This was the first time I was been looking forward to Free RPG Day. Last year was the first time I interacted with Free RPG Day, when I went into my FLGS two weeks after the event and they still had some of the items out on display for people to take. Before this I generally ignored the Day because I assumed the Free stuff was useless and nothing but fancy product fliers. Last year changed my opinion on that.
So this year I made a plan. The wife and I already had plans to visit some friends 90 minutes from our house. I made a list of gaming stores between our house (NH) and our friend's house (central-Mass). The plan was to hit every gaming store between the two points and we'd pick up the swag as we traveled (twice as much as I was going to make my wife come in and get another free item). I figured we could end up with one of each product. The plan was brilliant in it's diabolic cleverness.
So, we hit the first store on our list. This was the FLGS where I had picked up the "after-event" swag from last year. I figured they would be doing the event again this year.
And they didn't have anything.
I asked and they said they were on the list to get the product for Free RPG Day 2012. But there was a snafu and they got nothing. Then they said they called a couple of other stores in NH and were told they also had not received the product packages. Then they told me that a number of stores in Mass also had not received their packages. Apparently there was a shipping/allocation error. The news was that NH and Mass were missed.
We still ended up hitting four more stores on our trip and none of them had any Free RPG product. Overall rather disappointing. Now, I am not the sort of person to gripe about not getting free stuff, after all the producer of said products is not obligated to give anything away for free and I am certainly not entitled to get free stuff from anyone. But it was disappointing.
To be fair, I did check out the Free RPG Day website after I got home and none of the stores I had visited were on their list, though some of the stores thought they were and had expected the product packages. Maybe a case of miscommunication or the website simply reflected the mess-up in shipping. Either way, Free RPG Day was a non-event for me.
As a cool aside, the first store I hit was having a Retro-Free RPG Day to make up for the fact they hadn't received the product packages. They put out product from last year's Free RPG Day that no one had taken last year and then they added in some D&D Encounter modules from their in-store Encounter events. I still managed to get some Dark Sun modules, Keep on the Borderlands, Geist, and Rogue Trader stuff.