Interesting times

It has been some time since I did a blog update. The main reason for my hiatus is actually gaming related, as I’ve started regular work as a store manager in a Finnish gaming retail chain with stores in Helsinki, Espoo, Porvoo, Kouvola, and soon to be opened new stores in Mikkeli and Kerava. It has been a steep learning curve, and the past few months have just flown by.

The store chain isn’t role-playing centered as such, as that area just isn’t big enough to support any kind of business in Finland. Instead, our main areas are miniatures wargaming (mainly Games Workshop and Battlefront), and console (and pc) games, with RPG’s, board games, science fiction -related merchandise, and genre movies and literature on the side. I’ve done my best to promote RPG’s in my store, in the high hopes that some day I’ll be able to have a wider range of products on the shelves, but at the moment the RPG shelf consists mainly of Warhammer Fantasy Role-Playing, Dark Heresy, some D&D, and a batch of second-hand RPG books. The most recent development in this area has been the addition of James Raggi’s Lamentations of the Flame Princess RPG and modules, of which my store will be stocking a fair selection. We’ll see how it goes from there. I’m working on getting the work of other Finnish publishers on the shelf as well, as I think supporting the Finnish RPG scene is something worthwhile. I’ve been in talks with Burger Games and a few others, so we’ll see what happens.

How to sell RPG’s is actually a topic I’ve been thinking about a lot. As a sales article an RPG game isn’t the fastest moving item by far, as most gamers seem to be content with whatever game system they bough way back when. One idea I’ve come up with is, that in order to make selling role-playing games feasible, there is a need to attract new customers, and the best way to do this is demoing and pro-active promotion. Trust me on this: There are a lot of gamers (be it console, miniature or card game) out there who have no clue what role-playing is about at all. There is a whole generation out there who’ve never sat down with a bunch of friends, rolled up a character, and went adventuring.

How do I reach this “lost generation”? One idea I have is a regular RPG night at the store, maybe bi-weekly to start with. For this all I’d need is a few brave men.. er.. veteran game masters with time on their hand, to run pick-up games for people who’ve been drafted into gaming via posters and fliers. I’d have the volunteer GM do an ad for his adventure, make a poster of it, put it up on the notice board, and wait for interested people to put down their John Hancocks. The store has ample space for gaming, as we have miniatures gaming tables aplenty, so that’s not really an issue.

Any thoughts on this subject, or some input on my RPG night idea? Any volunteers?😉

4 responses to “Interesting times

  1. Pingback: Puolenkuun pelit etsii pelinjohtajia! « Roolipelitiedotus

  2. Just ask how many volunteers. Sign me right in! I’m quite excited about an opportunity to run games to new hobbyists and thus spread the hobby.

    Also, I already made a blogpost about this to Roolipelitiedotus (http://roolipelit.wordpress.com/). It’s not much publicity, but it’s definately something.

    As on the subject: hooray to you for promoting the Finnish role-playing! The experience seems to tell that it’s indeed the demoing that makes the sales. This is a bit different from running full-lenght scenarios; I hope there’s room for both. It also happens that I and Eero Tuovinen just designed an excellent beginner-friendly role-playing game, which is suited for these kinds of things. I guess that the biggest question to solve is that do you wish to max the sales or the roleplaying?

    • No amount of promotion is going to make RPG’s into anything but a marginal sales item, so my goal is simply this: Promote role-playing to such an extent that I can feasibly justify the man-hours spent. That is, I need to sell enough RPG and related products to cover the cost of stock and pay. Of course, just getting people into the store, whatever the reason, is a good thing.

  3. Pingback: Running role-playing games in-store « Blowing smoke

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