Saturday, June 12, 2010

Free RPG Day

There are two events this year that are such good times, such fantastic values (free), that you should clear your calendar and make sure you attend: Our 6th Anniversary Party, with free prizes and amazing food (October 24th) and Free RPG Day, where you can pick up free role-playing supplements and play in RPG events (Next Saturday, June 19th).

Free RPG Day is what it sounds like. Come to our store and pick up free role-playing games. These aren't recycled or discontinued dreck, but brand spanking new supplements created specifically with this event in mind. That's the basic gist of the event. Some stores stop there. However, we organize RPG events to coincide with Free RPG Day, with semi-volunteers (they get a small gift certificate) running games in the back. Traditionally, it has been a hugely exciting day, with lots of happy people doing what they love.

The point of the event is to try to get RPG customers back into brick and mortar stores. Perhaps the lure of free stuff can pry them from their WoW game for an afternoon, and if the sunshine doesn't turn them to dust, reintroduce them to ye olde game store.There are also the online only shoppers we would like to bring back in, if possible. If you haven't played an RPG in a while, it's a great way to meet new people and perhaps recruit for a game, or learn about our regular gaming schedule.

The event is free to participants, but we do pay hundreds of dollars to get the books shipped to us as well as compensate the game masters and pre-empt other events, which is why some stores pass on Free RPG Day. Without any optimism or wishful thinking, I can tell store owners out there that the expense easily pays for itself with happy customers (goodwill) and strong sales (money). For us, most of the people who come to Free RPG Day are not just lifestyle role-players, but true multi-disciplinary hobbyists, AKA core game store customers.

I think RPGs are in trouble. Getting new players into the hobby is an uphill battle, considering all the entertainment options available nowadays and our aging RPG base with all their adult responsibilities. Events like this build and reinforce the RPG community. I envision an event where five guys who stubbornly want to play five different RPG systems but can't find a group, sit around a table and play one agreed upon game for a couple hours. Maybe they'll be inspired to compromise and get a group together. I curse the long tail of role-playing games not because it hurts my sales, but because it divides the pie too thinly. Free RPG Day brings everyone together at the table, just for a little while.

For best results in getting into a game on Free RPG Day, RSVP on Warhorn, an RPG scheduling tool. We've got one Pathfinder game, a bunch of D&D 4 games and a few others in the planning stage. Otherwise, just show up, check out the store, and pick up some free role playing games. If you have suddenly become inspired to play once again, we've got a very strong Dungeons & Dragons RPGA group on Thursday nights, as well as a fledgling Pathfinder group that meets at the same time (Pathfinder is D&D 3.5 with candy).

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