Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Different Worlds

Sadly, it looks like my retrospective of Chaosium's Different Worlds magazine has come to an end, at least for the time being. Some years ago, I acquired a large collection of DW issues – most of the magazine's run, I thought. Turns out that that wasn't not the case and I only had the first twenty-two issues. Until recently, I'd only ever skimmed most of them. I had hoped that, through this weekly series, I'd finally get the chance to read them all and by "all," I meant every issue of Different Worlds. 

When I first noticed that my issues were running low, I thought it'd be relatively easy to acquire the remaining issues in PDF. No such luck! Printed back issues can be bought through various only venues, like eBay and even from editor Tadashi Ehara himself. However, there's no guarantee you'll be able to find the specific issues you want at a reasonable price. The next issue I would have reviewed, issue #23, is particularly hard to obtain inexpensively, for example. 

It's disappointing, to be sure, but such is life. It's a reminder of how ephemeral many aspects of roleplaying history are. There is no way to legally obtain copies of many older gaming periodicals, including TSR's Dragon, except through the secondary market, where prices and availability are both erratic and frequently nonsensical. This is why, despite my inclinations to whittle down my gaming collection to something smaller, I have lately been reticent to divest myself of many things: you never know whether you'll be able to find copies of some material again.

To that end, I'll start a new series next week, in which I look at a magazine of which I do have a larger run of issues, White Dwarf. Like Different Worlds, it's a magazine I saw, let alone read, only intermittently in my youth, so the series will give me the chance to take a look at many of the issues for the first time. It'll also be a chance to delve into the UK gaming scene of the '70s and '80s, something I touched upon in my previous series on Imagine. And who knows? I might one day manage to snag copies of later issues of Different Worlds and, if so, I'll pick up where I left off. 


  1. Hi James, I enjoy your posts reviewing the different magazines from the 70's & 80's. Have you looked around archive.org? This is what I found with a quick search : https://archive.org/details/DifferentWorlds02_201801/Different-Worlds-18/page/n1/mode/2up?q=different+worlds

  2. There are also Dragon Magazines on archive.org at https://archive.org/details/DragonMagazine260_201801/DragonMagazine001

  3. James, for your review purposes I can supply you with PDFs of issues 23 through 47.