Above is the promo for the game Harbour that came with Cthulhu Realms.
Now I know for some this is an upsetting and despicable thing for Tiny Minstrel Games to do. But they are not alone in doing this. For example in the Halloween expansion for King of Tokyo there is a promo card for the King of New York game.
So why do some people see this as a heinous crime?
Suppose I'm a big fan of Harbour (well I do own the game and enjoy playing it so half way there). I backed it on Kickstarter (I didn't but just imagine I did), got all the exclusives from that for showing my early loyalty and faith in the game. I live and breath the game, bore my friends rigid evangelising how great this micro game is.
Then I find out that there is a new character card for the game. I'm wetting my pants in excitement at the news. I then find out after I've changed the new character is Cthulhu, I've got to go change again. How do I get this new character? Is it being given away at conventions, or as prize support? No. Wait! What? I have to buy a game that I don't want just to get this character card?! WTF?
Ok the above hams it up a bit. But basically the fan of the game the promo is for feel ripped off and that they are being forced to buy a game they don't want to get the promo. Which is a valid point. I'm lucky I have the other game already, so it's a nice little bonus for me. But in my copy of Harbour is a promo for a game I do not have (can't remember it's name). Does it tempt me to buy the game the promo is for? No. Although I'm sure the publisher would like it if it did.
I think it would be nice of the publisher to make the promo available separately at some point.
I should mention I am a fan of promos. For me they add a little bit of variety, a way to personalise a game. They aren't necessary for a game (or they better not be because that would be a really crappy thing for a publisher to do), but they add a little bit of fun. For instance like having the Stan Lee bystander card in Marvel Legendary. When it pops up you can imagine it's his guest appearance in the Marvel film you are recreating in your Legendary game. A pleasant surprise for the other players (if they don't know you have the card).
No where I fallout with some of the publishers is the availability of the promos. The majority are given out at conventions or as exclusives for backing on kickstarter.
If you missed the kickstarter or unable to get to the convention then you have missed out and unable to get the promo. Unless you are prepared to pay the very often super inflated prices when they surface on eBay.
Now I like Plaidhat Games because they make their promos available on their website for a reasonable price. Not straight away, but not long after.
It's this exclusivity that I don't like. I can't see why the publisher can't make any promo for kickstarter or convention available to a wider audience. With kickstarter a timed exclusivity I could live with. For example making the promo(s) available to buy six or eight months after the game has hit the stores. The convention promos there is no excuse, they should be readily available to buy.
I'm also very tempted to say that any promos given out for those attending organised play events should also be made available after a set period. Not every store runs all the events for every game, or there may not be a store local to go to at all.
So I'm not saying don't have promos, I'm just saying stop being elitist or exclusive with them, and stop punishing the majority of gamers for not being able to make an event/convention/kickstarter.