Thursday, June 23, 2011

AH Artifacts

The campaign map I've been busy producing with Hexographer is, as I'm sure most people know, based on the map from Avalon Hill's Outdoor Survival game. Over the course of play, I've changed details from the original to suit the direction of the campaign, but its basic appearance is still recognizably that of Outdoor Survival.

Anyway, when I cracked open my ancient copy of Outdoor Survival, I found a copy of interesting Avalon Hill artifacts: a fold-up order form and a registration card. Both are actually quite fascinating windows on both the world and the hobby of 30 years ago.
This first one is just purely nostalgia for me. Though I was never much of a wargamer and though I only ever owned a handful of AH games, I still get a charge out of seeing that address. When I was a younger man, I found it inordinately gratifying that one of the major companies of my hobby was located in my hometown. Looking back, I kick myself that I didn't better avail myself of this fact.
This is the other side of the registration card. It's mostly pretty boring, but what I find fascinating is section 4, where it asks where you purchased the game you're registering. Just look at some of those options: Department Store, Stationery Store, Gift/Card Store. Back in the old days, you really could go to many card stores and expect to see RPGs and boxed wargames on the shelves. Growing up, I remember going to a large card/bookstore called Greetings & Readings (then located in Towson, Maryland) and getting a lot of RPG stuff there that I couldn't find anywhere else, like the Grenadier Gamma World miniatures. Also of interest is the reference to "Military Outlet." As I've said before, we can't underestimate the huge role military personnel played on the early hobby.
The front portion of the order form is interesting primarily as a time capsule from the world before the Internet. Also of interest is the "Elite Club," a lifetime 10% discount on mail order purchases if you spent $120 or more on a single order.
The backside has a similar time capsule feel to it. Unlike the registration card, which is from a later time, after the foundation of Victory Games, this form uses AH's formal name, The Avalon Hill Game Company. I've always thought the use of the definite article lent a certain dignity to it.

Ah, memories!

12 comments:

  1. "Growing up, I remember going to a large card/bookstore called Greetings & Readings..."

    Yep. I remember buying a couple of AH games in, of all places, a greeting card and stationery store in Sacramento.

    ReplyDelete
  2. AH..gone but not forgotten. Damn Hasbro (i.e Hasborg) for not reprinting many of AH's classic games.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "Back in the old days, you really could go to many card stores and expect to see RPGs and boxed wargames on the shelves."--James Maliszewski

    They apparently were more widely available than even that. My wife got her AD&D books from a dollhouse shop in the small town of Lafayette, Indiana, in 1979.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Re: definite article. I've always felt that way about "The Chaosium"

    ReplyDelete
  5. Going to Google Maps (there are some things that the internet makes possible that are really amazing, especially in the context discussed here), I see that the address in question has apparently been torn down to make way for a used car lot.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Military Outlet? I'm heading down to the PX in just a few minutes. I wish they had a bunch of Avalon Hill games there. I should be happy they have a few Pathfinder and 4E books, I guess.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hmmm... I ran into a copy of Outdoor Survival at a local thrift shop the other day. If still there I will have to crack it open and look at the map ...

    Also should dig up some of my old SPI boxes and poke about in their "reply card" for interesting stuff like above. Cool...

    ReplyDelete
  8. I think my father still has all the old "bookcase" games that included Outdoor Survival. Starving to death was never so fun!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow, now that's a nostalgia trip. I remember those cards and forms. I also remember that I never had to use them because there were tons of shops around and I could always buy any Avalon Hill product I wanted off the shelf.

    ReplyDelete
  10. The AH catalogs are what trigger nostalgia for me. I spent a lot of time poring over them w/ friends, planning which games to purchase.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I always keep the catalogs, response cards and RPGA fliers from my AD&D 2e boxed sets. The language and style of the promotional material triggers nostalgia, but also gives an insight to what gaming was like for that period.

    ReplyDelete
  12. A gaming friend of mine now has his art studio in the building that used to house GDW. Earlier this year, he posted a pic of a similar reply/survey card that must have sat in an old box for a loooong time before it was mailed there.

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.