RPGaDay 2015: Day 5

August 5th.

Most Recent RPG Purchase

This topic brought up some interesting thoughts. I haven’t bought much in the way of “new games” recently. I’ve been mostly exploring games that are currently out or that are older. Around my birthday this year though, I made two sets of purchases which caused me to reflect on how I’ve bought games and how I continue to buy games and just something… missing. This one does have some nostalgia attached.

So, a friend of mine took me to a MASSIVE used book store for my birthday. To call it a used book warehouse might not be an understatement. I immediately went looking for old gaming stuff and made some great finds. I picked up a really old Shadowrun adventure (Silver Angel) and two Bard Games Talislanta books. They were like, a couple of bucks each and made me insanely happy. Not only because they filled in holes in my collection but because I love the thrill of stumbling into a book store or a yard sale or something and finding old gaming stuff. When I first started going to conventions, one of my favorite things to do was to sit on the floor in the vendor room digging through the “Please take this stuff” boxes they’d leave on the floor under their tables. I found old D&D modules, rules to games I never would have known existed otherwise, and all kinds of wackiness in those boxes. I’ve discovered that it is nearly impossible to do this anymore. The cons I go to feature only one, or at most two, gaming vendors, and they typically bring the shiny stuff that sells well to the con crowd (“I’m at a con, sure I’ll buy that $100 board game I’ll only play once…” Yeah, I’ve said this a few times).

And consignment stores… god how I miss the consignment store that used to be downtown where I live. I spent a whole summer in high school checking in there every day because someone kept unloading their old gaming stuff there in waves. I bought the entire Palladium Fantasy, Nightbane, and some Rifts stuff that way. It was crazy. Same with Yard Sales. I used to be able to find D&D stuff and copies of DUNGEON! and Fantasy Forest at these things for like, 25 cents. I used to find D&D basic sets (both of my copies of the blue basic book came to me this way). I barely even see Yard Sales any more…

So, my other recent purchases. I was talking with a friend about the old Streetfighter Storytelling Game (which I ran and enjoyed, the quality of the art aside). I had never picked up all the supplements for this game, and due to licensing (I assume) they have never appeared as PDFs for sale. So I went online and tracked down copies of the supplements and the single adventure. Though I managed to do it, I basically paid original cover price for each of them. It seems that when someone sells old gaming stuff on-line, there is this perception that they are selling a “collectible” and that they should price it accordingly… even if they’ve been trying to sell this thing for years and it takes a sucker like me to come along and actually buy it. Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate the convenience and reach that online shopping allows me. And I’m not saying that everyone selling an old game needs to just give it away… that would be silly. It just left me feeling a little meh about the whole thing. And there was a thrill when I got those packages in the mail (except the one that got folded in half and stuffed in by the mailman… thanks!). It just isn’t the same thrill of the old game store or used book store find. So, yeah, I’m old.

My shopping ruminations aside – all of my most recent RPG purchases, from Silver Angel to Secrets of Shadoloo were fun reads and represent a pretty broad spectrum of gaming. Also, I still miss Talislanta.

Thanks for reading.

PS – while I realize that some readers might wonder why I didn’t just track down PDFs of certain of these old books, let me say that while I won’t judge, the idea of obtaining a sketchy PDF of something holds no joy for me. If the PDF is published and sold through a legit channel then I’m fine with PDFs (I’ve loved filling in my old D&D module collection at RPGNow, for example) but I’m not about the “it’s out there somewhere for free” life. Just a personal thing.

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