Thursday, January 19, 2012

MY HEAD A SPLODE

In case you haven't heard Wizards of the Coast is doing a short reprint of the original three 1st edition core rulebooks.  They're due in U.S. and Canadian hobby stores (and nowhere else) in April.  New cover art but same interiors.  The slim ones will set you back 35 bucks, the DMG is $45.  Proceeds go towards the Gygax Memorial Fund (the independant entity already working towards getting Gary a statue in Lake Geneva).  Here are my thoughts, in no particular order.

  • The pricing is totally fair, assuming the print, paper and binding quality is high.  When the MM first came out in 1977 it retailed at $9.95.  That's $35.38 in 2010 dollars, according to this inflation calculator.  "I can get the originals cheaper on eBay!" someone will say.  DO SO!  If you don't already own the first edition DMG you are missing out on one of the greatest texts in the hobby.
  • A new boxed set with an old cover didn't work, so they try old hardbounds with new cover art?  These guys are a little weird sometimes.  I hope the cover art positively screams "No, this is really the old stuff!  We aren't pulling your leg this time!"
  • Any players from back in the day or newbies without a clue in your family: here is their next birthday or Christmas gift from you.
  • If these sell well enough more reprints are likely to follow.
  • This isn't exactly what I want, but I know an olive branch when I see one.  With a gesture like this on the table it would be obnoxious not to give the 5e playtest process a try.
  • That being said, there's no reason to stop holding WotC's feet to the fire.  Will the binding be the same as the originals?  How much of each sale goes to the Gygax fund?  These and other questions should be asked and answers should be forthcoming.

38 comments:

  1. One point that will probably be clarified soon (and maybe people who speak the publisher/retailer lingo can clear this up quicker). It says that the books will have their original art but feature an attractive new cover design to commemorate the re-release. Does that mean that the cover art will be different, or does that possibly mean that the original art might be incorporated into a new design on the cover? I would hope the latter - if this is supposed to be a "commemorative edition" then it would make more sense to somehow make use of the original design.

    Also - everyone should take note that these are limited printing, hobby store only releases. With some portion of the proceeds going to charity. So this is a great chance to support your friendly local game store if you have one.

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  2. This is great news! I haven't owned the original rulebooks for years and years. Although I kind of hope that the binding is not like the originals at all; the reason I don't own the originals anymore is because they fell apart the instant I touched them.

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  3. Anonymous9:34 AM

    WOTC to OSR:

    "Oh baby. I'm sorry. Come back. It won't happen again. Trust me!"

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    1. Anonymous11:20 PM

      Love this comment.

      Delete
  4. Eh...cool i suppose. I still don't quite understand things like this...I'm not in the right head about gaming, i suppose, but to me why don't we just use the old books, beat up, crappy binding, the works? These are the same thing with a new cover? At least it shows some amount of respect to the "old school", but you can find pretty decent copies of the originals for 5-15 bucks anyhow. Hmmm. What am I missing here? I do like the memorial fund, that's cool, but still...the hobby is starting to degrade with too much materials out there and not enough playing. Let's just play, man! ;)

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    1. My originals are older than I am and the spines are falling apart. Not much point in buying second hand copies on ebay while I still have my own, but I might pick up the new ones.

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  5. It's startlingly that any old schooler sees this as anything but an unqualified good, but I see already that there already are. Weird.

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    1. Yeah, that's my feeling on it, too. This is a pretty cool thing for WotC to do, I think.

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  6. Now I can start to fantasize about a hardback omnibus of AD&D modules.

    S1-S4 anyone?

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  7. Kinda curious about the crappy "binding comments." The early printings are known for their outstanding binding. The middle printings, which still featured the "Wizard Logo" are solid as well, and I believe all of those also had sewn bindings. Even the later print runs still hold up very well, after over 30 years. Not sure about the Orange Spine printings.

    Unearthed Arcana is a different story. It's famous for falling apart. My own, second-hand bought copy is in good shape, but I almost never read it.

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    1. That should be "crappy binding" comments.

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    2. Not sure which printing they were, but I bought mine in 1982 or so. Within a year my DMG was falling apart, PHB following not long after. MM held up pretty well, though. I was probably pretty rough on them at the table, though.

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    3. I distinctly remember my orange-spine editions of the DMG and PHB losing their spines not too long after purchasing them. Mine definitely had sub-standard binding.

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    4. My orange-spines held up very well. Must have been some serious inconsistencies in the production process.

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  8. I'm not trying to say it isn't "good", I'm just saying that it seems there's a lot of products anymore that are a re-statement of the original...and the original is still out there to be had for cheap. This is the same exact thing with a different cover, right?

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    1. Sorry Ron, I didn't actually mean you I was reacting more to some of the inexplicable grumpier posts at Dragonsfoot.

      It is a valid point, I have an almost mint set of the books I got at a used bookstore this year for $30. But that was a rare find, much better to be able to walk into the game store and buy an in-print version.

      Personally I plan on gifting at least a few copies to people.

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  9. Agree on all counts. I would add to the first point that acquiring an original copy in good condition will probably set you back more than these new ones will (I know, because I recently bought some copies in good condition).

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  10. Why not in the UK? Boo hiss!!!

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  11. Well, you may have a point there depending on where you look. I'll crawl back to my taped-up copies and my 8 tracks of Judas Priest. I'm a sad old man. Maybe I'm just being a weenie because I can't buy more gaming stuff without ending up with no place else to put it all....wahhhhh.

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  12. I want to know how much is being donated myself before even considering a purchase.......

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  13. First, I probably will donate all three to our library to replace the ones they have with deteriorating covers and broken spines. The way WotC is selling these books excludes them from library acquisitions, and I have played multiple games at our FLGS with players sporting D&D books from the public library.

    Second, the omnibus of all AD&D modules is such an awesome idea because no libraries bothered to purchase and preserve any of TSR's softcover modules or boxed sets.

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  14. Its cool, ckutalik..hey, at least some of the money is going to a good thing, and with a new dressing-up, maybe its a good gift for a newbie even. I wish WOTC would stop being boneheads about the 3LBBs. Now there's something that should be back out a reasonable price. How about a hardback of all 3 of those...warts and original art intact and all.

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  15. I'll buy them. No doubt. The price is fair if the binding is good.

    I find the timing really interesting. Right after the 5E announcement/4E death knell.

    OSRians (who don't like 4E) are 2/2 this month lol

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  16. I can understand why people would be entirely underwhelmed. No old school fan was sitting around thinking, “I wish Wizards would do a limited run reprint of 1e with new covers.” ^_^

    Why this makes me happy, though, is that not doing things like this seems crazy. Premium reprints of classic products for the nostalgia market seems like a no-brainer. Even more, you’d think Wizards would be doing everything they could to look like a paragon member of the community by doing things like contributing to the Gygax fund.

    So, there’s one sign that Wizards might start being a company I want to do business with.

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    1. 'No old school fan was sitting around thinking, “I wish Wizards would do a limited run reprint of 1e with new covers.” ^_^'

      and

      'Premium reprints of classic products for the nostalgia market seems like a no-brainer.':

      You the took words right outta my mouth!


      'So, there’s one sign that Wizards might start being a company I want to do business with.':
      It's their overlord that seems to be the biggest problem, in truth...

      Delete
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  18. Perhaps the situation is different for folks elsewhere, but in Seattle those original 1E books are easily found in the numerous used-book stores around town for around $10 each or less. I still own the first 1E books I bought around 30 years ago and they are in great shape (sturdy spines). Since the original cover art is part of the charm for me, I don't see what the draw is for these new printings at all.

    Okay, the Gygax fund thing is actually pretty classy.

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    1. 'Perhaps the situation is different for folks elsewhere, but in Seattle those original 1E books are easily found in the numerous used-book stores around town for around $10 each or less.':

      Actually, my local, as in South Carolina, bookstores and game shops semi-frequently feature 1E books for about the same price. I recently picked up the DMG, MM, PHB combo for less than $30!

      'Since the original cover art is part of the charm for me, I don't see what the draw is for these new printings at all.':
      Totally, I'd much rather have a facsimile edition than a variant cover myself. But, I think this is aimed at least partly at the collectors market.(Now there's Original, Orange Spine, and 2012 Gygax Memorial Re-issue!) The fact that this is strictly mentioned to be a limited press run would seem to confirm that.

      'Okay, the Gygax fund thing is actually pretty classy.':
      Wizbro kinda looked bad for not having SOME type of recognition of the foundations of the hobby, considering they OWN the pre-eminent and original RPG that started it all, imo. That said, this is a good thing, but what about Dave Arneson? Not to mention honoring the contributions of Jeff Perren, Don Kaye, the Blumes, the Kuntzes, John Eric Holmes, Tom Moldvay, Frank Mentzer, et. al? Hopefully, one day the definitive history of the hobby that shaped the pastimes of millions of people and sizably contributed to the world economy will finally be clearly and impartially(as best as psossible) told. It'd be great if Wizbro would be in on the ground floor of this!

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  19. Anonymous10:58 PM

    DOANT BUY TEHM!!1 IT AM ARE EVAL PLOY TO CRUSH OSR COMPNANES!!1 IF THAY GO LIKE A HAWTKAKE TEHN YUO WILL SEE EVEN MOAR STUFF TO SALE US!!1

    :p
    -NUNYA

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  20. This is fantastic. This proves they really are serious that they want everyone back playing Dungeons & Dragons together again with 5th Edition. Sweet.

    (Plus, any of you who are not familiar with the Actual Gygax Memorial plans, as opposed to "the stupid dragon on an egg on a pillar" that for some reason circulated as the memorial, you need to be informed; it makes me kind of angry that you cannot seem to get a picture of the plans on the memorial page)

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  21. I can't imagine a better move on WotC's part to soften their image. They totally earned back a lot of respect from me today.

    Hopefully, this will take the fundraising for Gary's statue over the top as well.

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  22. Anonymous4:08 AM

    I'm just upset that those of outside the U.S are being penalised in this way.

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  23. My response boils down to:

    (A) Sounds nice. Prices fair. Groovy.
    (B) I'd rather have a 3-in-1 omnibus, but okay.
    (C) I wish it were for the Gygax Fund To Help Crippled Kids or the Gygax Fund To Help Cure Lukemia or something rather than the Gygax Fund to Aggrandize Gygax, because it's not like the dude doesn't have this massive media-impact legacy already. But okay.

    Nothing really head asplodey for me, I guess. Just: yeah, okay, sounds good.

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  24. Fuck that!
    I live in Germany, no way can I get my hands on those new old editions.

    Why don't the Wizards go all the way, reprint the old books and offer them globally, just like their other shit?

    Mumblegrumble.

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  25. Anonymous5:31 PM

    I would buy just to help fund a Gygax Golem

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  26. Anonymous1:27 AM

    There's only one gaming shop near my area which I don't go to much anymore (since it's based in La Crosse and I'm out of college), but if it's coming to stores like this and not the major booksellers such as Barnes and Noble, I might consider swinging by come April and picking them up if they have them, not only for the experience of reading through and perhaps running the original AD&D, but because with the short printing, this is going to become a collector's item real fast-like.

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  27. Anonymous5:02 PM

    You're right. The prices are fair, but it's still a lot of money. What kills it for me is the cover art. I don't think the halfway approach is going to work with classic material. Either the 1e books are a duplicate or they aren't, and why buy them if they aren't? My fondest hope is that we get all three versions of the basic rules reprinted, but I'm not going to hold my breath on that one.

    = ## =

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  28. I put in an order for some from Armored Gopher. I'm a new schooler, I play Pathfinder every weekend, so for someone like me, who is interested in reading and running these old school things this is perfect. I know that with enough research and flat out searching I'd probably be able to find all the books cheaper, but to me this is a way for me to be completely satisfied in my purchase. In other words, I can trust these as the originals and trust that they are unedited (as opposed to the clones that are out now, I haven't tried them so I'm not speaking of their quality, only that, as someone with 0 experience with old school gaming, having the "real" thing seems like less of a risk).

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