Thursday, November 15, 2012

The TSR Reprints I Want...

With all of these reprints from the old AD&D lines of various editions, I got to thinking what I would like to see if Wizards of the Coast just opened up the reprints to the entire TSR back catalog instead of the AD&D items.  Here is what I would like to see...
B/X D&D:  For many people this is the pinnacle of D&D gaming.  I would be happy with reprinted box sets that included the modules originally shipped with the product or even a combined hardbound book with the Basic rule book followed by the Expert rules.  Many of the old timers cut their teeth on these rules and I think many of them would jump at the chance to replace their old battered copies.  I know I would!
D&D Rules Cyclopedia:  I would personally rather see this reprinted than the individual boxed sets from the BECMI line of products.  Of course, I would like all of the errors fixed because there are a ton of them in this manual.
Gamma World:  My favorite version continues to be the original.  I have messed with most other editions but I have never even flipped through a second edition set.  I hear that second edition is actually just a better organized and cleaned up version of first edition.  If that is so then I would pick up a reprinted second edition.  Hell, just reprint both editions.
Unearthed Arcana:  Just because of the crappy binding from the original; mine literally fell apart after a short period of use. 
There is probably more that I would like to see reprinted but that is a good start.  That list above would probably keep me pretty satisfied for quite some time. 
What would you like to see reprinted if Wizards opened up the entire TSR back catalog?


  1. I have read recently about people having UA problems. Odd thing is, I never have. At one time, I had about 5 copies, I think I only have 3 now. OA, on the other hand, it fell apart easily and a lot.

    Other than the binding, why the reprints? Why not just get the originals? I have found them cheap, in fact cheaper now than 15-20 yrs ago when the dollar was worth a lot more.

    For me, I suppose I like the idea that my old junk will go up in value, or that I will have the original. I don't really want reprints.

    I realize that newer Millennium Falcons look a lot better, but I still want the original one from Kenner. So the new books may be better, but not the original so not very interested.

    1. Actually, the binding is the only reason I would want a UA reprint and, now that you mention it, OA. It is funny that UA has held up for you. I forgot about OA falling apart on me also. I guess I wouldn't mind a reprint of that just to have books that are not falling apart.

      Other than first edition, I have found some pretty high prices for the other stuff. If I could come across a used, old copy of something on the cheap then I would definitely get it before the reprint.

  2. "or even a combined hardbound book with the Basic rule book followed by the Expert rules."

    What I would love to see is a book that integrates the Basic and Expert books into one seamless whole, with the original art.

    1. You can sort of make one if you have the originals. Scan the pages and then put them together. Then, submit them to Lulu to print. As long as you don't make it public, you can print pretty much whatever you want from them.

      I sort of regret never getting the Rules Cyclopedia. It is just that I never liked BD&D because I didn't like the idea of Eld, Dwarf, etc being like classes. I much preferred the AD&D model.

    2. Original art on those Basic/Expert boxes would be a must for me. Much of the childhood charm of those rulebooks were in those delightful illustrations.

      Who can forget the alignment example? The black clothed thief about to slay a tied-up goblin, the bearded lawful trying to prevent it, and the aloof neutral's indifference. Or the dragon's breath variants (cone, line, and cloud-shaped!)? Or even the hilarious Gaseous Form illustration from David LaForce?

      Classic stuff. And if you doubt the power of those images, I dare you to open up your pdf copies (because that's what most of us have these days, I bet). Go on. As soon as you lay eyes on those pictures again you'll remember how much you loved them.

    3. @Darius: That is awesome information! I have printed books instead of pdf's so that isn't feasible for me. If WOTC brings back the pdfs then I'm going to do one of those. I also prefer the AD&D model of separating race and class but I have grown somewhat fond of the race as class used of D&D in recent years.

      @The Mayflay: Eric, I completely agree with your thoughts. I believe the B/X edition has the right look, tone, feel, and illustrations that combine to make magic. It would definitely have to include the original artwork.

  3. Ah, Gamma World. How I loved {and hated} that game. Heh.

    Gamma World, Star Frontiers, Gangbusters, Boot Hill, Top Secret... D&D was the property that made TSR, but in my opinion the 'other' games are what made that company truly special.

    The early editions of these games are kind of hard to find (or afford in some cases), but not impossible. Still, a nostalgia-fueled reprinting of the TSR classics would be pretty darned cool as homage - and probably a tad more affordable to the average schmoe.

    Using Boot Hill as an example, right now on ebay you can find one copy of the 1st edition pamphlet for $141 - and two copies of the second edition box for around $50. That's steep. While Boot Hill is far too obscure for the reprint treatment, some of those titles - especially Star Frontiers and Gamma World, had and still have a rather large following. I would bet enough of us old-timers would be interested enough in some of these games (or settings) to at least make it profitable for WotC.

    Heck, a reprinting of some of those micro-games TSR produced would be sweet as well (Vampyre, They've Invaded Pleasantville, etc.).

    I can wish, can't I?

    1. Eric, once again we are on the same page. I agree that D&D made TSR but the other games were something quite special in their own right. That's why I want them to open up the whole back catalog - early prints of these other games are often outrageous or just not available. I had forgot the micro-games!!!!! Who wouldn't want a set of those?

    2. Has Wizards ever done anything with those older properties acquired from TSR? When WotC sold pdfs, did they sell Boot Hill and Gangbusters (as example)? I was out of that scene at the time (still am, really); I have no idea, yet have always been curious.

      I do know that I own just about every game TSR ever made in pdf form. I've always assumed they were fan made scans that happened to make the internet rounds.

      I even have both of those minigames mentioned. The only thing that has prevented me from printing them out is a dread of empty ink cartridges and having to buy thicker paper to make it worthwhile.

    3. Honestly, I have no idea if Wizards did anything at all with those older TSR properties other than D&D. I am no help with information in that I can, however, provide the following link if you are interested at all in Star Frontiers:

    4. I just scored myself a worn 2nd edition box of DC Heroes, which I am pretty excited about. Combined with the name-dropping of some of the TSR classics, I realized that you've never really mentioned too many non-fantasy RPGs from your childhood.

      What other games really caught your fancy, Charlie?

      For myself, I liked FASA Star Trek quite a bit. My friends and I also played TSR's Marvel Super Heroes, Boot Hill, and James Bond rather often.

    5. Duuuude! DC Heroes?!?!? That's freakin' awesome as Hell! Congratulations on your purchase. I need to track down a copy of that myself.

      Cool question. I owned and played a ton of games growing up. I think it's positively clear that I am a big fan of the fantasy genre so other than Palladium Fantasy 1st Edition I will skip the fantasy games and go on to the others....

      FASA Star Trek was pretty cool. We used to play the related Starship Tactical Combat game FASA put out also. I think the FASA game that got the most play was BATTLETECH.

      TSR's Marvel Super Heroes got countless hours of play in my group. I liked both the original and the advanced set. Still one of the best supers games ever put out. The only other supers game that got more play was probably Villains & Vigilantes. In fact, V&V may be the only game that got played more than D&D with my group of friends. If I can find some of my old folders I will post up some of my characters on my blog sometime.

      Paranoia got a lot of play with us as well as RIFTS and Gamma World. One of my all time favorite games was OGRE by Steve Jackson Games. I also liked Car Wars and Illuminati.

      Oh, and we actually played a short campaign of TEENAGERS FROM OUTER SPACE but my favorite R. Talsorian game is definitely MEKTON. As much as I loved BATTLETECH, I believe MEKTON is much easier to learn and teach.

      That about covers it. I may talk a lot about fantasy games but I played quite a bit of other games in my teen years.

    6. My ignorance shows when talking to true gamers far too often.

      While I know of Villains & Vigilantes, Battletech, Ogre, Rifts, and Car Wars, I've never played them. The last two mentioned (Teenagers from... and Mekton), I've never even heard of.

      What about any games or systems that you've always wanted to play?

      I've played Call of Cthulhu (as has probably everyone interested in the hobby) - but the one game like it that I've always wished to play was Chill. I've got a bunch of pdfs of the two editions and supplements, much of it pretty darned fun to read.

      Another one is Pendragon. Talk about epic. Holy cow.

    7. True gamer? Pfft - I just grew up in a really small town with nothing better to

      Teenagers is a comedy game that plays fast and loose. The rules were basically guidelines and the emphasis was on moving the game forward. You played teenagers on Earth that were going to high school with teenagers that were from other planets. Goofy and fun.

      Mekton is basically Battletech but done in the style of Voltron or other similar overseas series. For more detailed information go to

      I have actually read through Call of Cthulhu and would very much like to play sometime. The Lovecraft stories are amazing to me. Unfortunately, the opportunity to play has never presented itself.

      I also used to own Pendragon but after reading through several sections of the rules I knew my group of friends would have no interest because it is not hack-n-slash D&D.

      I actually have a collection of Chill pdf material. It looks very interesting to me also.

      Your last paragraph actually listed the 3 games I basically want to try more than anything else and have never gotten the chance.

    8. Oh, and the mektonzeta link above has a free pdf of Mekton Alpha that you can download...

  4. Hot Dog!

    I just received a pristine first print copy of the 1982 Gangbusters rulebook. $10.25 with shipping through ebay. Huzzah!

    1. ... And I should have mentioned that this blog piece of yours directly inspired me to seek out the game, Charlie; thanks!

      What is interesting to me is that TSR released this particular Gangbusters book on its own; it is not part of a lost boxed set. In my neck of the woods, I never remember seeing separate rulebooks for the lesser TSR games. Everything seemed to be box sets; Star Frontiers, Marvel, Boot Hill, etc.

      Looking through the Wayne's Books site (highly recommended, by the way), it looks as if Gangbusters and Gamma World were the only two TSR games released as standalones (outside of D&D, of course).

    2. Awesome, Eric! I admit that my knowledge of Gangbusters is very limited. Can you tell me more about it? I had no idea that anything outside of D&D was released in a standalone book format. I will have to check out Wayne's Books.

    3. Designed by Rick Krebs, Gangbusters is essentially Boot Hill set in the 1920s/30s; instead of John Wayne with his six shooter, you're playing as Edward G. Robinson and Jimmy Cagney with tommy guns.

      While it is the standard percentile based system that early RPGs celebrated, Gangbusters was one of the first RPGs (that I know of) to encourage competitive play during sessions. For example, my character might be a hired killer from Murder Incorporated while yours might be a G-Man looking to put me behind bars - or even a hard-boiled investigative reporter looking for a scoop.

      And just like Boot Hill, gun play is fast and vicious.

      As an interesting aside, it turns out that Gangbusters isn't even owned by Wizards; the rights reverted back to Krebs. I'm not sure if any of the other TSR games could say the same.

    4. Gangbusters sounds fun!

      I believe Metamorphosis Alpha reverted to James M. Ward.

    5. Hah! As soon as I hit 'Publish', I remembered Ward and Metamorphis Alpha (aka Gamma World's Big Brother). Good catch and correction, Charlie.

      Giving thought to your reprints post and my initial comment, I realize that many of the older TSR games are far too dated to make much of a dent these days. D&D may have transcended, but Boot Hill (cowboys & indians), Gangbusters (cops & robbers), and Top Secret (spy games) are very much products of their times.

      In the case of the first two games mentioned, the authors and interested audiences grew up on cowboy movies and gangster flicks. In many ways, those genres made a hell of a lot more sense than Tolkien/Arthurian - at least to the early American role-playing market. After all, to kids of the 1970s and earlier, backyard games of cowboys & indians / cops & robbers were childhood staples.

      Can kids of today say the same? I just don't know.

      In conclusion: Nostalgia can tend to obscure reality. While I would like to see Boot Hill reprinted, I know that it will never happen due to sheer feasibility...

      ... Unless they released a big-assed 'Classic Games Collection' hardbound. That would rock.


  5. I've been on a nostalgia kick myself.

    Jim Ward has Metamorphosis Alpha available on Lulu.
    As for the rest, if you have access to Adobe, you can find and reprint just about anything on Lulu.

    I've printed up Boot Hill, Gamma World and host of others of books that I owned at one time but have been stolen or lost in the mists of time.

    1. First, "Eye Poker" is a great name! I like it!!

      I've actually been "this close" to getting MA and I should just to do what you suggested. Great idea and I'd get several of the products you listed. Off to start getting some of this done....

  6. Boot Hill 2nd ed., Gangbusters 1st ed., Gamma World, Indiana Jones, Conan, pretty much any of their non-D&D games I would love to see.