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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The OMG post!

I monitor and post on several miniatures related sites. A regular feature of nearly all of these sites is the "OMG I FOUND!" post.

I hate these posts. I hate them somewhat less when they have pictures, but I hate them nonetheless, because they make my heart burn white hot with envy.

These posts often have "OMG" in the title, or in the post itself. They invariably detail some fantastic find on the part of the poster. "OMG," one will say, "I found a copy of First Edition Space Hulk at a garage sale for five bucks! And it still has all the pieces!"

And I seethe. Why couldn't it have been me?

"OMG!" will cry another. "I was at Goodwill, and I found a second edition boxed Talisman set, with all the plastic minis, and the first two expansion sets included, for ten bucks!"

Hiss, I hiss. May your offspring be born one-eyed mutants.

But I understand why they do what they do and howl like they howl. Game geeks LIVE for finds like this. Awesome stuff from yesteryear that we should have bought while we had the chance... but didn't, for one reason or another. Or worse, we HAD it, but we loaned it out... or sold it... or it just vanished during a move... or something. And now, here it is, a bit scuffed, but no worse than it would have been in my closet, at the Salvation Army for a buck. Who wouldn't crow over a find like this?

Today, it's my turn.

I did not buy Battle Masters when it came out. I was poorer then than now, and since it was available at Wal-Mart, of all places, it never occurred to me that it might perhaps not be there if I waited too long. So I waited too long, I was a responsible adult, I paid my bills, and the chance came and went. Sigh.

Many times since then, I wished I'd been more impulsive and perhaps a week late with the rent. Battle Masters was the mass market version of Warhammer Fantasy Battles, released by Milton Bradley, but with 100-odd miniatures made by our old friends at Games Workshop/Citadel Miniatures, suitable for any number of fantasy skirmish games or RPGs. For twenty bucks! What, I couldn't spare twenty bucks? IDIOT! (whacks self on head repeatedly).

From time to time, I would encounter some of the plastic miniatures. A friend once gave me a handful of orcs he found at a garage sale, and I'm not sure how I came across the ogre, but I got him somewhere.

But I never so much as saw the box again. Except on line, of course. Ebay, Amazon, and other dealers in new and used dreams. They want HOW much? Eeesh. And that doesn't even include SHIPPING?

Until today.

Wife and I went Rumpusing, which is a strange and arcane ritual we undertake periodically when we have a couple bucks and life is dull. It involves eating out at a restaurant we don't normally patronize, and then going and poking our noses into places like used book stores, consignment stores, garage sales, antique stores... anywhere the merch is likely to be varied, eclectic, and unpredictable.

Oh, yeah, and preferably cheap.

Who knows? We've found quite a bit of furniture that way, and sometimes I find toys I can kitbash, or -- glory of glories! -- a gently used game I can restore. Found a milk crate full of Car Wars books and maps and stuff, once, for five bucks!

But today... today was magic.

After a leisurely browse at a really good used book store, we noticed a resale store downtown, one that had to be FAIRLY new -- we'd never seen it before. So we stopped to look. And at this resale store, amidst longboxes of old X-Men and vintage loose Star Wars figures carefully locked in little transparent card boxes for ten bucks each ... sat a copy of Battle Masters.

I snatched it up. It was heavy. Heavy enough? It's been twenty years. How likely is it that all the parts are in there? It was taped shut, so I couldn't check. I looked it over. Box was a LITTLE rough -- it had obviously spent many years on a closet shelf or in the garage. Still, what's a few scuffs on the box? I turned it over. It wasn't priced. I took it to the clerk and asked "How much is this?"

"I don't know," she said. "We just bought that from a walk-in, a couple days ago. Let me go and see if it's entered in inventory, yet." And she did. And she (rrarrgh!) checked it on Ebay as well, to get a clue as to value and price. On the other hand, she also plainly wanted to move the merch, as opposed to stand on the awesome value of the find. She quoted me a price.

I stopped and thought. It wasn't a bad price, but it was way above what I would have liked to have paid. This was a resale store, after all. Then again, it was hella cheaper than any price I'd seen online. "Can I have a look in the box, make sure all the pieces are in there?" I said, ready to stick my nose in the air and take a hike if she said no.

She looked around, found a knife, cut the tape, and opened the box.

The box was full. There didn't seem to be any loose pieces. Everything seemed... to still be on the sprues!!!

I looked closer.
The movement trays were still in the baggie. The DICE were still wrapped. NOTHING was punched off the sprues. The counters were still in the cardboard.

My mind about shorted out on me. The rubber bands around the cards were ancient, and about ready to break. Every card, sticker, token, counter, EVERYTHING, was... untouched. The game had been purchased... but never played.

Becca picked up some bumper stickers, and I agreed the deal was good. We paid, and after more rumpusing, went home, where I unpacked my treasures on the dinner table. Mighod, I'd never realized how MANY miniatures came with this thing! You could put together a whole Warhammer army -- no, TWO armies, Orcs and Empire, out of this box! What, a plastic KEEP comes with it?

I spread things out on the table to get a better look.

And I marveled. Man, there didn't seem to be any END to this game. Well, they did say "more than a hundred miniatures," right there on the box...

I gloated and reveled in my find. Wow. Did I dare pop anything off the sprues? I mean, it's practically MINT... and it's MINE!

But, then, I should have known. The omens were right. The signs were there. Earlier, at the used book store, I'd found a book I didn't even know EXISTED, based on one of the more hilariously twisted movies I've ever seen. And this should have tipped me off, right there.

Any day you run across the novelization of the only movie Sean Connery has ever starred in while wearing a diaper, you HAVE to know that as far as miniatures go, this day is going to be SPECIAL...

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