart move, and one I’m glad to see them make, but personally the really interesting thing was the deluxe reprints of their Advanced Dungeons and Dragons First Edition books. Nice paper, thick covers, ribbon bookmarks, the works. I’ve heard people complain that the shading is too dark, but to me it looks crisp, and captures some of the fainter lines that might otherwise be overlooked. The fact that they donate a portion of the profits to the Gary Gygax Memorial Fund is more than icing on the cake; it is credit where credit is due (though it would be nice to have a Dave Arneson memorial, too; maybe if they reprint the non-advanced D&D?). I decided the best thing to do with these books is to look at them both in historical context…and in comparison to what follows. So I re-read them with a critical eye and was happy to find that they have a lot of great things to recommend them, and plenty of opportunities to talk about the evolution of game design.