Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Daddy's Visit to Free RPG Day 2012

As pretty much all of you know, this past Saturday was Free RPG Day.  I didn't get to attend last year, which is the first year I heard about this event, because my local game store (which is about two blocks from my house) didn't participate.  I'm not quite sure why.  The event also typically falls on the weekend of my wife's birthday, and as I recall, last year we had a party for her that day with some friends and I wasn't able to sneak out.

This year, all of the stars aligned for me.  After realizing that Free RPG Day was once again upon us, I went to the Free RPG Day website so I could find out who was participating. Once again, I learned to my dismay that my local game store, Game Empire, was not going to participate in this year's event. Just like last year, I went onto Game Empire's Facebook page to confirm if they were participating, and if not, why not. Just like last year, I was ignored. 

A word of advice from somebody who is in the marketing field - social media is a communication tool, which means that you need to communicate with it. Note that communication does not mean "leave a lot of posts that I hope people are interested in" but rather "Engage with people who have taken the time to 'like' my company and use the power of social media to find out what they're interested in and chat with them about what they want. And, if someone asks me a question, answer them, even if the answer is 'Sorry, we're not participating this year, but we hope you'll come to our next RPG Meet-Up Day'."

Back on the Free RPG Day website, I found the store closest to me that was participating - Emerald Knight Comics & Games in Burbank. Now, Burbank isn't that far away from me, but it's about a 20+ minute drive in no traffic, and weighing my options, I normally wouldn't have driven that far just to score a free RPG book that most likely wasn't even a full book but rather a "quickstart rules" or something. 

In this case, as luck would have it, I was asked by my wife to pick up my sister-in-law at the airport while my wife got her hair done that day. This was a "big" birthday for my wife, so her sister flew into town to celebrate, and she flew into... Burbank Airport!

So, not only was I going to be able to go to Free RPG Day, but because I was going to drag my sister-in-law with me, I was going to be able to snag two free items. 

I'll do a more in-depth review of both Game Empire and Emerald Knight Comics & Games as part of my "Game Store Memories" later, but in short, I was quite happy with Emerald Knights. The store was very clean with professional staff who greeted us immediately on entering, showed us the table of RPG Day swag, and invited us to stay and head upstairs for the various game demos they were running. I chatted a bit with one guy about how long they'd been in business, and also asked about any beginner Pathfinder games they might run for my nephew, who is 13.  It turns out that they have a "Pathfinder for Beginners" game every Thursday night that starts a new group on the first Thursday of the month. 

For myself, I picked up the DCC Adventure and the Pathfinder Adventure. Well, technically my sister-in-law picked up the Pathfinder one, but she kindly let me keep it, despite her sarcastic claims on the ride home that she just had to "...learn more about the Dawn of the Scarlet Sun!"

I haven't had a chance yet to read either product, but I've heard some good things about the DCC Adventure. Even though I don't own the rulebook yet, I read the free beta-test, and I'm sure there will be some ideas I can steal.  

Here's the odd thing, though - some of the Free RPG items this year were what we'd call old-school or OSR games - Dungeon Crawl Classics, Castles & Crusades, etc. However, when I asked another young woman behind the counter if they carried any old-school games like Labyrinth Lord or Mutant Future, she looked at me oddly and said, "No, we don't."

However, the next day, on Father's Day, after breakfast with my wife, daughter, and sister-in-law, I walked up the street with my daughter to Game Empire and found that, although they didn't participate in Free RPG Day, they were carrying the new Dungeon Crawl Classic RPG rulebook (although that is the only old-school game aside from Castles & Crusades that they carry).

Why can't I find a game store that carries these old school games?  I've even asked the store owner at Game Empire and he said it just related to distributors and who they order from. I don't want him to special order the games for me - I can do that myself, and for cheaper. What I would like is to have them available so I can flip through them and buy them as an impulse purchase. 

In any event, I was happy to be able to go to Free RPG Day this year, and to discover a new game store (that also sells comics and some cool t-shirts - score!), so I will definitely be heading back to Emerald Knights in Burbank. And, I already told my sister about their Pathfinder for Beginners game night, so hopefully my nephew will be able to go to that soon.

Hanging: Home Office (laptop)
Drinking: Just finished a glass of 2009 Sancerre after lunch
Listening: "Sea Song" by Tears for Fears

1 comment:

  1. Love me some Emerald Knights... that was my old RPG and Comic store when I lived over there (and it was also across the street from one of my local pubs, so it was ripe for bad decisions).


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