by Goodman Games
I suppose it's no wonder that Bob never told me the outhouse story. The only crimes that we had while the office was at Franklin Mall was the Civil War miniatures were stolen and we suspected it may have been one of the teenage customers for the miniatures we had gotten in stock.
Even though I would have liked getting to buy minis at wholesale personally, I was against even having a retail location or selling miniatures mail order either. My logic was limiting our mail order selling to other publishers games/aids (TSR, Chaosium etc.) because they fit into our mailing envelopes/boxes and were the perfect complementary sale, but minis would require packing and expanding our inventory list and bulk potentially exponentially. But Bob pushed hard so I caved in. And I was not consistent because the Frazetta prints required tubes, but they were so cool!
As I write these snippets I remember things, I thought we'd played just one WWII game on the massive (4x8') table at our offices but now I remember we did play some CIvil War miniature games there. When I dissolved the partnership, Bob paid to replace the Civil War troops stolen. "Colonel" Paul LeGreco from Galesburg painted these and we had some good games with them until 2011.
In 1971 we had one other case of attempted theft in the mall. We had all our minitanks--like 300--parked like a Chevy car lot on a table in the basement. A kid had found them and without recognizing the "lookout" posted (I thought it was odd he was standing there reading travel brochures holding them upside down), I unknowingly took another route to the basement and showed up just as the thief was about to carry them out. He hid in the gloom of the 6x10' sand table room and then finally appeared, sweating, out of "nowhere". I told him to leave which he was glad to do. Then other owner of the tanks came down the stairs from his job in the cafe and while passing on the stairs "read" the kid's face immediately, saying "The tanks!" and started chasing him. As I heard long footfalls pounding across the highway and into the parking lot beyond I wandered into the sand table room and saw the empty table. My first thought was "Well, there's always ships." [To collect and have wargames with.] But then looked down below the GRT chart wall and saw the grocery bags full of tanks.
I suppose if one plays a game like D&D where you imagine going and killing creatures and taking their stuff, there's bound to be a few that graduate to be future-Congressmen and decide to try stealing your real stuff.
Bob was occasionally an enigma to me but seeing his strict upbringing, paired with falling into the outhouse he'd uprooted, might explain his rich interior life that fantasy might provide. Plus wargames might provide an outlet for the struggle with evil within.
The boys were probably going to do what Steve Sheiring later did to Palladium (to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars of product, before he was caught - along with most of Siembieda's valuable collectables that were retirement investments, from the company vault).
Take road trips, visit game stores, flash their company employee badges, and say they were doing a promotional tour, selling product for less than wholesale. They could probably have financed a road trip to Florida and back (or even California) with the proceeds of sales along the way.
I don't remember hearing about the armed robbery back in the day. I can't even imagine how scary that must of been. And what kind of idiots rob a game store thinking it has money? D&D hadn't even become famous yet in the Winter of 78.