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Scythe» Forums » General

Subject: Just A Typical Board Game Consumer: In Defense of Scythe/Stonemaeir rss

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Jeremy Santiago
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Right up front, I have 0 ties to anything in the board game industry, and wasn't even fortunate enough to be able to take part in the Scythe Kickstarter. I own this game, but I'm just your run of the mill, hobby board game enthusiast.

I just wanted to declare to the BGG community my appreciation for what Scythe is as a game, and how important companies like SM are to this community and hobby.

Transparency:
I've only been on BGG for a about 3 years, but I've seen Jamey Stegmaier all over the forums taking care of his customers. I've seen his name on just about every post concerning this, or any other game SM has put out. It made me jealous actually, to see that I'd yet to own any SM game and I'd never get to experience what it's like to have someone as active in his company as Jamey. It frikin impresses the hell out of me to be honest. It's uncommon, at least from my experience here, to see a designer/publisher so vocal and out in the open as Mr. Stegmaier.

From his blog, to the amount of updates (and detail) in his Kickstarter campaigns, there seems to be little mystery as to what is going on behind the doors of Stonemaier Games. As I said, he seems to personally respond to every complaint, and question in regards to his games. I imagine him sitting there waiting for his subscriptions inbox to pop up so he can have another opportunity to help a customer.

Taking it into context:
When I think about how terrible some other bg companies are with customer service, and responses it amazes me to see such strong negativity towards SM. On second thought, there are so many trolls on the internet that I take that back. If SM was silent on the forums, didn't respond to requests, or flat out declined to ever fulfill replacements pieces/etc., then I could see why some people have an issue. Keep in mind that having components damaged is a NORMAL part of this hobby. Every company experiences it to an extent. Should we be ok when it happens; no. But our reactions should be realistically curbed.

Even then, what's up with the hostility? It's a pile of fancy cardboard! I spend my hard earned money on this hobby as well, so I get that when you decide to spend even a dollar on something, it better be worth the price. But again, we're talking about a company that is willing to listen, respond, and then take action to make you happy (WITHIN REASON).

For the Love of the Game:
Love is the first thing I think about when I think SM games. They’ve left such an impression on me as a company that anything they produce, I’m at least interested in looking at. The time they put into the development, art, world building, components, and post production support is just phenomenal to me and our hobby needs more companies like this.
I’m mostly a solo-gamer at this point in my life. This is one of the few companies that goes out of their way to develop solo friendly rules, and components to be included in the base game, or expansions. To me that is going outside the call of duty, and I soooo appreciate that.

I really could go on and on but, I'll leave it at that.

To Jamey, and the rest of Stonemaier Games:
You do an AMAZING JOB both with the games you create, and the customer experiences you provide. I plan to add Viticulture to my collection, and you've earned a lifetime fan/customer of your games. Keep doing what you guys do. Those few who want to always find something to complain about will be there, but I think your love, and transparency will win out.

To other fans:
I urge you all to continue to support SM Games, both in the forums, and at your table tops. I believe this is already happening, as Scythe has been well received overall.

Thanks for reading...
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Darrell Goodridge
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I expect several hidden responses in the future.
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sean stockton
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Cardboardjunkie wrote:
I expect several hidden responses in the future.


a-yup...
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Reverend Uncle Bastard
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Couldn't agree more with the OP! Well said.
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Pauly Paul
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SSGMightyMouse wrote:
When I think about how terrible some other bg companies are with customer service, and responses it amazes me to see such strong negativity towards SM. On second thought, there are so many trolls on the internet that I take that back.


I'm not sure it's fair to call the individual, from the locked thread, a troll exactly. He had different expectations from what the rest of us (and Jamey) would have is all. I think "unreasonable" might be more fair.

That being said I think your subject line is worded best. Most of us, SM fans, are "typical board game consumers". We see value in the way Jamey and SM handle things and we appreciate it. That is why many of us came to his defense. He has earned that level of loyalty over the years, it's not just freely given.

In the end it's impossible to please 100% of the people 100% of the time. There will always be folks that see and feel things differently. It's not emotionally efficient to waste too much time trying to make them happy. Some of those folks just never will be happy, no matter what is done. Other times what they want, in order to be happy, is not something that a person is willing to do. Sometimes it just won't work out.

I once worked with an individual who argued his tab at a restaurant. He said that he wasn't drunk enough so they must have been watering down his drinks. As such he wasn't willing to pay it all. Sometimes there just won't be a situation where people will see eye to eye.
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Randal Divinski
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venrondua wrote:
Some of those folks just never will be happy, no matter what is done. Other times what they want, in order to be happy...

... is to pitch a fit, draw lots of attention, and revel in the power of jerking people around -- which would be lost if their "problem" was actually solved.
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Adam P
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I really could go on and on but, I'll leave it at that.

These threads of adoration are getting hilarious!


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Jeremy Santiago
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adamredwoods wrote:
Quote:
I really could go on and on but, I'll leave it at that.

These threads of adoration are getting hilarious!




Personally, I do think that people need to hear positive, AND negative feedback. Some can get too big for their britches, and being humbled every once in a while builds character and makes you work harder. In this case, it was just something that was building up in me after seeing a recent post. I stand by my words.
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Jeremy Santiago
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venrondua wrote:
SSGMightyMouse wrote:
When I think about how terrible some other bg companies are with customer service, and responses it amazes me to see such strong negativity towards SM. On second thought, there are so many trolls on the internet that I take that back.


I'm not sure it's fair to call the individual, from the locked thread, a troll exactly. He had different expectations from what the rest of us (and Jamey) would have is all. I think "unreasonable" might be more fair.

That being said I think your subject line is worded best. Most of us, SM fans, are "typical board game consumers". We see value in the way Jamey and SM handle things and we appreciate it. That is why many of us came to his defense. He has earned that level of loyalty over the years, it's not just freely given.

In the end it's impossible to please 100% of the people 100% of the time. There will always be folks that see and feel things differently. It's not emotionally efficient to waste too much time trying to make them happy. Some of those folks just never will be happy, no matter what is done. Other times what they want, in order to be happy, is not something that a person is willing to do. Sometimes it just won't work out.

I once worked with an individual who argued his tab at a restaurant. He said that he wasn't drunk enough so they must have been watering down his drinks. As such he wasn't willing to pay it all. Sometimes there just won't be a situation where people will see eye to eye.


Good point. I wasn't directing "troll" at that particular person. He has a right to his opinions. It was more of a general statement at that point.
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Christopher Grace
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I don't really agree with the idea that backing kickstarter should equate to having a harder time getting a game replaced. Although I understand the logistical expense and difficulty, the simple fact is that my FLGS would exchange a game if it arrived brand new, but with dings/dents/scuffs. By not following that same philosophy for kickstarter backers, you discourage people from backing future projects.

I'm lucky, my copy of Scythe arrived in pristine condition. That said, seeing the recent thread about a damaged board being outright denied replacement has made me rethink my plan to back Charterstone when/if it hits Kickstarter in the future. If I don't KS the game, I will definitely happily pick it up at retail; I do want to support Stonemeyer and I do love their games.

I approve of how they conduct themselves as a company and as individuals. I also accept the reality in which we live, and the difficulties in operating a small company like SM must present.

I just would not accept even mildly damaged components in a brand new copy of a game I spent this much money on.

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Stephen Miller
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The OP sums up my experience with them, also.
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Jason Speicher
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krztoff wrote:
I don't really agree with the idea that backing kickstarter should equate to having a harder time getting a game replaced. Although I understand the logistical expense and difficulty, the simple fact is that my FLGS would exchange a game if it arrived brand new, but with dings/dents/scuffs. By not following that same philosophy for kickstarter backers, you discourage people from backing future projects.

I'm lucky, my copy of Scythe arrived in pristine condition. That said, seeing the recent thread about a damaged board being outright denied replacement has made me rethink my plan to back Charterstone when/if it hits Kickstarter in the future. If I don't KS the game, I will definitely happily pick it up at retail; I do want to support Stonemeyer and I do love their games.

I approve of how they conduct themselves as a company and as individuals. I also accept the reality in which we live, and the difficulties in operating a small company like SM must present.

I just would not accept even mildly damaged components in a brand new copy of a game I spent this much money on.



ANNNNNDDDD this is why we I seriously doubt we'll see another game on KS from Jamey.
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Brian C
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From everything I've seen, these guys:

i) Have a strong passion for game building,
ii) Put out games that have been playtested to a glossy sheen,
iii) And are active amongst and gracious to their customers/fan base.

How can you want anything else out of them.

(For my money, I wouldn't ask for a replacement for those boards -- things happen, small things especially. You can't hope for perfection IMO, only for a fully functioning game. One should probably expect cosmetic scuffs and dings and aberrations, and be happily surprised if a copy of anything, ever, is 100% pristine.)
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Y P
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jwspiker wrote:
krztoff wrote:
I don't really agree with the idea that backing kickstarter should equate to having a harder time getting a game replaced. Although I understand the logistical expense and difficulty, the simple fact is that my FLGS would exchange a game if it arrived brand new, but with dings/dents/scuffs. By not following that same philosophy for kickstarter backers, you discourage people from backing future projects.

I'm lucky, my copy of Scythe arrived in pristine condition. That said, seeing the recent thread about a damaged board being outright denied replacement has made me rethink my plan to back Charterstone when/if it hits Kickstarter in the future. If I don't KS the game, I will definitely happily pick it up at retail; I do want to support Stonemeyer and I do love their games.

I approve of how they conduct themselves as a company and as individuals. I also accept the reality in which we live, and the difficulties in operating a small company like SM must present.

I just would not accept even mildly damaged components in a brand new copy of a game I spent this much money on.



ANNNNNDDDD this is why we I seriously doubt we'll see another game on KS from Jamey.

Unreasonable component replacement requests are not confined to KS titles.
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Jason Speicher
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MentatYP wrote:
jwspiker wrote:
krztoff wrote:
I don't really agree with the idea that backing kickstarter should equate to having a harder time getting a game replaced. Although I understand the logistical expense and difficulty, the simple fact is that my FLGS would exchange a game if it arrived brand new, but with dings/dents/scuffs. By not following that same philosophy for kickstarter backers, you discourage people from backing future projects.



ANNNNNDDDD this is why we I seriously doubt we'll see another game on KS from Jamey.

Unreasonable component replacement requests are not confined to KS titles.


I really should have quoted this instead. I'm not sure if the original OP actually had bought it via KS. I can now understand how requests like that can be draining. Only time i've requested a replacement was for a scuffing was for a cardback for a game that would hinder gameplay. I don't think KS backers are a different category, if anything they seem to be more entitled, due to their direct access to the publisher/designer.
 
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Pauly Paul
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jwspiker wrote:
krztoff wrote:
I don't really agree with the idea that backing kickstarter should equate to having a harder time getting a game replaced. Although I understand the logistical expense and difficulty, the simple fact is that my FLGS would exchange a game if it arrived brand new, but with dings/dents/scuffs. By not following that same philosophy for kickstarter backers, you discourage people from backing future projects.

I'm lucky, my copy of Scythe arrived in pristine condition. That said, seeing the recent thread about a damaged board being outright denied replacement has made me rethink my plan to back Charterstone when/if it hits Kickstarter in the future. If I don't KS the game, I will definitely happily pick it up at retail; I do want to support Stonemeyer and I do love their games.

I approve of how they conduct themselves as a company and as individuals. I also accept the reality in which we live, and the difficulties in operating a small company like SM must present.

I just would not accept even mildly damaged components in a brand new copy of a game I spent this much money on.



ANNNNNDDDD this is why we I seriously doubt we'll see another game on KS from Jamey.


LOL I doubt that would have anything to do with it.

I know Jamey has talked about eventually moving away from Kickstarters. I actually respect that. I think it's a good sign when someone uses that to eventually build something up enough to stand on their own going forward.

Stockpile is another good example. They didn't need a Kickstarter to pay for their second printing of the game. That's great and exactly how Kickstarter should be used.

This is off topic but it does bother me to see a game become successful on Kickstarter and then completely disappear. No eventual retail release. No second printing. Feels like poor management or planning to me.
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Jamey Stegmaier
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The original OP bought his retail copy of Scythe from a retailer. Though, as much as I value backers, I try not to treat post-KS customers any different than KS backers. You're all important to me.

Also, Jeremy, I want to say that I really appreciate this post, as well as your comment about the value of both positive and negative/constructive criticism. I think both are very important. It's good for me to hear about things I should continue to do as well as things I may want to reconsider or improve upon.
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gonecase gonecase
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Well-said. I bought over a friend's copy of Scythe which had a broken windmill piece. After an email to Stonemaier Games, it was quickly replaced. Definitely a fan of SM games and looking forward to the Scythe expansions and the Tuscany Essential Edition for Viticulture.
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Adam P
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Quote:
Love is the first thing I think about when I think SM games.

Quote:
You're all important to me.


The ultimate producer <-> consumer bond!
It's beyond a game now, it's meta-game.


In defense of the "other" thread, once a game is MASSIVELY praised on its beauty, it's hard to expect anything less. Now, if the game is like the early 18xx, people are just happy with paper glued onto cardboard. They bought in for the mechanisms.

Additionally, these types of threads that PRAISES Jamey's costumer support, adds to the customer's expectations. So someone with a slightly scuffed board is going to expect that type of service that meets their praises as well.
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Jette Fire
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adamredwoods wrote:
Quote:
Love is the first thing I think about when I think SM games.

Quote:
You're all important to me.


The ultimate producer <-> consumer bond!
It's beyond a game now, it's meta-game.


In defense of the "other" thread, once a game is MASSIVELY praised on its beauty, it's hard to expect anything less. Now, if the game is like the early 18xx, people are just happy with paper glued onto cardboard. They bought in for the mechanisms.

Additionally, these types of threads that PRAISES Jamey's costumer support, adds to the customer's expectations. So someone with a slightly scuffed board is going to expect that type of service that meets their praises as well.


Agreed. Ultimately the producer needs to manage expectations in order to retain his well-earned reputation.

[These forums help me better understand the expectations of the BGG consumer. To all the posters (in this thread and others) - thank you for that.]
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Frank Hamrick
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I'm with the OP - 100%. I'm always amused at the picky things people find wrong with a game or game company.
1. No game or company or entity is perfect - but their are games that are obviously excellent in production and game-play, and their companies are among the best at customer care and service. They are to be commended- not taken for granted. Such is SM and Scythe.

2. Other games and/or companies are atrocious in production, quality, communication, responsiveness, customer care, etc. Such is ..... I could name a few!

To find picky things to attack in the first case is ludicrous IMO and reflects on the critic more than the game/company.

To criticize the second in an objective, but honest way is deserved and could serve to improve our hobby.

Thanks for your defense and commendation of an outstanding game and company!




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Adam P
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Frank Hamrick wrote:

1. No game or company or entity is perfect

Again, to clarify my point, it is the recent ENORMOUS praise of perfection that the game and SM Games has gotten that is causing slight imperfections to become more noticeable, and thus suspect to hyper-critiquing. Even the OP of this thread gushes praise on the beauty of the production, so why can't everyone get this same expectation?

Quote:
To find picky things to attack in the first case is ludicrous IMO and reflects on the critic more than the game/company.

To me it's not only about those who are critiquing, but a cause/effect from the praises by the community.

Victims of success, in short.
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Dean Love
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krztoff wrote:
I'm lucky, my copy of Scythe arrived in pristine condition. That said, seeing the recent thread about a damaged board being outright denied replacement has made me rethink my plan to back Charterstone when/if it hits Kickstarter in the future.


As long as Stonemeier continue with the money-back guarantee, there's no reason not to. If you're unhappy with what you get, and are unhappy with what you're offered in replacement, then you can always get your money back and buy retail instead.

jameystegmaier wrote:
The original OP bought his retail copy of Scythe from a retailer. Though, as much as I value backers, I try not to treat post-KS customers any different than KS backers. You're all important to me.

Interesting viewpoint. I'd be tempted to argue that people buying retail are not your customers. They're customers of the retailer. The retailer itself is your customer (or the distributor is) - albeit certain transitive properties apply.
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Alex Ansari
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I haven't really dealt with SM outside of backing some of their Kickstarter campaigns, but they always seem to make a good product. Interestingly, two of my meeples from Scythe arrived split in half, but I chose to just glue them back together rather than wait for new ones to be shipped. We wanted to play immediately!

One story does spring to mind. When SM released the updated recruit cards for Euphoria, the orientation of the card backs to the fronts didn't match (think Scoundrels of Skullport cards). I brought this up to Jamey somewhere and he said that it didn't affect gameplay (which it doesn't) so I shouldn't be concerned and that he would look at this for future products. With Scythe, I see that the card backs are mirrored so that they look the same regardless of the way you hold them. It was pretty cool to see that he followed through with preventing that problem. Thanks for the great games!
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Jamey Stegmaier
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Alex: You have a good memory. Indeed, after that Euphoria mishap, we've tried to design card backs to be mirrored so even if one print run is somehow different from the next, the cards will always have the correct orientation.
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