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Confessions of a Part-time Sorceress: A Girl's Guide to the D&D Game by Shelly Mazzanoble
Review by Gayle Surrette
Wizards of the Coast Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780786947263
Date: 18 September 2007 List Price $12.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

This is a book that has long been needed and Shelly Mazzanoble has finally put one together for all the women out there who didn't know or care about playing Dungeons and Dragons. Confessions of a Part-Time Sorceress starts with presenting the stereotypical view of D&D and then proceeds to show just how wrong they are. You don't need to be a math whiz, speak Klingon, live in your mother's basement, have greasy hair, or fail to practice proper hygiene to participate. In fact, D&D seems to be a game that women can and often do excel in during play.

I don't know when I laughed so much while reading an essentially non-fiction book. Confessions… brought back all my memories of being the only girl in a D&D campaign, my first one, and ending up the last player standing and having to haul the rest of the party to the nearest town for healing and resurrection. In fact, in most campaigns, I was the one hauling the party members out of the dungeon and off to being healed. Come to think of it, if my alignment had allowed it I could have left them all and been a very rich fictional character. I never played with miniatures but I certainly had strong feelings about protecting my character and her friends.

D&D is about teamwork, working together for the solution of the problem or the righting of the wrong. Women are very good at these kinds of games where there are no winners and losers, but players all working to achieve a common goal. It's storytelling and creativity at its base and that's an area where women shine -- we daydream our lives from our teens to our dotage. It's our way of trying the various decision tree branches and probably why we have so many problems picking one answer when all seem equally valid.

None the less, even though I'm not a 'girly girl', I enjoyed the book. Confession of a Part-Time Sorceress gives you a chance to see how a 'girly girl' managed to play D&D and not only survive but enjoy it enough to want to share it with her friends -- all while maintaining her femininity. It also gives the reader a basic grounding in the rules of the game. The book can't take the place of the Player's Handbook if you decide to join a group, but it does give you the quick and easy understanding of what is involved and what you need to look up and learn as you play.

So, if you've wondered what all the fuss is about -- this is a great place to find out. But be prepared to laugh 'til you cry in some places. If you are a female and play D&D, do yourself a favor and read Confessions... it will probably bring back a lot of memories and give you some ideas on how to get your female friends to join in the fun. If you're a guy and you've been trying to get a female you know interested in joining a game, give her this book. It just might be the fun introduction to the game that is required to convince her to give it a go -- and besides it would make a great holiday gift.

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