About Unearthed Arcana


Hi my name is George,

Unearthed Arcana is a blog I made to write about playing and designing games.   When I was a kid, I used to hang out at NDG Paperback on Sherbrooke street.  That’s where I got all of my AD&D books, including, one glorious day, a copy of Unearthed Arcana.   I thought I had a handle on a game I loved to think about (and occasionally play), but then here was this compendium of new rules, with new ways to play. 

I had spent a few years pouring over the other books, but here was something unexpected, mysterious and exciting, something that would expand the universe I already knew into even greater realms, (realms including that of the Thief-Acrobat – my preferred class). Also: it has a really cool looking wizard/alchemist on the cover! (see above)

On the other hand: Unearthed Arcana was a book designed not so much to deepen the game, but as a cash-grab for financially challenged TSR*.  The new rules were unbalanced and game-breaking, they had to publish corrections in Dragon magazine, and yet they didn’t update later editions of the book with these changes.  When second edition came out, most of these new rules were abandoned.

That’s Unearthed Arcana from 2 vantage points.  As a source of mystery, excitement and joy for a young kid, and as an imbalanced game-breaking money maker from a hall of fame game designer. 

What I hope to do with this blog is to look at video games from somewhere in between those two perspectives, marrying the pure pleasure of play with the more calculated and critical eye of a designer. Most video games are art used by businesses to make money, that’s just the way it is. Knowing that is half the battle.

If anything I hope that this blog can be a jump off point for interesting discussions, or at least corollaries to those begun elsewhere.  At worst this will be a place to collect some of my thoughts, and work on my writing.


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