Sunday, April 29, 2012

Where's the BX Love, WOTC?

I saw more rumors and announcements this week of WOTC reprints.  The AD&D 1st Edition books are being reprinted, there's a new version of the boardgame Dungeon!, and rumors that a reprint of 3.5 might be coming this fall.  Where's the love for the classic Basic and Expert books, WOTC?

Arguably the widest played retro-clone is Labyrinth Lord, a game that tracks very closely to those original BX red and blue books.  The well-regarded retro clones, LOTFP Weird Fantasy Roleplaying, and Adventurer Conquer King are essentially refined interpretations of the BX rules set (or the BECMI edit, if you're feeling pedantic).

I would love to see either the BX books or the BECMI books collected into a hardcover for reprinting.  Maybe even the D&D Rules Cyclopedia, although to be fair, I didn't like TSR's layout and art styles in the early 90's as much as the older styles.  We need that Erol Otus interior art and covers.

I've seen posts through the years that the classic D&D boxes were far and away the best selling versions of D&D because they were in mass market, box stores, and translated into various international languages.  (Frank Mentzer has frequently pointed that out on the boards).

The argument for reprinting them:  they're the best selling versions of D&D of all time, they're already optimized for introducing new gamers and kids (ie, building the hobby), and they're the darlings of the OSR retro clone movement.  What's the hold up, WOTC?

Seems like a good time for a new poll - posted to the right.  Which edition of D&D would you like to see reprinted?  Maybe this is the beginning of a period of "reprint madness" and we'll even see hard-to-find modules and supplements put into large collections or omnibuses.  One can hope.


  1. I want OD&D, Holmes, and B/X reprints. Please?

  2. Maybe it's out of the worry that B/X wouldn't be considered a 'complete' game. In which case, a Cyclopedia reprint could offer an exhaustive Basic-style game.

  3. Well, Cyclopedia would be rather obsolete. You can use Dark Dungeons...

  4. I'm with Brendan: B/X, Holmes, OD&D -- for me, in that order.

  5. I think people overlook one of the main reasons for B/X's popularity. It's clearly and concisely written without being condescending and lacks the filler of the hardcover editions.

    Franky, I'm not sure which I'd want reprinted the most. B/X is both better and worse than LL in some ways so there's little reason to switch, but it is interesting for the 'D&D historian' in me. But I would buy ALL OF THEM that I don't already own except 3.5.

    What I'd really like is if WotC were competent to treat AD&D, BD&D and D20 as if they were separate game-lines and makes 'new editions' for each of them that didn't suck. (In addition to, not instead of, the reprints.)

  6. I'd rather give my money to someone like Daniel Proctor (who gets it), than to WotC (who does not get it).

    These are not "down with large corporations" remarks, WotC just doesn't understand its audience or WotC keeps switching its audience or, hell, I don't know who they are trying to sell product to half the time.

    Even with Daniel's Labyrinth Lord set at the price of "free," he still wins my money.

  7. I would love reprints of modules and even some settings. But for core rules I would rather stick with an OSR product.

  8. I said in my blog a while ago that if they really wanted a "modular" D&D system they should be looking to Labyrinth Lord. Labyrinth Lord is B/X D&D and it's already given us the modules of "Original Edition Characters" and "Advanced Edition Companion". How hard could it be to give us a 3rd edition module, since it was retrocloned from the D20 OGL anyway? A 4th edition module probably wouldn't be that hard either, although I couldn't be sure because I lack experience with that system.

  9. WOTC are too busy cannibalizing B/X for their tragic Frankenstein of a new edition to actually re-release it.

    BurnedFX: I'd rather give my money to someone like Daniel Proctor (who gets it), than to WotC (who does not get it).

    +1 this.

    In answer to the original question, I'd like to see BECMI reprinted. 72 levels of D&D from schlub to Kirbyan New God: what's not to like?

  10. I wonder what the chances are that the new version of Dungeon! will retain the charm of any older version? I bet it will have current 4E type art to make everything look bad-ass...

  11. After a few days, Cyclopedia (the BECMI compilation) and BX/BECMI are combined at 70%. The cynical side of me wonders if a BX reprint would compete too much with 5E. I don't have perspective, though - I'd choose BX or a clone over just about anything.

    I understand the OD&D compilation coming in at 19% too - those things are rare and historically interesting to everyone.

  12. BECMI reprints please. Mine are worn so thin, they hardly stay together in your hand, even AFTER I've restapled, taped and glued them umpteen times.