Tales of Mythic Adventure Episode 10 – Meet THE Gloranthan Collector

Guest: Moon Design’s own Rick Meints

Just a note that there are a few audio glitches in this episode – particularly in the first couple of minutes, courtesy of Skype – however, sound does improve.

Empty Fridge in the Green Room 0:00 – 2:25

Jeff is in Berlin and MOB and Rob the Producer are in fortress Melbourne. Rob calls for a refreshment update. MOB and Rob are drinking coffee as it is 6AM; Jeff is chugging on Ginger Ale, it being very hot in Berlin. Jeff introduces this week’s guest Rick Meints, coming to us from the West Coast in the United States. Rick is sad to report that he only has a bottle of water: clearly, the Tales of Mythic Adventure virtual green room fridge is in great need of replenishment. Jeff offers to open a beer in Berlin and drink it on Rick’s behalf. Rick is comforted by this. Rick is the President of Moon Design Publications, but it is in his capacity as an über collector par excellence that he joins us today. Rick has an entire room in his house dedicated to his collection, full of miscellaneous wonders and the like (and, he says, a bit of tat as well).

Miscellaneous wonders (and a bit of tat) 2:25-7:45

Rick started his collection in 1979, beginning with books he bought to play games. He was one of those lucky children who were careful with their possessions. Rob the Producer interjects to ask how old Rick was in the late seventies. Rick was thirteen. Rick had an agreement with his parents that they would buy him any book he wanted, and so he got some early classics under this deal. Jeff adds that he had the same sweet deal, and got the AD&D hardbacks from his grandparents as a Christmas present. Given they were devout evangelical Baptists they probably did not approve of the subject matter, but it was a book, so he got it. Likewise, MOB’s parents comforted themselves with the line, “at least he’s reading.”

Later, when Rick played RuneQuest, he was a player not a GM, but would buy the campaign books (Griffin MountainSnake Pipe Hollow) to read up on things that might have been missed during the campaign. MOB asks what are some special examples of this early period. Rick feels that some of the early Chaosium publications were special, as well as some of the art work. One special piece in Rick’s collection is the original framed Griffin Mountain cover painting by Janelle Jaquays.

Jeff feels that that is trumped by the cover painting for RuneQuest 2 by Louise Perrin (called the “iguana eating a burrito cover” by Sandy Peterson). However, Rick gives first place to the Griffin Mountain cover because it was gifted to him by his wife (aaaww…).

Another classic graphic of the era in Rick’s possession is the William Church map from White Bear Red Moon.

Mr Suitcase 7:45-18:00

Rick mentions that he has been called “Mr Suitcase”, as he is a bit of a completist (Ed: in the same way that Harrek the Berserk is a bit of a berserk). He collects every printing and every edition of things. Rick has one of the first 200 copies printed of WBRM still in the original envelope, unopened and unpunched. All in all, he has nine different versions of the game. He also has the Avalon Hill version when the game became Dragon Pass with, as Jeff says, the ‘inexplicably awful cover.’

Rick agrees as to the cover, but gives a shout out to the gameboard design of the Avalon Hill edition, which was much better than the paper version of the original.

Rick does not have everything however. One of the one’s that got away was from the spare parts part of the Avalon Hill catalogue. The company used to sell uncut maps of its games. Rick bought the uncut maps of CivilisationDiplomacy and Third Reich, but missed the one for Dragon Pass. Rick tries to pass this off as the fish that got away, but Rob interjects to say it was more of a whale. Mind you, Jeff never ordered anything from the Avalon Hill spare parts catalogue, so he is kicking himself with both feet.

MOB asks about the rarest or most unusual parts of Rick’s collection. Rick feels that he perhaps has the only set of troll ball miniatures that were made by Martian Metals in the late seventies. The miniatures were mentioned in the Gencon East advertising in 1978. One copy was purchased from the stand at the convention and no other copy has ever been located. Greg Stafford thought he had a copy, but Rick looked in Greg’s garage for two hours and couldn’t find them.

(Note from Rob the Producer: No image of the Trollball miniatures could be found after a cursory look on Google images, so here are some astonishingly detailed life-size statues depicting the game.)

Rick was called “Mr Suitcase” by an annoyed fan on the Gloranthan Digest (the fan was from France so you can also, if you wish, call Rick “Monsieur Valise”). The story is after Moon Design started reprinting some old pieces he had to break it to the fan that not all of the rarest stuff would be reprinted.. “Mr Suitcase” is an insult from Magic, the Gathering, referring to people who have all of the rare cards that can win any game. While in MtG terms it has connotations of bad sportsmanship, Rick took it as a badge of honour and used it as his sig line for the next six months.

The Reprint King 18:00-23:20

The discussion then turns to the Gloranthan Classics line. This was a four volume set. The first volume was the boxed set Pavis, and the boxed set Big Rubble – both cleaned up, with less typos than the originals. The next volume was Griffin Mountain, with additional material and introduction by Paul Jaquays and Rudy Kraft, the original authors, and additional art.

These editions were not facsimile reprints, but included extra art to give the products a more modern look and feel. Rick also combed through old magazines looking for material that had been cut from the published games, and went to the original authors for unpublished material.Rick is also Mr Layout at Moon Design, and has done the layout on almost all products since. The two best examples of Rick’s work are the Guide to Glorantha and Heroquest Glorantha. These were both very complicated books layout wise. Jeff feels that layout is an invisible art because it only becomes noticeable when it is done poorly. The layout of the guide has been noted in this year’s ENnie awards with a nomination for Best Product Design – along with Best Setting, Best Cartography and Book of the Year!)

The Diana Jones Award 23:20 – 27:15

The Guide to Glorantha has also been nominated for the Diana Jones Award. This award is the premier award for the role playing industry, voted by a panel of industry experts. Rob the Producer innocently asks the derivation of the name, and Rick agrees to explain.

The company TSR had the Indiana Jones roleplaying game, and it was generally agreed to be astonishingly bad. As part of this game, the company infamously tried to trademark the word ‘Nazi’. As an ironic commentary on the awfulness of the product, a burnt copy of the game is included in the trophy, and the legend is that the first two letters of Indiana Jones were burnt off, leaving the now title “…DIANA JONES”.

MOB feels that the Guide should also be in the running for the “heaviest product award”. Luckily, there is flat rate postage in the US for products of a standard size, and Moon Design made very sure that the Guide fit into that size.

Indexer par excellence 27:15 – 35:30

Rick is also the author of the Meints Index to Glorantha. This arose from the requests of fans for descriptions of various products. Rick kept all of these index posts and eventually the suggestion was made that the products be turned into a book. The book is 128 pages and describes products from the seventies to the late nineties. 

Of course after the publication of MIG 1 (as it is called) plenty of worldwide collectors wrote in with products he had missed, and so a MIG 2 had to be published (pictured with a helpful pigeon)

(Rob breaks into to confirm that in order to be a completist index collector of Glorantha you have to be a completist index collector).

Jeff asks if the Meints Index includes the notorious fazine Gorp (the fake collectable perpetrated by MOB and others, including Rob the Producer as illustrator). Rick tries to point out that Gorp was a fictional products, but he did include it in the enigmatic “What never was” section of the index, including the intriguing and perhaps luckily non-existent X rated supplement for Runequest.

MOB asks if there are any great works left for Rick to add to his collection. Unfortunately, Rick, like Alexander the Great, has few worlds left to conquer. There are a few pieces, a few miniatures, a few supplements, but he is like the Corso character in The Club Dumas (or its movie version, The Ninth Gate).

MGF Questions (Everybody goes to Rick’s) 35:30-End

Rob the Producer asks if Rick has really avoided temptation to never open the envelope for his original copy of White Bear Red Moon. Rick answers that not only is the envelope unopened, but that the game came in two different colours of envelope (white and brown), and he has one of each. One final anecdote of Rick’s connesseurship is when Rick had to scan the original copy of Griffin Mountain. He had to cut it up to scan it. He couldn’t do it to one of his own copies and had to get a copy from eBay that he didn’t have sentimental feelings for, but shed a tear as he cut it to pieces.

Q: Something everyone knows about Rick

A: He is a power gamer, and feels that the best way to be a power gamer in RuneQuest is to be an Issaries merchant, because money is power.

MOB also points out that at every convention Rick goes to he wears his rainbow coloured poncho, that Rick got at a roadside stall in Tinuana.

Q: Something Nobody Knows about Rick

A: Will continue not to be known, as he dodges the question

Q: Something he is worse at than the average gamer

A: Keeping his character sheet up to date (especially bad for an Issaries merchant)

Q: Something he is better at than the average gamer

A: Rick like going with the flow. Rick heard the improv theatre mantra once that whatever another character comes up with, you say yes to. He will always, on the fly, go along with any plan.

Products Mentioned

Editors Note

The pictures used in these notes are for illustrative purposes only, and may not be the exact editions mentioned in the podcast. For Any complaints should be directed to Rick Meints, care of Moon Design, who will be wearing his Harrek the Berserk poncho.