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Dungeons & Dragons FAQ | History of TSR

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The History of TSR

1966
  • International Federation of Wargamers formed by Gary Gygax and other wargamers.
1969
  • Chainmail, written by Gary Gygax and Jeff Perren, is published by Guidon Games.
1970
  • Dave Arneson creates a battle scenario involving a castle sewer.
1971
  • Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson collaborate to create "The Fantasy Game."
1972
  • Gary Gygax and Don Kaye form a partnership called Tactical Studies Rules.
1974
  • Brian Blume joins Tactical Studies Rules and brings financing to publish the Dungeons & Dragons® game, orginally called "The Fantasy Game."
  • In one year, the entire hand-assembled print run of 1,000 games sells out.
1975
  • Tactical Studies Rules dissolves and a new company forms, TSR® Hobbies, Inc.
  • Empire of the Petal Throne becomes the first game product published.
  • Two supplements follow to the D&D® game, Greyhawk and Blackmoor.
  • The Dungeon!® boardgame is published.
  • A third roleplaying game-the Boot Hill® game, set in the Wild West-is introduced.
1976
  • The first professional magazine devoted to fantasy and science fiction is published: The Dragon® magazine.
  • TSR Hobbies hosts the Gen Con® Game Fair for the first time.
  • The first Dungeons & Dragons® tournament is held-a tradition continued to this day.
  • D&D supplements 3 and 4-Eldritch Wizardry and Gods, Demi-Gods, and Heroes - are introduced.
1977
  • The D&D Basic Set is published.
  • TSR Hobbies publishes the Monster Manual, the first hardbound book ever published by a game company. It contains more than 350 monsters to challenge players.
  • The first playing aids for the D&D game are produced, Dungeon Geomorphs and Monster and Treasure Assortments.
1978
  • A new version of the D&D game is released, the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons® game.
  • The first product for the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons game is released, the Player's Handbook.
  • TSR Hobbies produces a series of six adventures that had previously only been used in tournaments.
  • TSR Hobbies moves to downtown Lake Geneva above the Dungeon Hobby Shop from the old gray house that was Gary Gygax's home.
1979
  • The second AD&D® manual, the Dungeon Master® Guide, is published.
  • Radio ads introduced Morley the Wizard for the first time.
1980
  • To meet growing international demand, TSR, Ltd. is formed in England.
  • The first fantasy setting for the AD&D game is introduced, the World of Greyhawk® setting.
  • Another genre for the roleplaying game is introduced, the Top Secret® espionage game.
  • A note written on TSR stationery about a fictitious assassination plot (part of a playtest for the Top Secret espionage game) brings the FBI to the offices of TSR Hobbies.
  • The Role Playing Game Association™ is formed to promote quality roleplaying and unite gamers across the nation.
1981
  • TSR Hobbies switches from typewriters to computers.
  • Inc. magazine lists TSR Hobbies as one of the hundred fastest- growing, privately held companies in the United States.
  • TSR Hobbies again moves offices, this time to aformer medical supply building with attached warehouse.
  • The RPGA® Network publishes the first edition of Polyhedron® newszine, a 16-page, black-and-white newsletter.
1982
  • TSR Hobbies breaks the 20 million mark in sales.
  • Two new roleplaying games are introduced-the GangBusters® game of the roaring '20s and the Star Frontiers® science fiction game.
  • Exclusive distribution of the D&D game is established in 22 countries.
  • French is the first language adaptation for the D&D game and many other translations follow: Danish, Finnish, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Swedish, and more.
  • An Educational department is established to develop curriculum programs for reading, math, history, and problem-solving-the greatest success being the Endless Quest® book series.
1983
  • TSR Hobbies seeks diversification and acquires or starts several new business ventures: a needlecraft business, miniatures manufacturing, toy and gift ventures, and an Entertainment division pursuing motion picture and television opportunities.
  • TSR Hobbies acquires the trademarks and copyrights of SPI and Amazing® Stories magazine.
  • The company changes its name to TSR, Inc.
  • The Dungeons & Dragons cartoon series premieres on September 17. This series spawns more than 100 different licenses and leads its time slot for two years before going into syndication.
1984
  • TSR, Inc. releases the Dragonlance® saga after two years of development. The Dragonlance saga makes TSR the number-one publisher of fantasy and science fiction novels in the nation.
  • TSR, Inc. signs license agreements to publish the Marvel Super Heroes® game, the Adventures of Indiana Jones™ game, and the Conan™ game.
1985
  • The Gen Con Game Fair moves to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, due to the need for additional space.
  • Oriental Adventures, a new hardbound book, is the biggest seller.
  • TSR introduces the All My Children™ game, based on the number-one ABC daytime drama; more than 150,000 copies are sold.
1986
  • TSR introduces Dungeon® Adventures magazine, an all-adventure bimonthly magazine.
  • New management buys all the stock in the company.
1987
  • The immense Forgotten Realms® campaign setting is released.
  • A small team of designers starts work on the second edition of the AD&D game. It is the most massive coordinated task ever undertaken by the company and would take nearly two years to complete.
1988
  • The Bullwinkle & Rocky™ roleplaying game-with a spinner and hand puppets-is released.
  • TSR surprises most of the industry by publishing one of the bestselling wargames of all time-The Hunt for Red October™ game, based on the hit novel by Tom Clancy.
  • The Gen Con Game Fair joins forces with its major competitor, Origins™.
1989
  • Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition releases.
  • Releases for 2nd Edition include Dungeon Master Guide; Player's Handbook; Monstrous Compendiums® Volumes 1, 2, and 3; The Complete Fighter's Handbook; and The Complete Thief's Handbook.
  • AD&D 2nd Edition launches into space with the release of the Spelljammer® space fantasy supplement.
  • The RPGA Network branches out into Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the U.K., Israel, and Australia.
1990
  • Count Strahd Von Zarovich becomes one of the most popular and enduring villains of the AD&D game with the release of the Ravenloft® campaign setting.
  • After a three-year hiatus, a Dragonlance calendar is released - which sells out within a month and is one of the top ten calendars of the year.
  • The West Coast division of TSR, Inc. is opened to develop entertainment projects and a series of science-fiction, horror, and action/adventure comic books.
1991
  • The savage world of Athas is introduced to fans through the Dark Sun® campaign setting
  • An introductory Dungeons and Dragons game aimed at beginners is released.
  • TSR enters the collector card market with the first of three annual sets of collectable cards, featuring the fantastic art of TSR's incredible illustrators.
1992
  • The first Al Qadim® product is released, Arabian Adventures. This product sets a new standard in graphics design and shows how versatile and sophisticated the AD&D rules are.
  • TSR's first hardcover novel is published. Legacy, by R.A. Salvatore, leaps to the top of The New York Times bestseller list within weeks of it's release.
  • The Gen Con Game Fair breaks all previous attendance records for any U.S. gaming convention; more than 18,000 people attend.
1993
  • The Forgotten Realms campaign setting receives a new graphic look.
  • The Monstrous Compendiums are repackaged as the Monstrous Manual™ tome.
  • A new approach to gaining new players is tried with the release of the Dragon Strike® Entertainment product, which includes a revolutionary 30-minute video explaining the concepts of role-playing.
1994
  • In response to the success of trading card games, TSR publishes Spellfire®: Master the Magic, a trading card game featuring the well-known names and settings of the AD&D game.
  • Heads turn as the graphics-and attitude-heavy Planescape® world is introduced.
  • The first products including an audio compact disc are introduced.
1995
  • TSR marks it's 20th anniversary with new versions of the Player's Handbook and Dungeon Master Guide, the Blood Wars® card game, the Player's Option® and Dungeon Master Option rulebooks, the Dragon Dice® game, and dozens of other games and supplements.
  • The Birthright® campaign expands roleplaying games in a revolutionary manner, introducing blood magic, the power of the land, and the divine right of kings.
1996
  • TSR releases the first ever CD-ROM for the AD&D game - the AD&D Core Rules CD-ROM.
  • The Wizard Spell Compendiums, a new series, is launched, compiling all wizards' spells into four volumes.
  • The award-winning Dragonlance: Fifth Age® roleplaying game is released. The game uses cards instead of dice and emphasizes storyline development.
1997
  • A new era in gaming commences as Wizards of the Coast, Inc. - the Seattle based leader in the fantasy gaming arena, known worldwide for it's Magic: The Gathering® trading card game - purchases TSR.
  • The Alternity® roleplaying game, a space opera roleplaying game, is released.
1998
1999
  • TSR celebrates it's 25th birthday with the Silver Anniversary Tour of game stores throughout the United States.
  • The Alternity game's second campaign setting is introduced at the Gen Con game Fair. The Dark Matter® setting depicts a near-future world full of the paranormal and occult.

 

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