D&D General All Basic, B/X and BECMI and Rules Cyclopedia set sales, from Ben Riggs.

darjr

I crit!
I wanted to see Holmes and the other sets. I’ll add the expert info here when he posts it.

One thing I didn’t know is that the Rule Books for Basic and Expert from the Moldvay sets were sold separately. I would have gotten them if I had known.

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Behold! Sales of the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set in all its various iterations!

One thing to note on this graph is that from 1984 through 1990, TSR lumped all Basic sales together in their books, so there is only a combined number for those years.

Later today or tomorrow, I will release data for the Expert Set.

Interested? Pick up my book on TSR history, Slaying the Dragon: A Secret History of Dungeons & Dragons. Link below!

If you want to see the actual data used to generate this graph, there is also a link below!


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Expert!

Behold! Sales of the Dungeons & Dragons Expert Set in all its various iterations!

One thing to note on this graph is that from 1984 through 1989, TSR lumped all Expert sales together in their books, so there is only a combined number for those years.

Later today or Monday, I will release data for the Companion, Master, Immortal, and Rules Cyclopedia.

Find me interesting? Pick up my book on TSR history, Slaying the Dragon: A Secret History of Dungeons & Dragons. Link below!

If you want to see the actual data used to generate this graph, there is also a link below!

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There was a time I could have bought ten RCs for ten bucks. The. The OSR took off at the release of 4e. Now I only own it in PDF.

Behold! Sales of the D&D Companion, Master, & Immortal boxed sets from 1984 to 1991!

The chart contains one very unusual feature. In 1987, sales of the Companion boxed set surged, selling more copies in its fourth year of release than it did any other year. A product selling more copies after its first year of release is a feat I believe unequaled in post-1984 TSR history!

Next up is perhaps the single best rulebook released in the history of D&D, the Rules Cyclopedia! After that, we’ll take a look at total BECMI sales by year, and then do a final tally of D&D vs. AD&D sales, including all D&D boxed sets and the Cyclopedia, and all monster products for AD&D.


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Speaking of the Rules Cyclopedia!

Behold! Sales of the D&D Rules Cyclopedia!

The Rules Cyclopedia may be the best bang for the buck single volume ever produced for the game. Consolidating the rules from the D&D boxed sets, it contains all the rules needed to play the game, character creation, monsters, and magic items!

Next we’ll take a look at total BECMI sales by year, and then do a final tally of D&D vs. AD&D sales, including all D&D boxed sets and the Cyclopedia, and all monster products for AD&D.

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Combined graph of all sales of basic.

Behold! Total sales of D&D boxed sets 1979-1997! Data includes Basic, Expert, Companion, Master, Immortal & Rules Cyclopedia!

Next up, a final tally of D&D vs. AD&D sales, including all D&D boxed sets and the Cyclopedia, and all monster products for AD&D.


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I post a link to his book as a courtesy for all these numbers and such. Slaying the Dragon - Macmillan

Link to data:
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darjr

I crit!
Zenopus Archives answered me about the basic set stand-alone books.

He says Holmes has a stand alone book too!
 


overgeeked

B/X Known World
If these numbers are accurate, it's wild that Moldvay Basic outsold everything else, by a lot.

About 1.258 million Moldvay Basic sales vs 0.591 million Holmes Basic vs 0.455 million Mentzer Basic vs 0.645 million combined Basic sales.

Even giving all the combined Basic sales to Mentzer, Moldvay still outsold that number, 1.258 million vs 1.1 million. No wonder B/X is the OSR system of choice to emulate. All the nostalgia.
 

darjr

I crit!
If these numbers are accurate, it's wild that Moldvay Basic outsold everything else, by a lot.

About 1.258 million Moldvay Basic sales vs 0.591 Holmes Basic vs 0.455 million Mentzer Basic or 0.645 million combined Basic sales.

Even giving all the combined Basic sales to Mentzer, Moldvay still outsold that number, 1.258 million vs 1.1 million. No wonder B/X is the OSR system of choice to emulate. All the nostalgia.
Yea. I certainly have a ton. Still I think it’s the best of them. That mix of really weird but concise rules.

I do think the Red Box Mentzer was great for the solo game in it but it never seemed the same.
 


Nikosandros

Golden Procrastinator
Yea. I certainly have a ton. Still I think it’s the best of them. That mix of really weird but concise rules.

I do think the Red Box Mentzer was great for the solo game in it but it never seemed the same.
I have strong nostalgia for the Mentzer Red Box because that's what I started with. I think that is a great set for teaching yourself the game, however - IMO - B/X is a clearer and more compact iteration of the rules and it is much better as a reference once you know how to play.
 


Parmandur

Book-Friend
If these numbers are accurate, it's wild that Moldvay Basic outsold everything else, by a lot.

About 1.258 million Moldvay Basic sales vs 0.591 million Holmes Basic vs 0.455 million Mentzer Basic vs 0.645 million combined Basic sales.

Even giving all the combined Basic sales to Mentzer, Moldvay still outsold that number, 1.258 million vs 1.1 million. No wonder B/X is the OSR system of choice to emulate. All the nostalgia.
I wonder if thst played a part in the 1984 collapse: an edition change that split the fanbase?
 


overgeeked

B/X Known World
I wonder if thst played a part in the 1984 collapse: an edition change that split the fanbase?
It certainly might have been a factor, but I doubt sales would have fallen off a cliff like they did if that's all it was. The decline is too sudden and too drastic. The combined figures would have stayed strong as the split fanbase would have kept buying but the sales numbers are combined. There were big stories in the Satanic Panic in '84. Another thing to look at is the economy and other games or entertainment options coming along in '84.

For example, video games. In 1983:

"In the United States, home video game sales are worth $2 billion (equivalent to $5.44 billion adjusted for inflation)."

But in 1984:

"In the United States, home video game sales fall to $800 million ($2.1 billion adjusted for inflation)."
 
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Parmandur

Book-Friend
It certainly might have been a factor, but I doubt sales would have fallen off a cliff like they did if that's all it was. The decline is too sudden and too drastic. The combined figures would have stayed strong as the split fanbase would have kept buying but the sales numbers are combined. There were big stories in the Satanic Panic in '84. Another thing to look at is the economy and other games or entertainment options coming along in '84.

For example, video games. In 1983:

"In the United States, home video game sales are worth $2 billion (equivalent to $5.44 billion adjusted for inflation)."

But in 1984:

"In the United States, home video game sales fall to $800 million ($2.1 billion adjusted for inflation)."
The 1983 video game collapse was pretty dramatic, that's for sure.
 






Parmandur

Book-Friend
Same with D&D, apparently. I wonder what happened in 83-84 to cause that.
Correlation is not causation, to be fair: the video game collapse is widely believed to have been caused by consumers losing confidence in Atari after a string of highly priced yet terrible games. Pac-Man for the Atari 2600, which sucked, cost about $100 when adjusted for inflation.
 



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