Rumor has it that Games Workshop is getting back in the marketing game with a free Space Marine giveaway. AND they’re giving them away to geeks that may not be involved in our kind of geekery yet. I love it and I think it’s an indication they’re headed in the right direction.
If you’re not familiar with Free Comic Book Day, well it’s just what it says on the tin. The first Saturday of every May, shops will give out free comic books to anyone who braves the crowds. A LOT of comic/hobby shops participate in this and make a big event out of it. I’m not a comic book guy at all, but lots of shops I go to have both comics and wargames in stock so it makes good sense to me. I don’t think anyone knows how many shops will have the free snap-fit Space Marines to give away, or which shops are getting them. But it’s not really for us, is it?
A couple things I like about this. First, I hear from a lot of folks that got into the hobby because they got a White Dwarf with a free model on it. I remember fondly when they used to do this fairly often (anyone remember that goofy looking Necron?) but they haven’t in quite a while. Some little giveaway tacked on to a magazine was a great marketing tool for them. Second, this might actually get me to take a look at some comics. It works both ways. My daughter expressed an interest in same manga that I had, so I want to stop in and see if there’s anything I can pick up for her. I don’t even care about the model, personally, but that’s what got me thinking about going to a comic shop.
The third, more abstract thing to get excited about is that we just don’t ever see anything free from Games Workshop these days. We often, as a community, bemoan their seeming lack of effort to get new people into the hobby. This freebie is coming right before a rumored 7th edition Warhammer 40K book. Now that’s just too good of timing to be a mistake. I’d love to see a new influx of folks, excited for the hobby and picking up a (again, rumored) cheaper starter box set. Blood Angels, Orks, and some terrain if all goes to plan. Sounds a lot like the 2nd edition box set to me, and that’s awesome.
We’ve seen some new Blood Angels colors on last week’s White Dwarf, so maybe, just maybe this freebie will be from the new box! And how cool would that be?
Keep on keeping on, Games Workshop. You might earn some new (and old) fans after all.
What about you? Did you ever get a freebie or do you know anyone who started because of it? Will this get you into a shop on May 3rd?