We are delighted to host Ben Riggs, author of Slaying the Dragon: A Secret History of Dungeons & Dragons. He'll be in conversation with Discover CEO (and former D & D player) Roger Hochschild. Whether you are interested in Dungeons and Dragons as a game, or in the details of TSR corporate strategy gone awry, this is the program for you. This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served!
About the Book: For twenty years, a story has been told about the first company that made Dungeons & Dragons, TSR, and the story goes something like this: Dungeons & Dragons created the genre of role-playing games in 1974, and that made TSR successful. In the 1990's, Wizards of the Coast created a new kind of game, the collectible card game. People started playing Wizards’ flagship product, Magic: The Gathering, and that competition killed TSR. In a twist worthy of a Greek tragedy, Wizards ended up buying TSR. It is a story of competition and creative destruction, as capitalism teaches us is right and good.
That story is entirely wrong.
Through hundreds of hours of interviews, endless research, and the help of anonymous sources providing secret documents, the true story of what happened to TSR and Dungeons & Dragons can finally be told. TSR did not so much die in capitalist combat as it bled to death of self-inflicted wounds. The true history is that of disastrous mistakes, and decisions founded on arrogance rather than good sense. Debts were racked up, geniuses driven from the company, and countless of thousands of products were shipped and sold at a loss, with no one noticing until after the fact. The story of TSR provides a negative blueprint, an example of what a company should not do in the geek business space. And it is a story entirely untold until now.
About the Author: Ben Riggs is a writer, teacher, and podcaster. He traveled the world teaching in his 20s. During his journeys, he tutored a princess, saw both the Sahara and Mt. Fuji at dawn, and discovered his wife and fellow traveler, Tara. He has settled down in his hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he teaches English and history, and he and Tara have a son, Simon. Ben’s RPG podcast, Plot Points, has been running for the last decade, and his work has appeared on NPR and Geek & Sundry. Slaying the Dragon is his first book.
Role-playing game historian Ben Riggs unveils the secret history of TSR— the company that unleashed imaginations with Dungeons & Dragons, was driven into ruin by disastrous management decisions, and then saved by their bitterest rival.