(apologies to Big Daddy Kane, Dave Chappelle, and lesser pimps)
In February, WotC will be releasing the updated DM screen. Because I’m a sucker, I’ll pay $10 for what is essentially (see what I did there?) errata. Oh, I could just print out the updates on cardstock and tape over the old information – like I did the first time they updated the skill DCs – but I’m quite anal-retentive. And it’s a cheap enough purchase that I can throw some money at the FLGS without feeling too much like a WotC puppet.
All of that to tell you this – that while the new artwork is really nice, its not going to matter to me. Why not? Because this is what my DM screen looks like at the moment:
From left to right, that’s pimping for:
- Comicpalooza in May
- Living Forgotten Realms – my area of town’s just getting built up, but there’s also a pimp for the greater Houston area.
- OwlCon (you read the OwlCon pimp, right? Our archives are already awesome.)
- Not visible from this angle: Encounters at the FLGS.
This’ll be updated soon with stuff for the blog, a smaller con that’s coming up, next season of Encounters – you get the idea. One of my players called it my “billboard”. And yes, I said pimping is ridiculously easy, because I realize the stuff I do to promote is ridiculous at times – but that’s how you build your player base. I care about having a player base.
Ever talk to people about D&D, and they tell you how they “used to play” but then the group broke up? When you have a large pool of players, that doesn’t happen as often. You remember – we talked about it before.
Me? I tell everybody about what we have going on. If you’re playing Encounters, you’re aware of our LFR stuff, the local cons, the blog, everything. I try not to be – but I probably am – obnoxious about it. I have the screen, I give cards to the new guys, and at the end of the session I have a two-line “don’t forget – if you want to play LFR next Friday, sign up at the site” and we’re done.
But that screen? It works. I have people asking me about stuff on it. It would work on me, too. I do a good job paying attention in sessions (I think). But come on – it’s 4+ hours. Do you pay attention during every second of your college class? Do you pay attention to your chick going blah-blah-blah in your ear? Do you pay attention to your hungry children, crying for food? Of course not. We have short attention spans, (SQUIRREL!) which is why advertisers talk to us in 30-second spats. My players’ attention is going to wander. Now then – do I want it wandering to my DVD collection, or to the D&D pimpage that’s right in front of them? Exactly. And often, someone will ask me about what’s on my screen.
I mentioned cards earlier. Business cards. I’m about to go to OwlCon (have I mentioned that?) and I’m printing up some cards pimping LFR and one of the smaller cons close to my home that’ll be coming soon. Why? Because I want people to play with. It sucks not having people to play with. I usually have business cards at the store pimping Encounters, and on the back – LFR in the area. Keep ’em at the counter, and people know there’s D&D at that store. They don’t have to remember anything, because all the info is right there in their wallets. If I see someone checking out D&D stuff at the FLGS, I’ll introduce myself, hand ’em a card – then leave them alone. If they’re interested, they’ll email me. If not, they’ll throw the card away. I lose nothing, and may gain a player out of it. I’ve gotten hits this way. If I’m wearing a nerdy t-shirt and someone comments on it (positively), they get a card.
…and yes, when I’m at Barnes & Noble, I put ’em in the pages of the D&D books. Why not? Yes, I’ve gotten a hit off of this.
We’re in the digital age, and a lot of people think the days of putting an ad up in the FLGS are over. They’re not. In fact, it’s more important to have something tangible while D&D competes with digital entertainment. There’s a reason that in the age of contact lists, people still have business cards – because they work.
We’re all over the interbutts, too – if you do a google search with the name of our lil’ suburb and D&D, you get… well, you get the D&D Muffler Shop. But right below that – it’s us. Despite the direction WotC’s pushing us, RPG’s are paper-based games, dammit. Hence: Paper-based pimping.
Go forth and pimp. Grow your player base. Meet some people, play some games. Feels good, man.