DMs Guild Review – The Art of War for D&D Players

A comprehensive rules guide and reference for D&D players.

A review copy of “The Art of War for D&D Players” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using affiliate links for shopping and pledging via Patreon.

Designed by: M. T. Black

The Art of War is one of those classic books that everyone knows about but few have actually read (me included!). The Art of War for D&D Players is organized similarly to the original text on warfare and battlefield management, including quotes from Sun Tzu, providing a highlight reel of rules and information on rule, combat tactics, and recommended player builds.

The Art of War for D&D Players includes over 60 pages in 13 chapters. All of this information is already found in the Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide, and Xanathar’s Guide to Everything.

On the one hand it’s of limited use to D&D veterans. But on the other it’s very well written, taking many rules and concepts and breaking them down into easily digestible formats, while also serving as useful reminders and references for rules and concepts that are often overlooked, such as dropping prone in a ranged battle, or using the help action to grant advantage to teammates.

Primarily this is a solid guide for newcomers to the hobby who are just starting to get their feet wet and learning all they can about D&D, particularly if they lack a broader background with video game RPGs. Many of the chapters cover things like organizing classes into roles (tank, support, etc), explaining proper positioning with frontline and backline units (and how to exploit the enemy positioning), and how to maximize your turn efficiency based on D&D 5e’s action economy.

For gaming veterans much of this is fairly obvious. Yet none of it feels condescending or tiresome thanks to the excellent writing style. The book is presented in a casual, first-person tone as if a friend were excitedly, and knowledgeably, talking about D&D. It reads incredibly fast and easy, which for a rulebook is an amazing accomplishment.

dms guild review

The most useful elements for me were the build guides, because I always love theorycrafting. Even if striving to build unique, less-than-optimal characters, most people still try to make the best version of that PC they can. The class builds are brief but useful chapter on recommended races, backgrounds, and feats, as well as multi-class and subclass options.

The chapter on spells was disappointing, however. I was hoping for a deeper dive into which spells were core to certain classes, which were recommended, and which to avoid, and more importantly why. Instead we get a list of recommended spells for each class, without any explanation or detail.

As much as I enjoyed reading through The Art of War for D&D Players, it’s overall usefulness is limited. Most of the content can be gained from the aforementioned published rulebooks, or from quick web searches. It serves as a fantastic rules reminder and reference guide, not just for newbies but for veterans as well, but you won’t find anything new here.

Pros:

  • Highlights tactical aspects of combat that are often overlooked.
  • Solid Beginner Class Guides with recommended feats and multi-classes.
  • Fun use of Sun Tzu quotes in every chapter.
  • Casual, easy-to-read style.

Cons:

  • No new rules or player options.
  • The spell chapter lists recommended spells without any explanations.

The Verdict: The ARt of War for D&D Players provides deeper, but easy-to-read explanations of the advanced rules, concepts, and nuances from the Player’s Handbook.

A review copy of “The Art of War for D&D Players” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using affiliate links for shopping and pledging via Patreon.

Author: roguewatson

Freelance Writer

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