D&D General Extra Credits: The History of D&D Hasbro Refused to Learn

He doesn’t convincingly pour cold water on the icv2 survey. He notes problems with surveys that I’m sure icv2 is aware of. Their survey literally is their product that retailers depend upon as part of a constellation of data to do business. They’ve been at it a while now.

Looking at Chris Sims comments he concedes ICV2 numbers are probably correct but from his first statement to his last he seems to be saying “overall” sales and also fails to give us anything better than icv2 numbers.

It’s similar with the other comments.

Finally Lisa Stephens and her comments are not mentioned. Which I think was a simple oversight on Teos part.

It’s a great article and brings up some good stuff but ultimately unless and until they show up with more proof I’m not convinced.

I can be. It won’t be hard I promise you. I’d be thrilled to be proven wrong with nice crunchy proof.

Finally, I must concede that the ICV2 numbers ARE retail only. And the Amazon numbers are cumbersome. But it’s far more than the article has to offer.

Consider this though:

Lisa Stevens (not Stephens btw... that's Owen K.C.!) has a vested interest in pumping the Paizo side of the story. Chris Sims and Owen K.C. Stephens do not. To those on the outside objectively looking in, with no vested interest in the outcome of this discussion (like me), those two are far more reliable sources of information on this topic.

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I crit!
Here is the second message from a thread where Lisa’s comments were linked. That link is broken, I’ll see if I can find the original post it linked too.

But the interesting bit was the snapshot of the book rankings from Amazon.

To cite the ever controversial Amazon bestsellers list for gaming again Amazon.com Bestsellers: The most popular items in Fantasy Gaming :

Cutting out the non-RPG stuff, we get

1: Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Magic
2: Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Core Rulebook
3: Monster Vault: Threats to the Nentir Vale: A 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons Supplement
8: Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: The Pathfinder Bestiary
9: Dungeons & Dragons Fantasy Roleplaying Game: An Essential D&D Starter
11: Player's Handbook, Version 3.5 (Dungeon & Dragons Roleplaying Game: Core Rules)
12: Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook (4th Edition)

For physical book sales, Pathfinder does look to be on top.



I crit!
Here is a thread about a completely different survey of the industry Russ posted back in 2014.

According to Purple Pawn's annual survey (PDF), Pathfinder outsold D&D by a factor of over two times in 2013. Not surprising given that D&D wasn't in production, but it's a more specific number than iCv2's quarterly rankings tend to provide. "Pathfinder products outperformed Wizards of the Coasts’ Dungeons & Dragons products by 2.5 to 1 – even more than last year – while players wait for D&D 5th edition to be released later this year. Gaming accessories, such as card sleeves, and items consumed by gamers, such as soft drinks, continue to be strong dependable sellers. RPG and miniature products from smaller publishers were included in the bestselling product lines of some retailers."


I crit!
Here Russ quotes her.
And notes the Amazon ranking and ICV2.

Note, all of that could be wrong.

Lisa Stevens, CEO of Paizo, has made a couple of interesting posts recently on the Paizo messageboards.
Pathfinder has surpassed D&D in most of the markets that I check.

At this time in history, that [Pathfinder brand has a higher sales volume than the D&D brand] is what I have been told by people in the hobby distribution trade, the book trade, and other avenues that both games sell their products into. If you talk to the various retailers, it is a mixed bag, with one telling you one thing and another a different story. But when you talk to the folks who sell those retailers the product that they sell, then you get a clearer picture.

And I am just talking table-top RPG business. I am not talking about board games or card games or video games or whatnot. Just books and digital copies of those books for use in playing a table-top RPG.

This picture is somewhat reinforced by a quick glance at Amazon's bestseller list in fantasy gaming. Of course, it in no way includes WotC's D&D Insider subscriptions, which seems to be their preferred distribution model for content at present, and guesses at the number of subscribers seem to vary wildly.

This Free RPG Day report from ICv2 also seems to corroborate this:
In past years, the D&D offering has proved the strongest of the books offered, with customers snapping them all up. Last year, Pathfinder gained strength with the Pathfinder and D&D modules vanishing in about equal numbers. This year Pathfinder surpassed D&D. We ran out of the Pathfinder module three quarters of the way through the day but still had a few of the D&D sourcebook at the end. While still strong, D&D is not selling nearly as well as Pathfinder and this reflected in our customers' choices in the free offering. Of those customers not taking both, D&D was the book they chose to forgo. Unlike what happened with the two previous edition changes of D&D, this time, customers are voting with their dollars (and Free RPG Day choices) for Pathfinder.

In other Paizo news, they've also just released a couple of iPhone apps:


Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
Side-based rather than individual initiative is a problem in itself, even more so when each participant is committed to pre-declared actions.

The bolded shows two aspects that have unfortunately been lost over time (and may well have been commonly ignored even in the day): 1 - re-roll initiative each round, and 2 - dexterity doesn't matter. IMO both of these are vital components to any init. system.

As written, this also makes both Slow and Haste way too powerful; in that affecting one member of a group gives the whole group that (dis-)advantage.
Slow and Haste are both still group spells in 1E, like in OD&D and in Chainmail. 1 creature per caster level, within a forty foot by forty foot cube.

People tend to forget Basic. Technically in print 20 years, supported for 17.

But multiple versions of it so hard to say how long it really lasted.
1977-1994 for versions (Holmes through Stewart). The sales numbers Riggs produced are great, and very impressive, but it's kind of debatable whether we should really lump them all in as being the same game. I'd be inclined to say that "Classic D&D"/the Basic line should really be counted starting in 1981 (Moldvay/Cook), as Holmes Basic was never really intended to be its own game or game line. It was originally intended to be a clearer introduction to OD&D for new players, then re-purposed by Gygax to be an intro set which steered people to AD&D. Moldvay/Cook was the point at which TSR consciously wanted to delineate this as a separate game, both to support their royalties argument in the Arneson lawsuits, and for the purpose of having a simpler intro game to sell in toy shops and department stores like Sears and JC Penney. (and catalogues of same).
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Can we stop calling people liars please?
That's not what was said. If someone says a thing, but they have a strong bias/motivation to say that thing, you have to take that utterance with a grain of salt. It doesn't necessarily mean that she is lying. It means there is a reasonable possibility that her statement is untrue.

Here is a thread about a completely different survey of the industry Russ posted back in 2014.

I took a look at the survey in question. Lots of effort was put into it. Not much detail was put into how this chart was produced:

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