The first edition of Designers & Dragons was printed in about 750 copies, which was previewed at Gen Con Indy 2011 in August 2011 and then began shipping out in October 2011. It was out-of-print by March 2012, and initial word back from Mongoose was that they weren’t looking at reprinting it.
Meanwhile, one of my friends who was working at Evil Hat expressed regret that Designers & Dragons hadn’t ended up with them. I told him, no problem, maybe it could. Based on a stipulation that I’d asked be included in my Mongoose contract, I could retrieve the rights to the book if it was out of print for three months. So in July I retrieved those rights. (Matthew Sprange at Mongoose suggested that maybe we could try a Kickstarter to get it back in print, but I felt like the grass was greener on the other side of the fence by that point, and so opted out, which he was totally cool about, and we’ve since partnered on a Traveller history book scheduled for release in 2024.)
Printing with Evil Hat of course meant a new edition of the book, and we ultimately decided to publish it as a four-book series, rather than the massive tome beautifully produced by Mongoose. That also meant going back to the drawing board and writing yet more new histories, this time to balance out four books that were each focused on a decade of initial roleplaying publication. I used to have the numbers at my fingertips, but as I recall, the wordcount increased by more than 100,000 words from first to second edition: the equivalent of a complete book.
A new book also meant, in my mind, a new column, because (once more) a lot of the material from my column was being incorporated into the new book. So just as “A Brief History of Game” had been rebooted into “Designers & Dragons: The Column” when Designers & Dragons 1e (2011) was produced, now “Designers & Dragons: The Column” was rebooted into “Advanced Designers & Dragons” now that the four-book second-edition (2014) was released. (There’s actually very little in either of the first two columns that didn’t make it into Designers & Dragons 2e, as I outline in the first article in the “Advanced Designers & Dragons” column, but I’ve nonetheless incorporated that older material into this Designers & Dragons web site, both to offer a preview of the books and to show how they got there.)
The new Advanced Designers & Dragons column would lead off with new material that had been produced as part of the Kickstarter, a new innovation.