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Replay: Another dismal Free RPG Day in Arizona

This post originally ran April 14. Please leave any comments on that thread.

UPDATED with a recent comment below from the original post by Free RPG Day organizer Aldo Ghiozzi, who says there are three participating shops in Arizona — but I still only see IOG on the official map of participants…

UPDATED to note that Imperial Outpost is the only Valley shop — there are two participating in Tucson.

Free RPG Day 2012Just like last year, it looks like most Arizona hobby retailers are giving Free RPG Day a pass — or, depending on whom you ask, were left out in the cold.

The event, an industry promotional effort that has much in common with the more well known Free Comic Book Day, only has one Valley Arizona shop participating (so far)Imperial Outpost Games in the West Valley. That’s according to the event’s official participating retailer locator (which shows two participating shops in Tucson if you expand the map’s range).

Last year, Samurai Comics was the only local venue.

This year, Free RPG Day is June 16, and in addition to getting sample editions of gaming products big and small, you can try out games you’ve never played before.

But only at one shop, in one of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas. I remember when Tempe’s Game Depot at least got in on the act.

Last year, when I wrote about the dearth of participants, Empire Games in Mesa responded with some insight from the industry:

This national event was so poorly planned and run it is sad. Personally I found out about it about four weeks in advance from a customer, so I started researching it. That day I found that it was “sold out” yet only one phoenix store was participating. Normally with events like this the group will contact stores and advertise to them, it would be nice to have enough of your kits to accomodate at least a majority of the stores as well.

It doesn’t look like much has improved in the campaign’s organizational structure, then. But at least Imperial Outpost is representing and RPG gamers — and potential RPG gamers, which is the whole point of this thing — will have somewhere to partake and learn more this year.

And remember this: Even if they’re not involved in Free RPG Day, your friendly local gaming store should always be willing to demonstrate games, old and new, or at least talk with you (usually at great length!) to help you find one that’s right for you, or for your children.

Here’s a look at the sponsors’ product lineup — traditionally, you only get to pick one thing, and it’s first come, first served:

UPDATED with a recent comment from the original post by Free RPG Day organizer Aldo Ghiozzi, who says there are three participating shops in Arizona — but I still only see IOG on the official map of participants…

I have to say I’m extremely disappointed that we were not contacted in regards to your article. There are just so many off points.

First of all, signing up for Free RPG Day costs a retailer money ($90 this year) and we cannot force them to sign up as it is their store to decide on their expeditures.

Second, there are three shops in Arizona. Alas, not a lot, but still three vs. your noted one.

And now the thing that is the biggest bother…Empire Games has been on our mailing list since March 2011 and our email tracking software shows that they receive our emails, thus, how can they say its poorly planned and run? Especially when it sells out every year…This is just a retailer passing the buck on something they did not plan for…The event is always the 3rd Saturday of June and is now 6 years running…If the event is important to a retailer, they would keep tabs on it in addition to our updates to them.

To say not much has improved in the organization is a horrible bit of reporting, especially when you have no questions or insights from the company, person and organization that actually puts the event on.

I welcome questions, comments and inquiries at

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