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Author Topic: The End of ARES in "Dragon" Magazine
dan2448
Cosmic Superhero
Posts: 1459
Post The End of ARES in "Dragon" Magazine
on: June 16, 2017, 10:57

A few years ago here, many of us enthused about the 'Ares' section of TSR's "Dragon" magazine in the mid-1980s, which included material on super hero and science fiction RPGs, although only temporarily as it turned out.

So I thought I'd write here to note that, as I happened to be flipping through an old issue of "Dragon" from August 1986 (#112), I was surprised and pleased to discover:

1. An editorial from Kim Mohan explaining that, as a result of a prior reader survey, the results of which they were now continuing to tabulate, the one opinion expressed by "Dragon" readers most overwhelmingly and consistently was that they wanted an end to the "Ares" section, as it was a waste to spend pages of the magazine covering science fiction and super hero RPGs. As a result, he explained, it was officially terminated as of that issue.

2. Despite the above, that same issue contained a 2-page color advertisement for Mayfair's "DC Heroes" RPG, a full-page ad for Hero Games' "Champions" RPG, a 1/4 page ad by FGU for "V&V," featuring Shatterman (which surprised me, because my memory was that FGU had stopped publishing new material for V&V by this time), a full page ad for Palladium's RPGs, including "Heroes Unlimited," and, lastly, a six page article enumerating stats for various "ROM" characters in the Marvel Comic Book for TSR's "Marvel Super Heroes" RPG.

Put together, it seemed like I maybe stumbled on a relic that was snapshot of the exact 'high water mark' of tabletop super hero RPGs.

DSumner
Cosmic Superhero
Posts: 1936
Post Re: The End of ARES in "Dragon" Magazine
on: June 17, 2017, 22:00

I think it was an example of the vocal minority expressing their opinion. In this case D&D/Fantasy RPG players not wanting Dragon Magazine "wasting" space on games they didn't play.

dan2448
Cosmic Superhero
Posts: 1459
Post Re: The End of ARES in "Dragon" Magazine
on: June 18, 2017, 10:23

Quote from DSumner on June 17, 2017, 22:00
I think it was an example of the vocal minority expressing their opinion. In this case D&D/Fantasy RPG players not wanting Dragon Magazine "wasting" space on games they didn't play.

This could very well be true, I think.

At the time, I remember being a little perplexed by the cancellation of the "Ares," because my friends and I had played many, many RPGs in the 1980s, and not just AD&D. We played a lot of AD&D at first. But then we played a bunch of TSR games, and then, very enjoyably, extended games of "James Bond 007" and then, among my fondest RPG memories from the 1980s, "V&V." Then my family moved across country to the West Coast and my new friends there played "Champions" and then TSR's "Marvel Super Heroes" RPG. I never knew anyone personally who played exclusively AD&D.

But in recent years I have read many online sources which universally suggest that, on average over time, sales of D&D and Pathfinder dwarf those of any other RPGs, and that online discussion of D&D (in all its various incarnations) represents, like, 2/3 of all such online discussion.

That doesn't match any of my personal preferences or my own buying decisions. But reading this old issue of "Dragon" the other day, and reading about the results of that 1986 readers' poll, I started to think that it maybe did reflect a broader consensus, unfortunately.

Paragon
Cosmic Superhero
Posts: 116
Post Re: The End of ARES in "Dragon" Magazine
on: June 20, 2017, 20:44

Yeah, I suspect when it came to Dragon Magazine purchasers, they were basically right; that Ares did nothing but take away space from the material that the majority of such folks used. Its just annoying if you happened to get those and also heavily played various SF and superhero games.

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