Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Free RPG Day: Reading Between the Lines

Free RPG Day is one of our favorite days of the year, and we won't have to wait much longer for this geekiest of nerd holidays. This Saturday, June 18th, comic and game shops across the country will be working diligently (or squandering the opportunity) to bring in some new customers or at least expand their current customers' interests. Click the link above to find out more information, and while you're at it, you can search desperately to see if a retailer near you is participating.

Check out the offerings for this year below (pulled from the link above).

  • Amarillo Design Bureau
    Sample (1 per box), Prime Directive Adventure "Starship Aldo" (both d20 & GURPS) 
  • BlackWyrm Games
    Sample (1 per box), XDM Adventure: "Laser Squid Nemesis"
  • Blue Panther
    Sample (1 per box), Dice Tower
  • Chessex
    Silver (4 per box), Commerative Dice For Store Owner
  • Eden Studios
    Silver (5 per box), All Flesh Must Be Eaten Quickstart & Adventure
  • Exile Game Studios
    Bronze (3 per box) ,Hollow Earth Expedition Quickstart & Adventure
  • Fantasy Flight Games
    Gold (10 per box), Black Crusade Quickstart and Adventure
  • Flying Buffalo
    Sample (1 per box), Tunnels & Trolls Solo Adventure, "Rescue Mission"
  • Goodman Games
    Silver (5 per box), DCC RPG Quickstart
  • Green Ronin
    Gold (10 per box), DragonAge Quickstart
  • Paizo
    Platinum (15 per box), "We Be Goblins!" Pathfinder Adventure
  • Paradigm Concepts
    Bronze (3 per box), Arcanis RPG Quickstart & Adventure
  • Pinnacle
    Bronze (3 per box), Savage Worlds Quickstart & Adventure, titled "The Wild Hunt"
  • Q-Workshop
    Silver (5 per box), Unique Elven-themed Dice
  • Stone Tablet Games
    Bronze (3 per box), Aspect Quickstart Adventure
  • Troll Lord Games
    Sample (1 per box), Castles & Crusades Quickstart and Adventure
  • Valkyrie Games
    Sample (1 per box), Stellar Horizons Quickstart
  • White Wolf Publishing
    Gold (10 per box), World of Darkness Quickstart
  • Wizards of the Coast
    Platinum (15 per box), "Domain of Dread: Histhaven" D&D 4th Edition Supplement to the box set "The Shadowfell: Gloomwrought and Beyond"
  • Mayfair
    Free Bonus Item, Settlers of Catan: Catanimal Variant rules (single page paper insert)
You can always read a little bit into what a company's plans are for upcoming releases based on what they put forth as swag for the big day. For example, White Wolf releasing a World of Darkness Quickstart, while nice and a good opportunity to try the base game out, is a token investment on their part showing that they're doing their best to keep a presence in tabletop gaming. I'm surprised actually that they didn't go with a Vampire: The Requiem Quickstart to at least keep the name Vampire in the news to lead up to their 20th anniversary release of the giant Vampire: The Masquerade tome.

However, releasing a basic Quickstart is not always a bad sign. Notably this year both Eden Studios' popular zombie game, All Flesh Must Be Eaten as well as Pinnacle's incredibly successful Savage Worlds are making (what I believe to be) their first appearances at FRPGD. The Savage Worlds Quickstart and adventure makes a ton of sense since their recently announced deluxe hardcover rulebook will be coming out this year, and Savage Worlds tends to play extremely well in the one-shot format. Eden's the big surprise though, and it makes me curious as to what they might be working on that would merit such a big investment on their part. 

On the other hand, Fantasy Flight Games is proving once again to be great marketers for their latest Warhammer 40,000 RPG. Every year they put out a new preview adventure and Quickstart to promote the new line, and I have to say that it's a very effective and attractive offering. Additionally, both Paizo and Wizards aim to release another fun looking adventure for their respective flavors of D&D. It definitely says something about their respective games that neither include (nor do they have to) a version of the Quickstart rules.  

What do you think about this year's offerings? On Friday I'll be posting my top five picks and must-grabs for the big day. Spoiler alert: Dragon Age will be included. 


  1. I'm hoping that some of this will be available online through Drive Thru or other spots, but I'm not very confident in that...

  2. A lot of what I've seen in the past is the bigger companies (this specifically applies to FFG) post up pdf versions a short time after the big day.

    I agree though, every adventure and quickstart should be thrown up as a free pdf if the intent of the day and product is to support trying something new.


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