I am sad to say I never played, or ran, the second RPG (I think) I ever bought. I say “I think” here because, dammit, it was 40 years ago, it all gets hazy. I might have bought Toon before this one for example. But the way I remember it, it happened like this.
I have already mentioned saving up to buy the D&D basic set. Turns out that wasn’t a game I played or ran either, as the school club where I actually started playing was all about AD&D. So that meant asking for the expensive hardback volumes of that game for Christmas from various relations. You can argued that D&D and AD&D are two different games, and yes AD&D would then be the second game I owned, but not one I actually bought.
So, cut to New York. My parents had taken me on an exciting US east coast holiday. I was determined visit a games store in New York, and to buy a game that wasn’t (then) available in the UK. The first of those was easy, luckily there was a games store down the street from our hotel! We passed the store pretty much every time we went anywhere, which I am sure annoyed my parents as I would dawdle by the windows, trying to work out what I wanted to spend my money on.
Daredevils was attractive to me because, of course, Indiana Jones, but I had also read some Marvel Doc Savage, Man of Bronze reprints. Also, it wasn’t fantasy OR science fiction, but something new, no monsters or aliens, but human vs human. I still retain a base aversion to externalised, non-human antagonists, which I have to suspend when I play games with monsters or “evil” races.
Unfortunately, upon reading, I discovered that Indiana Jones and a few appearances of Doc Savage were not the grounding in American pulp that I needed to really appreciate the game. But there was another problem too.
It was written in the early 80’s when (it seems) the dominant philosophy in RPG design (it seemed) was to better similitude physics, rather than to emulate the genre. There were exceptions of course, the aforementioned Toon for example. But as I read more and more of the slim, but dense book (this was the age of stapled books in boxes) even as a young teen I realised that the system seemed to work against the tropes of the pulp genre.
Anyhow, my expensive (then, to me) purchase was not inspiring. I made a mistake. I bought a game I knew nothing about. Luckily todays gamers, in our connect world, don’t have to make the same mistake.