If you’re ever in Phoenix or Tucson, AZ (or Flagstaff, for that matter), there’s a great used book store chain called Bookmans. They’re not as good as Powell’s in Portland, but few things are. Aside from books, they have a great selection of movies, music, console games, and other games. I found a second edition copy of the West End Games Star Wars d6 rules when I was last in Phoenix.
But I’m not talking about Bookman’s at the moment. I’m talking about the Las Cruces, NM store, Coas. They also have a great selection of books, not so much movies and music. But their store on Solano has all of their games, and it’s managed fairly well. I was extremely happy to find a copy of the original 1980 release of TSR’s Top Secret. For $10. And with the insane amount of credit that I have with them, I got it for about $2.
To the best of my knowledge, Top Secret is the first spy/espionage game, predating Hero’s Espionage and later Danger, International and Flying Buffalo’s Mercenaries, Spies, and Private Eyes. To give you an idea of how old it is, the address for TSR does not have Zip+4, just a plain ol’ five digit zip code. And the box does not have a UPC bar code. I laughed at that.
To be sadly honest, Top Secret is not a very good game. I played it a fair amount, and it doesn’t stand up to later espionage games. But there is a quaint charm to it, not unlike people who play early editions of D&D.
So why did I buy it? Well, I have a soft spot in my heart for the first games that I cut my teeth on, and Top Secret is one of them. Plus, I’m writing a personal 2.0 edition of Mercenaries, Spies, and Private Eyes. MSPE is a decent game, but it has some shortcomings and is easy to kitbash, and I thought it might be useful to peruse Top Secret and see if it has anything to offer for my MSPE mods.
I’m silly that way. Or, if you asked my wife, I’m just silly.
(and if you’re ever in Las Cruces, I’d be happy to recommend some good restaurants)
(and I hope to finish off the Reverb list very soon, got hit with a really nasty bronchitis last week and I’m still recovering)