Dungeons & Dragons: The Shift in Early Box Formats

Wayne's Books

In this post, I’m looking specifically at the two different formats of boxes TSR used in the late 70s and early 80s.

[This is a re-do of an earlier post I made in 2014. It was on my old blog and Google+, which are gone.]

In the D&D Basic Set (1977-9; Eric Holmes, editor; David C. Sutherland cover art), TSR used a box blank with the graphics as a glued-on sheet, both top and bottom.

Dungeons & Dragons Expert set prinitngs comparisonHolmes 5th prt set comp detail

When TSR transitioned to the 1981 Basic and Expert Sets (Tom Moldvay / Dave Cook, editors, respectively; both have Erol Otus cover art), this “glued sheet” box format was retained for a brief time, before being replaced with a box with the graphics printed directly on the paperboard.

D&D Expert Set 1st comp b

Both formats of Expert Set, side-by-side.

D&D Expert Set 1st comp aD&D Expert Set 1st comp c

Below is the inside corner of Basic Set, later-format box.

D&D Moldvay Basic set inside corner

More TSR box format switch examples:  Boot Hill early…

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