Grail games are those that you have not yet added to your collection – either for too high a price or lack of availability. The internet has made it easier to find those games but it has also made the value of those games more known. It also has exposed us to a lot more games that we wouldn’t have known that we needed to have. I’ve been lucky enough to have gotten most of my grail games over the years but more are always being added to the list. Most have been ones that I had a chance to buy at one time but didn’t, some are ones that I didn’t become interested in until long after they were out of print.
Circus Imperium was one of my early games. I played it at Gencon and tracked down a copy. I ran it for many years at various conventions and my wife eventually tracked down another copy to have. I even tracked down the miniatures but haven’t bought them yet as I keep using my scratch built ones.
Conquest of the Empire was one of the Milton Bradley Gamemaster series. My friends and I had each bought one of them to have the set. I bought the Fortress America, others bought the Axis & Allies. My friend later gave me the Conquest for one of my birthdays. By then I already had the Broadships and Boarding Parties.
Space Crusade was another game I first played at Gencon. Gloria, a friend of a friend, brought one back for me from the UK. There are two supplements but I don’t expect to even be able to get them.
I’m not sure where I first played the Aliens board game - I believe it was at a Wingames. The rules used to be online but I was finally able to track down a copy. I even managed to get a copy of the Aliens RPG last year. I’m still missing the Aliens board game expansion though.
Star Wars The Queen’s Gambit disappeared shortly after it came out. I was able to get a copy at retail ($80) in a Thunder Bay game store while we were visiting my wife’s sister.
I wasn’t into LARPs as much as many of the locals. I did get the Star Wars Live Action supplement but never got into the White Wolf set. I was intrigued enough to eventually get Cthulhu Live – both the first and all the books for the second edition. I haven’t picked up the third edition yet but it remains one of my games that I hope to play one day.
I used to play Car Wars back in the day. We had the pocket box sets, the Deluxe sets, and most of the supplements. When I found out about 5th edition it had already been out of print. It took a bit of time, but I was able to get all the books through ebay.
I never played the old FASA Crimson Skies but I do remember the big board at Gencon with the buildings under plexiglass as being impressive. I did play, judge, and enjoy the remake when it came out from WizKids. I finally decided to get the old version as well. It took a bit of searching, but I was finally able to track down the boxed set and all the books and supplements.
I remember the Space:1899 game when it first came out. While interesting, I never managed to get it. Much, much later, I was able to get a copy of Ironclads and Ether Flyers. The rules seem fun enough that I picked up the reprinted rules of Sky Galleons of Mars/Cloudships and Gunboats. While great, I was missing the maps and ships. I started making some ships out of balsa but got side-tracked. Luckily, I was just able to win a boxed copy of Sky Galleons of Mars on ebay for a good price.
I’ve picked up most of the new Hasbro/Avalon Hill games except all the Axis and Allies variants. I’m still missing the pretty copy of Acquire, the Diplomacy with the metal figures, Betrayal at House on the Hill. I was missing Nexus Ops (now rereleased by Fantasy Flight - but I just won one as well). I’m not really chasing those down yet but I had a copy of Monsters Menace America in my hands at Valleycon for $25 and put it down to complete a quick sweep of the rest of the dealer’s room. As soon as I did, it was scooped up by another. It took four or five years before I was finally able to find another for a decent price.