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Following the tradition of the original Strategic Review, in the mid 1970's TSR began releasing free newsletters, some of which were in-house company news, others distributed to retailers and subscribers in an attempt to boost sales.  Those that were distributed into the retail channels were initially designed to provide additional background information on campaign worlds and modules, but most eventually devolved into empty product previews and teasers.


Strategic Preview  (1976-1977)
Random Events  (1980-1984)
Polyhedron  (1981-2004)
TSR Worlds  (1987-1988)
Secrets of the Sages  (1988)
TSR Spotlight  (1990)
Game World  (1990-1993)
Fantastic Adventures  (1994)


Hobby Newsletter  (1980?)
Players Association News (PAN)  (1981)
Players Association Broadsheet (PAB)  (1983)
Bohemian Ear Spoon  (1986)
Fantasy Worlds  ((1987)


Strategic Preview was a rather strange newsletter first released in mid 1976 (date estimated from the content), and lasting but four issues.  Contrary to what you might think from the title, the first issue of this newsletter was published roughly between Strategic Review #7 and Dragon #1, in approximately May 1976.  The first issue was numbered #3 (why, we don't know, but we assume it was for humorous purposes), and the last, #6.  Each issue is a single 11" x 17" sheet, folded in half to make four facing pages.  According to Frank Mentzer, each issue ran 25-50 copies.  As evidenced by the introductory paragraph in issue #3, it was intended to give a behind-the-scenes look at news and new releases from TSR.  Follow the link for an index of issues.

Random Events was an in-house newsletter of TSR, and ran for 35 known issues from 1980 to 1984.  Devoted to intra-company memos, company events and personnel changes, inside jokes, etc.  Follow the link for an index of issues.

Polyhedron was the newsletter of the RPGA Network (Role-Playing Game Association).  First published Spring 1981, and continued through 2002.  In 2002 Paizo merged Polyhedron with Dungeon magazine; in 2004, the Polyhedron section of Dungeon was removed due to poor reception.  In 2006-2007, Wizards of the Coast resurrected the Polyhedron name for an electronic "newsletter" that was little more than advertising.  It was scrapped after a short time.  Click the link for an index of issues.

TSR Worlds was released as three issues (June-Dec 1987, Jan-June 1988, and Fall 1988).  The first issue is arguably one of the most interesting of all the TSR newsletters; aside from the various articles, mention is made of the never-released BX/1 Islandia Campaign, as well as "The 1st Annual Official TSR Dumb Ideas Contest" (the winning idea of which, "Greyhawk Jam", was developed into WG7 Castle Greyhawk).  The first issue was 8 pages long (two large sheets nested within each other, newspaper style); the second and third issues were but 4 pages (a single large sheet, folded in half).  (Thanks to Rob Hammond for this info).

Secrets of the Sages.  The First printing of the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting boxed set came with a form that could be filled out to receive the Forgotten Realms newsletter, Secrets of the Sages.  Only a single issue of this newsletter was released, in the summer of 1988; it is 8 pages, and contains short descriptions of places in the Realms that were left out of the boxed set (Aglarond, Evermeet and Halruaa).  The last page (inside back) has a map of "The North" region.  (Thanks to Shane Voelker, Brett Easterbrook, and Travis Masoner for this info).

TSR Spotlight ran for but a single issue in the Spring of 1990, through it was originally slated as a quarterly publication.  In addition to the expected ads and promos for coming attractions, TSR Spotlight also provided campaign information in support of the various TSR games and campaign worlds.  Issue One includes an AD&D mini-adventure called "Brownie Misery", set near Raven's Bluff in the Forgotten Realms.  We know that TSR Spotlight was distributed via mail, but don't know how one signed up for a subscription (and whether or not this newsletter was also available free from retailers, which would substantially decrease its worth and rarity).  Contributor Byron Odwazny recalls receiving the newsletter in the mail, and believes it may have been sent out to early Dungeon magazine subscribers.  If you know, please drop us a line!

Game World was a newsletter first released in Fall 1990 (we believe), and printed quarterly through the end of 1993 (when it was re-titled Fantastic Adventures).  It was freely distributed at retailers and bookstores, as well as via free subscription.  Each issue was 8 pages long (two large sheets nested within each other, newspaper style).  The Winter 1993 Game World was actually printed at the beginning of the 1993 year. (Thanks to Rob Hammond for this info).  Unknown if gaps in our sequence of scans (below) were actually printed or not.

Fantastic Adventures was the sequel to Game World, and first appeared in January 1994 (with the Winter 1993 issue).  Like its predecessor, it was given away free at retailers and bookstores, and may have been available via subscription as well.  We don't know how many issues were printed past the first.  (Thanks to Rob Hammond for this info).


Hobby Newsletter is a mystery at the moment; our only information comes from the Bohemian Ear Spoon inaugural issue, which mentions that Hobby Newsletter (literally a letter, apparently; single page?) ran for seven issues.  More info and scans needed!

Players Association News  was the newsletter of the D&D Players Association (UK), and predecessor to Imagine magazine.  Ran 12 issues; bi-monthly from March 1981 to January 1983.  Done in a similar format to Polyhedron.  Click for an index of issues.

Players Association Broadsheet.  Continuing where Players Association News left off (and running concurrently with Imagine), Players Association Broadsheet ran from roughly March 1983 to late 1984.  Issues consisted of a single 11" x 17" sheet folded in half to form four A4-size pages, and were printed utilizing an early computer word processor.  Issues are undated.  Believed to have run for seven issues, it was discontinued due to the apparent disbanding of the UK Players Association; Bohemian Ear Spoon took over as the industry-insider rag for TSR UK.  Click for an index of issues.

Bohemian Ear Spoon was the successor to the Players Association Broadsheet, and marked a shift to an irreverant, homebrew-newsletter-style similar to the Strategic Preview Ran for eight bi-monthly issues, May 1986 to June 1987, starting with issue #27 and running through #34.  From the first issue: "And the number 27 bit?  Logic, of a sort, enters into the calculations here.  Many moons ago, there was a Hobby Newsletter (literally a letter) which was sent out to a select few, that reached issue 7.  Next came the Players Association Newletter (PAN), which went out to the select many and managed 12 issues before the coming of IMAGINE magazine made it impractical.  And finally there was the PA Broadsheet, which also managed 7 editions before it too went the way of all flesh... In all, there were 26 previous newsletters, and so Bohemian Ear Spoon 27.  There are, or course, disadvantages to starting/continuing something from issue 27: no 21st birthday issue drinkies for a start. Ho Hum."  Supplanted, without mention or fanfare, in August 1987 by Fantasy Worlds (the last issue of BES states that there would be an issue #35, but that issue was obviously just rolled into Fantasy Worlds).  Thanks to Michael Jones for this info.  Strangely enough, there were two distinct version of Bohemian Ear Spoon #30; a "normal" version and a special Games Day edition.  Scans of both are featured below.  Thanks to Brett Easterbrook and David Willis for this info, and to David Willis for the scan.

Fantasy Worlds succeeded Bohemian Ear Spoon, and featured less interesting content in favor of advertisement-style "news".  Ran for five confirmed issues, beginning August 1987 through April 1988 (Fantasy Worlds was discontinued with the advent of UK Dragon, which debuted in June 1988).   Each issue is 12 pages long, with a page size of UK-standard A4.  Issues #4 and #5 each have one part of a two-part adventure. (Thanks to Michael Jones, Leonard Riotto, and Adam Shultz for this info).

To dispel several questions we've received:  a newsletter supporting the DragonLance campaign setting was released in the late 1990's, entitled Legends of the Lance.  All of the issues were at one point downloadable (as .PDF's) on the WotC web site.  Because of this, they are easily reproduced, collectably worthless, and are not included here.

Printing Information 

There was but a single printing of each.

Thanks to Leonard Riotto for the scan of Fantasy Worlds #2, to Adam Shultz for the scan of Fantasy Worlds #5, to Rob Hammond for the scans of Fantastic Adventures, Game World (Spr 91, Spr 92-Wtr 93), and TSR Worlds #1, to Mark Petrick for scans of Game World (Fall 90, Sum 91, Fall 91), to Devon Hibbs for the scan of TSR Worlds Vol 2 #2, to Travis Masoner for the scan of Secrets of the Sages, and to Michael Jones for the scans of Fantasy Worlds #1, #3, and #4, and for all the scans of Bohemian Ear Spoon.

TSR Worlds #1
TSR Worlds Vol 2/1
TSR Worlds Vol 2/2
Secrets of the Sages  TSR Spotlight
Game World Fall 90 Game World Win 90 Game World Spr 91 Game World Sum 91 Game World Fall 91
Game World Win 91 Game World Spr 92 Game World Sum 92 Game World Fall 92 Game World Win 92
Game World Win 93 Game World Spr 93 Game World Sum 93 Game World Fall 93 Fantastic Adv Win 93
Bohemian #27 Bohemian #28 Bohemian #29 Bohemian #30 v1 Bohemian #30 v2
Bohemian #31 Bohemian #32 Bohemian #33 Bohemian #34
Fantasy Worlds  #1 Fantasy Worlds  #2 Fantasy Worlds  #3 Fantasy Worlds  #4 Fantasy Worlds  #5

Auction Commentary

Unquestionably, all of these newsletters are very rare.  Few people bothered to keep them for any length of time.  Less certain, however, is their worth -- most of these are even less useful than a catalog.

Secrets of the Sages is the sole newsletter that was available only by subscription (though it is possible that TSR Spotlight was also only available via subscription).  As such, it is even more rare than the others.  SW condition assumes it is unmailed (understandably far more rare, and probably only obtainable by TSR staff).