Rolling for Initiative is a weekly column by Scott Thorne, PhD, owner of Castle Perilous Games & Books in Carbondale, Illinois and instructor in marketing at Southeast Missouri State University.  This week, Thorne follows up on the Dungeons & Dragons comments in Wizards of the Coast's fireside chat and bids farewell to TSR/ Wizards of the Coast's Kim Mohan.

Following up on last week’s column, Dungeons & Dragons did not occupy nearly as much time in the conversation as did Magic: The Gathering (see "WotC’s Fireside Chat and the Future of Magic:  the Gathering").  This makes sense, since while both generate substantial revenue streams for Hasbro, based on our store sales Magic generates far more than does D&D and would occupy more of the company’s attention.  That said, Hasbro offered far fewer statistics on D&D play than on Magic play.  I would assume the 80% of stores that reported doing better than 2021 also include D&D sales.  Given the lack of statistics, there were several things of note I took away from the discussion:

Name recognition.  As I mentioned in last week’s column, Hasbro CEO Chris Cocks mentioned, almost as an aside, that when he went to social or business events and people asked him what he did, about 30% recognized Magic: The Gathering and knew enough about it to have a reasonably deep discussion.  However, if he referenced Dungeons and Dragons, nearly 100% recognized the name.  Any brand would kill for that level of name recognition and WotC should do more to take advantage of it.

D&D is Under-Monetized.  During the discussion, both Cocks and Digital Gaming President Cynthia Williams mentioned they felt the D&D brand was under-monetized. Given the rumors that WotC is pulling some of its licenses, that makes me wonder if the company plans to produce more supplementary items in house.  Maybe a My Little Pony D&D Starter Set or figures?  Transformers D&D figures?

More Player Products.  Both speakers mentioned that DMs only account for about 20% of the D&D buyers, while about 80% of the products produced target them.  Granted that, as I have noted before, players buy a substantial quantity of the products targeted at DMs, producing more player products may "monetize" the brand even more.

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.  Both Cocks and Williams expect the movie to do well and to draw more people into the game brand.  As for myself, I don’t hold high hopes for the movie and plan to discuss why in next week’s column.

I was sorry to hear of the passing of Kim Mohan last week.  If you played Dungeons & Dragons, you likely used some of his work, as he worked as an editor, primarily for TSR and later WotC, from 1979 until his final editing work on 2018’s Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage.  In fact, he was one of the few people to have writing and/or editing credits on all five editions of D&D.  Although best known as the assistant editor and later editor-in-chief of Dragon Magazine, he also edited Gary Gygax’s first novel, Saga of Old City, and Unearthed Arcana and wrote the Dungeoneer’s Survival Guide.  During his time there, he published the first Dragonlance story, Test of the Twins, and gave artist Larry Elmore his first art assignment with TSR, which later led to Elmore joining the TSR art staff.

When Gygax left TSR, Mohan joined him at his new company New Infinities and edited the Cyborg Commando RPG and co-wrote the Cyborg Commando series of novels.  When New Infinities shut down, he returned to TSR and the editor position of first, Amazing Stories, and later Dragon Magazine.  He was also lead editor, and later managing editor, of D&D 3E, remaining with the company after its acquisition by WotC and later Hasbro.  He retired from WotC in 2013 but had a hand in editing several projects, the last the aforementioned Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage.  If you play D&D, you owe a round of thanks to Mr. Mohan and what he contributed to the game.

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The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of