RPG Distribution in Idaho
Post new topic Reply to topic Page 1 of 1
Author


Prolific Collector

Posts: 246
Joined: Nov 30, 2006
Last Visit: Sep 29, 2009
Location: Boise, ID

Post Posted: Sat Mar 03, 2007 12:10 pm 
 

Since I have been around for quite a while I thought maybe some people would find this interesting or could relate to it.

Back in 1979 or 1980 I bought the 1st edition D&D Basic Set.  Living in Boise, ID it was probably a minor miracle that I was even able to come across the thing.  Back then Boise was still a fairly small area of less than 100,000 people.  Boise didn't have any large chain stores that would carry a full line of D&D products.  There might have been a couple of independent book stores that might carry a few items.

It really wasn't until the mid 1980's that any type of RPG specialty store came in and by then I was entering my Dark Ages as far as RPG's were concerned.

In fact it wasn't until only a couple of years ago when by coincidence I stumbled on to ebay and saw some of the stuff I remembered.  I then began doing some research and found the Acaeum and I was amazed by the number of 1st edition items that I didn't even know existed.  I remembered some of the more common items from back in the day but most of the stuff I had no clue about.

That got me to thinking about what was actually distributed to Boise.  I'm almost certain that the original D&D Chainmail items never made it out here (I would have bought them if I saw them).  In fact of the few things I acquired many I had to mail order (some of the MERP's come to mind).  I recently discovered that TSR did some Indiana Jones RPG's in the 80's and I most certainly would have bought those had I known they existed.

I'm sure other forum memebers have similar stories based on where they live.

 WWW  

User avatar

Long-Winded Collector

Posts: 4745
Joined: Oct 31, 2004
Last Visit: Jan 18, 2021
Location: Garland, TX

Post Posted: Sat Mar 03, 2007 11:12 pm 
 

Amarillo, TX was about as backwater as you could get as far as large-size towns go.  About 100 - 120 thousand people in the late 70's/early 80's.  The only place that I knew of to buy D&D books was either Toys By Roy or Hastings Books and Records.  And pretty much all they carried were the hardback rulebooks and modules.  Never saw any OD&D period.  There was a game store called Elves' Hollow that sold a broader spectrum of game merchandise, but it had gone out of business after only a few years.  Never saw any MERP, Gamma World, or Traveller.  There did seem to be a large amount of Star Fleet Battles being sold (wonder why  :roll: ).  Needless to say, there werent a large amount of role-players in the cowtowns of the Texas panhandle.

Maybe Idaho's RPG traffic suffered from its proximity to Utah?  It wouldnt surprise me to find out that anyone living in Utah in the latter part of the 70's and early 80's may have found it difficult to buy D&D in local stores.  There was probably an RPG 'black market' in some of the larger towns in Utah....it's members being relentlessly hunted by a bloodthirsty Mormon secret police force.  :wink:

  


Prolific Collector

Posts: 246
Joined: Nov 30, 2006
Last Visit: Sep 29, 2009
Location: Boise, ID

Post Posted: Sat Mar 03, 2007 11:46 pm 
 

Maybe Idaho's RPG traffic suffered from its proximity to Utah?  It wouldnt surprise me to find out that anyone living in Utah in the latter part of the 70's and early 80's may have found it difficult to buy D&D in local stores.  There was probably an RPG 'black market' in some of the larger towns in Utah....it's members being relentlessly hunted by a bloodthirsty Mormon secret police force.  


Well, that's certainly an interesting concept.  It could very well be true as Idaho was (and still is in areas) very conservative.  I'm still not sure what retail chains sold OD&D and 1st edition D&D but whoever they were they weren't located here.  Toys R US and Hastings didn't come here until the 1990's.  

I was almost exclusivly a comic book collecter in the early 1980's and I'm sure that was because of the lack of a RPG market.  Comic books were all fine for what they were but they sure don't compare to RPG's, IMHO.

 WWW  


Sage Collector
Acaeum Donor

Posts: 2884
Joined: Nov 04, 2004
Last Visit: May 09, 2020

Post Posted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 2:15 am 
 

napoleonsdad wrote:I'm sure other forum memebers have similar stories based on where they live.

We had one good games store here in Reno in the late '70s and early '80s, and a couple of others that were fine, but nothing special.

One thing that I and the rest of my gaming buddies caught onto pretty quickly, though, was how late we tended to get everything. We'd see ads for items in Dragon or hear about stuff through the gaming grapevine, but it would be weeks or months before the good games store received any stock. It was pathetic.

Here's one funny anecdote: a member of our circle took a trip with his family to the San Francisco area and managed to hit a few stores down there. He returned with some items both wondrous and bizarre to us ... I mean, what the hell was that Runequest thing he was carrying around? :) We'd never heard of it ...

So, overall, pretty sad. Reno is still kind of a backwater in some ways — we still get excited when new restaurants come to town — but it's nowhere near as bad as what I just described. We're only two years behind the rest of the world now; it used to be more like five. We've even got this fancy InterWeb thingie that I'm typing on!  :)

 WWW  

User avatar

Grandstanding Collector
Acaeum Donor

Posts: 6720
Joined: Jul 16, 2005
Last Visit: Jul 24, 2020

Post Posted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 6:21 pm 
 

napoleonsdad wrote:
Well, that's certainly an interesting concept.  It could very well be true as Idaho was (and still is in areas) very conservative.  I'm still not sure what retail chains sold OD&D and 1st edition D&D but whoever they were they weren't located here.  Toys R US and Hastings didn't come here until the 1990's.  

I was almost exclusivly a comic book collecter in the early 1980's and I'm sure that was because of the lack of a RPG market.  Comic books were all fine for what they were but they sure don't compare to RPG's, IMHO.


Something tells me Mormonism or conservatives had little to do with it.  

People who are inclined to ban RPG's are also not particularly inclined to let their kids collect comic books.

Most likely, you just lacked a suitable game-oriented store.

There seems to have been more game stores back East back-in-the-day.  Portland had the End Games mini-chain and precious little else.  There were a few specialty stores scattered here and there...but nobody was stocking everything.

I saw Chainmail on a store shelf twice.  Once was in Medford, Oregon...which is right near the edge of the earth...so I know the publication must also have been available in Manilla or Havanna...also Beijing.  (Seriously...I believe that the Kanas song, "Poing of No Return" must have been about Medford.)

The other time I saw Chainmail on a store shelf was in American Eagles in Ballard, in Seattle.  It was on a shelf of cast-off and obscure gaming items that included Midkemia stuff and the like.  I often cry myself to sleep thinking of that shelf of treasures...that I did not know were treasures at the time.

Mark   8)


"But I have watched the dragons come, fire-eyed, across the world."

  


Sage Collector
Acaeum Donor

Posts: 2884
Joined: Nov 04, 2004
Last Visit: May 09, 2020

Post Posted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 6:37 pm 
 

FormCritic wrote:(Seriously...I believe that the Kanas song, "Poing of No Return" must have been about Medford.)

Or Grant's Pass.

 WWW  


Active Collector
Acaeum Donor

Posts: 37
Joined: Feb 10, 2007
Last Visit: Oct 20, 2007
Location: Baltimore Suburbs

Post Posted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 8:30 pm 
 

I lived in Klamath River CA and discovered the Hobbit on the schools bookshelf.  I moved shortly thereafter and discovered D&D and such in Fresno, 1980.  Some kids brought in War of the Ring to play on a free day...after they saw me gushing over that they introduced me to D&D.


"A war without fire is like sausages without mustard!"  Henry V of England.

  
Post new topic Reply to topic Page 1 of 1