exact month of release of old TSR items?
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Post Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 10:59 pm 
 

Does anyone know how I could find out the exact month that old (1974-1983) TSR items were released? Typically all I can find are years, and even the publication dates printed in the books can be wrong. For example, the Moldvay Basic D&D rulebook says it was first printed in January 1981. There is no way it was released that early, though. It couldn't have been released until the summer of 1981 at the earliest.

One thing I've tried is searching my Dragon CDs for release dates and earliest mentions, and that helps, but it leaves something to be desired.

  

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Post Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 11:06 pm 
 

Print dates and actual release dates can be quite far apart. If you REALLY want the exact dates, get in touch with H.G Wells and see if he can help you out. Or, you can ask some of the dinosaurs in the forum who bought things like 1st print woodies off the shelf. Allowing for mental deterioration, I imagine you might be able to get a few dates. Otherwise, I don't imagine it would be possible to find out exactly.

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Post Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 11:12 pm 
 

I imagine that it is possible, but it is definitely gooing to take some work. :)   I guess the best way to start is to find a good point of reference and work from there. :wink:


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Post Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2006 12:08 am 
 

Distributor catalogs and announcements in Dragon and Different Worlds (which were probably the two broadest reviewing magazines at the times) would be two good places to start.


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Post Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2006 4:16 am 
 

Geoffrey . . . what are you looking for exactly?  Everything?  Are there a few that you are particularly interested in?

What I mean is . . . if you are looking for anything/everything there is only going to be general advice on different mags, publications, etc. that might lead to clues.  If you have some specific questions, there might be some who have seen such ads or may (possibly) have some additional info to give.


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Post Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2006 5:27 am 
 

grodog wrote:Distributor catalogs and announcements in Dragon and Different Worlds (which were probably the two broadest reviewing magazines at the times) would be two good places to start.

I'd throw in The Space Gamer, too, especially the very early Steve Jackson issues. When Steve took over from Metagaming, there was a real emphasis on reviews, especially shorter "capsule" reviews. This might have been due to a lack of other editorial items, but, either way, it made TSG a reliable source of reviews, including many for TSR/D&D items.

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Post Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2006 8:19 am 
 

Geoffrey wrote:Does anyone know how I could find out the exact month that old (1974-1983) TSR items were released? Typically all I can find are years, and even the publication dates printed in the books can be wrong. For example, the Moldvay Basic D&D rulebook says it was first printed in January 1981. There is no way it was released that early, though. It couldn't have been released until the summer of 1981 at the earliest.

One thing I've tried is searching my Dragon CDs for release dates and earliest mentions, and that helps, but it leaves something to be desired.

Well, as to how you could find them out, it's a lot of comparative analysis with "known" dates.  I've done a teensy tiny bit of this, but there are others on the forum that might be able to tell you straight away.  *cough* David *cough*

The Dragon CD is actually a good idea...I'll have to try that one.  Was there a specific item you're wondering about?

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Post Posted: Wed Feb 15, 2006 11:41 pm 
 

There are two specific items I am particularly wondering about:

First and most importantly, the month that the AD&D Deities & Demigods Cyclopedia hit the shelves.

Second, the month that the Moldvay Basic D&D set hit the shelves.

  


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Post Posted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 1:37 am 
 

Geoffrey wrote:There are two specific items I am particularly wondering about:

First and most importantly, the month that the AD&D Deities & Demigods Cyclopedia hit the shelves.

Second, the month that the Moldvay Basic D&D set hit the shelves.

Nobody else has taken a stab at this so I'll throw out my hair-brained ideas.  :lol:

I don't know about the Deities, but I have some info, at least.  It would be between 05/1980 (date of the forward being 1 May 1980) and 12/1980.  Presumably much earlier than December, because there were three printings in 1980.  

If anyone has a 6th printing PHB (with yellow flyleaves), please check the catalog page at the back to see if there is any mention of Deities & Demigods.  My 7th does, but it's true printing date isn't known.  (After 05/80, anyway).  The MM yields similar disappointing results -- there's no mention of DDG in the 4th MM, but there is in the 5th.  So all we learned is that the 5th MM was printed after 05/80.   :?  

There's some minor evidence that the WoG folio predated DDG, so if anyone has a firm date on that, it would help as well.  That's all I can dig up for now.

The Moldvay Basic (1st printing of that revision, listed as the 8th printing overall on Acaeum) rulebook states January, 1981.  That would be the printing date, though.  No idea when it actually hit the shelves.  (Oh wait...you knew that.  :oops: )

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Post Posted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 1:45 am 
 

IIRC D&DG was available for the summer con season in 1980, and WoG folio was released earlier.  

For dating, the folio, the three reviews in Dragon 46 may point to a date, too.


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Post Posted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 10:11 am 
 

My sixth print PHB, with yellow flyleaves, does not list the Deities & Demigods.
I also have a PHB with white flyleaves that does not list it. I assume this one falls somewhere inbetween the 6th and 7th prints listed here.

Mike

  


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Post Posted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 11:01 am 
 

chromaticknight wrote:My sixth print PHB, with yellow flyleaves, does not list the Deities & Demigods.
I also have a PHB with white flyleaves that does not list it. I assume this one falls somewhere inbetween the 6th and 7th prints listed here.

Until now, to my knowledge, the only difference between a 6th/7th PHB is the flyleaves (the 7th still states it's a 6th).  Now we know of one more difference.

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Post Posted: Sun Aug 16, 2009 9:10 pm 
 

Someone over on ENWorld pointed to a monster index excel file in the thread @ http://www.enworld.org/forum/general-rp ... 1e-2e.html as a resource for determining TSR's monthly release dates schedule.  

The file itself is at http://ant.hivemind.net/Products_2008-12-30.xls and I thought folks might want to check it out.  I've done a cursory scan of it, and while I would quibble with some of the dates, it looks like a good start.

Has anyone else worked-up a similar release calendar?


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Post Posted: Sun Aug 16, 2009 11:56 pm 
 

I think Shane (Plaag) might have something like that - he was comparing all the catalogs of the early TSR products.

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Post Posted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 6:12 am 
 

grodog wrote:The file itself is at http://ant.hivemind.net/Products_2008-12-30.xls and I thought folks might want to check it out.  I've done a cursory scan of it, and while I would quibble with some of the dates, it looks like a good start.

"Quibble" = fair number of dubious earlier dates?
A good, comprehensive effort even if they could perhaps have made more use of "?" notation if attempting to state definitive release dates. (/12 is also being used for "don't know", at a guess)


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Post Posted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 2:28 pm 
 

Echohawk pointed me to the thread @ viewtopic.php?t=8536 which does in fact speak to using 12/31/year as the "don't know more" date.


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Post Posted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 3:25 pm 
 

The accuracy does improve for later dates.  Certainly better/more exhaustive than any other list I've seen.  It has been useful to me in researching some things.

  

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Post Posted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 6:22 pm 
 

Any idea where the release dates are sourced from?  Catalogs?  Books themselves?  comparison of catalog pages?

It would be useful to know the source to know if the dates are accurate or just suggestive.

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Post Posted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 6:43 pm 
 

From a PM when I asked him just that question last month:

Sadly, I didn't keep any notes on the publication dates I used when compiling the index. I wish I had in hindsight, because sometimes I stumble across a slightly conflicting date elsewhere, and I'm uncertain where the date I have in my index comes from. Roughly speaking though, my methodology for establishing publication dates was something like this:
1. Check release dates in TSR catalogs (where I have catalogs)
2. Check release dates listed in Dragon magazine
3. Check old catalogs issued by my one-time local gaming-store
4. Search online (including the Acaeum and Tome of Treasures for any clues on the release date)
5. Make an educated guess, often based on established release dates of other adventures/sourcebooks in the same series.

  

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Post Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 12:24 pm 
 

Mars wrote:I think Shane (Plaag) might have something like that - he was comparing all the catalogs of the early TSR products.


Yeah, and I'm not sure if I sent him the file, or he had some of the things I checked match and thought he'd done the exact same thing I did.

I've always been open to sending the file to anyone. I've not pursued the information or touched the file for sometime.  Would love to see it as a web page though, updated as information come about.

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