OD&D Premium Edition Reprint!!!

So at long last, WotC is really listening to their D&D fan base--I don't mean the "4e uber alles" fanbase, I mean the vast fanbase that was alienated by 4e and way outnumbers the 4e fanboys base.

Now that I've undoubtedly (and deliberately) ruffled some feathers with that little D&DINO reference, on to the real news:


 And now of course begins the wailing and gnashing of teeth about the $150 price tag. To those people who are whining about how it's overpriced, I have a couple basic things to say to you:

1. Don't buy it. Nobody said you have to.

2. It's not targeted at you

3. Guess what? It's objectively and demonstrably not overpriced. I'll elaborate:

Consider that I could sell my 5th print plus all supplements tomorrow for probably around $500 ($300 on the low end) and it doesn't include a really nice actual wooden presentation box, plus a $15 set of premium dice. Also consider that to get all of the monsters and content therein--including all the character classes, psionics rules, deities and demigods, planar rules, etc.--you'd need SEVERAL books from 3.x or 4e (that OD&D took less words to present the same amount of stuff is really moot).

Let's examine what you'd actually need from 3rd edition (because I'm not as familiar with 4th):

1. PHB - $35
2. DMG - $35
3. Monster Manual - $35
4. Deities and Demigods - $30
5. Psionics Handbook - $35
6. Manual of the Planes - $30
7. 1 Adventure module - $10
8. Slipcase - these average $20
9. Custom dice from Q-Workshop: $15
10. GM Screens: $10 (this is effectively what the reference sheets are)


To be fair, we could remove Manual of the Planes from that list as planar info in OD&D is sketchy at best. So even still, we're at $225. 

If you want to be TOTALLY accurate, knock 5 cents off from each of those rounded prices above. Subtracting $0.45 from $225 is $224.55.

All that considered, $149.95 looks like a pretty good price to me. I'm in. 

The only thing that sucks about this--and I hope WotC re-thinks this before the November release--is that the box includes neither the original Chainmail rules or Swords & Spells, which while not officially numbered as such is generally considered to be "Supplement V." One or both of these should be included in the set. If the choice is between one or the other I'd go for Chainmail, as the OD&D books repeatedly reference it. But in a perfect world they'd reprint both.

I also wonder what they plan to do about the Conan and Melnibonean mythoi in Gods, Demi-Gods, and Heroes. My assumption is that they'll just omit them and we'll get an abridged version of Supplement IV, but it would be interesting to see them hammer out the rights to include these in some manner.

So between the 1E reprints (including Unearthed Arcana, which admittedly was a bit overpriced), the hardcover AD&D A-series upcoming, the forthcoming hardcover S-series, the forthcoming 2E reprints, and this, WotC's been hitting it out of the park lately. Keep it up, WotC! Next up, how about a reprint of the D&D Rules Cyclopedia, followed by the Moldvay/Cook B/X rules?


  1. When you break it down by item (8 books, box, set of dice) that works out to $15 per item. I regularly pay more than that for less on Lulu or in the FLGS. This is actually a reasonable price even without factoring in the ridiculous cost of finding the originals on ebay.

  2. Problem here is, they aren't paying writers, or much of anything else. I mean, what some new art, and a wooden box. What are the dice worth? Hasbro has released "Vintage" board games for 20 bucks, in wooden Boxes.

    Look if I break it down, this is a great price for a "New" game, but it's not new Page count alone can't compare to modern prices. So its a cash grab, a cash grab I am willing to pay, mind you, but a cash grab nonetheless.

    Regardless as to how I feel about the price I am still gonna buy this, it's just too kewl.


  3. Incorrect. First of all, wooden boxes are not cheap to have produced. And the dice are $15 per set from Q-Workshop (the company that makes that style of dice). I broke down the costs above to get the same content, and I was generous calling the slipcase $20, because wood will be significantly more than chipboard or cardboard.

    As for WotC's costs, entirely new layout has had to be done for every reprint--they may not have to pay writers, but they have to pay people to scan/OCR the original books, correct the text (manually, in all likelihood), import it into modern design software, and not only redo the layout, but mimic the exact prior layout and make the page numbers match up. Compare any of the reprints so far with their original editions--you'll see the minor differences.

    They are paying artists to do new cover art for all 8 books, the logo, and the art on the box.

    Make no mistake, this is neither free nor cheap for WotC to produce.

  4. They can't count on thousands of sales either, like they can with a 'classic' Monopoly or other board game. Considering the tiny, tiny market, this may well be a "fair" price. I'd rather see all the booklets reformatted and published as a single book, like John Curry's many excellent war game reprints. But I'd like people to *play* OD&D. WotC just needs to *sell* OD&D.
    It's fascinating that after all the "oh please just reprint the OD&D" posts in the blogosphere, now that they are it is getting some flack. No winning, I guess.
    If I had $150 to throw away on games, I'd buy it too.

    1. Yep, I just said that over on facebook: I find it funny that we all ranted for years that if Wizards of the Coast really wanted to give us, the fans, what we wanted, they'd re-release the old editions. And when they did--with really nice covers, high-quality paper, corrected layouts, and errata incorporated (and, honestly, with pricing not entirely out of whack with the rest of the industry these days), many of those who ranted that this was what they wanted, started calling it a "cash grab."

      Not for nothing, but if people want to play OD&D for free, I direct them to the no-art versions of Labyrinth Lord and Original Edition Characters. Best OD&D clone that's been done yet. Puts the more popular Swords & Wizardry to shame with its accuracy and accessibility.

  5. Agree. This is not over-priced at all.
    Maybe priced out of some people's want, but that is not the same thing.

  6. MY rants over the past few decades haven't been about WOTC "giving us what we want," they've been about asking me to pay for "really nice covers, high-quality paper, corrected layouts," and art, when what I really wanted was simple print outs of the information. I stopped buying AD&D after I purchased the 2nd edition, because even then I saw LESS content, more glitz, a trend which has continued to the present. I buy rulesets to USE, not admire!

    If you take away all the stuff I DON'T want in a specific game book, the price per "unit of utility" goes up and up and up. The 1e DMG was fantastic... and well worth the $20 (?) I paid in 1980. The 4e DMG probably has 1/10th the utility, and costs double...

    Of course, they're going to try to get what the market will bear, so I'll simply agree with Timothy Brannan, "Maybe priced out of some people's want." Definitely priced out of my want.

  7. If you account for inflation, the 4e DMG costs significantly less than the 1e DMG. Just saying.

  8. I don't like to account for inflation... it just reminds me the Federal Reserve is stealing real assets from us by printing monopoly money to excess...

  9. Seriously, though, I don't want the "art," that takes up 20% of every page in the 4e DMG, so when I compare what to me is "useful content per $" of both, even inflation can't save the 4e DMG... but calling their "Collector's Edition" a "rerelease" is disingenuous and why it IS priced out of my want.

  10. You'll forgive me if I'm somewhat dismissive of someone effectively saying, "I'd rather just have plain text with no art or layout to speak of, and just a white softcover with no picture, and anything else is overpriced."


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