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Terraforming Mars» Forums » General

Subject: Component Quality - Stronghold Games edition rss

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Shannon Krumick
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Terraforming Mars - Just about every component that comes in this box, including the box and insert, feels cheap. I would liken the components to that of a print-n-play but heck some print-n-plays have better quality.

Box - Thin flimsy cardboard. It's so flimsy the Box top dips in the middle
Insert - So thin and flimsy it comes already torn up in the box just from the shipping process.
Board - Same theme, thin and flimsy. First time opening the board a small tear started in the seams. I haven't had a board game do that since the old monopoly boards from the 80's.
Cardstock - Cards are again thin and flimsy card stock that I'm certain won't hold up to more than a game or two of shuffling before they start to see wear or tears. *Opinion changed below*
Card board chits - Standard cardboard chits. Nothing special or negative here
Player Boards - Cheap thin cardboard. For the price this game is selling, for what really amounts to just a card game, they could have included some double thick player boards (similar to Scythe) that would allow for placing the cubes so they don't slide around.
Cubes - Standard cubes you can find in most cube pushers.

While the game play is very enjoyable the quality of the game components are sub par at best. I hope this isn't a continued theme with Stronghold games because I like them and the games they produce, but I've noticed a lack of good quality components in a few other games produced by them of late.

As a reference, I purchased Cry Havoc with the same shipment as Terraforming Mars. While I haven't played CH yet, just opening the box and looking through the cards/bits its a drastic difference. Everything about CH screams high-quality production, including the box. The CH board is very thick and heavy duty. The cards appear to have a linen finish, very sturdy, cut near perfect and shuffle very well. The game is loaded with miniatures and other quality components. If I had to guess it feels like a game manufactured by Panda who seems to have a grasp on how to make high-quality game components. I haven't been disappointed by a game manufactured by them yet. Cry Havoc has great components and somehow cost me $1 less.

Anyone else have opinions on this subject?


*EDIT* I originally felt the card stock, for the deck of cards, in the game felt thin and flimsy. After reevaluating the cards and comparing them to a few other options I feel that I may have been a little harsh given some of the other components quality. After more shuffles and tests the cards appear to be reasonably comparable to a MTG card. Not quite as stiff but appear to shuffle as well and will probably hold up much better than originally suspected.
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Paul Newsham
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fr33py wrote:
While the gameplay is very enjoyable the quality of the game components are trash. I hope this isn't a continued theme with Stronghold games because I like them and the games they produce, but I've noticed a lack of good quality components in a few other games produced by them of late.


The drop in quality seems to be happening at the same time as an increase in prices. Stronghold games are at the top end of the price range here (excluding huge box games like Mansions of Madness)
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Loud smoker
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Agree with you, I had same impression , really cheap components , ( my insert was completely smashed )... but the game is good.
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Y P
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I love this game.

I'm very disappointed with the cheapness of the production, especially for the elevated $70 MSRP. It also doesn't help that my support request for replacement components has gone unanswered for a week (yes I know last week was Essen).

I believe this was the 1st production of Ludofact's new U.S. factory. Not off to a flying start then.

Sad. I know Stronghold can do better.
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Matt Smith
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Please see the post by Frank Jaeger on this thread for some facts about the quality of materials used for the board, cards, etc. The bottom line: thinner doesn't always mean lower quality.

I can't disagree about the flimsy box, though. I'm deathly afraid to stack any games on top of it.
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Jeff Thornsen
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I believe that Stronghold went with a printing company based in the USA, instead of going to the usual ones over in China. You can find other threads here on BGG with more details (or maybe it was in a video), but I believe this would be the main factor in quality and price differences.

Personally I only have a big issue with the insert, mine was all beat up as soon as I unwrapped the shrink from the game. Everything else seems fine (to me) quality wise.
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David Arlington
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Other than the insert (mine was also ripped), I don't have any complaints about the quality of the components. In fact, I LOVE all the little cubes.

The thinness of the player mats doesn't bother me, once you lay it on the table, you won't be moving it anyway. It's not like you have to shuffle them or move them around during play.

I've played it a ton already and shuffled the cards plenty and they are holding up just as well as the cards in any of my other games.

Another thing I like with the components is I can set up a game and start playing in just a couple of minutes. And it gets put away in a like amount of time. Other games I really enjoy like Agricola, Mage Knight, Suburbia, all take much longer to set up and put away.

Dave
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Jason Speicher
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Faranim wrote:
I believe that Stronghold went with a printing company based in the USA, instead of going to the usual ones over in China. You can find other threads here on BGG with more details (or maybe it was in a video), but I believe this would be the main factor in quality and price differences.

Personally I only have a big issue with the insert, mine was all beat up as soon as I unwrapped the shrink from the game. Everything else seems fine (to me) quality wise.


they produced most of the components outside the usa but finally assembly was done at luda fact usa, yes they have a plant in Indiana now.

http://icv2.com/articles/news/view/35124/german-game-manufac...

Bonacore was on a local tv station right around gencon discussing this.

I think it's wise that we have some things done in the USA, because i don't see things always being this friendly for usa international trade with China/etc. Would be great if production would be on par with the rest of the world though. In time maybe?
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Jack
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People had similar complaints with the components in Nations. Doesn't stop me from loving that one too. laugh
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Ted Morris
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I may be the exception but I don't have an issue with the components at all. The cards are holding up well, as is the board and the player board just sits there, so I don't think it needs to be that robust (although a Scythe style mat would have been awesome!) My insert was trashed but I usually toss the inserts anyway. That's the only thing I'd describe as trash, since it literally became trash as soon as I opened the box.

I've definitely had my money's worth in fun so far!
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Cliff Fisher
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I saw one of the Fryx brothers post a very staunch defense of the quality of most everything, saying they used black core 300 GSM cards and the same component/box/etc quality as most other games. However, I'd agree wholeheartedly that the whole game just looks extremely poorly produced, and when you're selling a product, especially one that sells for more than most equivalent games, perception is reality. It all feels cheap (sans the greenery/city tiles). Which is a shame, because the gameplay itself is amazing.

I get that plastic cubes are plastic cubes and there are issues with injection molding - no issues there, although the flaking of the metallic cubes is a bit annoying. The board itself is also fine. The box itself is flimsy, and the insert is horrid - I don't expect Gallerist quality here, but even a simple wrap around the inside of the box top (sans art - white or the orange of the box itself would look fine) could have helped with that perception a bit as it would add some thickness and reinforcement.

However, my main issues are with the cards (and no, 300 GSM does not necessarily mean "high quality", ask the WSOP how that went last year), player boards, and artwork. For a $70 MSRP, I expect better than basically a sheet of flimsy shiny paper that bows and warps with ease and green-screened/stock photo/pixelated images. It's a shame that such a great, great game pretty much requires upgraded player boards/mats or acrylic overlays, and despite the dearth of complaints, the designers confirm that they won't be releasing any deluxe components. And the art... don't get me started on the art. It looks like someone googled pictures of dogs and deer and exploding planets and threw them on card art.

Guys... your game is SO GOOD that people are willing to spend EVEN MORE money on deluxe components that they should have gotten anyway, and your stance as of now is that you're going to leave that to the players. I feel like that's incredibly short-sighted and that you're basically throwing away money.
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Shannon Krumick
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senorcoo wrote:
People had similar complaints with the components in Nations. Doesn't stop me from loving that one too. laugh


I don't think anyone is disputing their like/love of the game. The game plays great. It's just when paying today's game prices, you expect more. Other games are able to produce much higher quality components for the same or less of a price.
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Danny Perello
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Am I the only one getting FCM flashbacks?

The game warrants the price in my opinion. The insert was a bad choice, but I'll be making my own. I've also made my own cube trays reminiscent of Scythe, but that was more for the fun and challenge than necessity.

Over 200 cards, each with unique art? The art style may not be to your particular taste but it serves its purpose. I've not looked at a single card and thought, "What the hell is this supposed to be?"

I do wish the player cubes were opaque because it can be a little hard to tell some of them apart when they are on forest tiles, but I seem to manage.

Other than the insert this game's component are fine
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Matt Tucker
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Some complaints are valid, box and insert and player boards being those, the cards ones are just a false perception, it honestly is.
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solanthos wrote:
And the art... don't get me started on the art. It looks like someone googled pictures of dogs and deer and exploding planets and threw them on card art.

I played a friend's copy recently and really didn't notice any component issue but the art did stand out. I don't get it, in this day and age of over produced expensive games that they would release something with art that looks like clip art, with functional but aesthetically weak graphic design and inconsistent art made up of generic photographs and illustrations. What!? I enjoyed the game but I wouldn't ever consider buying it with such weak visual design. There are so many other games out there that play just as nicely but look much better on the table.
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Marcus S
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fr33py wrote:
senorcoo wrote:
People had similar complaints with the components in Nations. Doesn't stop me from loving that one too. laugh


I don't think anyone is disputing their like/love of the game. The game plays great. It's just when paying today's game prices, you expect more. Other games are able to produce much higher quality components for the same or less of a price.

I know this has likely been discussed at length in other forums, but at what point are you willing to sacrifice good components for good game play?
I think it is fair to say, that generally speaking, well designed, well balanced games with solid game play take longer to develop then others. Add in the fact that there are over 200 unique cards that had to be researched, designed, balanced, etc, this seems like a game that may have taken some develop. I think Jacob could have just as easily designed 30 cards and given us 5 of each and called it good, but the game play experience wouldn't be what it is.

At the end of the day, everyone behind the project has to make money, if they were slow and inefficient in their design process, that is unfortunate and the customer will likely pay for that (even if it wasn't a good game). But to say that expensive games = good components and vice versa is a silly generalization and unrealistic. How much money does it honestly cost to print a dominion expansion?

Could the game have been produced better? Certainly
Would it have cost more? Almost certainly
Would there have been less people that would be able/willing to spend the money and enjoy the game? Almost certainly
Would I enjoy the game more with better components? Probably slightly
Would I have purchased the game for $20 more? Probably not

I, for one, am glad they did it the way they did, and think it's a brilliant game, and don't think the cost or the components should stop anyone from giving it a try.
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Bill Buchanan
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I'd hate to hear what you have to say about Castles of Burgundy ...
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François Mahieu
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Logus Vile wrote:
solanthos wrote:
And the art... don't get me started on the art. It looks like someone googled pictures of dogs and deer and exploding planets and threw them on card art.

I played a friend's copy recently and really didn't notice any component issue but the art did stand out. I don't get it, in this day and age of over produced expensive games that they would release something with art that looks like clip art, with functional but aesthetically weak graphic design and inconsistent art made up of generic photographs and illustrations. What!? I enjoyed the game but I wouldn't ever consider buying it with such weak visual design. There are so many other games out there that play just as nicely but look much better on the table.


+1

What are those pictures!? Seriously!?

It looks like they were taken from the web at random with no permission. We were even wondering if they hadn't printed the wrong files from the prototype instead of the final ones by mistake.
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Frank Jaeger
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Hi,
as I have answered the card question in length I am not going into detail here, so about that only this:
@ Cliff Fisher: "300 GSM does not necessarily mean "high quality" - correct, but "300gsm black core" does.

I am very sorry that you feel unhappy with the content of the game, I really do. What I need to say is that the choice of materials is not Stronghold's, at least not like he requested exactly these materials to be used. Those are simply the raw materials we always use. For many years, and for millions of games. I really don't understand why it is an issue out of a sudden. The game board and the punched boards are made from exactly the same greyboard we use for so many other games, like "Andor", "Power Grid", "Mombasa", "Terra Mystica", "Key Flower", "7 Wonders", for example. Literally thousands of titles and millions over millions of games. And those also have the same cardboard used for the boxes.

To be honest, I am really lost here. It makes no sense to me. And just for the record, our competitors use the same material. "Castles of Burgundy" was mentioned where the punched boards are slightly thinner, and my copy of "Agricola" also has thinner boards than "Terraforming Mars". While I cannot argue with you when you feel the game was produced with cheap components, I can objectively say two things:
- no, it was not
- I cannot understand how that impression came about in the first place

What is true is that the box was made with US cardboard which is a bit more brown than grey, but the paper weight is the same, as far as I know.

It may be that we are back at the "thicker is better" issue. I don't always agree to that, when it comes to player mats I actually do not, I think the ones in "Terraforming Mars" (our production), "Castles Of Burgundy" (not a Ludo Fact production), "Zombicide" (Ludo Fact Asia) and "Eclipse" (some Chinese Production) are fine and less prone to be thumbed than thicker boards. But I agree that player boards like in "Scythe" are fantastic. Just not always possible, and much more expensive (actually, about 2.5 times as expensive as a normal punched board piece, and 3 to 4 times more expensive than the player boards mentioned above). It is easy to do that when you already sold 10000 copies of the game and have $750,000 in your KS account, but for a regular release that is extremely expensive.

On all other topics I cannot comment, just one thing: Maybe someone should start a thread at some point in time to figure out the price structure of games from manufacturer to publisher to distributor to retail. Some people may be in for a surprise seeing how little actually trickles down ot the publisher (in case you have ever wondered about the big differences in price between internet box movers and MSRP - 30% off, still making some money, plus a distributor in between... ).

Cheers
Frank.
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Peter Mulholland
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frank jaeger wrote:
Hi,
as I have answered the card question in length I am not going into detail here, so about that only this:
@ Cliff Fisher: "300 GSM does not necessarily mean "high quality" - correct, but "300gsm black core" does.

I am very sorry that you feel unhappy with the content of the game, I really do. What I need to say is that the choice of materials is not Stronghold's, at least not like he requested exactly these materials to be used. Those are simply the raw materials we always use. For many years, and for millions of games. I really don't understand why it is an issue out of a sudden. The game board and the punched boards are made from exactly the same greyboard we use for so many other games, like "Andor", "Power Grid", "Mombasa", "Terra Mystica", "Key Flower", "7 Wonders", for example. Literally thousands of titles and millions over millions of games. And those also have the same cardboard used for the boxes.

To be honest, I am really lost here. It makes no sense to me. And just for the record, our competitors use the same material. "Castles of Burgundy" was mentioned where the punched boards are slightly thinner, and my copy of "Agricola" also has thinner boards than "Terraforming Mars". While I cannot argue with you when you feel the game was produced with cheap components, I can objectively say two things:
- no, it was not
- I cannot understand how that impression came about in the first place

What is true is that the box was made with US cardboard which is a bit more brown than grey, but the paper weight is the same, as far as I know.

It may be that we are back at the "thicker is better" issue. I don't always agree to that, when it comes to player mats I actually do not, I think the ones in "Terraforming Mars" (our production), "Castles Of Burgundy" (not a Ludo Fact production), "Zombicide" (Ludo Fact Asia) and "Eclipse" (some Chinese Production) are fine and less prone to be thumbed than thicker boards. But I agree that player boards like in "Scythe" are fantastic. Just not always possible, and much more expensive (actually, about 2.5 times as expensive as a normal punched board piece, and 3 to 4 times more expensive than the player boards mentioned above). It is easy to do that when you already sold 10000 copies of the game and have $750,000 in your KS account, but for a regular release that is extremely expensive.

On all other topics I cannot comment, just one thing: Maybe someone should start a thread at some point in time to figure out the price structure of games from manufacturer to publisher to distributor to retail. Some people may be in for a surprise seeing how little actually trickles down ot the publisher (in case you have ever wondered about the big differences in price between internet box movers and MSRP - 30% off, still making some money, plus a distributor in between... ).

Cheers
Frank.


Thanks for the interesting and informative reply.

For the record there is some of us out there who are more than happy with the production quality Frank. I think it's great!
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Jens Hoppe
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PeterM2158 wrote:
For the record there is some of us out there who are more than happy with the production quality Frank. I think it's great!

Yeah, me too.
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Claudio Coppini
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I brought back 9 games from Essen this year and Terraforming Mars is the most disappointing in terms of components for me.

Cards, board, box and insert are fine, no complaints with that, but the player mats and cubes...the mats are so thin they can very easily rip or bend, and a high number of cubes from my copy already had the coating coming off from them (the cube in itself is fine for me, I actually like them), which sucks cause of course it makes the cubes look cheap.

Somebody mentioned the player mats in Castles of Burgundy, but I payed 25 euro for that game and twice that price for Terraforming Mars, so yeah...

I'm not saying I wanted the mats to be super premium like those in Scythe, but thicker mats are essential for me.

Maybe a deluxe edition will be considered at some point, TMG style?!

Just my two cents.
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Cédric V
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+1
Same feeling about the quality product overall. It looks cheap even if it is a great game. To compare to Castles of Burgundy is not fair. I will compare more to a Splotter Spellen'game: great games with high price but not appealing at first glance.
It deserves better, especially the player boards and the art on the cards.
Please Stronghold hire an artist able to improve the cards in order to be more immersive (and not a googled mix of pictures and drawings).
Generic cubes for resources are ok in my view because they are really practical in the gameplay. However the production power on each track might be done differently...
It can be for a deluxe edition or even better by a kickstarter campaign without the need to increase the price for getting a better product.
I see a lot of people interested by this game to be really reluctant to buy a so ugly game. No matter if it is good or not.
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Claudio Coppini
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o0FrenchFrog0o wrote:
+1
I see a lot of people interested by this game to be really reluctant to buy a so ugly game. No matter if it is good or not.


Well I think the artwork is just a matter of taste, I actually think it's beautiful and love the cards layout and illustrations as well.
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Florian Ruckeisen
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o0FrenchFrog0o wrote:
so ugly

The hyperbole is strong in these component complaints threads. cool

I've seen games whose components and/or art I might call "ugly" or "uninspiring" (hell, I own one or two myself) - but TM is certainly not one of them.
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