Saturday, June 25, 2016

Always a Kerfuffle at The Tavern - Some More Thoughts on Free RPG Day.

So, Gamerati interviewed Aldo Ghiozzi about Free RPG Day and The Tavern got a mention. Now, Aldo may be trying to play down his comment at The Tavern:

but the reality is, he's right - Free RPG Day does nothing to bring anyone into the hobby. Not new gamers, not lapsed gamers, not even gaming spouses (unless they are tagging along to grab more free loot).

Now, here's my question: What value does Free RPG Day have for most publishers? Aldo mentions the free Call of Cthulhu adventure later in the interview. How many brick and mortar stores that had the free adventure actually carry the game? How many carry the DCC RPG? 13th Age? LotFP products? Castles & Crusades? How are you rewarding your customers by giving them free stuff for games you don't even carry?

As a retailer, you know what's coming in the box. Why aren't you at least carrying a product or two that links to the items you are giving away? Because you probably figure they won't sell anyway. If so, what good are the free items? At best, your customers will pick it up as a novelty. At worst, they'll find what they need at an online retailer. Is that really what you want?

I really fail to understand why most publishers kick into this program aside from Paizo. I do understand why Frog God Games didn't release anything this year. It's not even a "loss leader" for most publishers, it's just a loss, especially when the stores in question don't even carry your line of releases.

I'm not knocking "free", I just don't see this as a very effective use of the concept. Not for publishers, not for retailers and not for the customers.

Oh, and I never mentioned "OSRIC". The post title in question was: An Underwhelming Free RPG Day 2016 From an Old School Perspective

I did love the question about "Pencil Dice" ;)


  1. Too often people only value what they pay for, which is a shame.

  2. Fewer and fewer bookstores carrying RPGs is hurting the hobby more. You know where to get RPGs online only if you already play RPGs.

  3. My FLGS (Pair a dice Games - San Marcos CA) does something every year that I think is clever and brings me in every year. And I look forward to it so I appreciate the event. They allow everyone to get one item. A second item if you are a member in their buyers club. And a third if you buy something that day for $15 or more. This year everyone got a pencil in addition to the above. I got the 10th Annual die; Faith Starter, and Valiant starter. I bought the Dr Who Classic Card game. So the FLGS gets a sales bump and I have some fun. The FLGS owner likes the traffic and sales bump with the event. And that is the real purpose. Also, I'm now curious now about Faith RPG and I wouldn't have been otherwise. So wow, what a bunch of whiners. Whine less and create an event for your crowd if you feel left out. And have a better day.

  4. I went to two game shops participating in Free RPG Day. One was offering 20% off all gaming items (except Card games)which got me to purchase a couple other game items. You got your choice of two free RPG Day items. The second place has a large stock of older rpg items, I picked up some old rpg magazines and games. You got one free item and another for every $15 you spent. So I was able to pick up most of the Free RPG Day items. I can't comment on them, as I have not had time to look through them yet. But I have to say, there was no gaming going on at either place, though neither place is really set up for gaming in the shop.

    And as for a Free RPG Day kerfluffle, I was expecting to hear more about the erotic art in the LotFP Slugs item. I read on a blog that a store in Illinois threw out all the Slug books they got.

  5. I had a great time and did have a couole players new to the hobby. Also quite a few lapsed gamers for the coc game.

  6. I had a great time and did have a couole players new to the hobby. Also quite a few lapsed gamers for the coc game.

  7. There were no "participating stores" shown on the FreeRPG Store Locator that were closer than a two-and-a-half hour drive from here. There are stores that are closer, and I shop at them, but none of them apparently participated. Such is the fate of those of us living among the corn and bean fields.

  8. No one was actually running any of the systems associated with the Free RPG Day products at the store I was at. Also, I'm guessing my FLGS either tossed out all their copies of Slug or kept them behind the counter. Or maybe they went really fast and were all gone by noon?

    So, yeah, I can see FRPG day not helping the publishers if they send all this product, no one runs it and the stores don't actively organize and promote trying to run it. You end up with a lot of micro systems showing up for a moment, never getting played, and then disappearing because the store doesn't typically carry them anyway, which is kind of a bummer.


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