Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Retro Post: My First TSR Catalog

With all of the new stuff on the way from Gen Con I thought I would share something old that I came across recently. This is the TSR catalog from my first Basic Set back about 1979-1980.

I was a little surprised that it was still intact as it's thin paper and it's been through a bunch of moves and a fire years ago.

You can see some of the staining from the fire even after I've tried to clean it up a little bit. About the only other company putting out games on this scale was Avalon Hill, another big name that's no longer around.

 Now I was thinking this was from 1979 but the inclusion of Top Secret in the page above complicates the timing as TS was a 1980 release. It's not in the big picture on page 2 but it is in this one which makes me think it was brand new or about to be released, which could push this back to 79 again. That aside, those were some pretty evocative covers at the time. Gamma World especially spoke to me. I'm sure they look amateurish to newer eyes but when they were new I thought they were cool.

This is the big center-spread of the booklet. So much D&D! By the late 80's I had copies of everything on these pages and had played or run all of these original adventures but it seemed like it took forever to get there. This page also leads to some uncertainty - Top Secret was a 1980 release but so was Deities and Demigods and it's nowhere to be found - surely the next big D&D book would be here if it was close to ready.

I have some experience with Dungeon and Awful Green Things - and The Dragon -  but I never laid hands on the other 3 board games on the page. That cover to Warlocks and Warriors is interesting though.

When I started playing I had no idea what "Lankhmar" was about (I was 10 after all) but that Knights of Camelot and Divine Right looked really cool. Fight in the Skies did too but in a different way. I never saw any of them played in person but I did see a Dawn Patrol game (spiritual successor to FITS) at a convention years later. It was done with miniature biplanes and looked really good.

I always felt like I should have picked up a copy of Chainmail and Swords and Spells - roots of the game and all - but I never did. I just never saw them in stores back then. I am also pretty sure we never got that promised version of Metamorphosis Alpha. Well, at least not in the next couple of decades.

There it is - a bit of nostalgia before the Next Big Thing hits in a few weeks.

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