Jeff Rients posted two sci-fi fragments last night, the second of which was pulled from this:

Kilgore's <b>Understanding Traveller</b> by GDW

Kilgore's Understanding Traveller by GDW

This 16-page (counting front and back cover) pamphlet is the single most important item from my gaming career, because without it I may never have had a gaming career.

One afternoon I was at Don’s Hobby in Mankato, Minnesota, browsing through plastic model kits of warships. This is the sort of thing I did in 1978-1982, and I loved it. Don’s Hobby was great, because it had more ship kits than any store I had ever been in and it also carried model rockets, another hobby of mine. In addition, a magazine rack farther back in the store carried ‘Sea Power’ magazine, and I would spend a great deal of my free time on hot summer days thumbing through the pages of the magazines that I couldn’t afford to buy. (Which was nearly all of them ever.)

Back by the magazine rack were shelves filled with all sorts of weird books and games, and one of the most prominent was filled with a variety of little black books for something called ‘Traveller.’ Now, besides warships and rockets I sure dug sci-fi, and since Traveller was billed as “Science Fiction Adventure in the Far Future”, I picked up a couple of the books and flipped through them. One of them was a thin one called ‘Understanding Traveller’, and it explained the concept of role-playing games in general and Traveller specifically. A drawing of a guy in a vacc suit with what I would later learn was a laser carbine was on page 3, and I was hooked.

Despite the clearly printed FREE on the cover, I distinctly remember walking up to the counter (on those creaky hardwood floors at Don’s) and asking if the booklet was free. It was, of course, and I spent weeks reading and re-reading it. Off of this, I ended up with Traveller as a birthday present.

Several months later, I introduced the game to a friend back from his first year in college, and he returned the favor by introducing us to AD&D.

I didn’t build very many more model ships or model rockets after that birthday.

The image here is of the very booklet that I took home that day in 1982. The crease down the middle is from where I folded it in half to stick in my back pocket so I could bike back to my mom’s place. Every once in a while I get it out and read through it.

Talk about an artifact or relic of the Ancients.

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One Comment to “Understanding Traveller”

  1. […] I haven’t written much about it, I got my start in RPGs with Traveller. Even after the D&D bug bit (and bit hard) I retained a very soft spot […]