Free RPG Day Interview!

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Hero's Bane Quick Start Rules - a Free RPG Day 2009 offering!

We here at IoM are anxiously awaiting this Saturday, June 20th.  And why is that?

Well, because it’s FREE RPG DAY!!!!!!  Yes, the day where we  get to embrace our geekiness for FREE!

Want to know what kind of cool stuff you can get this year?  Check out our previous coverage of Free RPG Day here!

To get a little more about the Free RPG Day event this year, we spoke with Aldo Ghiozzi of Impressions Advertising and Marketing, the team responsible for planning Free RPG Day.

Check out our awesome and informative interview after the jump!

This is your third year for the event. In 2007, you had 300 stores and 12 publishers. In 2008, you made it worldwide. What’s the added layer this year?

No added layer this year.  Quite honestly, with the economy, I just wanted to make sure to get enough stores and publishers signed up to make it worth while…and that did happen.

How do the number of stores participating this year compare with last year’s numbers?

In 2008, we had over 480 stores worldwide.  In 2009, that number is ending up just shy of 400.

From a third year perspective, what do you point to as the great success of 2007? 2008?

The success for 2007 was just being able to pull it off!  We hoped for 100 stores and had nearly 300 stores sign up…and 2007 was without a Wizards of the Coast D&D product.  For 2008, the success was pulling off the addition of international stores and seeing how it worked in that regard…and I’m still not sure because I don’t hear from the foreign stores about the event!

What do you wish could have been done better?

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Bonus Bestiary

More promotion, more materials to get the word out.  Though RPGs are a small marketplace to begin with, there are a lot of consumers that have not even heard of the event.

What is your measure of success?

That’s an interesting question…I think the first answer has to, of course, be about profit.  There is some, but in the end, you’re talking about collating and shipping a 30lb box…it takes a lot of labor and costs a pretty penny.  Most consumers would not know, but Impressions handles distributor sales and shipping for a lot of companies (half of which are RPG companies) so if we make nothing on the event, it *should* drive sales on our client’s product lines…and that is where I really want to see the success.

Free RPG Day draws its genesis (or inspiration at least) from Free Comic Book Day. There has been some speculation among retailers that 2009 will wind up being the last Free Comic Book Day for reasons such as the rough economy and absence of media support. Do you think that 2009 may be the last Free RPG Day as well?

No way!  RPGs may be a tiny niche marketplace, but there are still a good amount of retailers and consumers that have a deep passion for playing RPGs…and that is what will keep it surviving.

What was the reason for Polymancer and Flying Buffalo’s cancellation this year?

Things just slipped through the cracks and they could not get their freebie done and back from the printer in time to make the deadline…That’s OK because we have extras from the other publishers and added those to make up for their missing items.

Some of the highlights from previous years were the Traveller Changeling: The Lost, and Song of Ice and Fire quick start rules. What have been your favorites? What are your highlights for this year?

Forsaken Bounty, a full-color, 24-page booklet containing quick-start rules, pre-generated characters, and an introductory adventure.
Forsaken Bounty, a full-color, 24-page booklet containing quick-start rules, pre-generated characters, and an introductory adventure.

Besides the 4th Edition module from Wizards…probably the Rogue Trade Warhammer quickstart from FFG.  We brought samples to KublaCon this past Memorial Day weekend and those were the ones consumers were excited about.

Ideally, how would you like to see retailers adopt Free RPG Day?

That is the million dollar question because I hear about so many retailers just buying a kit then putting it out on a table, or keeping it behind the counter waiting for someone to ask.  The point of a RPG is to have an interactive experience, so the only way a store will succeed with this event is if they have something going on in their store the day of the event.  That means demos, food, drinks and other creative ideas…without an experience happening in the store, what other reason would a consumer come down?


Thanks to Aldo Ghiozzi for spending a little time with us!  Make sure you check out the retailer locator here to see if a store near you is participating in Free RPG Day, THIS SATURDAY!

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