Monday, March 2, 2015

Promoting TableTop Day

Guess what just showed up in my email inbox this week?  If you guessed solicitations for the promo packs for International Table Top Day over a month ahead of the event date, you would be right. In case you missed the blurb in ICV2 last week, this year’s International Table Top Day is scheduled for April 11 and we already know the contents of the kits way in advance.

As has happened with the previous two kits, there are problems with this one but not of Geek & Sundry, TableTop or PSI’s (the company coordinating the assembly of the kits) making. Instead, we apparently get to blame the manufacturers of the games getting promoted. Manufacturers we are looking at two major problems here:

11)       Your game was not on TableTop in season 1, 2 or 3 but I am getting promo items or a copy of you game in the kit, which by the way I do not receive for free. I get to shell out perfectly  good  Jacksons and Washingtons to pay for this kit and I get promo items for such things as Reverse Charades,  Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot, Roll for It,  Cash n Guns, Dead Man’s Draw, and Where Art Thou Romeo. If I purchase the smaller of the two promotional packs offered, with an MSRP of $250, depending on which distributor I place an order with, I will pay approximately $1.60 to $1.75 per promo item. If I order the more expensive kit, at $600 MSRP, the cost per promo item breaks down to $3.15 to $4 per item.  Granted, stores do get full copies of some games, such as Dead of Winter, Council of Verona and Geek Out (in the more expensive kit) which did appear on TableTop and which do help justify the cost, but I am also getting copies of Clubs, Dark Seas and Dead Man’s Draw, which have not appeared on the series. Still, I am not particularly enthused about paying to get promotional items that I do not want and cannot use but  that pales in comparison to 

22)      I don’t get enough of a promo item to give one away to everyone who plays in a demo of the game. I can understand getting one of the Munchkin hoodies and one of the Krosmaster promo figures (no, not on that one I can’t. They have enough promo figures floating around that I could get two or more), but the rest of the promo items are cards. There is no reason that I should get 1 Roll for It Promo Owlbear promo card or 1 Three Cheers for Master promo card. Granted I don’t publish cards but from everything I hear from publishers, they are cheap. Cheap enough that I should get more than one in the box.  Everyone who plays a demo of your game that day should walk away with a promo item, not just one person.  Steve Jackson Games, Looney Labs and Fantasy Flight Games did it right, including enough items so that everyone who plays should get something. A number of the promo items are listed as “1 pack”. Is that one pack to give to one person or a pack to break up and distribute to players? I don’t know and the solicitation doesn’t tell me.

I have already heard from a number of retailers who plan to register as a location for International TableTop Day but who plan to skip the kits altogether, contacting distributors and publishers directly to get promo items to give away. Hopefully, next  year publishers will take a cue from events like Free Comic Book Day or Free RPG Day. If you want me to spend money promoting your product, give me enough support in the kit to justify the effort to promote your product. Otherwise, I will pick the product I want to promote and contact those manufacturers for help.