D&D General Darksun Adventure sales from Ben Riggs author of Slaying the Dragon

darjr

I crit!
Actual sales numbers for Dark Sun adventures!

As with so many products, we see an absolute collapse in sales numbers in the mid-1990s.

Later today, I’ll post a survey on what sales numbers I should go through next, Monster Manuals, BECMI numbers beyond Basic, or the Complete Fighter, Elves, etc. line of products.

MY BOOK IS OUT! If you find this interesting, have you considered ordering a copy? Link in the comments below!

Also below, the data used to generate the chart.

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Buy Bens book, I did and I am enjoying it. Slaying the Dragon - Macmillan
The other Dsrksun sales threads
 
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From wikipedia, the release schedule of Dark Sun adventures:


So 1994 saw the release of the last DS adventure, though the line allegedly continued stumbling along for a couple of years after that (first rule of Dark Sun Club is that you DON'T TALK about Mind Lords of the Last Sea...)

And from the numbers available, it looks like sales roughly correlate with the number of releases. Four adventures in 92 (I assume the 1991 sales in Riggs' numbers are an artefact of different accounting methods, Freedom was released right on the cusp of 91/92), 3 in 93, 1 in 94.

From this, I'd GUESS that each adventure sold in roughly equal numbers, and that the vast majority of people who were going to buy an adventure bought it as soon as it came out. I am inescapably reminded of the 'IT MUST BE MINE!' guy in Dork Tower. And the other thing is that, assuming all the 1991 sales were of the Freedom module because that was the only adventure released at that point, it looks like in pure numbers, adventures sold almost as many copies as the core boxed set - which I was not expecting.

Probably rubs in one of two things about D&D buyers. Either it's the DM who buys everything and shares the player material with the group, or else a significant amount of the customer base are just compulsive completionists who buy everything regardless of immediate applicability to the game (guilty as charged, your honour...).
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
It's odd to consider that the adventures were selling in much higher units than the campaign setting. I mean, I can understand buying adventures without having bought the setting; I've done that myself, but it wasn't the norm for me, and I never would have guessed that the numbers sold would be disparate to this degree.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
It's odd to consider that the adventures were selling in much higher units than the campaign setting. I mean, I can understand buying adventures without having bought the setting; I've done that myself, but it wasn't the norm for me, and I never would have guessed that the numbers sold would be disparate to this degree.
Unfortunately, a lot of players buy modules to know what to expect. It's the equivalent to buying a strategy guide for a video game.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
It's odd to consider that the adventures were selling in much higher units than the campaign setting. I mean, I can understand buying adventures without having bought the setting; I've done that myself, but it wasn't the norm for me, and I never would have guessed that the numbers sold would be disparate to this degree.

It's all adventures though not just individual ones.
 


grimslade

Krampus ate my d20s
That is a lot of modules sold for Dark Sun. Over 700,00 units of only 9 modules. I never bought a DS module. Who was buying modules that didn't buy the box sets?
 




Parmandur

Book-Friend
That is a lot of modules sold for Dark Sun. Over 700,00 units of only 9 modules. I never bought a DS module. Who was buying modules that didn't buy the box sets?
Based on thos numbers, probably nobody. Those numbers work out to less than everyone who bought the box sets bought each adventure, as one might expect.
 


Zardnaar

Legend
No, actually it's closer to an average of 7, because Dark Sun was just noeth of 100,00 in box set lifetime sales. Which is less than 9 for 100% crossover, but still a rather solid attach rate.

Derp couldn't remember the lifetime sales.

But yeah that seems to be a decent attach rate. Darksun fans tend to be fanatics.

My favorite setting;)
 
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Parmandur

Book-Friend
Deep couldn't remember the lifetime sales.

But yeah that seems to be a decent attach rate. Darksun fans tend to be fanatics.

My favorite setting;)
It shows that maybe there was a flaw in Ryan Dancey's analysis of AD&D sales, dismissing Adventures perhaps too much.
 


teitan

Legend
Possibly it was the cost to produce the adventures Vs the buy in cost that Dancey was analyzing rather than the raw sales numbers. Dark Sun adventures were special format, spiral bound adventures so those higher sales were offset with higher production value that were actual losses as opposed to profits with a lower cost purchase price for the customer. When a product is $7 to produce, they sale it to the distributor for 7.25 because the two departments aren’t talking and the distribution model is a returns based sales mode where the end seller can return unsold product the smaller, small profit margins can be eroded extremely quickly. That awesome $10 flip book adventure module that could have been a high profit, low production cost items (saddle stickers loose cover) becomes a liability with minimal profit impact.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Possibly it was the cost to produce the adventures Vs the buy in cost that Dancey was analyzing rather than the raw sales numbers. Dark Sun adventures were special format, spiral bound adventures so those higher sales were offset with higher production value that were actual losses as opposed to profits with a lower cost purchase price for the customer. When a product is $7 to produce, they sale it to the distributor for 7.25 because the two departments aren’t talking and the distribution model is a returns based sales mode where the end seller can return unsold product the smaller, small profit margins can be eroded extremely quickly. That awesome $10 flip book adventure module that could have been a high profit, low production cost items (saddle stickers loose cover) becomes a liability with minimal profit impact.

That and some of those boxed sets were being sold for a loss espicially the more lavish ones eg Planescape.

And we don't know the profit margins on the actual adventures either. Looks like big numbers to us but if they were also sold at a loss.......

Think Dancey was saying a few adventures also sold under 10k or a few thousand. We may not be looking at typical adventures sold here.

2E adventures were also generally terrible so there's also that factor. Maybe adventures didn't sell because they were garbage.
 
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