The beginning of what would become "Quest Club" truly began in Las Vegas, Nevada around 1983. Zack was a 10-year-old kid from a poor family and a rough neighborhood. It could be said that he and his younger brother, Dominic, were the first "underprivileged and at-risk youths" that the club eventually helped (saved, if you ask Zack).
The local library was Zack's sanctuary - his escape. There he could sail with pirates in Stevenson's "Treasure Island", raft down the Mississippi in Twain's "Huckleberry Finn", explore the strange in Bradbury's "The Martian Chronicles", or face the Orc hordes in Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings". Fiction, Science-Fiction, History, Mythology, and especially Fantasy - he ate it up. So, when someone introduced him to "Dungeons & Dragons", it was a natural fit. Zack borrowed a Player's Handbook from the library, made dice out of paper, and dreamt up adventures as he and his brother learned to play.
The game inspired Zack to read even more & diverse books; to write stories of his own, and to learn how to articulate his ideas. Zack & Dom played when and where they could; sometimes with school chums but most of the time it was just the two of them. It was free and fun but limited without more people to share it with. After three years, Zack stumbled across an ad that opened up a whole new chapter: "Dungeons & Dragons gaming club forming in the Las Vegas area..."
It was January 1986. The group was called "Fantasy Adventures Unlimited". The organizer was a man named Brad who was a distributor of TSR products (the company that originally sold Dungeons & Dragons). He built the club as a means to display products. At the time Zack joined them, the FAU was only three months old and had only a handful of members - all adults. Despite Zack's youth, the FAU guys welcomed the young newcomer and gave him a chance. After a short time proving that he was mature enough to "roll" with the adult Gamers, he was in.
Over the next year, the FAU gaming group grew. Zack helped to develop the club's newsletter, run games, organize meetings, and recruit new members. With Zack's help, Brad was selling a good deal of products and showed his appreciation in the form of free D&D swag to his young partner.
Unfortunately, 1987 brought with it a downer. Zack lost his mentor and the business aspect came to an abrupt end. Brad was recruited by a big-time employer and offered a life-changing opportunity out of state. With Brad gone, the distributorship ended. Zack continued running the gaming group for a time but fate it seemed, had its own plans. In mid-1987, Zack's own family left Las Vegas and moved to San Diego, California. The remaining members kept gaming together for a while but within a few months of Zack's leaving, Fantasy Adventures Unlimited was no more.
The First Year:
The experiences in Las Vegas with the FAU left Zack wanting to build up a new gaming group and keep things going. So in a new city, a new school, and with a new attitude, Zack started recruiting. Soon, there were about 15 kids gaming in a garage. Someone suggested the group should have a name. So, after some brainstorming and a subsequent vote, "Quest Club" was officially founded in the Fall of 1987. At that time, the club's events consisted of a couple of regular gaming groups that met weekly and occasional special events such as sleep-over marathon games and group trips to the beach. Quest Club relocated to Burbank, California - a suburb of Los Angeles, in September of 1988.
Leaps & Bounds:
In Burbank, Quest Club really blossomed. Membership snowballed quickly. The club became home to all sorts of gamers, ranging from kids to elders (with an average age of about 15-25 years). A great mix of many new gaming groups and special events. The idea of "Fun & Friendship through Games & Activities" really came to life. All manner of kids, teens, adults, elders, parents, grandparents, brothers, and sisters - all playing games together. It was an incredible mixing of the generations and a truly unique atmosphere!
The Golden Age:
What started out as a group of teens playing D&D in a garage soon became a close-knit affiliation of many gaming groups all over the Los Angeles County area. One of the strongest draws was that the club was independent - created by gamers, for gamers, and run by gamers; not beholden to any particular patron, ideology, or entity. The games played expanded from D&D to many other types of role-playing games, miniatures games, board games, computer games, collectible card games, classic games, and even Live-Action Role-Playing games.
In addition to games, the club expanded the events, to include things such as annual holiday parties, picnics, trips to conventions, movie nights, Renaissance Faires, and themed camp-outs - to name a few). Over the next 12 years (1988 to 2000), Quest Club was petitioned by hundreds of applicants and welcomed scores of members. The club partnered with affiliate gaming groups and sanctioned Quest Club chapters in San Diego, Arizona, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
The club has no dues or costs to members. When money was needed, it was found through member donations, event-specific fund-raisers, and the occasional sponsorship from merchants, parents, and other benefactors. Pretty much if our members wanted to make it happen, we made it happen! It really was uniquely fantastic. Alas, all good things...
Sunset & Legacy:
Paths change, people move on, and life - as it tends to do - sometimes gets in the way. That's the way it was for the club's primary organizer, Zack. As his career and family grew, time for Quest Club shrank. Despite the efforts of a few others, the club declined. Without support and regular communication from the Flagship, chapters fizzled, closed, or went in other directions. Eventually, it reverted to a loose confederation of gaming groups. The whole of it came to a close in 2006.
In its time, Quest Club helped a lot of people - especially teens and young adults. Among its accolades, the club helped to hone critical thinking, improved social skills, encouraged learning, and most importantly - helped a great many people to develop life-long friendships. Not to mention providing us all with a barrel-full of FUN times and stories to tell. But this isn't the end of the story; not quite yet.
Life - with all its ups and downs - played through for the next decade, until a new generation came calling. Flash-forward to Iowa in 2016. A new generation of youthful gamers, having heard stories of the "good old days" of gaming, have decided they want the same. After a lot of consideration, it was decided to give Quest Club another go. To "make it happen" one more time.
So, if you are reading this - if you've invested the time to get this far, to the end of our story here - then consider yourself invited. We are calling on all Gamers - young and young at heart - to join us in creating a club dedicated to fun events, building friendships, sharing experiences, and using the platform of games to better ourselves and our communities. Come on and give Quest Club a look-see. Give our style a try. You may find us to be that hidden treasure that you've been searching for... or at least something to do on a Saturday night! Thanks for your time and interest in our club. Be well and happy!
Any questions? Contact Us!