Gary Gygax wrote my D&D manifesto back in 1975. May 1, 2012 11:07:32 GMT -6
Post by jasonzavoda on May 1, 2012 11:07:32 GMT -6
As Tim Kask says in his article in Knockspell #1, "...The fun started to leech away within months. Now there were dicta, dogma and regulations; gone were the days of guidelines. And who was to blame for this sorry, disreputable state of affairs. The players…"
At the time A&E#1 was released, June 1975 there were not a great many of the D&D set that had been sold. 1,000 copies produced in Jan. 1974 with some problems concerning production (book 3 may have been damaged or misprinted and disgarded. according to the Acaeum) and an updated 1st print around Dec 1974. How many of that first 1,000 were sent to game and hobby stores rather than into the hands of DMs? It is said that it took 11 months for TSR to sell out of the Jan. 1974 printing which would be a sizable number less than 1,000 copies.
In Jan 1975 TSR produced a 2nd print of the boxed set (1,000 to 2,000) copies and took 6 months or so to sell out.
The thing that is so intriguing about the early issues of A&E and Gygax's letter in issue #2 is that there wouldn't have been truckloads of mail to TSR as there soon would be. Look at the early issues of The Strategic Review where they are asking for articles and contributors (How quickly that would change). Spring 1975 is the infancy of the game, though its popularity is growing in leaps and bounds.
I think the letter in A&E#2 shows Gygax the hobbyist just starting to become Gygax the businessman. I believe the comments regarding stark revisions and harsh criticism of Gygax and D&D and the open support of theft through xeroxing brought out in print in A&E had a great deal to do with the change in attitude. If you look at the severe reaction TSR and Gygax had to criticism right from the start of the Strategic Review (with the fight over Origins and the Reviewer who had negative statements about D&D) my feeling is that A&E weighed far more heavily in the formation of the more conservative and litigious attidue of Gygax than it should have, simply by being one of the first D&D magazines published.
Even by June 1976 A&E was still being recommended by TSR (note the small comment to this effect at the end of Lee Gold's article on Languages in Dragon #1).
All my opinion of course from someone who wasn't there. And this all changed very rapidly. D&D was monstrously successful and very quickly grew beyond anything that the opinions of a small group of gamers on the west coast had any effect on, but back in A&E #2 every opinion expressed seemed to matter a hundredfold and every xeroxed copy was taking food out of Gygax's and the Old TSR guards' mouths (and their childrens). It is just that there is a conversation going on between these west coast gamers and Gygax that reveals itself in these early issue of A&E and the early issues of SR that I hadn't known existed and that I find facinating.