FORMAT: HARDCOVER | RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Christmas annuals are something of a tradition. The idea behind them is that you have a single, brilliant book full to the brim with articles relating to one thing. Examples include popular TV shows, comic book characters, video games or football team. Dungeons and Dragons is yet again a big thing these days, popular across all ages. So of course, it’s gotten its own annual for 2021.
Crammed into just over 90 pages, this hardcover book is stuffed with fantasy artwork and all sorts of fun yet simple puzzles. We’re talking word-searches, spot-the-difference and a quiz, rather than anything you’d find whilst exploring The Temple of Elemental Evil or White Plume Mountain. The annual also covers the basics and also gives some general advice onto how to play the game, but it’s pretty light stuff.
This is not a gaming compendium style annual; anyone looking for a collection of articles and features relating to D&D from over the past year or so should really look at the franchise’s Guide To Everything series of books instead. The Dungeons and Dragons Annual 2021 is meant to be a celebration of the game, rather than an addition to it. This is a book with lots of pictures, illustrated reminders of how the game is played, maps and of course a maze to figure out. It’s even got a ‘poster’ of a Snowy Owl Bear, though you’d have to break the book to get it on your wall. Though it’s clearly aimed at younger minds, adults will get a nerdy thrill out of this as well.
Annuals are such an important part of childhood memories and nostalgia culture that ‘retro annuals’ exist, and though this book is very much centered around modern D&D, we’d imagine older gamers would have found this amazing if it existed during their childhood. One of the pieces we found interesting was about streamers and podcasters; in additions to shows like Critical Role and Dragon Talk, the likes of Red Moon Roleplaying, Oxventure, High Rollers and Questing Time also get a preview and a bit of explanation. This makes the Annual a snapshot of sorts, showing us the state of the hobby in 2020 to 2021. This is a fun book and a great gift for the Tiefling Barbarian in your life.