Free RPG Day June 23, 2007
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Post Posted: Thu Jun 21, 2007 5:25 pm 
 

Badmike wrote:
         Free Game Day in the D/FW area is starting to have some ominous overtones.
  There seems to be a indication that there will be little or no chance to actually walk away with a coveted promo product from one of the anticipated publishers (Goodman Games, Castles & Crusades, etc) and absolutely zero chance of picking up mulitple copies (sorry, UK and overseas members). From another Acaeum member I've been told at his local store free copies will ONLY be given to people actually participating in demos, and even my local store is running demos (with the hints that you have to participate to walk away with any free product) by a "group" that might be controlling distribution of the freebies (i.e., you only get one if you win a contest or participate in a game or win a giveaway)
    I'm pretty sure I can walk out of at least one store with a copy of one of the sought after items (hell, I'll roll up a character and die five minutes later in a blaze of glory if that guarantees me an item), but I would say the chances of acquiring any for our European or Australian brothers is pretty much none and none.  :cry:

Mike B.


Official response from my local Lone Star Comics to the question "Will you be giving out free RPG product on Free Game day?"  

"No, but you'll be allowed to play the games for free in our stores".  

The person I talked to further explained, what the "free" in Free Day Day means is that you can come into their stores and play games for free....just like you supposedly can any regular Saturday.  I'm not making this up! They said the "Free" part refers to the materials such as dice, books, etc, which will be "free" to anyone playing (though not to be taken home...it's only free while your in the store....after the game is over, the materials will go back into the store).  

The local LSC is running four games...one of them a D&D game....and places are limited to 8 seats per game (32 people).  I understand these 32 MAY be allowed to take home free product "If there is enough for everyone".  Being that each store supposedly has 100 pieces per store, it's interesting to imagine where all that free game product is going to end up.....
I will no longer patronize my local Lone Star Comics, or any LSC in the entire chain (based in Dallas/Fort Worth).  For years they have been a toy store masquerading as a game/comic store, and rumors have abounded that the new owner DETESTS RPGs with a passion (think about some of the piss-poor gaming displays in the local LSC stores).  This pretty much proves the point.  I'd call on anyone who shops a local LSC to think about switching to an independent after this disgrace.  I would also call on anyone in the game industry sending them freebies to think about what they are doing with the supposedly free product they are supposed to be giving away (and as an aside, LSC does NOT carry many of the games advertised as having freebies, such as Castles and Crusades, so it does them no good to distribute the free stuff anyway for game systems they don't even have for sale).

My FLGS, who I spoke with today, WILL be giving out free RPGs and game product to whoever wants it.  They already had my business, they just got it even more (I'll make a point to purchase something when I go there Saturday to pick up my freebies).


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Post Posted: Thu Jun 21, 2007 5:38 pm 
 

[edit]

Duh, me. DCC 51.5 is it? Hmm...


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Post Posted: Thu Jun 21, 2007 5:45 pm 
 

Badmike wrote:Free Game Day in the D/FW area is starting to have some ominous overtones.

I still have wavering faith in the Lone Star stores . . .

I do purchase stuff there and have been to most of the stores.  Two of the stores might even recognize me.  If I buy some RPG stuff at 20% off and ask for the swag, then my chances off getting something are better.

The local LSC is running four games...one of them a D&D game....and places are limited to 8 seats per game (32 people). I understand these 32 MAY be allowed to take home free product "If there is enough for everyone". Being that each store supposedly has 100 pieces per store, it's interesting to imagine where all that free game product is going to end up.....

Obvious choices are employees' collections, eBay, the Lone Star Comics website, in-store inventory . . .

My FLGS, who I spoke with today, WILL be giving out free RPGs and game product to whoever wants it. They already had my business, they just got it even more (I'll make a point to purchase something when I go there Saturday to pick up my freebies).

He may have a convert if I strike out on Saturday.  He'll at least have a convert for the day, and I'll spend money at his store that day.  If Lone Star completely screws me, then I'll definitely stop going there . . .

  

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Post Posted: Thu Jun 21, 2007 7:51 pm 
 

JohnGaunt wrote:He may have a convert if I strike out on Saturday.  He'll at least have a convert for the day, and I'll spend money at his store that day.  If Lone Star completely screws me, then I'll definitely stop going there . . .


    Just had a completely different response from another local LSC....sigh.  Man these morons have just GOT to get their act together.
  The other LSC said they would give free product to anyone participating in a game...but again space was limited...and honestly I don't want to waste 2 hours participating in an "Exalted" demo (one of the games they mentioned, each demo will take place every two hours, with the D&D demo not scheduled until 4 pm).  Things look dicey there for getting free game product.  
    JG, if you have a connection with your local LSC, maybe if you play it up for all your worth Saturday, they will be forced to choose between pissing off a customer or making one happy, you might do well in that case.
 Again, apparantly my FLGS (Generation X) will actually be GIVING AWAY FREE GAME PRODUCT ON FREE GAME DAY, so I'll check it out and definitely give them some business.

Mike B.


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Post Posted: Thu Jun 21, 2007 7:55 pm 
 

I'm curious to see how this pans out in the end and see who ends up getting a copy.  I think I've arranged to get a copy shipped up here to Canada. I'm about 90% sure it will pan out.  Maybe we'll put up a pole on Saturday.

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Post Posted: Thu Jun 21, 2007 9:08 pm 
 

It's kinda funny that with Free Comic Book Day, anyone that wants one of the free available comics can have one...but with Free RPG Day that isn't the case.  I spoke to the manager of the LSC in Plano.  He said that the guys that participated in the game would get copies if they wanted them and I might be able to pick up a copy if they didnt run out.  He knows I collect the DCC modules and has gone out of his way to make sure I am aware when they get the new ones in.  But apparently I don't spend enough to warrant getting one copy set aside for myself.

We'll see...I will be there at 10 a.m. sharp.  I am pretty mean looking when I want to be.  I can probably scare the assistant manager into giving me one if he doesnt pee his pants first.  PDT_Armataz_01_19


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Post Posted: Thu Jun 21, 2007 10:32 pm 
 

Blarg.


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Post Posted: Thu Jun 21, 2007 10:48 pm 
 

Sorry if I'm coming across harsh here, I've just been dealing with a lot of e-mails and posts along these lines, and "Hey, thanks for free stuff" comments are few and far between...

Hell, even *I* don't have a copy of Tell Qa! Every copy went to the retailers...

Now my collection won't be complete... :)


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Post Posted: Thu Jun 21, 2007 11:59 pm 
 

jamesmishler wrote:Sorry if I'm coming across harsh here, I've just been dealing with a lot of e-mails and posts along these lines, and "Hey, thanks for free stuff" comments are few and far between...

Hell, even *I* don't have a copy of Tell Qa! Every copy went to the retailers...

Now my collection won't be complete... :)


I'll say "Hey, thanks for free stuff" if I get any.  If I don't, I won't, it's that simple. I do, however, appreciate the thought. I think this thing will do a lot, lot better in the future if/when the kinks are worked out, though.

I don't think I ever complained about any of the issues you wrote in the above post...I don't blame  the publishers very much.  Unlike the fiasco at last year's Gencon when Goodman Games published only 60 copies of a bonafide, certifiable instant collectible, and ran out in about 5 minutes, then tried to act dumb and say they simply had no idea that few copies would disappear that fast (despite being knowledgable about earlier copies garnering 100's of dollars on ebay).  I think the publishers for Free Game Day went above and beyond, frankly, as the easiest thing to do would be to simply have told everyone that you weren't going to print any more copies or solicit any more retailers.  But then people would have just bitched even more.
    I put most of the blame on the retailers. At this stage, I don't want to be too cynical, but I have to question where all the product is going if stores aren't giving away any copies (or less than 40 out of a 100 per store allotment). I become cynical enough to think that maybe a few might appear on ebay in the near future at outlandish prices....from store employees.
    A small bit of the blame, unfortunately, has to be put on the game publishers. Sorry to be blunt. Free Game Day, much like Free Comic Day, isn't some altruistic endeavor for the companies involved (if it is, I apologize fully, but again I am cynical...).  Sure one purpose is to get buyers in stores...but I would hope another purpose is to get prospective buyers to look at and perhaps even purchase the game lines advertised.  This being said, Free Game Day is advertisting, and cheap advertising at that.  For a break even price, you are getting loads of product into stores to be given away....and hopefully find it's way into the hands of people interested enough to buy the product.
  (As an aside to the power of "freebies":  I made a trade online a week ago from another member for a couple of Castles and Crusades modules for some gaming stuff from my store he wanted.  I had never cracked a C&C module, although I do have the boxed set, and wanted to get a feel for the game because rules alone don't bring the same "feel".  After reading the modules, I was hooked...I wanted more.  At some point in the future, I will try to buy the entire line of product.  So, something I had never seen before, but because I got a couple of "freebies", I am now going to hunt down with the ferocity of a completist.)

Personally, I am a collector, but frankly I would just like a copy of the adventure.  If it is truly "Free Game Day", then are these "freebies" going to be released as pdfs for sale or for free in the near future?  If not, why not?


To take your points:

I would gladly sit through the "drudgery" of a demo...if there were any spots open at any of my local stores.  There are none.

Anyone complaining about no glossy art, interior art, not enough pages, etc is very simply, an asshat. It's that simple. It's FREE people.  Geez.

I understand not being able to ship the product internationally...it becomes cost prohibitive (in my line of work I ship quite a bit overseas).  I would assume because of this, all the freebies are going to be posted as downloadable pdfs on the associated publisher's web sites? No?  No excuses why not then...if you can't ship the product overseas, fine.  If the companies involved can't bring themselves to post a pdf for the benefit of the "collector", or "completist", or just plain "interested fan"....well, I guess the international buyer isn't that important, then.

If it sounds from my comments I'm an obssessed collector/fan, well..I'm really not.  Seriously, if I could get my D&D group together for a game Saturday, I probably wouldn't even waste my time schlepping around town trying to get a copy of some of these. If I hadn't promised some international buddies of mine that are more interested than I am I wouldn't at least TRY toget them a copy, the day would maybe pass nicely after my one stop at the FLGS where my buddy manages to get my one free copy, and that's that, time for lunch.  

I'm just always fascinated when someone from a professional company deflects back on the supposed consumers of their product as a reflexive measure of self preservation. James, I am not hammering you, I promise. I understand you are letting off steam and probably sitting there shaking your head at the unreasonable demands being made of you at this point.  But when will the game publishers "get it"?  Dudes, we LIKE YOU, WE REALLY, REALLY LIKE YOU!!!

If we didn't care, you wouldn't have to answer any whining emails about how the freebie module doesn't contain it's own illustration book with scratch and sniff ("Ok, guys, here's the mummy's tomb...now scratch and sniff.....oh god, that's bad....") No, you would be subject to the silent, abject indifference of...nothing.  Because no one would care if the C&C giveaway is 16 pages, 32 pages, or a 100 lb boxed set.  The fact you are getting so many inquiries should be some indication of the level of interest out there...more than you guys thought.

Underwhelming expectations seems to be a problem in the industry. I will never, never forget Joe Goodman's "incredulous" response to the fact 100's of DCC fans were just a teeny bit pissed that the Gen Con DCC special 1st edition module had a print run of 6O FREAKING COPIES.  That sold out in about 30 minutes, which would have been faster, mind you, since they were also actually selling mulitple copies to buyers!!!!  This after Joe Goodman ACKNOWLEDGED on a website that another convention freebie, the 3.5 Haunted Lighthouse, was going for a ton of money on Ebay at the time!  Knowing this, Goodman games ignores the fact SOMEONE MIGHT ACTUALLY WANT THE ADVENTURE, and lowballs the print run.  It makes no sense.  And the worst part was, rather than admit a mistake, Goodman Games immediately went on the defensive and attacked the mentally of the collector and gave excuses like they didn't know the module would be popular enough to sell out. (Guys....Gen Con...it's supposed to be pretty big I hear....60 copies...give me a break already).  Only when slammed repeatedly did Goodman Games relent and offer a "special" reprint of the module for the enjoyment of the masses.  

Think of all the gamers and Goodman Games fans that walked about from that table at Gen Con with a sour taste in their mouth...hundreds?  At least. Nice marketing move, guys.  I'm no marketing major, or publicity flak, but I probably should go to school and get my degree.  Proper response: "We goofed up.  We had no idea that there were so many passionate, loyal, and rabid fans that the small print run would immediately sell out.  Another edition will be issued asap, and it won't happen again, our fans have spoken!". BTW it was made alright in the end, but there were several moments when as a FAN of the Goodman Games product, I was never going to purchase one of their publications again due to the piss-poor handling of this event.  The point is, events like this DO AFFECT PERCEPTION of the companies involved...good or bad.  Maybe Duke university had nothing to do with three innocent men being dragged through the mud by an insane DA, but whenever I think of "Duke University" in the near future, it won't be because of their basketball team.....If a DCC "freebie" isn't available anywhere on Saturday, yet many copies appear on Ebay the next Monday from online stores, and carrying a $50 price tag, well.....

I'm not saying that on any level Free Game Day will equal that debacle (Duke lacrosse team OR DCC 12.5 1st edition).  But the level of response you are getting should tip you off....you guys were a little too conservative in your initial estimates. Maybe WAY too conservative.  No problem, the motto is "leave them wanting more", right?  But in the current climate, where a lot of games are hanging on to market by fingernails, what good is it going to do when someone who has heard about Free Game Day, decides to go down to their FLGS and pick up a free DCC module to see what they look like, since the covers look really kewl and old school and all that, and when they arrive are told "Well, I know it's Free Game Day, but we really don't have free product for you."  Maybe Curious Buyer Guy just shrugs his shoulders and moves on to the Warhammer minis are whatever.  All the free advertising does Nada for your product lines.

Every single gamer who walks out of a FLGS without free product (free stuff has been advertised, btw) is a minus for you guys, and you know it.  If you don't know it, I would recommend another line of work, where perhaps you guys don't get bombarded with emails BEGGING for your product...lots of those out there.

Once again, James, I'm not harranguing you in particular....but when you throw things out like "It's not Gamer Christmas", I have to wonder if you see the forest for the trees.  I realize a lot of that is frustration and the fact you will never be able to please everyone with an event like this.  I do appreciate your willingness to come online and explain some of the nuts and bolts of the production, much better than the old TSR regime's "Campaign of Silence" during the time they were shut down in the mid 90s (one of the crassest insults on gamers in gaming history).  

I do hope the day is a success, and I suppose in some venues everything will work out superbly.  In some spots, not so much, but it's not like you can micromanage each game store that ordered product.  Hell, I wouldn't be surprised for some enterprising Mom and Pops to keep the entire box of freebies and resell them on Ebay the next week, reasoning away the guilt wth little effort.  Please take this post in the same tone as your post...a guy blowing off a little steam, because that's all it is.  

Mike B.


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Post Posted: Fri Jun 22, 2007 12:02 am 
 

jamesmishler wrote:Blarg.


Aaaannnnnnnnd....this is the part where I look like a moron for responding to a post that has been removed.  Ok, you win James  :)

I get the feeling you were just blowing off a little steam....please take my post in the same spirit....

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Post Posted: Fri Jun 22, 2007 12:29 am 
 

Badmike wrote:
Aaaannnnnnnnd....this is the part where I look like a moron for responding to a post that has been removed.  Ok, you win James  :)

I get the feeling you were just blowing off a little steam....please take my post in the same spirit....

Mike B.


Its okay Mike.  I saw the original post.  I know it did exist and that you aren't going crazy ... well at least not over this.

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Post Posted: Fri Jun 22, 2007 12:39 am 
 

Mars wrote:
Its okay Mike.  I saw the original post.  I know it did exist and that you aren't going crazy ... well at least not over this.


Its a conspiracy man 8O  8O  :scratch:


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Post Posted: Fri Jun 22, 2007 12:44 am 
 

Yeah, sorry for censoring myself. I know that's uncool, but things just.. burbled... over... the... top.

Been a long week. Three magazine deadlines at work between last Wednesday and today. Free RPG Day coming up. Gen Con arrangements to make. Printing and writing stuff to consider. And then the e-mails I get... it's just... too much.

I read Monte Cook's latest post about his personal journeys through the RPG industry, and I totally know where he's coming from about people just being burned out and cynical. I consider my AGP stuff to be a way to get away from that end of the business...

Ah well.


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Post Posted: Fri Jun 22, 2007 2:04 am 
 

Hell, even *I* don't have a copy of Tell Qa! Every copy went to the retailers...

Well ... you could look at it another way ... you *do* have the most collectible copy of all ... the original manuscript.

If you really wanted to drive collectors crazy you could do something cheesy like go to your neighborhood Kinko's and have five copies done up, then hand number and sign them and finally put them in the Gamer's Auction at GenCon.

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Post Posted: Fri Jun 22, 2007 6:39 am 
 

According to Goodman Games website it states all you have to do is show up to recieve the free adventures. I plan on printing a copy and showing it to the store manager. Hope this will persuade them to do the right thing.

  

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Post Posted: Fri Jun 22, 2007 8:53 am 
 

burntwire brothers wrote:According to Goodman Games website it states all you have to do is show up to recieve the free adventures. I plan on printing a copy and showing it to the store manager. Hope this will persuade them to do the right thing.

Now that's both intelligent and uber-collector-geeky.   :D  However, I have no power to enforce whatever I print out.  And why do I, the customer, need to tell the stores how this promotion works?

I think that Badmike's and my frustration with the Lone Star Comics chain is that they don't know WTF they are doing.  Is this stuff free to everyone or not?  If I have to spend time to get it, then it's not free and certainly not available to everyone.

I have bought a chunk of Mongoose Slayer's Guides and five DCC modules from Lone Star in the past year, and within the last week I bought a $32 board game.  I buy miscellaneous cool crappe from them.  I purchase maybe $30 of comics a month (holy crap, that's about $30 more than I should be buying).  If I take my pitifully small RPG/comics budget elsewhere, Lone Star won't notice, but maybe the other game store will.

  

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Post Posted: Fri Jun 22, 2007 9:06 am 
 

burntwire brothers wrote:According to Goodman Games website it states all you have to do is show up to recieve the free adventures. I plan on printing a copy and showing it to the store manager. Hope this will persuade them to do the right thing.


Hopefully that will be the case.  If it's not...I won't be too disappointed since Goodman is going to get $100 out of me when Castle Whiterock comes out anyway (remember when those monster box sets only cost 30 bucks?  Not that I minded paying $80 for Gazetteer of the Known World.).

I do think that they should rename the whole thing to something like "RPG Try-Out Day" or "Learn To Play RPG Day" if the retailers aren't going to be able to give out free copies to anyone that wants one.  As Mike said above, I would like to pick up copies of the adventures because I enjoy them.  I have never looked at any XCrawl, Tunnels & Trolls, or any of the other publishers' offerings simply because my FLGS doesnt carry them.  If I was able to check a few of the 'freebies' out I might get interested in something like Castles & Crusades like Mike did.

From what I read on www.freerpgday.com Impressions Advertising and Marketing was blown away by the number of retailers that signed up for the event.  Hopefully next year they will plan for a larger audience.  It would be nice for retailers overseas that are interested to also be able to get involved.

Sorry about the negativity about the event James, but as Mike stated we are really just fed up with Lone Star Comics and their lack of decent customer appreciation.  I have been thinking about taking my business elsewhere for years but unfortunately the only comic book retailer within 15 miles of me is Madness Comics and frankly they arent much better.

Good luck to you and hope to get to meet you at Gen Con.


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Post Posted: Fri Jun 22, 2007 9:23 am 
 

jamesmishler wrote: And then the e-mails I get... it's just... too much.

Wait until Saturday hits . . .   :D

Hell, yeah, I want my free goodies.  But I'm not going to blame the publishers if I don't get any.

Assuming that the publishers don't get soured by the blowback from tomorrow, next year's Free RPG Day will run much smoother with more promotion and a better set of ground rules.  Ummm . . . were there any rules for this year other than "Free"?   :D

  


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Post Posted: Fri Jun 22, 2007 9:37 am 
 

Well, I got my copy of DCC 51.5 on Wednesday.  A friend of mine owns a store doing the free rgp day thing, and when the box came in, he pulled a copy for me (which I promptly ran to his store to pick up)  :D

I only got the one copy though.  I'd prefer the other copies go to people who don't currently buy the DCC modules, but might after being exposed to one.  :wink:

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Post Posted: Fri Jun 22, 2007 11:10 am 
 

Gus Landt wrote:Well, I got my copy of DCC 51.5 on Wednesday.  A friend of mine owns a store doing the free rgp day thing, and when the box came in, he pulled a copy for me (which I promptly ran to his store to pick up)  :D

I only got the one copy though.  I'd prefer the other copies go to people who don't currently buy the DCC modules, but might after being exposed to one.  :wink:


I figured most of the "Free" product will go to store employees and friends of the store owners. Hope I don't waste all of my Saturday running around the whole state in search of something that the general public doesn't have a chanceof getting.

  
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