This was created as a Kickstarter stretch goal, and while good, is smaller and much more limited than the main four books.

The first part is a collection of four essays done as a result of the Kickstarter that funded the publication of the main series. One is on women in the industry, and starts off reasonably interesting, but falls into a wall of names for the end, which is a common problem with things like that. The other three are about different fan groups that had an influence on the industry. The last of these is somewhat autobiographical, as its the group Appelcline was (and is) part of, while one is a group that had an impact on the tournament scene and helped the popularity of the Hero System, and the first one is about the group that generated the thief class in D&D.

And all of them do a lot to shore up weaknesses in coverage of main volumes. Fan communities have had some profound effects on the history of RPGs, but much of that gets lost in the focus on companies, so that fans that started companies become the only glimpse into that world we get. In addition, the look at women in the RPG industry is the only place where Appelcline tries to take a look at overall trends, instead of focusing on what was going on in a particular place. With a few more chapters like these (perhaps some that at least summarize what has happened in non-English speaking countries), the entire work will be much more complete.

The last part of the book is a reprint of a series of yearly ‘year in review’ essays that Appelcline has been writing since 2008. Since it’s the entire industry, a year at a time, it has a different perspective than the main text, and since this volume came slightly later, it includes the 2014 essay. There’s also some nice asides included where he comments on his own comments.

This is about a quarter of the size of the main volumes, and not as packed with info, due to the format, but still well worth a read.