Rolling for Initiative--Free RPG Day 2012
Column by Scott Thorne
Published: 06/25/2012 01:49am
The long awaited Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG from Goodman Games finally arrived a week or so ago and it is BIG, over 470 pages of material for $39.99. Customers have responded well to the book as we sold out of our initial order within a couple of days and have sold through three-quarters of the restock we received. However, given that it is 470+ pages of material, including an index and a character sheet and forgoing one of the appendices or some of the 10 pages of promotional material at the end would have certainly helped players. With this much stuff between two covers, the two page table of contents just doesn't cut it.
Speaking of role playing games, we participated in the annual Free RPG Day again this year, as we have since the very first one back in 2007. I checked with Aldo Ghiozzi, owner of Impressions Advertising and Marketing and the mind behind Free RPG Day for some information on this year's event.
Eighteen publishers participated in this year's Free RPG Day, about the same number as last year and up from previous years. Included in this year's offerings were titles for Dungeons & Dragons, the Pathfinder RPG, Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG, Conspiracy X, FFG's Warhammer 40K RPG, the Harn RPG, Cosmic Patrol and Quickstart rules for both Shadowrun and Battletch, as well as dice from Q-Workshop and Chessex and smaller assortment of offerings from other publishers. All in all, a pretty good selection. The Pathfinder offerings went pretty quickly as did the D&D offering from Wizards of the Coast (that we were running demos of both games here all day helped with that). There were a number of single items this year as well, sample products from three or four small publishers. Not certain how other stores handled this but we did a drawing for them and gave them away at the end of the day. Off World Designs included an XL Free RPG Day t-shirt in every kit, with the option to order more.
According to Ghiozzi, 385 stores participated this year, down from last year's total of 420, but every one of the 603 kits produced sold out, as usual. We had a line of about 10 people waiting to get in when we opened the store (I think it was mainly the Free RPG Day offerings but the free hot dogs and barbeque may have helped). As is usual, Free RPG Day was great sales wise for us, our third best day of the year so far, only eclipsed by Free Comic Book Day and the Avacyn Restored and Galactic Overlord pre-release one-two punch. We pulled out the dice and single items (Blue Panther dice tower, Dice Candies chocolate dice, Gaming Paper's Pathfinder adventure, Brass & Steel's Quickstart rules and the Castle's and Crusades Quickstart rules), gave two dice to each of our GMs as a thank you for running events, and let every customer choose one item from the remainder. They could pick additional items for each stamp they earned on their Castle Card or for every 5 cans of food brought in for the local homeless shelter (We wound up collected about 50 pounds of canned food over the course of the day. Bearers of Preferred Customer cards also got an additional item. For each item customers selected from the display, they received one entry into the 5 p.m. drawing for the single items. Customers had to be present to win and we had about 20 people present for the drawing. Overall, a very good day.
Talking with some other retailers, the general feeling was of a good sales day, some retailers calling it their best sales day so far this year while also remarking on a lack of excitement among customers about the offerings, especially with those that were put up as PDFs immediately after the event, though I see someone offering the D&D module, Dead in the Eye on eBay for about $18. Other retailers looked at it as a way to say "Thank You" to their customers and didn't report any greater sales than a normal Saturday.
Ghiozzi already has next year's event set (3rd Saturday in June has become the defacto day) and will start preparing for it in about a month. We will certainly participate again. For us, it's money in the till. I'd certainly be interested in hearing your comments if you participated in this year's Free RPG Day.
The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.
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