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TSR TSR Is Back.... Again!

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TSR is back... again! A new company, using the name and logo of the original publisher of Dungeons & Dragons has just been launched, along with a limited edition new game called Giantlands, and a theme park!

But first, some history! Because this isn't the first time TSR has been resurrected!

TSR (or Tactical Studies Rules) was the company which started it all -- the firm, co-created by Gary Gygax and Don Kaye, which launched Dungeons & Dragons back in 1974. The failing company was bought by WotC in the late 90s, who went on to revive D&D with the launch of D&D 3E. The TSR trademark itself expired in 2004, and Gary Gygax passed in 2008.

Jayson Elliot acquired the expired TSR trademark in 2011 and launched Gygax Magazine. D&D co-creator Gary Gygax’s sons, Luke and Ernie Gygax, were both involved, as was TSR-alumnus Tim Kask. The magazine was cancelled a few years ago as Luke and Ernie Gygax withdrew after a trademark dispute with Gail Gygax, Gary Gygax’s wife.




That company is still an operational company called TSR Games which currently produces the Top Secret RPG.

Confused yet?

Now TSR is back - again! A press release dated June 15th was released this week, and a Facebook page launched with a new version of the old logo. "Have you noticed the new art on our TSR.games site? It's an image created by Larry Elmore (pencils) Steve Ince (Ink & color) & Stephen E. Dinehart (Direction, Color, Layout, Graphics) for our first official product - GiantLands."

tsr.jpg

Lake Geneva, WI, June 15, 2021 --(PR.com)-- Tactical Studies Rules (TSR) was founded in 1973 by E. Gary Gygax and Don Kaye. Originally formed in 2020, TSR Games is officially back and under the leadership of E. Gary Gygax Jr.

“I am thrilled to be part of this next generation of gaming and hope that you all find it cut the same cloth as all my old TSR experiences as we forge a new TSR Games,” said Gygax, continuing, “Thanks to the vision of our CEO Justin LaNasa, and the help of Wonderfilled, we’re bringing TSR back home to Lake Geneva. It really means so much to me.”

TSR was behind the original Dungeons & Dragons first released in 1974, now a worldwide phenomenon owned by Hasbro on its fifth and most popular edition yet. The team includes Justin LaNasa (CEO), Ernest G. Gygax Jr (EVP), Jeff R. Leason (COO, and Stephen E. Dinehart (CCO). LaNasa is a visionary and entrepreneur that has set out to reunite brands like TSR with the original talent behind them.

“It’s with great pride that we’ve managed to secure the TSR brand, born here originally in 1973 and brought back to the people who created this new form of game that changed the world,” said LaNasa.

In addition to the classic lines of products at TSR Museum and Dungeon Hobby Shop, TSR Games is working to bring a new generation of role-playing games and more to players worldwide. “Now more than ever, the world needs TSR,” said game designer Jeff R. Leason. “We’re happy to be bringing it back for experienced and new players alike.”


The Facebook page contains a bunch of info about the people involved.
  • Jeff R. Leason -- Jeff is our Chief Operation Officer and comes with decades working as an game editor, master and designer. As a key member of the original TSR team, he's best known for his Advanced Dungeons & Dragons adventure "The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan" (1980). His TSR paystub from 1983 for $134.18 once sold at auction for $135! We're glad to have his mastery, wisdom and candor helping bring TSR back to life!
  • Ernest Gary Gygax Jr. -- Our Executive Vice President is none other than Ernest Gary Gygax Jr. aka "Ernie". The oldest child, Ernie was one of the first people on planet Earth to play Dungeons & Dragons (with another guy named "Gary" no less), and he still loves to play! You'll often still find him DMing for members of Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum in Lake Geneva, while working hard to bring TSR back to life! This weekend he's hard at play in Lake Geneva running 1E with the gang at Robert Donald Paiser Con III. How about you? What are you playing?
The new TSR's first product is called Giantlands. It's a science fantasy tabletop RPG, in a boxed set, and has an associated theme park! The original boxed set was originally Kickstarted in 2019 by Stephen E. Dinehart IV, which also included a limited edition boxed set which was limited to 100 copies, which would not be made again.

Be the first kid on your block to get our first blockbuster summer release GiantLands! This crowdfunded game is made in Wisconsin with some of the original TSR team, like Larry Elmore, Jeff Dee and James M. Ward. It will be among the first titles to bring TSR Games back to life. The GiantLands 1st Edition boxed set consists of three booklets, dice and more, a homage to the original D&D set.


Screen Shot 2021-06-19 at 12.25.54 PM.png

A radiant golden Sun rises over a devastated planet Earth of the 5th Age. Emerging from the destruction is a planet born anew where giants, tribes, mutants, androids and odd creatures from a multitude of worlds clash in an attempt to reclaim the Earth as their own! The GiantLands® 1st Edition Set includes there core rule booklets, character sheets, dice and few more surprises. While you can play this game at a table, it’s also the key to a new active world, where live-action roleplay and costumes are encouraged. Soon you’ll also be able to join us at live events and a GiantLands theme park where you can go on adventures as your favorite characters in a living game world!


So, as far as I can make out, there are now two operational TSRs. There's TSR Games, at tsrgames.com, run by Jayson Elliot, which originally launched Gygax Magazine in 2012, and now publishes Top Secret. And there's this new TSR Games, at the confusing similar tsr.games, which is publishing Giantlands. Ernie Gygax was involved in the formation of both companies. I don't know if or how the two are related, or what the trademark situation would be there! More news if I hear it!

(Both company's logos below!)

tsr1.png
tsr2.png


tsr.jpg
 
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

imagineGod

Legend
US Trademark searches for TSR. I can't find the 2011 registration, but I've not used this tool before so I may not be doing it right!

ImageAgentProxy

Jan 19, 2021
TSR, LLC LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY WISCONSIN 723 WILLIAMS STREET LAKE GENEVA WISCONSIN 53147

ImageAgentProxy

Jan 26, 2021
TSR, LLC LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY WISCONSIN 723 WILLIAMS STREET LAKE GENEVA WISCONSIN 53147

ImageAgentProxy

Jan 26, 2021
TSR, LLC LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY WISCONSIN 723 WILLIAMS STREET LAKE GENEVA WISCONSIN 53147

ImageAgentProxy

March 5, 2013, cancelled Oct 11 2019
Hexagonist Publishing LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY DELAWARE 200 E. 10th Street #511 New York NEW YORK 10003

ImageAgentProxy

October 26, 1994, cancelled March 22, 2003
TSR, Inc. CORPORATION WISCONSIN 201 Sheridan Springs Road P.O. Box 756 Lake Geneva WISCONSIN 53147

ImageAgentProxy

November 8, 1991, cancelled December 29, 2000
TSR, Inc. CORPORATION WISCONSIN 201 Sheridan Springs Road P.O. Box 756 Lake Geneva WISCONSIN 53147

ImageAgentProxy

February 22, 1982, cancelled November 20 1989
TSR Hobbies, Inc. CORPORATION WISCONSIN 281 Sheridan Springs Rd. Lake Geneva WISCONSIN 53147
The dragon TSR is my best because, obviously, Bioware's Baldur's Gate computer game
 

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tenkar

Old School Blogger
I think he used all that money to pay his medical bills and mortgage.
The money was still in a commercial savings account in 2016. I saw the bank statement. This is after Ernie's hospitalization. Troll Lord Games would not have taken over fulfillment of the KS if there were no funds to do so. That is the reason no one will "white knight" CSIO.
 


pming

Legend
Hiya!

Cool! :) Fun fact, last night and early this morning I was working on two of my Astral VTT games, doing up maps and working on character sheets. For what games? Well, 1e AD&D and Star Frontiers, of course!

Some young people are into 80's stuff...and some of us old people never left it to begin with! Hell, up until about 2010 I was still rocking a sweet mullet! :)

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

Farenn

Explorer
Not quite. Both Luke and Ernie withdrew from the Gygax Mag iteration after the lawsuit from Gail Gygax, but the company is still running and still - presumably - owned by Jayson Elliot, publishing Top Secret. This newer Giantlands iteration involves Ernie, but there's no mention of Luke that I can see. So the two current versions of TSR appear to be Jayson Ellitiot and Ernie Gygax respectively, it seems.
Ernie and Luke are very close to each other. But I am not surprised that Luke has no involvement (at this point). Luke always mentioned that while he would like to do more game/adventure design that he is way too busy to do so.
 


Corrosive

Adventurer
You : "Sometimes it's just time to move on."

Me: "Nah. Bring it on TSR! Does happy dance ;)

The TSR logo is literally just a logo. That's it. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson aren't back making OD&D again in their garage.

I think I finally know now why people will only use "official" D&D products. Man, corporate branding shouldn't work, but wow, does it work. Flash a logo, watch people open their wallets. Good investment, I guess.
 

Farenn

Explorer
The TSR logo is literally just a logo. That's it. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson aren't back making OD&D again in their garage.

I think I finally know now why people will only use "official" D&D products. Man, corporate branding shouldn't work, but wow, does it work. Flash a logo, watch people open their wallets. Good investment, I guess.
Lol you make it sound like a bunch of new designers are behind this just simply using the logo. Ernie Gygax Jr., Jim Ward , Jeff R. Leason, Larry Elmore (my favorite artist), and Jeff Dee are all from the original TSR. That is good enough for me!
 

Corrosive

Adventurer
Lol you make it sound like a bunch of millennials are behind this just simply using the logo. Ernie Gygax Jr., Jim Ward , Jeff R. Leason, Larry Elmore (my favorite artist), and Jeff Dee are all from the original TSR. That is good enough for me!
They've all been doing stuff constantly for years. They haven't suddenly reappeared! Wher are all the threads about Jim Ward's latest release or Ernie Gygax's newest dungeon?
 




Dire Bare

Legend
Lol you make it sound like a bunch of new designers are behind this just simply using the logo. Ernie Gygax Jr., Jim Ward , Jeff R. Leason, Larry Elmore (my favorite artist), and Jeff Dee are all from the original TSR. That is good enough for me!
Jeff Leason? Jeff Easley?

Anyway, Elmore and Dee are fantastic visual artists, and good people to boot, but . . . they are not designers, at least, they weren't during the original TSR era, and they aren't on this project (to my knowledge). I think Dee has done some design work on his own relatively recently, if memory serves.

Ernie Gygax was certainly there at the beginning, playtesting his dad's game . . . but wasn't involved with the original TSR anymore so than that. And Ernie doesn't exactly have any sort of stellar design history of his own . . . .

That leaves ONE actual classic TSR era designer on this project, Jim Ward. Ward deserves the reverence old school fans have for him, but . . . what's he been doing lately outside Giantlands? How involved in this project is he, actually?

This TSR is not the old TSR, although it's certainly playing on those sweet nostalgia strings . . . which I find humorous, seeing how TSR didn't have the greatest reputation back in the day, despite all those wonderful games.

The (lack of) info on this project does not fill me with confidence that it will, 1) actually happen, and 2) be any good. Hopefully, I'm wrong, I certainly hope the project does well. We'll see.

Just snagging that TSR logo that fell out of trademark protection and grabbing a few recognizable names isn't enough for me.
 

I like how the latter TSR embrace science fantasy in its game. I wonder
Points awarded for not creating a retro clone D&D fantasy heartbreaker using the associated Gygax and TSR names but opting for ac more sci-fi game and setting.
I think if core D&D had committed to a more science fantasy feel, it would have been a nice counterbalance to how stratified genre entertainment has become these days.
 

Azzy

KMF DM
Hiya!

Cool! :) Fun fact, last night and early this morning I was working on two of my Astral VTT games, doing up maps and working on character sheets. For what games? Well, 1e AD&D and Star Frontiers, of course!

Some young people are into 80's stuff...and some of us old people never left it to begin with! Hell, up until about 2010 I was still rocking a sweet mullet! :)

^_^

Paul L. Ming
Despite their popularity, mullets were never sweet. 😝
 

Blue Orange

Adventurer
Isn't there a lot of dispute over who controls the IP in the Gygax estate? IIRC at least two of his sons have been suing and arguing with his widow over who owns what, and there have been words and legal actions since at least 2011, and the last I heard one of the sons had filed a new will that allegedly was actually the final will, firing off some new legal action early last year. I'm not sure if all of that has been settled.

Maybe it could be settled with a game...maybe chess, maybe something else...
 

Farenn

Explorer
Jeff Leason? Jeff Easley?

Anyway, Elmore and Dee are fantastic visual artists, and good people to boot, but . . . they are not designers, at least, they weren't during the original TSR era, and they aren't on this project (to my knowledge). I think Dee has done some design work on his own relatively recently, if memory serves.

Ernie Gygax was certainly there at the beginning, playtesting his dad's game . . . but wasn't involved with the original TSR anymore so than that. And Ernie doesn't exactly have any sort of stellar design history of his own . . . .

That leaves ONE actual classic TSR era designer on this project, Jim Ward. Ward deserves the reverence old school fans have for him, but . . . what's he been doing lately outside Giantlands? How involved in this project is he, actually?

This TSR is not the old TSR, although it's certainly playing on those sweet nostalgia strings . . . which I find humorous, seeing how TSR didn't have the greatest reputation back in the day, despite all those wonderful games.

The (lack of) info on this project does not fill me with confidence that it will, 1) actually happen, and 2) be any good. Hopefully, I'm wrong, I certainly hope the project does well. We'll see.

Just snagging that TSR logo that fell out of trademark protection and grabbing a few recognizable names isn't enough for me.
Jeff R. Leason wrote the Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan.
 

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