Ronin Round Table: Green Ronin and Retailers

Bill Bodden

Green Ronin loves our retailers.

Before you all yawn and click away, let me explain. Tabletop roleplaying games have been languishing for the last few years. Many stores, when faced with ordering less or going out of business have been cutting back on the category that attracts the least attention. Right now, that category is tabletop roleplaying games.

At Green Ronin, RPGs are our main product lines. We’ve been fortunate to have three very popular licenses—Dragon Age, DC Adventures, and Song of Ice and Fire—that have drawn fan interest and critical claim alike. As satisfying as that may be, neither of those things pay our printing bills directly, so we look for new ways to create revenue. One has already been mentioned at the Ronin Roundtable a couple of weeks ago; we’ve hired Donna Prior as our new Events Manager who will be in charge of getting our games played in stores and at conventions. We’re so sure that if people try our games they’ll like them and want to purchase them to play them regularly that we’re putting money behind it.

Why should we do this? It’s simple: Game stores are the incubators of the gaming world. They inspire customers to try new games, provide gaming space to allow people to meet for gaming sessions, and often are the best way to meet new gaming buddies. Without game stores, it would be much more difficult to reach our audience, and for our audience to find like-minded people with whom to enjoy their favorite pastime. Many gamers have gone on to publish games of their own, including nearly everyone at Green Ronin, so it’s not hard for us to draw a direct connection: without game stores, Green Ronin probably wouldn’t exist.

We want to encourage our fans to support Green Ronin and their local game store by buying products locally if possible. But let’s take it to the next level: don’t just buy our games from your Favorite Local Game Store; buy everything you can from your FLGS. We recognize it isn’t always possible to do this: there are many places in the world where there just aren’t any game stores, or the nearest one is impractical to visit regularly due to distance, lack of transportation or other issues. All we ask is to do what you can to support your Favorite Local Game Store.

If your FLGS doesn’t carry a game you want, ask if they can order it. Maybe they missed hearing about it when it was new. Since so much new product rolls out in any given week, they may only have had one good chance to hear about any given item – we’re all human, and sometimes things slip through the cracks. If you know in advance that you’ll want a new book, ask to pre-order it. This not only ensures that you get the book you want when it comes out, but also helps the store estimate better how many of that book to order, which helps Green Ronin in knowing how many copies we need to print. Having good information like that helps us stay in business by not overprinting or underprinting a product.

If your FLGS can order the game, book, or dice you want, I encourage you to get that item through the store. First, it shows that there is demand for RPGs, and second, it helps educate store staff on products that people are looking for. Stores provide a valuable service by offering the best selection possible for your instant gratification, but sometimes they need a little nudge to bring in more of what people want. Buying from stores whenever possible helps do that, and also helps keep our hobby strong for years to come.