Mizer, Nicholas J. 2014. “The Paladin Ethic and the Spirit of Dungeoneering.” The Journal of Popular Culture 47 (6): 1296–1313.D&D is a paradoxical mix of "free narrative imagination and complex rule-based limitations".
D&D follows the development curve of wargame designs. It becomes more and more rationalized and, when it's are too dull or unplayable, an innovation is introduced to re-enchant it. Wargame rules for Middle Ages were dull, too complex and not satisfying, so Arneson "re-infuse [them] with a play spirit".
D&D game designs reflect the values
- of America: imagination, flexibility, limitless possibilities
- of puritanism : character advancement, accumulation of XP and treasure (wealth and divine favor)
- of actuarial science (Gygax profession): scores, ratings, charts,...
- of modern standardization (ex: McDonaldization: efficiency, calculability, predictability, and control): "prepackaged fantasy characters and sending them into ready-to-explore adventures".