D&D General TSR D&D sales numbers compiled by Benjamin Riggs

D&D historian Ben Riggs--author of the upcoming Slaying the Dragon, which is a history of TSR-era (not that TSR, the real one) D&D--compiled some sales figures of AD&D 1st Edition's Player's Handbook and Dungeon Master's Guide from 1979-1990.

Behold! Some actual D&D sales numbers!

While working on my book #SlayingtheDragon I got a ton of primary source documents containing sales data for D&D. With the book coming out, I've been looking for a way to get that data out into the wide world. I'm going to start making charts, and simply posting them. If people want the raw data, I can post that too, but obviously, charts are prettier.

I'm starting with AD&D 1st ed Players Handbook and Dungeon Masters Guide. You'll notice a crash in the mid-80s, and then the sales peter out with the release of 2nd edition.

The sales point to a fact that I believe hasn't been given enough play in our hobby. Namely, TSR was in a tight spot when Lorraine Williams took over the company from Gary Gygax. If it weren't for Lorraine, D&D may have died in the mid-80s.

Just an idea for your consideration...

Oh, and if you haven't preordered my book on D&D history yet, I'll put a link in the comments.

B4BD1DF6-1CCC-4A2E-BC44-43FE5335CE8B.jpeg


Go get his book! It’s going to be interesting!

 
Last edited by a moderator:

log in or register to remove this ad


log in or register to remove this ad

I’m not a fan of the all the 2E black books’ art, but I loved some of those pieces. And the expanded text. And the chapter-head wood-carving border piece is great. And the Monstrous Compendium with actually bound pages…yeah, that’s nice.
I actually have the white-bordered Monstrous Manual - the original printing from 1993 post-Monstrous Compendium but pre 2E black border reprints. It also has the square TSR logo instead of the round dragon one from later. Very transitional product.
 

Stormonu

Legend
I actually have the white-bordered Monstrous Manual - the original printing from 1993 post-Monstrous Compendium but pre 2E black border reprints. It also has the square TSR logo instead of the round dragon one from later. Very transitional product.
I - I don’t remember this, and I was a serious collector at the time, trying to keep up with 2E product. Do you have a picture? Is the interior different in any way?

<Edit> Oh, never mind, I found a picture. I did have this, but it had a misprint where several pages were reprinted in it. I got rid of it for a copy of the all-black MM.
 
Last edited:

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
I'm sure that's part of it. For me, and why as a fan of B/X who never bought the RC, it was because, "I like the simplicity of Basic, and when I want to play a version with added complexity, I'll play 1e." RC seemed to have a lot more rules than b/x, certainly was much larger of a volume, and then in my mind was no longer "basic" D&D. Thus, what's the point?

I'm not a huge fan of the Masters additions such as Weapon Mastery, but Companion absolutely completed the game with Domains and War Machine.
Basic and Expert contain everything I'd normally need for such a game, but being so compact, they also make a wonderful skeleton to add new stuff to. Whether it's just importing more spells and magic items from AD&D, adding new classes from places like the Black Pudding 'zine or OSR blogs (or the build your own class system from that article in Dragon 109), or what have you.

One day I'd like to try a BECM or RC game with weapon mastery, just to see how well it works.
 


Remove ads

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top