Dungeons & Dragons Fan Base: USA vs EU
Someone asked me why Gloomhaven seems much more popular in the USA as opposed to EU. Besides the native language issues, my instinct is to say that EU simply does not have as strong a Dungeons & Dragons / Fantasy culture or acceptance compared to the USA. I collect 1st D&D stuff and based on the availability of D&D books/modules(which is relative to how many were produced for each country in their native language) I would rank D&D countries as follows:
1. USA – I would guess USA had at least 10x -20x more D&D nerds than maybe all the rest on the list combined. Don’t really need into great detail as to why.
2. UK – GameWorks handled early Dungeons & Dragons in UK(manual and modules would have the GW fairy logo next to the TSR logo on title pages). Being in English, D&D was a natural fit. GW produced softcover versions of the original PH and MM(though never a DMG oddly), and the 8 original monochrome modules. TSR then put an office in UK and GW was cut off.
3. Germany – Germany would have had more Dungeons & Dragons adoption if TSR translated it earlier, but Germans have their own version of D&D called DSA(Das Schwarze Auge) which naturally come out in German. Once DSA had followers D&D found it extremely hard to penetrate and win the market. All 2e manuals had German versions, and about 20-25 modules were fully translated into German(FSA was the distributor I believe). The German module have different module cover art which makes them cool to collect even for USA fans.
4. Italy – Spain has much in common with Germany distribution. 2e manual in Italian, and I would guess maybe 10-15 modules fully translated into Italian as well. While not a big D&D base, it is extremely rabid. A yearly con in Lucca produces fully translated and printed versions of modules never made in Italian so you can own bootleg Italian versions of rare modules like M5 Talons of night.
5. France – Not surprisingly, the French didn’t really take to Dungeons & Dragons. First they are the only country to change the name of D&D, its Donjons & Dragons in France. While they did get the 2e manual and some module translated into French, I think TSR saw the writing on the wall there that said “not cool enough for us French”.
Honorable mention – Spain -Dungeons & Dragons the game wasn’t popular, but the D&D cartoon surely was. While the Spanish may not have taken to slaying dragons, they apparently absolutely loved the cartoon. In fact, the most prize figurines of the D&D cartoon world were made in Spain where it was called Dragones y Mazmorras. Many of the EU countries seemed to have an affection for the cartoon, but Spain seem to take that to infatuation.