Monday, June 21, 2010

Free RPG Day Follow-Up

Free RPG Day was a huge success for us. Before we even opened, there were a dozen people waiting for us outside. By noon, all of the free stuff was gone and we had already ran half a dozen events in the game center, mostly the D&D  Dark Sun adventure. This was a much bigger turn out than last year, and next year we'll be sure to get additional kits to give away.

The event went especially well thanks to our new social network marketing. It's pretty hard not to know what's happening at the store. Between Facebook, Twitter, Constant Contact emails, the store blog and the RPGA, you have to choose to ignore us to not hear about these great events. The event was free, including a surprise pizza delivery from Aldo, Free RPG Day's national organizer. The Dark Sun Adventure that we handed out for free, now sells on Ebay for over $20. How could you beat that?

I played in a noon session of the Pathfinder adventure, Master of the Fallen Fortress, and had a fantastic time. My half-orc cavalier, a new class from the Advanced Player's Guide coming out August 4th, was the party's beat stick. I loved getting a mount at first level. The adventure's pre-gen characters showcased the new classes in that book, including the inquisitor, alchemist, witch, oracle and summoner. You can still download the beta PDF for free from the Paizo site, if that sounds interesting. It's already available for HeroLab as well. I don't play a lot at the store, mostly because it tends to be too disruptive for me, with people asking me questions all the time. Sorry if I ignored you, I was beating up trogloydytes.

Only about 10% of game stores participate in Free RPG Day, which is unfortunate for the other 90%. Bug your store owner to join up next time. Let them know our sales were double our usually good Saturday sales. Most stores report significantly higher sales during this event. Like in past RPG Day events, sales were across the board and not limited to RPGs. This is because the customers plugged into these events tend to be alpha gamers. Alpha gamers, we've discovered through social network tracking, tend to be "multidisciplinary gamers," meaning they have purchasing interests that go beyond role-playing games (about two thirds of them). These are our best customers.

We ran D&D and Pathfinder because we were able to tap our organized play community, RPGA and Pathfinder Society. In the future, I would like to see more diversity in the games we showcase on Free RPG Day. I'm going to place this at the feet of the other publishers. As Free RPG Day starts to roll around, use your forums and your social networking skills to get your fans to volunteer to run your quickstart at the best stores in the country, the 10% who embrace role-playing games.

Finally, I want to thank our fantastic game masters for spending their day with us, promoting the games they love. It's also a stressful day for staff, so thanks especially to Michael Parker for managing the chaos and wrangling the game masters. Everyone should thank Aldo at Impressions for promoting role-playing games like he does and buying us pizza.

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