Dungeon Alphabet arrived the day before yesterday but, because of a lack of communication on the part of UPS and our apartment managers, I didn't find out about it until late that night when I tracked the UPS shipment. Anyhow, after bribing my wife I was able to get her to swing it by my workplace at lunch so I could start looking it over yesterday. It's amazing.
The book is pretty straight forward and at its core a book of random charts and tables that can be used in games or in planning adventures. It might seem like a lightweight product based on that alone. What makes this book a "must have", at least in my opinion, is the attention to detail, the love put into the book and the amount of content they managed to squeeze into so few pages.When I first read about the book, I did not expect that it would have so much detail in it. I expected a book that would contain a pretty direct A-Z of traditional dungeon elements with each entry being a simple two page affair or some such. I am happy to be wrong.
Each topic is given the space due to it and the art is used lavishly and effectively throughout the book. Each letter receives its own thematic art associated with whatever subject that letter has been assigned to. There are no canned frameworks into which the content is put. I should also mention that the subject matter is given ample space for either multiple tables and/or flavor text. Some of the charts have more than a single column on them making them multiple charts in one. The creators of this book worked hard to give each bit its due.
One last thing to mention is the creativity in which the subject matter has been approached. The natural tendency when doing a project like this would seem to be to make everything as directly applicable as possible. Dungeon Alphabet does that but in a way that uses whimsy and wild creativity to fit the topics to the letters of the alphabet. Who would have thought of "Yellow" as an obvious pick for a dungeon element beginning with "Y"?
This book is just fun, useful and, dare I say it, classy. Looking through it I find a book that I can make use of and that brings back misty memories of a time when gaming was new, ever piece of art was something I hadn't seen before and when I didn't think I had it all figured out. This is more than a gaming book; it's a wayback machine and happily so. I'd have gladly paid twice what I did, but at a price of $10 you are nuts to pass it up.