GURPS (1987)

This week, GURPS! This is the second edition GURPS box set (1987, though aside of an errata sheet, some updated skills and blue ink on the booklet covers, there is no real distinction between the second and first editions). I’ve played third edition GURPS off and on since the early 90s and some part of me truly believed that there never was a first or second edition of the game. I never saw one in the wild! No one I knew ever had either. Even after I started seriously collecting, I never saw one come onto the market. The first time I laid eyes on one, this one, was in 2021, a bit of amazing luck that ensured I got a photo of it in the book. I have no idea if these are low print-run products or if this is just a weird quirk of my existence, but whatever the case, it primed me to love this box once I got my grubby hands on it.

It is a pretty stacked box! You get some rad chits, two rulebooks, a solo adventure, a group adventure, character sheets and a reference booklet. In light of Steve Jackson’s history with boxes (Metagaming decided, somewhat foolishly, to not issue the fully realized Fantasy Trip RPG in a box), seeing all this stuff in a box feels like a sort of cosmic justice.

It also feels, perhaps obviously, like GURPS! There are lots of updates that broaden and refine the game in the third and fourth editions, but the core is all right here, often with art that was reused in the later books. It feels slightly more ‘80s in substance, thanks to some typesetting choices, but other than that, it feels just as homey as, say, a favorite flannel shirt.

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