Chaosium President Rick Meints shares stories from a life-time as a collector of all things Chaosium.
I used to go to a fair number of model railroad shows with my father back in the mid to late '70s, including the Ann Arbor show in 1978. Alas, I had no clue about the other "show" that would be in Ann Arbor a few months later that summer.
I had started playing D&D in early 1978 (Basic Set), but didn't know anything about the larger world of roleplaying games until I subscribed to Dragon magazine a few years later (issue #44 was my first). Had I known of its existence, Origins '78 is the other show in Ann Arbor I would have loved to attend. Held on the University of Michigan North Campus, mainly in North Campus Recreation Building and Bursley Hall, nearly 3500 lucky souls were in attendance; a record at that time for a war-game/RPG convention.
The Chaosium debuted the first edition of RuneQuest there. In fact they had rushed it to print out of the fear of missing the summer convention season.
Origins '78 ran from Thursday July 13th through Sunday July 16th. I didn't know too many of the specifics of the convention beyond a single photo we had in the archives. Fortunately, a good friend recently gifted me the convention Program Book. The 74 page booklet (cover shown above) packs quite a punch even though it is 8.5" tall and 5.5" wide.
The Program Book features a wealth of information not only relating to the convention itself, but also the early days of the industry. It even recounts the history of the first four Origins conventions as well as the early Metro Detroit Gamer (MDG) conventions which have grown to rather legendary status in their own right.
I don't expect mom and dad would have let me go for the whole weekend, but even to have attended on Saturday would have been amazing. I hope I would have gone to one or more of the four RuneQuest Workshops and also stopped by the Chaosium booth. I am pretty sure I would have spent every last dollar of my allowance in the exhibit hall. Who knows where I would be today if I had attended...
Chaosium is listed as one of the companies sponsoring events. You could choose the inexpensive option of staying in the Bursley or Baits dorms for $5.25 per night.
The Chaosium was in booths 23-24. In the buyer's guide on page 13 Chaosium is listed under the Miniatures Rules and Role Playing Systems category. I have a photo of Greg, Cam, and Tadashi in the booth in my Meints Index to Glorantha 3rd Edition collector's guide.
The CHAOSium had a "full page" ad on page 26. It leads off with an overview of RuneQuest for a mere $8, followed by King Arthur's Knights and then Lords of the Middle Sea.
The 7 page "Personalities" section featured a brief bio of Greg Stafford. I smiled when I saw it mentioned that wood carving was one of his other interests. The entire range of people included reads like a veritable "who's who" of 1970s wargaming and the early days of RPGs.
Having lived in Ann Arbor as a student back in the 1980s, and then as an adult for the last 20 or so years I enjoyed the "Ann Arbor Action" tourist guide of local attractions. Sadly, as many townies know, most of these businesses are no longer there. Some of the entries in the Odds and Ends section on page 69 would probably not make the final cut in today's era of convention books.