Monday, March 22, 2010

A totally unscientific survey: Do you own an older edition?

Prompted by this and the fact the question comes lot on the TheRPGSite a lot. I have some questions for my audience.

  1. Do you own an older edition of D&D (prior to 2e)?
  2. If you didn't keep your copy from "back in the day" or just wasn't old enough; how difficult it was it for you to find your copy and buy it. Do you consider the price a good deal?
Finally any opinion on how difficult for a new gamer to get an older edition is appreciated.

As for my opinion, I noticed that the availability of older editions in local game stores have plummeted. The only place where I now a NW PA gamer to reliably find copies is the Wargame Matrix in Cleveland. Online prices are creeping up and at some point a year ago it has become impractical for gamers to just pick up a copy of OD&D as prices gone up over $50 for the later printing. Add in the supplements the prices become really unattractive. My impression is that is becoming the same for the Moldavy Edition although not quite there for Holmes. The same for the Rule Compendium for D&D. AD&D 1st and Mentzer D&D still appear readily available.


Cameron said...

[1] Haven't owned any original old school rules in several years.

[2] The last one I bought was an AD&D PH for $1- at my favorite local used bookstore. Did I sell it? Throw it away? I can't honestly remember.

[3] Ain't no kid gonna get into OS gaming unless his or her dad is the DM, period. I'm just imagining some guy standing outside the local grade school: "Psst. Hey, kid! Wanna try some OSR? I got some S&W, some LL, even some fine quality OSRIC. First taste won't cost you nuthin'. C'mon . . ."

Jensan said...

1) Yep, 1E AD&D.

2) It's wasn't hard at all to obtain a copy - online auction (like ebay). It costed me something like $100 for seven books (hardback, good condition). I believe it's a good price.

Flynn said...

Good Morning, Rob:

I own a copy of 1st Edition AD&D, which I kept from my first days of gaming back in the late 80s. Most of my 1E books were stolen in 1995, but I still have my PHB, my MM1, and I've managed to get a few other hardbacks here and there through lucky deals.

In my experience, it is getting harder and harder to find OS stuff at reasonable prices. The diehard purists would have you believe that it's the only way to go, but without lucky breaks, the dwindling supply and increased "niche" demand are making that more and more a pipe dream for bringing in new gamers to the fold. Of course, that isn't something they're worried about for themselves, so I guess for them, that's not an issue.

I recently picked up the Rules Cyclopedia through an online used books seller for pretty much cover price, and I consider myself lucky for doing so, given the prices I've seen it go for on eBay. That's what I consider a lucky break. Otherwise, I would never own a copy of the book. Price does impact my shopping habits, particularly in today's economy.

With Regards,

Rick said...

My first rpg - Holmes - is long gone, and I've never replaced it. Of my AD&D 1e books, I bought most stuff until 1982, then lapsed in interest: almost all of that stuff (save the MM, strangely), I still have, some in the original grocery-sack protective covers that I made in 1978 or so. Just this past year I picked up all the late 1e hardbacks in which I had any interest (MM2, DSG, etc) at a local used book store for $6 each. I also had to replace the FF, also for $6. I've been busily replacing and adding to my 1e modules over the past 5 years - all at a reasonable cost. IMO, they are easily accessible and cheap. But that's 1e.

Jeff Rients said...

I goot my OD&D books on eBay, I was a cheapskate and refused to pay more than ten bucks plus shipping per book. Took me almost two years and the condition of each book is subpar but useable.

Unknown said...

I'm pleased to say that I still have my AD&D 1e hardcovers but somewhere along the line I lost my copy of Mokdvay and all my first edition modules. I suspect that my mom tossed them when I went away to college.

Hakdov said...

Yes. AD&D 1, AD&D 2, D&D 3.5, Basic D&D (3 sets - 2 moldvay, 1 blue book). They are easy to get on ebay or used book stores and usually fairly cheap.

Jeff said...

I have the core books for AD&D 1e.

Many years ago I traded in my originals for something new and shiny when I was a struggling student. Within the last few months I have re-acquired the core books.

It is easy and inexpensive to pick up the originals (for AD&D). $20 per book or so from an online store like Nobleknight but if you spend a little time on eBay, you can get the books even cheaper.

Unknown said...

I've recently purchased the three AD&D books and the full set of LBB's and supplements piecemeal on EBay. It was easy enough to find these. As you mentioned, the AD&D books were quite reasonable at between 10-20 dollars each for middle print runs (I.e. Not first printings but still with the sewn binding rather than the later glued one).

The LBBs were pricier. I lost a couple of auctions trying to get them for cheap. I eventually shelled out $150 for a 6th printing at a fixed price. This had tge box and three books, but no reference sheets and stuff, so of interest to gamers, not collecters. I fortunately won an auction for the whole lot of supplements, including even swords and spells, for $70. Most of the stores sell individual LBBs for anywhere from $50 to $80 each, when they can be found. That is, of course, for later printings, not the collectibles.

I sure wish I had all the gaming books from my youth. They probably got left at a friends house and just disappeared in time. I never intentionally got rid of them. Some of them were first printings and are worth some cash now...

Unknown said...

You probably should also ask if we have any opportunity to play them. Not yet :(

James Bobb said...

[1] OD&D OCE with Supplements 1-4; Cook/Marsh B/X; Holmes Basic; AD&D 1E PHB, MM, FF, DD and DMG.

[2] Had them all since they were new.

Randall said...

I owe all the D&D rules books TSR published (but not all of the modules, supplements, etc, -- especially from the 2e era). I bought them as they were published. I also have most of the core rules for the various versions in PDF, purchased before WOTC stupidly pulled them all.

Older D&D books are very hard to get locally and are seldom affordable when they are available. No one wants to play inflated collector prices for a book they are going to use to play as opposed to horde as an investment.

Old school gaming in the area seems to be mainly done with clones. I'm running an OD&D game with 7 players and I'm the only person with a copy of OD&D. The players all use clones or just don't bother to get a copy of the rules.

David The Archmage said...

I have the Rules Cyclopedia, The Red Box, 3.0, and 4e in analog format. I have 2.0 and the little brown books in electronic format.

The Red Box is my newest acquisition, which I picked up at a yard sale last year for a buck. It came with the dice and the crayon!

Reese Laundry said...

I started with Moldvay Basic, then moved through AD&D and 2nd Ed before finally giving up gaming and selling everything. I had owned all the rulebooks and a goodly pile of modules, box sets and assorted stuff. I got back into gaming once I had kids and they got old enough to play, of course. So...

1) Yes, I now own some BECMI and AD&D 1 material.
2) I bought the BECMI rules in PDF when they were still available. I've since then picked up a Rules Cyclopedia for cover price by watching Amazon and avoiding the rapists on eBay. Got my 1e PHB and DMG the same way, very cheaply.

To be honest, I see no reason to dig up old D&D rulesets for teaching new players old-school gaming. Swords and Wizardry, Labyrinth Lord and OSRIC are all freely available, well supported and in many cases present the rules in a format that is easier to grasp than the originals.

Unknown said...


But I did buy some of the pdfs before WOTC took them away.

biopunk said...

I've kept all the original AD&D books I had, and bought 2 of the ones I didn't, (WSG + MM2) this in January for $36.31 USD.

Last autumn, I snagged a boxed Holmes Basic set (complete with dice, crayon & catalog) and in excellent shape plus 2 modules for $37.55 USD.

I bought the Mentzer B/X/C rule books for $24.40 USD in December and they were all in pretty rough shape, but intact.

The most I've paid was likely $13.85 USD for a single Moldavy Expert Rulebook. It was definitely the hardest to find.

All of these purchases were thru ebay and the prices included shipping by USPS Priority Mail International - I'm in Canada.

I probably paid too much for the Mentzers, but that was more the cost of the shipping rather than the state of them...

Balrog62 said...

I have all of my original 1e hardbacks and LBB's (except Greyhawk, which I got a poor copy of from a used book store for $5 almost 20 years ago). And I still go back and read or use them. I'm trying to get all the old modules now. Those are dang near impossible to find in any condition.

@Cameron: the other possibility for OS is if the DM is a teacher. I've gotten a dozen kids hooked on S&W or OSRIC by showing and running games at school.

nothing said...

1st edition) 3 near mint core books. eBay auction for $12 plus $10 S&H about a year ago.

B\X) 2 books fair condition. eBay auction for $4 plus $4 S&H about 3 years ago.

Holmes book) Gift from friend a year or so back.

OD&D plus Supplements) Legal PDF's from RPGNow.

Allandaros said...

I started out with the 2e AD&D PHB at full price - the only one I've bought at that price. (Well, my parents bought it for me; I was in 7th grade.) Wound up getting the other 2e corebooks for around $5 or so each, and the 1e corebooks from $3-$5. I got copies of one Basic rulebook (don't remember which edition) and the Rules Cyclopedia from an aunt who went to a yard sale and found a whole binful of RPGs. Never owned a copy of the LBBs.

Lord Kilgore said...

[1] Yes, I own B/X, BE of [BECMI], and most of the 1e hardcovers.

[2] It was not at all difficult to find affordable B/X in really excellent (as in near new) condition for I think about $5 each on eBay. My BE were bought new back in the day but they are plentiful on eBay also.

My 1e core books from bitd are in my brother's possession, but there seem to be sufficient numbers of them at reasonable prices in acceptable condition on eBay and in game stores. Takes a bit of shopping around and patience, but they're there.

All that said, trying to get a group together to play B/X (for instance) would be a major hassle. I'm not going to join a group to play something if I have to shop around for used copies of the game. Play something in print. (Insert plug for Labryinth Lord HERE)

Dirk said...

I've got a complete set of Mentzer from Basic through to Immortal (just the booklets; no boxes or dice) that I bought off a friend of mine.

I sold him my 2nd edition books in 1992 and then bought them back off him 7 years later, so we have a history of doing stuff like that.

I too purchased several of the AD&D PDFs when they were atill available.

BlUsKrEEm said...

I own Holmes, Mentzer, Moldvay, Rules Cyclopedia, 1st ed, 2nd ed.

3)1st ed and RC were a pain to get a hold of. I checked used book stores for a year before breaking down and going the E-bay way. At the time RC was a pretty hot item, and it took a while for me to finaly win an auction (Unless I wanted to spend $80 or more.) I've heard that the price isn't as bad as it used to be, however.

I think one of the bigger problems is publicity. Someone who goes out of their way to find older editions will be able to purchase them with a little work, and for a price much lower then fourth edition. The problem is they have to look for them. I can't recall the last time I saw 2nd edition displayed in a Game store, and only once have I ever seen a basic set on display. While I know more Older-Edition players now, I don't know of an consorted effort to promote or organize in my area.

BigFella said...

I've got a Holmes edition that I picked up at a high school somehow when I was a Senior back in 1989-90. I've got a Moldvay Basic book that I got as a present long, long ago in the early 80's. (Christmas present, don't remember who gave it to me.)

I've got my old 1st. Edition Players Handbook and Monster Manual, which were given to me as Christmas presents sometime in the mid-80's, along with a copy of the 1st. Ed. DMG that I bought secondhand about five years ago, and a second copy that I found in much better condition at a Half Price Books store in Cleveland for pretty cheap.

I recently purchased the three core books for 2e. for a Christmas present for my brother, and I think between Half Price Books and I spent around $50 or so.

I'd like to get my hands on a copy of Cook/Expert to go with my Moldvay Basic, probably at GenCon this year. I hope it ain't too pricy.

Anonymous said...

Still have a lot of 1st edition (and some older) books in my collection. More for nostalgia than anything else at the point I suspect.

Daddy Grognard said...

Late to the party, sorry about that. I owned all the 1e books (with the exception of UA and MM2) back in the day. Got rid of them all when my group broke up and I knew I wasn't going to game again, as they were just a reminder of what I'd lost.

Flash forward 20 years or so and I found that I was able to them all on Amazon for probably about the same as I originally paid for them. PHB I got from my brother as a birthday present (his original one from the 80s) but I didn't pay more than £10 for any single book, all of which are in tip-top condition. MM and MM2 came in a joint package for £10 the two.

Even the D&DG with Cthulhu and Melnibonean mythos. Probably worth five times what I paid for it.

I did think about ebay but the stress of having to bid for something I really really wanted and then get sniped at the last moment was too much. Amazon I just slapped my wedge down and in it came.

And no, I still haven't got (and don't need) UA.

Stefan Poag said...

I still have some of my books from long ago (some I lost or got rid of when my girlfriend made fun of me). Others I bought second hand. Most treasured are a few character sheets, maps and notes from decades ago... the detritus of campaigns long past.
Ebay and second hand bookstores have allowed me to pick up extras. I also own other old books that I never bought back in the day (like Fiend Folio).
My only regret is that at some point I lost or gave away the 'Deities and Demigods' that had the Cthulhu and Melnibonean Mythos in it.
Few people of my acquaintance seem interested in playing AD&D. Pity.

Frank said...

I still have my copy of OD&D and supplements from back in the day. I also still have my original AD&D Player's Handbook. I also still have my BECM books.

A couple years ago, I picked up Holmes Basic and BX along with a replacement AD&D Monster Manual (and a friend loaned me the DMG, and never hooked up to get it back).

I have purchased PDFs of OD&D + supplements, AD&D, Holmes, and Chainmail.

I haven't payed too much attention to what's available on the used bookstore shelves, but I did notice when I decided to look for it that Rules Compendiums were no longer lining the shelves (or I would have picked one up).

The shelves do still seem to have a significant amount of AD&D and BECM material though.


Pulp Herb said...

I've owned at least the core/basic books of every edition at one point or another:

1. OD&D: 2 white boxes, all supplements except D&D

2. Holmes

3. B/X

4. AD&D1: PHB, MM, DMG, UA, MM2, FF

5. BECMI plus 2 Cyclopedias

I have kept most although some needed replacement. Most were picked up as I could and weren't hard or expensive.

That said, if I hadn't found my 2nd RC at Half-Priced Books I wouldn't have it (it's easy to find but generally $50+). Moldavy Basic is somewhat hard to find as is Holmes but Mentzer isn't.

AD&D1 books are nearly always available at my local HPB.

Justin Alexander said...

I own physical copies of Holmes, Moldvay, Mentzer, and AD&D1.

I bought PDFs of OD&D when they were still available. When they were available I was able to convince several people to buy them. Since they became unavailable, no one I know has purchased old school rules in any format.

I got into gaming in 1989 with BECMI. When I "graduated" to AD&D, my PHB and DMG were 2nd Edition, but I used the 1st Edition Monster Manual for years.

I think Cameron is underestimating the impact the Internet has had on today's youth culture. I think it is possible, if somewhat unlikely, for the OSR to be someone's first exposure to tabletop RPGs.

Rusty said...

I had Holmes, Oe, the original 4 supplements, and most of the AD&D 1e books (I did not own UA, OA, or the dungeon and wilderness books--by then I was in grad school and not playing much). All of my gaming stuff mysterious disappeared at the end of my first marriage.

I recently repurchased most of the 1e stuff (including UA, OA, the dungeon/wilderness books) but have not purchased any of the earliest books or Holmes. I think I was able to purchase each of the 1e books for under $10 a piece on Amazon (used, of course).

Anonymous said...

1) All the BECM except I (replaced by Wrath of Immortals, but it's not old school IMHO). All books in Italian.
Some AD&D 1e hardcover (others are owned by friends)
2) I bought all these books upon their release here in Italy in the '80, at the original price in Lire.
3) Here in Italy is extremely difficult to find anything released before 3e. No way for new gamers to find old editions without spend a lot of money or grab some new retroclone.

trollsmyth said...

Yes, I own a fairly complete collection of the 1e hardbacks (I think the only one I'm missing is Oriental Adventures). Most of these are the original books I bought way back when.

I also have the rulebooks from th Moldvay and Cook boxed sets. Those had to be replaced (the originals having fallen apart years ago). I think those were both picked up at different garage sales.

I also own the two rulebooks from the Mentzer Companion set. I got those from a used book dealer at AggieCon this past year. The price was very good; those plus a near-mint copy of Isle of Dread was something like US $10 total.

Finding these old games is a bit of a hassle. I find the prices on eBay a bit steep and I prefer to be able to see the quality of the stuff first-hand. It's almost impossible to find this stuff in a gaming store.

1e and 2e hardbacks are fairly common in used bookstores in Austin, however. I think it wouldn't take a new player more than a month of hitting the stores before they could put together a good set of the basics for either system. The soft-backs and boxed sets, however, are almost impossible to find.

When I started up a Moldvay/Cook campaign last year, I sent my college-age players to Labyrinth Lord. It's quick, free, and close enough.

Robert said...

Do you own an older edition of D&D (prior to 2e)?

I’ve got my original (Moldvay) Basic Set (sans box), (Cook/Marsh) Expert booklet, and 1e hardbacks. Including a second PHB a friend gave me in the 1990s.

If you didn't keep your copy from "back in the day" or just wasn't old enough; how difficult it was it for you to find your copy and buy it. Do you consider the price a good deal?

I’ve obtained a few duplicates of the Basic and Expert booklets. From both eBay and second-hand stores. The prices were always a good deal.

I picked up an RC at a second-hand store for an OK price.

I picked up a copy of OA (one of the few 1e hardbacks I didn’t own BITD) from a second-hand store for a good price.

I didn’t own a lot of modules BITD. Through eBay and second-hand stores, I have gotten pretty much all the ones I want. Modules tend to be very cheap unless its something very rare.

That data’s all a few years old now, though. I pretty much have everything D&D that I want.

LoreWeaver said...

I have my original white-box edition, blue book "Holmes" box (including the red dice and yellow crayon). Red & Blue "Moldvey" books, first printing AD&D set (Players, Monsters, Dungeonmaster, Fiend Folio, Unearthed Arcana) as well as 1st printing of Melee, Wizard and all the "In the Labtrinth" books + most of the modules. I skipped 2nd ed. entirely and have 1st printings of all the D20 core books. I don't have any 4th ed, nor do I plan to. Yes, I'm *that* old...

Reverend Keith said...

I don't have the old white box, but I have a copy of every edition of D&D since then. Also, I don't sell or get rid of game books, so I still have every single one of them.

AndreasDavour said...

I find the fascination with white box D&D peculiar, but considering the price on eBay is ridiculous I have never been able to try it out for myself.

I never owned D&D back in the day, but now own 2 copies of Basic/Expert in the Menzter and the B/X editions. Easy and decently priced on eBay, both.

I also have PHB(2 copies), DMG, MM, MM2, FF, WSG, DSG and Manual of the Planes for AD&D1. All but the latter easy to find cheap on eBay and Nobleknight.

I haven't looked since I got mine, but I would guess most editions except maybe Holmes and that rarity White Box is possibly to find for a song.

Talysman said...

[1] still have the LBBs (not the box, though,) supplements I-IV, and Holmes in storage. May still have most of the AD&D hardbounds in storage, but many of them were severely mold damaged.

[2] Money's tight, so I haven't looked around at prices of original edition stuff. Certainly haven't seen it in the stores. I will admit that I *have* gone looking for pirate PDFs of the LBBs, but I couldn't even find those, except in bundles with about 7-13 gigs of other stuff. I do not have the patience or the drive space to tie up my computer for so long, just to get a couple tiny PDFs.

[3] no kid who hasn't played an original edition game yet is going to either stumble upon the game by accident in stores or flea markets around here OR have the drive and money to track down copies on eBay. You have to be already dedicated to the old school to want to find a copy; and then, you're competing with collectors.

Anonymous said...

I'm a collector as well as a gamer, so I have copies of all the pre-2e games. In Australia the main market for 2nd hand materials is Ebay. A small population and small supply means that bidding on D&D stuff can be incredibly competitive, producing prices that would take most in the US by surprise. That's fine for the collector, but not for the gamer who just wants some copies to play. Thank goodness for the clones.

James said...

I have my 1e stuff. Missing Deities & Demigods, though.

The price on Moldvay/Cook Sets have been rising on ebay, lately. $25 + for a complete Moldvay in decent shape.

Mike Mearls said...

I own copies of every 1st edition hardcover except the Dragonlance one. Most are copies from back in the day, but I also bought spares on eBay.

Prices are going up, but I'm not sure what exactly is going on. The loss of PDFs as an option probably drove prices up, but I'm seeing some frankly dumb pricing out there. There are books I bought for $15 3 years ago that now go for $45.

Also, I believe that a few online vendors have been buying up cheap, old D&D books to resell at significant mark ups. I've heard some grumbling at Origins and GenCon about that.

Gothridge Manor said...

I still have my original set of AD&D books (pizza stains included) and pretty much every gaming. However m D&D is in a sorry state and there is a place in Cleveland the Warzone Matrix, that has an amazing selection of old gaming stuff. It's staggering.

The Badger King said...

I still have all my AD&D 1st edition rulebooks. They lived at our summer cottage for a long time. I used to have Moldvay B and X, but sold them a long time ago, along with any AD&D module I had that wasn't Greyhawk. Since then, I have reacquired the Moldvay Basic rules, along with Mentzer Basic and Companion Rules, via eBay. It is almost IMPOSSIBLE to find the Expert rules in either flavour, or at least impossible to find someone who will ship them to Canada. Last time I checked, there were a few copies for sale, but most were running in the $50-$70 US range for the box set. There's one place in Winnipeg (I'm in Canada) I visit infrequently that sells used old versions, but their prices are stupid (case in point: last time I was there, they wanted $175 for a used copy of The Curse of Xanathon module. WHA-A-A-A-AT????). I wan to get ahold of the two flavours of Expert box sets, and maybe the Rules Cyclopedia if I can ever find it. I would love to reacquire some of the old modules too... B1-4, and X1 come immediately to mind.

Captain Rufus said...

Got most of my old school D&D books on ebay between 01-now, though I had a decent bit from when I was actually playing in the day.

So yeah, I have older editions. Hell, I only paid 50 for my OD&D set in 06-07 thereabouts.

Anonymous said...

Currently I have a beat up copy of Holmes bought used and printouts of PDFs I bought of OD&D, RC and bits of AD&D1E. I also have more PDFs bought that aren't printed out.

I had Chainmail, Holmes Basic, Cook Expert, AD&D1E and 2E back in the day, sold them, rebought and sold most again.

Ever since Gygax and then Arneson died Half Price Books locally (3+ stores) have raised TSR products, some outrageously so. That's made it harder to justify buying the stuff once again. FWIW it's getting rather hard for me to find 2E, even core, unless you want to pay too much or get really beat up copies, usually of the very late big black core books.

Ardwulf said...

Within the last... oh, five years or so, I've gradually replaced much of the AD&D 1e stuff that got sold off years ago. Recently (in the last month or two,) I've picked up 1e books for about $7-$9 at Half Price Books in good condition and up. The hardcovers are pretty easy to find even after all this time. The modules are another story entirely; without a lot of patience and a long time, there's no recourse but eBay and similar online sources.

Aos said...

I owned the core 1e books back in the early 80's but they are long gone. I do not currently own an older edition. However, my next purchase will likely be the Holmes book. I started with it, but strangely enough I barely got to look inside of it when I was a kid, because the DM would not let me, and by the time I switched groups I'd already moved on to 1e and had no further interest in the basic book. Now I want to see it.

Codeman said...

Well i got into the hobby through 2e but through much online research in my younger days (note i'm not that old 23) i became really fascinated by the roots of the hobby. I think one of my friends dads owned the ad&d 1e books and i borrowed them and thats really what got me into old school gaming. From there like a scholar i started picking up bits where ever i could find them. I currently own all the original ad&d hardcovers which i got off ebay about 8 years ago for 30$. A good price in my estimation. I have the old moldvay basic and expert rules which i found at my local gaming store for like 2$ that was like 10 years ago and more recently i dished out 50$ for a white box set from an online forum again a good price for me considering i could not find one for under 200$! It does seem to me that OSR games are getting harder to find and the ones i do find are in shabby condition or over priced. The retro clones to me have not seen to make it more available because most of the people that pick these up, free or not, seem to be older gamers in the first place.

Anonymous said...

The retro clones to me have not seen to make it more available because most of the people that pick these up, free or not, seem to be older gamers in the first place.

That will change with one, maybe two, now in distribution and one close to it, as well as the efforts of TARGA and Labyrinth Lord Society to spread the love at cons, gaming store events, etc. Slowly and steadily it grows.

In the last 12 months or so there has been a steady increase too in the amount of younger gamers discovering the old school games after stumbling across the clones online and joining our forums.