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RPGaDay 2017 – Day 5

05/08/2017

Which RPG cover best captures the spirit of the game?

Short Answer: Dungeons & Dragons (most of the time).

Long Answer: To be clear, I’m not saying Dungeons & Dragons covers are the most evocative. The game has been around long enough for their cover design to go through a few stages, some of which are better than the others. It’s more that DnD was one of the first.

An RPG’s cover is a bit like a movie poster. It has to capture your interest, make its contents stand out when placed on a shelf with competing products. Which style of cover works best differs from person to person. Personally, I like covers that show what players should expect from the game. Some covers strive for this, but fall short and end up looking like a superhero movie poster. This isn’t a bad thing, and there are times where it’s entirely appropriate, I just prefer to see people doing things.

And that’s why I’m going with DnD. The very first covers were rather simple, limited by the technology of the time. That all changed in the early 80’s with the Basic Rules cover seen above. A barbarian warrior about to fight a massive dragon guarding a golden horde. It might not seem like much these days, but that’s because later artists have built on this concept. Things even came full circle somewhat with DnD’s fifth edition Starter Set.

If you ask me, we have a lot to thank Dungeons & Dragons for. Not just for the global popularity of roleplaying games, but for amazing artwork that graces their covers.

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