Morten Monrad Pedersen
Sometimes things just start off on the wrong foot. Just like my first meeting with The Cards of Cthulhu from Dan Verssen Games (DVG). I ordered the game from my FLGS back in May and was told that it would take about a month for the game to arrive.
About a month later, it turned out that the game hadn’t actually been shipped, and things went downhill from there.
The shop reordered, and after various other issues received the Cards of Cthulhu Bonus Pack, which is a set of extra components, not the game itself. It wasn’t until the beginning of October that I actually had the game in my hand. I don’t know whether the snafus were caused by the shop, the distributor, or DVG, but I wasn’t particularly impressed. On the other hand it’s not like I lack games to play, and the staff at the store are friendly and going by it is a detour of all of 30 seconds on my way home from work, so I think that this is the kind of issue for which the term first world problem was made.
I read the rulebook and found that while the back of the box says that the game is playable for 1-4 players, then if you setup as described in the rulebook you’ll run out of tokens halfway through giving the third player his. Again, I wasn’t particularly impressed.
Shortly after getting the game I read about a few people having warped boards in their copies of the game, so I opened the box and found that my boards were also a bit warped, so they could spin around while lying on a table, furthermore two of the game’s seven custom dice were missing. Let’s just say that my level of impressedness wasn’t improved by this, and I basically told myself that this first would not only be my first DVG game, but most likely also my last.
Image credit: Jonan Jello
Turning things around
Apparently, some rather large changes to the game’s components was made during the Kickstarter such as custom metal coins being added as tokens and the rulebook ended up being inconsistent with the amount of components included. The issue with the lack of tokens was addressed by the game’s designer here on BGG in a reply to another poster:
You're absolutely right and I apologize. The dice are easy enough to pass around and were intended to be shared, but the experience points [the metal coins] are a very valid concern.
The original version used the cards themselves to track the experience. When you defeat a card you just hold onto it. Personally, I like to keep 1 XP cards face down and Horrors face up so I can see the value at a glance.
The coins can be used to track XP when you spend a horror for less than it's full value.
Kickstarter is a funny thing that changes a game late in it's development. The lack of coins or rules for using the cards was an unintended consequence of late changes.
Learning to handle late development changes due to stretch goals is a new type of development and we'll hopefully do better next time.
I'm sorry for the trouble and hope you still enjoy the game.
So, he owned up to the mistake, which is something I can truly respect, and it seems that the game is fully playable, experience points should just be tracked differently than described in the rulebook - though I’m still fuzzy on how to setup more than two players - I hope it becomes clear when I try the game the first time .
Next, I wrote to DVG’s customer support asking for the two missing dice. I also told them about the warped boards, so that they could become aware of the issue and improve the next print run. I added that it I didn’t want replacement boards, since it seemed to me that the cost of four replacement boards and shipping to Denmark was out of proportion with a rather minor issue that could probably be handled by stacking books on top of the boards.
I got a mail back from DVG, and they didn’t ask for proof of purchase or anything like that, it was simply an apology and a promise to send the missing dice and new boards to me, which I thought was rather good customer service, since I had specifically said that they didn’t need to send me replacement boards. I restated this and got confirmation that only the dice would be sent. Thus, we ended an email exchange that had been friendly and jokey.
Roughly two weeks later a package arrived at my house with not just two dice, but a full Cards of Cthulhu Bonus Pack, which was in my opinion going above and beyond what I could reasonably expect, so I wrote back and thanked them, and got the following reply:
I felt that due to your boards being slightly warped, plus your happy emails, I wanted to send you a bit extra, have fun, and go insane playing!
Now, that’s damn good customer service.
Image credit: Jorune
We’re often quick to go to the Web to vent our frustration at awful customer service, and doing that is important to warn others off, but I think that it’s also important to let the Web know, when one receives excellent customer service.
I found the whole episode a very nice confirmation that if you act nice, then people will be happy and be nice to you, and when you contact customer service about a faulty product you can get a much better result if you’re nice and not being a jerk about it. Most likely the person receiving the complaint is not the one responsible for the problem, and even if he is, then it still doesn’t give you justification for being a jerk. We all make mistakes - believe me I’ve made some stupid ones - so don’t judge people because of a mistake, judge them by how they handle their mistakes, and in this case DVG came through big time.
So Kevin at DVG, your good customer service and designer Ian Richard owning up to the Kickstarter mistake has turned me from someone who had soured on DVG into someone who’ll look at their line of games with much greater interest.
And all the rest of you, please use the comment section below to give a shout out for the experiences you’ve had with good customer service in the board game business – and recommendations on what my next DVG game should be are also welcome .