The beginning of what would become "Quest Club" truly began in Las Vegas, Nevada around 1983, with a 10-year-old kid. Zack was from a poor family and lived a rough life. The local library was his sanctuary - his escape. There he could sail with pirates in Stevenson's "Treasure Island", raft down the Mississipi 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 - the kid ate it up. So, when someone introduced him to the game called "Dungeons & Dragons", it was a natural fit. Zack borrowed the core books for the game from the libraries, scrounged and saved to get the special dice and some adventures, and 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's family moved a great deal so Zack played when and where he could; sometimes with a school chum but most of the time it was just he and his little brother. 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..." - that was that and he was off to the races. Zack reached out to the club's organizer and was brought into their games less than a week later.
It was January 1986. Zack was 13. 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). 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 product to the players and gave thanks in the form of free D&D swag to his young partner. Unfortunately, the new year of 1987 brought with it a downer. Zack lost his mentor and the business aspect came to an abrupt end when Brad was recruited by a big-time employer and offered a life-changing opportunity out of state. Although the distributorship had ended, Zack continued running the gaming group. Fate it seemed, had its own plans as 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:
As they say: "How Ya Gonna Keep 'em Down on the Farm (After They've Seen Paree)?" 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, Zack was managing a new group of about 15 high school kids 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. The initial run of Quest Club was short-lived (about a year). Once again Zack's family relocated, this time to Burbank, California - a suburb of Los Angeles, in September of 1988.
Leaps & Bounds:
In Burbank, Quest Club really blossomed. Between school, activities, cousins, and new friends - Zack and a core group of gamers were able to network. Quest Club's membership snowballed quickly. Since the club had no "age limit", the age of our membership expanded as well. We still maintained a core of teens and young adults (averaging 15-25 years) but now included a solid membership of older adult member groups in their 30's and 40's. Most members participated within their own age-ranges but occasionally would experience gaming with younger or older members as well. We also saw a great mix at our monthly special events. A few of our "junior" members aged 10 or 12 and a few of our "senior" members aged up in their 60's. Friends, kids, teens, adults, elders, parents, grandparents, brothers, 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 other 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 into events (such as annual holiday parties, picnics, trips to conventions, movie nights, trips to Renaissance Fairs, 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. We partnered with affiliate gaming groups and sanctioned Quest Club chapters in San Diego, Arizona, Australia, and the United Kingdom. We subsidized costs with member donations, event-specific fund-raisers, sponsorship from merchants, parents and other benefactors. Pretty much if our membership 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 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 2013. A new generation of youthful gamers, having heard all Zack's stories of the "good old days" of gaming, have decided they want the same. They pressed, Zack pondered. After a lot of consideration, Zack agreed to work with this new generation of kids and together, 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!
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