This morning, while waiting for my daughter to get up and drinking my tea, I flipped through the add for Micheal's -- the chain craft store. I am planning on running a session of Old School Hack on Friday and need a few things. I need to get some foam core board to make the patented Rel HexTracker and, maybe, some glass beads to use as Awesome Points. I then mentally kicked myself for selling a whole bunch of glass beads as part of a vase in Saturday's yard sale; they would have been perfect! I then decided to just use the cheap plastic poker chips we have sitting in our closet and save myself some money. Why buy something I don't really need?
Having kids has made me really think about frugality. I now evaluate a lot of purchases, big or small, in terms of providing for my children (college is going to cost a billion dollars by the time they are ready). Table top games, and RPG's in particular, are an exceptionally frugal means of entertainment. Small books provide thousands and thousands of hours of enjoyment. What's more, it's entertainment that is social; a shared experience is facilitated amongst a group. One can see the purchase of an RPG book, or any sort of table top game, not just as buying a book, but as buying the means to facilitate hours of fun with your friends.
One of the wonderful things about the OSR, in my opinion, is it's DIY ethos. It's mostly just scattered individuals, or small teams, writing and publishing a PDF here and a book there because they like the game and like for people to have fun playing the game. They are creative types who want an outlet for that creativity. What's more, so many of them give these games away. Sure, I know free product is rapidly become part of successful business models, but I often marvel at the fact that people work so hard on something and just turn around and put it out there, free, for anyone to use. I just, for example, downloaded Resolute, Adventurer, and Genius. It looks like a nice rules-set for pulp gaming. And it was free!
I guess this is my small way of saying thanks to all the people who put so much time and effort into making games, especially those that then decide to give those games away for people to play. Not only does it fit well with the frugal mindset I am trying to develop, it makes me feel very good about our hobby and this little niche all you people are helping to carve within it.