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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

Hakdov

Explorer
Avalon Hill is still part of WotC and board games are still released under the Avalon Hill name.

It's just a name. They only AH title they still publish is Diplomacy. I'm surprised hasbro didn't keep the TSR name to publish rpg's under.
 

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I'm surprised hasbro didn't keep the TSR name to publish rpg's under.
At the very least, holding onto it to keep all the current silliness from happening would have been relatively inexpensive and would keep their options open if they ever wanted to do something with that imprint.

I'm holding onto all the domain names I've ever purchased, just to keep them from being turned into spam or porn sites, and in case I or my family ever want to use them, even for URLs that haven't had an actual site attached to them in years.
 

R_Chance

Adventurer
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 Dee's company is Uni Games. He's the author of Bethorm, a Tekumel RPG using the Pocket Universe system which he co-authored. 2014 date on that. They have added a campaign setting (the Kurt Hills) and other material for it including paper minis. Not involved with this new TSR as a designer afaik. Mind you I still love his artwork and I like Bethorm.
 

Sithlord

Adventurer
There's not going to be a digital version of Giantlands? Or just not in the PDF format? I'm even less convinced this is going anywhere.
Makes me want it even more. Hope it’s good. I have the weird view that pdf’s are for thieves. Sure some buy them honestly. But for everyone bought honestly there will be far more thieves. I’m sure someone has data opposite of what i am saying. It’s just something i don’t like.
 

Zarithar

Adventurer
I'm a 50 year old grognard who's been playing D&D (almost every edition) and other rpgs since 1979... so you could rightly say I am the target demo for this. That being said, I find this whole endeavor shady, sketchy, and somewhat sad all at the same time.
I see a lot of comments here by people who are letting themselves be reeled in by nostalgia into something which likely won't amount to anything. Some of the people involved with this have less than stellar reputations when it comes to delivering on Kickstarter campaigns. Hard pass for me.
Also - I resent the claim that people who use/prefer digital versions of products are thieves or somehow not true fans or whatever. All I see is a bunch of graying nerds trapped in the past when comments like that show up. Believe it or not, you can change and evolve with the hobby you love instead of actively fighting against said changes or putting down newer generations of players who - like it or not - are the future of the hobby.
 

I find the whole thing super-shady. The press release talks about TSR being "back", when it is nothing of the sort. The phrasing in the press release is also shady as bleep, by saying things like "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)." These two statements are individually true, but they have nothing to do with one another. This implies that this is the original TSR, which it is not.
I'm surprised hasbro didn't keep the TSR name to publish rpg's under.
I think that call was made before Hasbro bought them (even though the change happened after). After buying TSR, Wizards was branding their RPG products with both TSR and Wizards of the Coast, but starting with 3e they changed to using Wizards exclusively. At the time, the TSR brand had quite a lot of issues, both after the near-bankruptcy and the way they had both flooded the market with junk and treated fans.
 


Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
I'm a 50 year old grognard who's been playing D&D (almost every edition) and other rpgs since 1979... so you could rightly say I am the target demo for this. That being said, I find this whole endeavor shady, sketchy, and somewhat sad all at the same time.
I see a lot of comments here by people who are letting themselves be reeled in by nostalgia into something which likely won't amount to anything. Some of the people involved with this have less than stellar reputations when it comes to delivering on Kickstarter campaigns. Hard pass for me.
+1 for me. Just because you put on an iconic Logo doesn't suddenly override your actual track record. Which is not good. Even setting aside many of the moral objections to some of the folks in the inner circle of these folks*, the actual reliability reputation is not good. And as you say, as a pushing 50 grognard myself, I'm also part of their demographic who is taking a hard pass.

*For context, the Tolkien Society recently announced that their seminar in July will focus on diversity and inclusion in Tolkien's work and upcoming shows, and the overwhelming response from these folks is "The woke left is ruining what we love once again because they insist on ruining everything good. Just leave it alone and stop ruining everything with cancel culture."
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
Well, it looks like the new TSR is screwed. They have people like me who won't buy anything because their track record is horrible (the big reason) and many folks in that inner circle have made comments about woke culture is ruining gaming (a smaller, but personal reason).

And if you read other forums catering to the hard right, none of them will support it either because Larry Elmore once made a comment about how the artists tried to "sneak in PoC because otherwise literally everyone would be white.", which makes them all "woke cucks".

🤷‍♂️

So I guess this new TSR is screwed either way.
 

Azzy

KMF DM
And if you read other forums catering to the hard right, none of them will support it either because Larry Elmore once made a comment about how the artists tried to "sneak in PoC because otherwise literally everyone would be white.", which makes them all "woke cucks".
Wow. At least the artists don't suck as people. Unlike the people deriding Elmore's comment.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
Wow. At least the artists don't suck as people. Unlike the people deriding Elmore's comment.
Well, it doesn't even make sense as a criticism. These are the same people who rail against having diverse artwork because "it's a fantasy game, who cares what people in the art look like, or who the gamers look like, because you can be whoever you want to be!", who are now getting grossly offended because GASP! the art depicts someone other than white and thus must be catering to the communist socialist gay transgender cabal who meet every Tuesday and give out free donuts. Their arguments are literally self contradicting. 🤷‍♂️

Also, I would bet $10 to donuts that if when D&D came out, it didn't have any white people in any of the art and was only PoC and all sexualized art was gay, they would never have played it or even picked it up, assuming it wasn't for them, which would directly prove their first argument false. And yet, they expect PoC and LGBTQ+ gamers to ignore all the hetero sexualized art and white representation because "anyone can play anyone." Riiiigggghhhtttt....

I don't think I need to illustrate how representation and presentation in a product appeals or pushes away potential customers.

I feel kinda sad now for this new TSR. It seems they've got people working on it from all political sides (Ward is conservative, Jeff Dee is very much liberal), and the result is that both sides of gamers are complaining and refuse to support them. My biggest issue is the red flags of failed products in the past, but even I am guilty by saying I was turned off by some of the comments Ernie, Justin, and Benoist have made. Most every company will have employees of every political spectrum because that shouldn't really matter (the quality of their work should). So while everyone has the right to support or not support a company, it appears that by having people on the project from both sides of the political aisle, all it did was make both groups of gamers say they refuse to support them. And that's kinda sad. I mean, if I have issues with Ernie and Justin, then I should be happy they also included Jeff and Larry, right? It seems in an effort to include all sides, all they did was alienate everyone. Which isn't good for a business model that already is targeting a very small niche (old school gamers).
 

Sithlord

Adventurer
Well, it doesn't even make sense as a criticism. These are the same people who rail against having diverse artwork because "it's a fantasy game, who cares what people in the art look like, or who the gamers look like, because you can be whoever you want to be!", who are now getting grossly offended because GASP! the art depicts someone other than white and thus must be catering to the communist socialist gay transgender cabal who meet every Tuesday and give out free donuts. Their arguments are literally self contradicting. 🤷‍♂️

Also, I would bet $10 to donuts that if when D&D came out, it didn't have any white people in any of the art and was only PoC and all sexualized art was gay, they would never have played it or even picked it up, assuming it wasn't for them, which would directly prove their first argument false. And yet, they expect PoC and LGBTQ+ gamers to ignore all the hetero sexualized art and white representation because "anyone can play anyone." Riiiigggghhhtttt....

I don't think I need to illustrate how representation and presentation in a product appeals or pushes away potential customers.

I feel kinda sad now for this new TSR. It seems they've got people working on it from all political sides (Ward is conservative, Jeff Dee is very much liberal), and the result is that both sides of gamers are complaining and refuse to support them. My biggest issue is the red flags of failed products in the past, but even I am guilty by saying I was turned off by some of the comments Ernie, Justin, and Benoist have made. Most every company will have employees of every political spectrum because that shouldn't really matter (the quality of their work should). So while everyone has the right to support or not support a company, it appears that by having people on the project from both sides of the political aisle, all it did was make both groups of gamers say they refuse to support them. And that's kinda sad. I mean, if I have issues with Ernie and Justin, then I should be happy they also included Jeff and Larry, right? It seems in an effort to include all sides, all they did was alienate everyone. Which isn't good for a business model that already is targeting a very small niche (old school gamers).
Is there anything on their website saying they hate gay people and minorities and don’t want them playing their games? Has any of them written a treatise on white supremacy? If they haven’t maybe they shouldn’t be dragged through the mud.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
Is there anything on their website saying they hate gay people and minorities and don’t want them playing their games? Has any of them written a treatise on white supremacy? If they haven’t maybe they shouldn’t be dragged through the mud.
The first two paragraphs of my comment were in response to Azzy, who was talking about the people who refuse to support the new TSR because they are "woke cucks" (see my comment Azzy quoted to see who I'm talking about and where they made such comments). I wasn't talking about Ernie or the others in the top two paragraphs you quoted.

The point being, and the whole reason I brought it up, was to show how the new TSR seems to have alienated everyone, which is unfortunate because it appears they are bringing in people regardless of political beliefs, but have name recognition to the original TSR. And on forums, it seems people are latching on to the political piece of the folks involved.

I.e., Ernie and Justin have upset liberal gamers with things they've said, and Larry and Jeff have upset the more conservative gamer groups with what they said, so it's a lose lose all around. Which I believe is unfortunate and doesn't bode well for the success of the company.
 

Sithlord

Adventurer
The first two paragraphs of my comment were in response to Azzy, who was talking about the people who refuse to support the new TSR because they are "woke cucks" (see my comment Azzy quoted to see who I'm talking about and where they made such comments). I wasn't talking about Ernie or the others in the top two paragraphs you quoted.

The point being, and the whole reason I brought it up, was to show how the new TSR seems to have alienated everyone, which is unfortunate because it appears they are bringing in people regardless of political beliefs, but have name recognition to the original TSR. And on forums, it seems people are latching on to the political piece of the folks involved.

I.e., Ernie and Justin have upset liberal gamers with things they've said, and Larry and Jeff have upset the more conservative gamer groups with what they said, so it's a lose lose all around. Which I believe is unfortunate and doesn't bode well for the success of the company.
Amazing how a simple rpg game can’t be made without bringing real life politics, race , or sex in it. Blows my mind.
 

R_Chance

Adventurer
So, they've upset the conservative and liberal fringes of the political world. They all seem to be able to work together. I think I'll stick with judging them by their work. Most people, and gamers, won't care about this, and unless they put objectional stuff into the game no one will notice. My 2 cents.

Edit I should note that multiple TSRs and past track records on game delivery worry me. This game is apparently already complete given the previous kickstart of it though... so again the game will tell.
 


Sithlord

Adventurer
So, they've upset the conservative and liberal fringes of the political world. They all seem to be able to work together. I think I'll stick with judging them by their work. Most people, and gamers, won't care about this, and unless they put objectional stuff into the game no one will notice. My 2 cents.

Edit I should note that multiple TSRs and past track records on game delivery worry me. This game is apparently already complete given the previous kickstart of it though... so again the game will tell.
I hope it’s great. But gaxmoor was disappointing
 


I have asked them and the answer in twiter

Actually we don't have levels so to speak, but there are Professions & you can achieve higher levels of skill within them. We make our own minis
@tsrmuseum
.
 

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