Sunday, 20 August 2017

#RPGaDAY - Day 20 - Where do I get out-of-print RPGs?

Day 20 of #RPGaDay 2017. 

What is the best source for out-of-print RPGs?

The best source is probably DriveThruRPG or RPGNow or DnDClassics or whatever you want to call that massive conglomeration of sites we call One Book Shelf. The thing is, that's not where I get mine out of print RPGs. I get mine from out of town game stores. One of my favourite things to do when on vacation is to go FLGS (Friendly Local Game Store) hunting. 

Back in the day this meant either checking into the hotel and grabbing the phone book or if not staying over night actually finding a phone booth and browsing through the yellow pages. You kids these days have no idea how easy you have it with the internet :D Actually I kind of miss those days as there was a skill to it. Back in the day "Game Store" was not a category you usually found in the phone book. You had to get creative. Hobby Shop. Comic Book Shop, Hobby Store, Gaming Supplies, Gambling Supplies, Comics, Book Store, Model Shop, Train Store and HO Trains were just a few of the categories I would search for. 

It was very hit or miss. Sometimes you would find an awesome sounding "hobby shop" only to show up and find out all they sell is model kits. Or you would find a "gaming supply store" and find out that it's a place that rents poker tables for bachelor parties. That was all part of the fun though, and sometimes you would find a really cool place that you didn't know you were looking for. One example is AVF Hobbies in London Ontario. We went there looking for RPGs and board games but only found model kits. The thing is we found a ton of model kits. An insane amount of model kits. Wall to wall model kits in a shop larger than any local game store. They had very cool kits I didn't know existed and some classic kits I hadn't seen in years. Despite not knowing I wanted them I picked up some great AMT Star Wars snap kits. I also picked up some great pieces that I could use for scenery in miniature gaming.

The best times though were when we found legitimate hobby game stores. I love browsing a new game store. I love to see what they carry, why they carry it if they have gaming space, how they use their space and more. Most of all though I love finding one of two things. Either "new old stock" meaning stuff they have had on the shelf for years and years and just never sold, or a used games section. Most stores have one or the other if not both. It's here that I get my classic out-of-print RPG fix.

As an example, Imperial Hobbies in London Ontario to this day has a great selection of new old stock RPGs. They are usually covered with a thin layer of dust, but they are there, still marked with their original price stickers. I've seen Cyberpunk 2020, Harnworld, RuneQuest, Warhammer Historic, Palladium, TSR Marvel Super Heroes and more there. Another example also in London is L.A. Mood, which started off as a Comic shop but has grown to be more and more gaming over the years. You may not know it if you just stop into the store but they have a gaming area in the basement. Past all the tables are 50 or so long comic boxes. Most of these are classic sci-fi and geek magazines but you can always find about 10 boxes full of used RPG stuff that people have sold/given to the store. What these boxes have is random, and the condition of the books is sometimes not the best but the prices are dirt cheap. We're taking $5-$10 for hardcover rulebooks. 

SCORE! Mekton Empire new, on
the shelf for $8
These finds aren't just limited to London, or even Ontario or Canada. I spent a week working in Hebron Kentucky and managed to find an out of the way comic book store that had pretty much everything printed for Feng Shui sitting there on the shelf as new old stock. I managed to complete my collection that day. 

While it's really cool and awesome that I can just go online now and pretty much find and buy any old RPG I want, it's just not as much fun stumbling across a cache of classic RPG stuff at a game store. Being able to get the book I know I want right now Print on Demand is great, it doesn't match the discovery of a game I never knew I needed sitting right there on the shelf, as it has for 30 years at an out of town game store.


For those wishing to play along at home, here are the topics for this years #RPGaDay. Feel free to use these cues in your tweets, facebook posts, g+ threads, blog posts and more.

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