Early TSR/D&D advertisements & catalogs
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Post Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 8:38 pm 
 

Nice find!

I saw that MA ad the other day in an early Dragon & just looked it up. It's in issue 5, pg 31 (Mar 1977). Looks identical, including the prices.

While I was looking it up, I came across the Lankhmar ad in Dragon issue 2, page 2 (Oct 1976).

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Post Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 9:43 pm 
 

The thing that stands out for me is the price. Just $5 including postage. I am not talking about the "investment" value, but the opposite.

What were they making off MA? Maybe a buck. Lank wouldn't be much more considering the increased production cost of a boxed set. No, TSR was a young company that wanted to make and sell games.

We all like the classic stuff for different reasons. I like them because it seems to me there is more "inspiration" in them. They simply are not products but products of people who truly enjoyed producing these games. Another reason I think 1e, and specifically the early stuff, will never be matched.


And I could've bought these damn modules off the 1$ rack!!!

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Post Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 10:07 pm 
 

Not to mention $9 (postage included) for 6 issues of the Dragon in 1977!
Oh if we only knew then what we know now!  :P


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Post Posted: Fri Mar 16, 2007 5:08 pm 
 

I dunno, simply by inflation alone, that $5 Ma would retail today for no less than $17.95... $5 went a lot further back in '77 than it does in '07. Or it would, if the price of games followed inflation, which in general, it didn't, even though cost of goods went up sufficiently.

That 64-page booklet probably cost TSR $0.50 to print, or less even, meaning they still cleaned up BIG on direct sales. Today, a 64-pager of the same quality (color cover, B&W interior) would cost ~$3.00 to print per unit. Sell them direct to consumer at $15.00, postpaid (media mail on that would cost all of $2 media mail, even Priority would only be ~4), and you are still making $10 gross margin, which is $4 more than you would make by selling it to a distributor and through the retail chain...

This is one of the reason that the direct to consumer market has grown; it is tremendously profitable, as compared to going through the three tiers. Of course, in the long run it spells the death of the larger market, but as distributors aren't stocking product anyway unless your company name includes "Wiz" or "Up" in the first word, it is the only way to do business for far too many companies... :(

The main reason I'm gong through the B&M stores with AGP (when things finally get going) is because I want there to be stores and a hobby in the future... secondarily, I'd rather ship to a handful of distributors than hundreds of consumers direct. Of course, as I've not yet gotten into distribution, we shall see if that is a road I will have to take...


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Post Posted: Fri Mar 16, 2007 8:51 pm 
 

James: the Met Alpha rulebook is actually only 32 pages long (16 double sided sheets), so it may have been even cheaper for TSR than 50 cents to print!

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Post Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 12:24 pm 
 

zhowar wrote:James: the Met Alpha rulebook is actually only 32 pages long (16 double sided sheets), so it may have been even cheaper for TSR than 50 cents to print!


That only works because you are using today's printing technology as your basis for cost. Back then printing was radically different than how things are done today.

It was much more costly to print anything back then. The four-color process alone was expensive. You also have to assume they did not print a run of 100,000 copies which would have reduced the cost. Remember, that book had to be typeset - which would take many hours and you had to pay the typesetter.

No, that book probably cost them anywhere from $1.50 - 2.00 per unit based on a number of prints in the low 1000s, if it was even that high. Then you have other costs including mailing and processing. All that stuff adds up fast.

They also had pay for artwork, the actual writing, layout and design, blah, blah, blah...


And I could've bought these damn modules off the 1$ rack!!!

New modules for your Old School game http://pacesettergames.com/

Everything Pacesetter at http://pacesettergames.blog.com/

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Post Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 5:49 pm 
 

bbarsh wrote:
That only works because you are using today's printing technology as your basis for cost. Back then printing was radically different than how things are done today.


Yes, but the prices were still quite low back then as compared to the numbers you are quoting. I've spoken extensively with Bob Bledsaw about the prices he paid back in the day, and they jibe with the $0.50 figure I quote (for a 64-pager even). Considering it was actually a 32-pager, apparently, it was probably even cheaper.

I suppose this would be a question to ask Gary or maybe Jim at some time; the time frame is too early for Frank, though he could probably give us some baseline numbers, print run and unit cost-wise, for the early GW stuff...


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Post Posted: Tue Apr 10, 2007 9:51 pm 
 

Does anyone have a copy of this catalog?

http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e9/je ... /DD006.jpg

Did it come with this basic set?  I don't recall seeing this one before.  Its 8 pages.  The size almost looks like it might be a UK catalog.

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Post Posted: Tue Apr 10, 2007 11:01 pm 
 

Nice find! I've never seen it. Do you have the actual catalog or just the photo?

Face Logo so it should be 1980-82.

Artwork looks "strange" for TSR. UK is definitely a good guess.

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Post Posted: Tue Apr 10, 2007 11:54 pm 
 

I just picked it up from this auction:




** expired eBay auction **




The auction is in the UK so that might be a give away too but the paper size for the catalog looks a bit longer than rulebook so it might be A4 instead of Letter size.  Although from the outside it doesn't look like there is any GW markings.  When did GW stop producing D&D stuff?  Did TSR UK then become a separate entity at that point?

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Post Posted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 1:23 am 
 

Ran across this on Jeff Reints' blog via a link @ DF:  http://bp3.blogger.com/_lpL870wV2A4/Rik ... adomni.jpg


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Post Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 1:05 am 
 

zhowar wrote:I recently lost this catalog auction to Stormber (I bid $9.99, he won for $10.49). I hadn't seen this one before...it's the March 1981 "The DUNGEON!" catalog rather than the usual 1981 "Gateway" TSR Catalog:

[ Image ]
auction text wrote:auction text wrote:

This auction is for a vg condition Dungeon hobby shop catalog/retail order blank from 1981. I consists of 12 attached pages with descriptions & prices for all sorts of vintage gaming items from 1981- games, modules, minis, dice and more. There are a few penmarks for checked off items and an address in the order blank from the vintage owner of the item. It will really bring back memories for old timers & graybeards. Ideal for the collector, these aren't easy to find.

Has the "The DUNGEON!" logo (adventurers in a cave w/ eyes/mouth)


This auction just ended for $40.97:

Image

auction text wrote:    * TSR Hobbies "Gateway To Adventure" 1981 product catalog (14 color pages featuring D&D modules and accessories, boxed games, and other products)
   * Retail Order Blank, dated March 1981, from The Dungeon Hobby Shop in Lake Geneva, WI (24 pages of numerous items available from TSR, Avalon Hill, and other companies)
   * Subscription order form for Dragon magazine
   * Flyer for GEN CON XIV (August 13-16, 1981)
   * 9-1/2" x 12-1/2" mailing envelope from The Dungeon Hobby Shop




So, this has the same "Retail Order Blank", but with twice as many pages (12 versus 24 - unless they were counting double-sided pages?), as well as the extra items. The mailing envelope is an interesting item. The design appears to feature a party roasting hotdogs over a flaming troll!  8O

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Post Posted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 1:01 am 
 

Image

I finally picked up a Dungeon Hobby Shop Retail Order Blank (catalog/order forms, dated March 1981) in a recent auction. There are 12 double-sided pages. The complete TSR product line is covered on the first two pages, though there is another page with the World of Greyhawk miniatures from Minifigs.

The illustrated mailing envelope that came with this is similar to the one pictured in my previous post. It features different artwork but with the same adventuring party of five characters. Here they are fighting a giant.

The reverse side has a different picture of a giant who is picking up and shaking the Dungeon Hobby Shop. It is signed "LR" indicating the artwork is by Laura Roslof (spouse of Jim Roslof), who also did some pictures for the original orange B3, including one that was removed ("The Illusion of the Decapus", pg 10) and two that were altered for the green B3. There's a bit more detail on this here.

B3 was the only TSR product that she contributed art for that I was aware of, so it's interesting find that she also illustrated these envelopes. Anybody else have a different one of these envelopes? Also, can anybody describe the picture on the reverse side of the other envelope above (the one with the roasting troll)?


Last edited by Zenopus on Sun Oct 14, 2007 10:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Posted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 11:53 am 
 

zhowar wrote:I finally picked up a Dungeon Hobby Shop Retail Blank (catalog/order forms, dated March 1981) in a recent auction. There are 12 double-sided pages. The complete TSR product line is covered on the first two pages, though there is another page with the World of Greyhawk miniatures from Minifigs.


Any difference from the archive listing @ http://web.archive.org/web/20050205204432/http://users.accesscomm.ca/lmec/fgo_mfwg.htm?


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Post Posted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 1:37 pm 
 

For what it's worth, I am selling a bunch of old TSR catalogues in this auction as well as other publications for D&D events and items.




** expired eBay auction **




There's also these very nice TSR World's publications.




** expired eBay auction **


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Post Posted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 11:00 pm 
 



The entries in the Retail Order Blank are all the same up through WOG60, which is where the listing stops. However, there is extra information not on that archived list: specifically, each figure is given a World of Greyhawk territory.

For example:

WOG19 Free City Foot, spears, swords, bows  Dyvers
WOG54 Wyvern, Celene

Do you have this information?

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Post Posted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 7:56 pm 
 

zhowar wrote:Do you have this information?


No, I don't, and would love to check it out, if you'd be so kind to post it? :D


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Post Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 1:34 am 
 

Sure... :wink:

Mini Figs WORLD OF GREYHAWK Approved and authorized by TSR
from the TSR Dungeon Hobby Shop March 1981 catalog

WOG1-45 - $3.98

WOG01  Amazon Infantry (6) swords, flails -- Hardby (Wild Coast)
WOG02  Amazon Infantry (6) axes, spears, bow, polearm - Hardby (Wild Coast)
WOG03  Amazon Cavalry (3) spears, bow - Hardby (Wild Coast)
WOG04  Amazon Cavalry (3) swords, axe - Hardby (Wild Coast)
WOG05  Berserker Mercenaries (6) swords, spears, javelins -- Wild Coast/Pomarj
WOG06  Hireling Men-at-Arms (6) axes, spears, bows -- Wild Coast petty kingdoms
WOG07  Men-at-Arms of the Watch (6) axes, spears, bows - Greyhawk
WOG08  Infantry of the Guilds (6) spears, crossbows - Greyhawk
WOG09  Cavemen (6) spears, clubs -- Cairn Hills
WOG10  Valley Elf Infantry (6) axes, swords -- Valley of the Mage
WOG11  Valley Elf Infantry (6) bows, spears -- Valley of the Mage
WOG12  Valley Elf King & Guards (6) pole-arms -- Valley of the Mage
WOG13  Valley Elf Cavalry (2) lances -- Valley of the Mage
WOG14  Valley Elf Cavalry (2) sword, bow -- Valley of the Mage
WOG15  Mounted Knights (3) lance, sword, axe - Furyondy
WOG16  Knights on Foot (6) swords, axes, pole-arms -- Furyondy
WOG17  Freeholder Infantry (6) spears, bows -- Furyondy/Veluna
WOG18  The Steadfast Pike (6) pikes - Veluna
WOG19  Free City Foot (6) spears, swords, bows - Dyvers
WOG20  Zombie & Skeleton Infantry (6) swords, spears - Iuz
WOG21  Zombie & Skeleton Infantry (6) assorted weapons -- Iuz
WOG22  Goblin Infantry (6) swords, axes - Iuz
WOG23  Goblin Infantry (6) bows, crossbows, hand catapults - Iuz
WOG24  Goblin Chieftain & Guards (6) spears, pole-arms - Iuz
WOG25  Human Forest Warriors (6) swords, axes, spear, pole-arm -- Celene/Ulek
WOG26  Human Forest Warriors (6) bows, crossbows, slings - Celene/Ulek
WOG27  Mounted Knights (3) lance, axe, sword -- Veluna/Verbobonc
WOG28  Heavy Missile Infantry (6) bows, crossbows -- Furyondy/Veluna/Shield Lands
WOG29  Light Missile Infantry (6) bows, crossbows, slings -- Feryondy[sic]/Veluna/Shield Lands
WOG30  Mounted Knights (3) lance, mace, sword -- Shield Lands
WOG31  Knights on Foot (6) swords, axes, pole-arms -- Shield Lands
WOG32  Freeholder Infantry (6) spears, bows -- Shield Lands
WOG33  Esquire (Medium) Horse (3) lance, sword, axe - Furyondy/Veluna/Shield Lands
WOG34  Brethren Foot Guards (4) spears -- Scarlet Brotherhood
WOG35  Hierarch, Headsman, Amazon Captive on Torture Stake -- Horned Society
WOG36  Ice or Snow Barbarian Foot (6) swords, bows -- Lands of Snow & Ice Barbarians
WOG37  Ice or Snow Barbarian Foot (6) axes, spears - Lands of Snow & Ice Barbarians
WOG38  Ice or Snow Barbarian Cavalry (3) spears - Lands of Snow & Ice Barbarians
WOG39  Ice or Snow Barbarian Cavalry (3) spears, scything axe - Lands of Snow & Ice Barbarians
WOG40  Mounted Knights (3) lance, mace, sword -- Bandit Kingdoms
WOG41  Brigand Infantry (6) swords, spears, bows -- Celene/Ulek/Cairn Hills
WOG42  Halfling Fighters (6) swords, axes, spear, bow -Celene/Ulek/Cairn Hills
WOG43  Wandering Adventurers, magic user, cleric, bard, halfling thief [no territory given for WOG43-48]
WOG44  Heroic Mercenary Foot (5) axes, spear, bow
WOG45  Heroic Mercenary Foot (5) swords

WOG46-56 - $4.98

WOG46  Heroic Mercenary Cavalry (2) swords
WOG47  Heroic Mercenary Cavalry (2) short sword, spear
WOG48  Heroic Mercenary Cavalry (2) morning star, bow

WOG49  Elite Death-Guard Cavalry (2) lances -- Horned Society
WOG50  Overking's Heavy Guard Cavalry (2) lances -- Great Kingdom
WOG51  Overking's Heavy Guard Cavalry (2) axe, sword -- Great Kingdom
WOG52  Overking's Heavy Guard Foot (6) spears, axe, blow-pipe -- Great Kingdom
WOG53  Overking's Heavy Guard Foot (6) pole-arms, swords -- Great Kingdom
WOG54  Wyvern (1) - Celene
WOG55  Harginn Elemental Grue - Elemental of Plain of Fire -(conjured by) Iuz
WOG56  Iuz Enthroned & Evil Halflings (4) - evil demi-god & minions - Iuz

WOG57-59 - $5.98

WOG57  Dragonnel & Lancer (1) - Pomarj
WOG58  Dragonnel & Archer (1) - Pomarj
WOG59  Dragonnel & Pole-axeman (1) - Pomarj

WOG60 - $7.98

WOG60  Magnus Dragonnel (1) - Pomarj

WOG61-72 - not listed in this catalog
WOG61  Dragonnettes (2)
WOG62  Giant Spider, Rat, Beetle
WOG63  Flying Dinosaur, Armored Dinosaur
WOG64  Aquatic Dragonnel (1)
WOG65  Monster Stoppers: Catapult and Dart Thrower
WOG66  Unicorn, Beasts and Hounds
WOG67  Elite Death Guard Cavalry, axe, sword
WOG68  Orcs, sword, pole-arms, bows
WOG69  Gnolls, swords, pole-arms, bows
WOG70  Half-Orcs, various weapons
WOG71  Mounted Men-at-Arms of the Watch
WOG72  Rovers of the Barrens

(Note: actual 1981 catalog entries do not list # of figures)

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