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Mayday Games: A Cautionary Tale
Craig.
United States
Ohio
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There aren't too many companies that I boycott, but Mayday Games is the one and only on my list in the gaming industry. I went from buying their sleeves and games to becoming completely frustrated and disappointed with the company in less than 6 months. This is due to shoddy/defective products, poor customer service, and endless dishonestly. Mayday doesn't really seem to care about its customers or respect the gaming industry.

The purpose of this is to document the problems that I and others have had with Mayday games/products, customer service, and/or business ethics. I believe that others should be aware of these issues and Mayday's business practices before deciding to buy products or back Kickstarter Projects from Mayday.
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1. Board Game: & Cetera [Average Rating:7.95 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.95 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.95 Unranked]
Chris Montgomery
Canada
East York
Ontario
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I could am going to parrot others about sleeve issues. I eventually switched FFG for my Summoner Wars sleeving needs (purple size works great). While replacements are great, the fact is, as a play tester I go through a lot of sleeves. I shouldn't have to continually ask for replacements. Replacements are great, fixing the problem is better.

I thought I'd leave this here for the interested:

Crocko Clock.
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2. Board Game: Bootleggers [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:904]
Stuart L
Australia
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This was kickstarted for a reprint. Funding period: 29 June 2012 to 3 August 2012. Estimated delivery: December 2012.

A brief summary of the updates after that date (from #7 onwards), up to today (14 June 2013):

10 August, 2012: "We have been busy getting ready for GenCon and working with the designers on the promo cards and other details." ... "Release date for the game is not until December ... sending out the surveys in about ten days ... a few weeks to get the surveys back and organise the print run ... 6-8 weeks to run the game followed by shipping via boat to us for another five weeks."

13 September, 2012: "Things are progressing nicely and we should be going to print soon. ... We still are working on: finalizing the revisions to the original rules ... minor change to the family stills to clarify distribution of additional influence. 2 player variant. Rules for the expansion. We are almost there!"

19 December, 2012: "We are still finishing up the files as the artist has been quite busy. ... We are shooting for February/March at this point and expect we can make that pretty easily."

26 February, 2012: "I am sorry to have to tell you that production is taking longer than even our own very pessimistic forecast. It looks like it will be another couple of months before this is finished and out the door."

12 April 2013: "We are still here and alive, we have approved the files and are just waiting for the game to ship to us, but we have had some problems nailing down the specifics of the expansion which is delaying the final game production. I'll update you with an exact date as soon as we know it!"

18 May 2013: "The game files are finally all but finished. ... The files are 99% done and everything should be finalized, finally, this week.
...
in July of last year we were assured the molds were physically available and the transfer to us would be quick and easy since we are using the same factory as the original print run. ... Now that we are getting close to running the game in production we emailed the factory and Fred last week to confirm the details of the molds and the plastic pieces. We had several assurances that the molds were available and it would be no issue, up until last week as we started scheduling production. Now we are suddenly hearing that the factory or possibly Eagles former agent/partner has possibly lost the molds. ... The bad news is that this will take about 40 days to complete before production can even begin.
...
We are very happy that the art and design portion is all but complete and we will update you all again in a couple of weeks as the molds are nearing completion, or IMMEDIATELY if there is any change in the molds... like maybe they turn up somewhere."

Edit, 17 June: Update #13: "The good news is that this is all on track, the molds are finishing up shortly and in the mean time we have completed all of the graphics, layout and illustrations needed for the game, the new cards, and the expansion. Everything is finally back on track and you can check out some of the new cards and graphics below.

We expect to go into production in the next couple of weeks and hope it will be completed quickly!"

(end edit.)

Organisation and planning? What's organisation and planning? shake (Don't get me started on the weak, sorry, pathetic excuse for "communication" that includes multiple statements that are either contradictory, or which have been proven false ...)
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3. Board Game: Click Clack Lumberjack [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:1191]
Craig.
United States
Ohio
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Shipping problems; "exclusive" Toc Toc Woodman: Golden Axe Expansion and Toc Toc Woodman: Golden Core and Bark Promo sold outside of Kickstarter.
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4. Board Game: Crokinole [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:53]
Nathan Ehlers
United States
Cleveland
Ohio
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Don't forget all of the shotty Crokinole boards they pushed that ranged from particle board with a fake woodgrain sticker over it, to surface abrasions caused by screws popping up from the bottom, to offering a "premium" board at an increased price point without significantly increasing the quality of the board.
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5. Board Game Accessory: Deluxe Card Sleeves
GeJayGe
United States
Windsor Hills
California
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Let me start by saying, I read other posts saying nasty things about Mayday Games, and thought "I have bought a few packs and have had no problems, these other people may just be crazy."

So I splurged.....

I recently bought Dominion and every expansion. In the past when I have purchased sleeves from Mayday Games sleeve size can vary from pack to pack. I decided to order the entire lot (35 packs @ 100 sleeves/pack) at once, to hopefully minimize this. I sleeved every card, and started playing the game. It was really dissapointing when all the sleeves started sliding off the cards during play.

I took some older Mayday Games sleeves of the same size and put them on my Dominion cards, and they fit great, without sliding off.

I informed Mayday Games of this experience, and they brushed it off, not being too concerned about it. Now I am faced with the decision to have my guests constantly slide the sleeves back on or unsleeve 3,000+ cards, and admit that I wasted over $80 on sleeves that don't fit right. What a dissapointment.

I then ordered some sleeves for Starcraft: The Board Game, and some were not even long enough to cover the cards completely. I informed them, and they promptly sent out replacements. Upon receipt, they were the wrong size, which left me again waiting for another shipment of replacement sleeves.

Conclusion:

I will buy Mayday Games sleeves if I cannot find the size I need elsewhere. Other than that, I will try my hardest, and spend the extra money to purchase sleeves from another company, as it will acutally save me money in the long run.

Regarding their sizing issues, I am a Lean Six Sigma trained Ph.D. engineer, who would would be willing to join your team to help you fix these issues, and minimize variation. This is assuming you recognize the importance of the variation issues that need to be addressed.
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6. Board Game: Eaten by Zombies! [Average Rating:6.01 Overall Rank:2939] [Average Rating:6.01 Unranked]
Craig.
United States
Ohio
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Shipping problems; "exclusive" Zombie Die sold outside of Kickstarter. [LINK]
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7. Board Game: Get Bit! [Average Rating:6.25 Overall Rank:1565]
Craig.
United States
Ohio
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Shipping problems; "exclusive" Get Bit! Sharkspansion and Pink Robot sold outside of Kickstarter. [LINK]

MY EXPERIENCE

Kickstarter project ended 9/07/2011. Game and Sharkspansion were promised within 1 week of project end. Problems started immediately. Nothing shipped on time.

9/17/2011: 1 of the bonus was supposed to be clear sticker faces for the robots. The first batch were improperly cut. The second batch was correct, but on white. The last batch came in on clear, although it turns out the that final ones sent are also mis-cut, but more on that later.

9/21/2011: Mayday posts project update about shipping. They will FINALLY begin shipping the game, but not if you got the Sharkspansion and/or Pink Robot expansion. Apparently neither of the expansions were actually ready and in-hand. People that ordered with any of those items wouldn't ship until 2nd week of October!

9/24/2011: Sharkspansion and/or Pink Robot expansion won't be ready for another 3-4 weeks!

9/29/2011: Apparently, Mayday decided to ship the base game to all the backers since people were complaining at the game was already available through full distribution. I received my base game with the stickers on 9/29/2011. The clear stickers are mis-cut, so they are useful. I requested a replacement set. The game was sent USPS First Class, but was in a cardboard FedEx envelope mailer with one small piece of bubble wrap. By the time it arrived, it looked like it had been wadded up and then flattened out. I contact Mayday about it as well as requesting a new set of stickers. They sent both in a box (to protective packaging though) along with a return label for the damaged game. The replacement clear stickers were also mis-cut. The replacement game arrived less damaged, but still not perfect. I sent the original damaged game back using the label provided, but it was returned to be in the mail due to not enough postage. No work back from Mayday on that yet and no news on the Sharkspansion or Pink Robot.

Mid- to late-October there started to be comments on BGG and Kickstarter that people were starting to receive their Sharkspansion and Pink Robot. No official Kickstarter update from Mayday. Comments and posts by Mayday on BGG and Kickstarter kept pushing the date further and further back. I contacted them about it and ended up finally getting a tracking number.

10/28/2011: My Sharkspansion and Pink Robot finally arrived 1 full month past due. No rules sheet included for the Sharkspansion. Sharkspansion was also supposed to include 6 hunger tokens. Mine were included (more on this in a bit). Packaging for these extras were terrible. The Pink Robot was shipped on top of the cards, to it imprinted into the top card damaging it. To top it off, one of the Sharkspansion cards has a misprint!

10/31/2011: Mayday responses stating that they will send a replacement card for the damaged one, but no comment on the misprinted card and still no Kickstarter project updates. I have not yet received the replacement.

11/09/2011: Mayday replied stating that replacement Pink Robot set and Get Bit stickers would be sent. Also told that the misprinted "Any Limb" card in the Get Bit! Sharkspansion WOULD NOT be corrected or reprinted.

11/28/2011: Replacement items were finally received. They were still defective and I finally gave up since dealing with Mayday is like beating one's head against a brick wall...

I feel like I only ended up getting the game and the extras after a lot of comment posting and messages to Mayday pushing. I got lucky and got everything necessary in the Sharkspansion and Pink Robot, even though some things arrive damaged. Comments on Kickstarter (http://kck.st/sRHjiJ) and BGG (http://bit.ly/uptoh1, http://bit.ly/sq0RX4) reveal that many people aren't receiving everything, either not enough copies from what was ordered, no stickers at all, none or not enough hunger tokens for the Sharkspansion, received the Sharkspansion but not the Pink Robot or vise versa even though both were ordered, no rules sheet for the Sharkspansion. It doesn't seem that everybody has even received all their stuff yet! It is obvious to me that Mayday has some serious issues.
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8. Board Game: Goa [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:72]
Throw dem 'bows
United States
Lincoln
NE
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It's really been a pretty poorly run operation from the word "go" - way back when I was just getting into this site, 07/early 08, I saw that Goa was goa-ing OOP [I blame Chit-Chat], but that there was still one copy in the marketplace at a reasonable price from a certain "sphiatt". I placed my order, it got confirmed, and then... nothing.

After a couple of weeks I emailed them asking after my order's status... nothing. A while later I emailed them again, explaining that the game was currently OOP at the publisher and that if they didn't have a copy physically in hand then they weren't going to be able to drop-ship* it to me, and if that were the case, to please give me my money back...

You guessed it, nothing.

Finally, I wrote back again saying that I would take this to PayPal if I didn't get my money back, which got their attention enough to finally get off their bums and process my bloomin' refund. Great Customer Service, Yay!

* Oh yeah, as long as we're talking about drop-shipping, can I mention the glorious debacle that was empireboardgames.com? Good because that was hi-larious. Before Mayday went into making crappy Crokinole boards and frequently mis-sized sleeves, Mr. Hiatt** tried his hand at a boardgame store built around drop-shipping, and tried to promote it on here using several of the lamest shill accounts ever

"Hey guys, I just found this site and I really like it. I've also really enjoyed using www.empireboardgames.com to get great deals on all the hottest games!"

laughlaughlaugh

** Oh yeah, and let's not forget the legal obfuscation and trademark display of linguistic gymnastics involved in explaining how he was in no way involved with the company even though his name was listed as an officer in various legal documents

laughlaughlaugh

. . .

cry
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9. Board Game: Here I Stand [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:107]
Rob Bradley
United States
Belleville
Wisconsin
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This is really a minor issue; but I'll put it here for posterity. I am fully aware of problems with Mayday's quality so when I bought sleeves on Saturday for Here I Stand, I should have looked for the FFG equivalents.

The game has 119 cards so I bought 3 packs of premium sleeves. I proceeded to sleeve all the cards and then I went to shuffle them I noticed that some of the sleeves were wider than others. I sorted them out and sure enough, exactly fifty sleeves were wider than the rest.

I tested out some riffing and found that I could stack the deck simply by feeling for the wider cards. This obviously wasn't acceptable to me; so now I have to buy FFG sleeves, de-sleeve all of these, and then re-sleeve them all with sleeves that match.

Long story short, if you have a game that needs 50 or less sleeves, Mayday premium sleeves will probably do, but if there are more than that and you need to shuffle, buy elsewhere.

I could return these to my FLGS, but I don't want to go through the hassle. And in reality, if hassle is something you want to avoid, then Mayday should be avoided entirely.
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10. Board Game: Hold Your Breath! [Average Rating:5.66 Overall Rank:9617]
Kosongz Toh
Malaysia
Borneo Island
Sarawak
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Funding Date: December 2013
Promised Delivery Date: April 2014
Status: US Shipping now, International Shipping not yet started
Overdue: Almost 1 year

1. Lack of updates, unless they got new Kickstarter projects to promote.

2. First batch of the game was sold at Essen to non-backers.

3. Have a slight suspicion that they held off printing the games until they gathered more games to print and ship together, kinda like what Tasty Minstrels did.

Quote:
Our biggest challenge will be getting in on the schedule at the factory and finishing up the artwork for the rulebook and game box layout, but we expect these will be pretty easy to finish up.

We are experienced and know what it takes to fulfill your rewards and hope it will go pretty smoothly!



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11. Board Game: King's Vineyard [Average Rating:5.51 Overall Rank:10188]
Craig.
United States
Ohio
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MY EXPERIENCE

Card Sleeves - I like to sleeve cards for games that are either pricey, have nice artwork, or require the cards to be handled a lot, and/or have a special reason. Originally, Mayday didn't have their own "Kings Vineyard" game in their sleeve database. I inquired and was told a size. Then they came back and changed it saying that the cards "definitely" fit a particular sleeve. So, I ordered the prescribed sleeves. Once I got the game and sleeves, I started the sleeving process. That didn't take long since the first card I tried didn't come close to fitting in the sleeve! The cards were supposed to be 56mm x 87 mm. They are actually 57mm x 87 mm which is a nonstandard size. I contacted them again and they said that the sleeves must be defective which was interesting since they were their own Mayday brand sleeves in the instructed size! Anyway, they sent replacements sleeves that were "guaranteed" to fit, except that they don't. Typically, Mayday sleeves run 1mm+ wider than stated, but that has never been the case with their 56 mm (purple) sleeves as they run more snug. I know this because I have used 800+ of this particular sleeve since its the size for Fluxx, Ticket to Ride, etc. So, there's just no way a 57mm card will fit into a 56mm sleeve! [LINK]

Missing Scoring Token - The contents state that there are 70 point tokens. I had 69, so apparently I am missing one which I determined to be a jug point token. I contacted Mayday via e-mail on 10/02/2011 to request a replacement. The reply on 10/05/2011 stated that a replacement token would be sent. In discussions via e-mail about the above sleeve issue, I discovered that the token was still not sent on 10/12/2011. I received an incorrect scoring token in late October 2011. I notified Mayday of the problem on 11/09/2011 when contacting Mayday about the Get Bit! problems. I FINALLY received the CORRECT token on 11/28/2011. It took 2 months and multiple attempts to get the proper token from Mayday.
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12. Board Game: Kingdom Builder [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:374]
Craig.
United States
Ohio
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CANCELED due to exclusive license "issue." [LINK]
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13. Board Game: Lemonade Stand [Average Rating:6.14 Overall Rank:4267]
Craig.
United States
Ohio
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"Exclusive" promo cards made available outside of Kickstarter. [LINK]
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14. Board Game: Miscellaneous Card Game Accessory [Average Rating:6.29 Unranked]
Craig.
United States
Ohio
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Mayday Card Sleeves

See the Miscellaneous Game Accessory item on this list...
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15. Board Game: Miscellaneous Game Accessory [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:2916]
Craig.
United States
Ohio
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Mayday Card Sleeves

MY EXPERIENCE

When I got back into gaming in the past year, I bought some games and decided to sleeve some cards. My first pack was from Mayday for 100 cards. That pack was 1 short. I contacted Mayday and they made good by sending and entire pack as a replacement. As a result, I stuck with Mayday sleeves. However, my next order included nearly 20 packs (2000 sleeves) in various sizes. Unfortunately, not a single pack is without issue. Every pack seems to have 1-4 sleeves with one or more of the following issues: missing sleeves, ragged edges, sliced, WAY too wide, too skinny, some sort of cosmetic defect, etc. The fit between various Mayday sleeves is inconsistent and they also seem to slit too easily. The quality control is obviously horrible. I was able to get some replaced at first, but Mayday no longer responds to any of my e-mail messages.

I now use FFG/FFS sleeves, or, if they don't make one that fits, I do without of find a different brand that does make the necessary size (even if it costs a premium)!
_______________________________________________________

Previously posted as a follow-up comment on 3/20/2012:

Just out of curiosity, I just went back through my orders. Looks like I have purchased somewhere around 3600 Mayday sleeves. Of the ones I have used so far, I have encountered around 300 defective sleeves. 25 are from various packs of smaller or less common-sized sleeves, ~75 are from the green (CCG/Poker Size) and purple (Standard USA Card Size), and the remaining 200 are 4 packs of premium purple sleeves alone that are all too narrow to fit the TtR cards that they are meant to fit. That puts the defect rate is at 8.33% and is totally unacceptable. Sadly, I still have 600-700 of the 3600 sleeves left and will probably continue to encounter issues.

In comparison, I have purchased 1100 FFG/FFS premium sleeves (mostly in the CCG/poker and Mini European sizes) and have had 0 defects with them. I have actually had packs containing 1 extra sleeve!
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16. Board Game: Miscellaneous Game Accessory [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:2916]
Craig.
United States
Ohio
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Mayday has become infamous for logistical problems and shipping delays. Here's just another example...

Kickstarter project for 50+ types/sizes of Board/Card Game Sleeves from Swan Panasia

Funded: Oct 9, 2012
Estimated delivery: Jan 2013
Delivered: June 2013
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17. Board Game: Miscellaneous Game Accessory [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:2916]
Bob Schrempp
United States
Atascadero
California
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KS Package arrives postage due. Twice I have received KS items from Mayday Games Postage due. Not a real big deal, it was like $0.25 or less. However, if this is constant with an entire KS campaign and there are say 1000 shipments, that is a saving of $250. Nice way to save a little money.

The second time it happened I contact Seth, oh I think we weighed and printed the labels before we added the Promo expansion to the box. We were trying to speed up shipping.

HAs anyone else received packages postage due from Mayday KS campaigns?
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Keng Leong Yeo
Singapore
Singapore
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小富靠勤,中富靠智,大富靠德。
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We really like the Mayday card sleeves, though they occasionally do not fit that well. Most of the time, they work fine.

Some time ago, we wanted to buy the Mayday trainmeeples set to pimp/upgrade our train-themed board games.

We ended up jumping through many many hoops before getting them. shake
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19. Board Game: Space Junkyard [Average Rating:6.09 Overall Rank:4756]
Craig.
United States
Ohio
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Space Junkyard was suggested by sanchezja in the comments section below, so I added it to the list...

Problems

Missing Components [LINK]
Mold [LINK]
Misprinted Tile [LINK]
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20. Board Game: Terra Evolution [Average Rating:5.53 Overall Rank:10110]
Craig.
United States
Ohio
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Shipping problems; "Number" scandal (games were opened so that a limited edition number sticker could be affixed to the box; people did not receive the numbers promised at each pledge level); sold game at discount (with coupon) on web site. [LINK]
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21. Board Game: WeyKick [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:1929]
Craig.
United States
Ohio
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Sold for $129+$20=$149 via Kickstarter with the following guarantees: "We can guarantee that we will NOT be offering this game so cheap ever again and if it ever does get into retail stores it will be on a very limited basis and the retail price will just have to be higher than this." and "This project may very well be your ONLY chance to get WeyKick in the USA, and the price will NEVER be better!" Sold via Deniath.com on 3/19/2012 for $109.99. [LINK]
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22. Board Game: White Elephant [Average Rating:5.44 Overall Rank:10198]
Craig.
United States
Ohio
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Kickstarter price was $20, but the game picked up by Mayday AFTER it funded; DELAYED; MSRP dropped to $14.99 and then dumped on Tanga for $9.95 before most Kickstarter backers even received their copies! [LINK]
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