A closer look at the 1979-1980 TSR catalog
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Post Posted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 5:02 pm 

Hello all,

I just received a Basic set in the mail that had the Gateway to Adventure catalog from 1979/1980.  This isn't the classic brown-covered one, it's the earlier one depicting a demonic doorway with a red dragon's tail coming out of it.  Since I'd never had a chance to examine this closely before, and since I know several collectors who were seeking information on this, I thought I'd give a brief overview.

It's full-sized, 8 pages; conspicuously absent are an order form, or any non-gaming esoterica (such as T-shirts).  The standing wizard logo is on the front.  Page 2 is dedicated to consolidating TSR's then-confused mission; they're pointing out that they're the originators of RPGs, but also reassuring readers that they haven't forgotten their miniatures wargaming lines.  D&D products are illustrated right next to obscure releases such as Modern Armor, Bio One, and Cordite and Steel.

Page 3 covers their main "entry-level" RPG lines -- Dungeons & Dragons (OCE is shown next to Basic Set), Boot Hill, Gamma World, and Top Secret.

Pages 4 and 5 are devoted to introducing AD&D.  The DMG features "two full-page drawings"; the Monster Manual details every "authorized" creature in the game.  The World of Greyhawk is advertised, but not illustrated; probably foreshadowing the long delay that would plague the folio edition.

Next comes the modules section.  The S series (Special) features S1-S3; the T (Temple) series has T1; the B (Beginner's, not Basic) series has only B1; and the C (Competition) series has only C1.  Of particular note are the G and D modules.  Perhaps to underline the fact that these are chapters in an ongoing saga, and not just a series, the G modules are titled "Giant Foemen," and the D modules are titled "Underworld of Evil Elves."

Pages 6 and 7 feature those ever-elusive sidegames.  Dungeon! is of course featured, Warlocks & Warriors is called part 2 of the "Famous Authors Series"; there's also Divine Right, the beautiful Knights of Camelot, Lankhmar, and more.

Page 8 has a bit for AD&D character sheets, but the focus is on Miniature Rules -- Chainmail, Swords & Spells, Valley Forge, Tractics, etc.  Interestingly, Metamorphosis Alpha is overwritten with "Look for the coming version of Metamorphosis Alpha, to be compatible with Gamma World."

Last of all, there's a nice little blurb where they reveal where you can find these products, and they practically beg you to show this brochure to your dealer if he has no idea what you're talking about.


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Post Posted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 7:20 pm 

Gateway to Adventure
Gateway to the 80s
Gateway to the Thatcher-Reagan era

Weren't we all confused and misguided back then?

TSR were no different  :wink:

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