Ya Basic! Trying To Understand the Perception of AD&D and the Sales of Basic


It is - thanks! The one thing missing is where the dice came from for the wargamers to pick up on and use. The possibly apocryphal story that I heard was that the polyhedral dice came into the hobby via teachers who were using them to teach probability in their classrooms. And that the first supplier of dice to TSR was an educational supply company.

That's what I've heard as well.

From a wargamer perspective, I didn't use polyhedral dice in wargames back then. I used six sided dice. There didn't seem to be a shortage of those.

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Yes, I believe that was Gygax's story. Arneson, OTOH, had a story that he found one in England on a trip, and Dave Wesely that he found them in a scientific supply store. I'm not sure if firm confirmation of exactly when they first arrived has been found yet, but here's a pretty comprehensive article from Peterson's blog:

As I recall TSR DID buy them regularly from Creative Publications, Inc. in Palo Alto for a while for resale.

Good to say that. I tend to be more Gygax's side on things, and have a distinct bias (which shows), but I probably should give Arneson's more due.

My first DM first played D&D in a gifted and talented program in Illinois. He introduced me to D&D when he moved to our road in a small town in New York.

I created my first character with his PHB on August 2, 1982 - I was 13 - and I and his 7 year old brother started our gaming careers being asked who we were at the gates of the Keep on the Borderlands.

AD&D character, Basic module from the Red Box.

Only later did I learn Basic existed. The toy store in town had the PHB but nothing else. My DM let me read his Red Box later on, and my first thought was arbitrage on spear prices to double our gold if we could jump between worlds. :)

We never played Basic because we thought it was for kids, and we’d just finished 7th and 8th grades … his brother was going into 3rd grade, but smart enough to understand the Advanced rules too - 99th percentile, we figured out by getting into standardized testing results we were supposed to be too young to understand.

”Advanced” was good marketing to us! I never did meet anyone who was playing Basic, but I suppose some people were. D&D was underground until I got to college. Openly playing at school like the Stranger Things club is something we never would have thought of. But boy, lots of kids talked about the game a whole lot at school, and get togethers with other schools - I was in chorus and when I met singers from other schools at events, it was always a topic.

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