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Subject: A thank you message I wrote to FFG. rss

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Adam Butler
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I wrote this for and posted it on the Fantasy Flight Games forums, but I made a few references back to BGG, and figure you guys might be interested in reading it as well, and I'd love to know if anyone has similar reasons for becoming a board gamer:

Quote:
Greetings one and all; I'm rather new here, and I wanted to take this chance to type up something positive... I just got finished posting rant about something I'm angry about on another site (please don't ask), and I figure what better way to get myself out of a bad mood caused by typing up all my grievances than to go somewhere else and type up why I like that somewhere so much? Now, mind you, I'm not really talking about the forums... Which isn't to say I don't like the forums, I'm just not really invested here, so I really can't say anything about them.

What I AM talking about is Fantasy Flight... This May, I decided to officially transition from video gaming to board gaming as my primary hobby, for reasons that I'll dsicuss later in this post, but suffice to say that the overall experience has been a pleasant one. I jumpstarted my collection by trading off my heroScape collection, and using that the get various games on Board Game Geek. Now, I've done many trades over the past few months, and not all games I've obtained have been through trading, but that has been how I got the majority of them.

Many of the games I've obtained- including my new favorite- are those made by Fantasy Flight... Currently, my collection of Fantasy Flight board games includes:

WarCraft: The Board Game + Expansion Set
StarCraft: The Board Game + Brood War Expansion Set
Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game + Fame and Fortune Expansion
Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures
Android: Netrunner + 2 Expansions
Descent: Journeys in the Darkness 2nd Edition + Lair of the Wyrm Expansion Set (and I'm currently in another trade which is going to end with me getting Labyrinth of Ruin!)

I've also got a good number of other games, I won't list them all, but my favorites from among them include:

Sentinels of the Multiverse
Tales of the Arabian Nights
7 Wonders

All in all, I'm loving the community, and though I do still enjoy playing new video games, I really haven't been buying many of them lately, mostly sticking to Humble Bundles and the like for my video game cravings, or simply going back to games I already had before.

In this time, I've contacted Fantasy Flight games twice for parts replacement... Both times with used games. The first time was a science vessel for StarCraft: The Board Game, which they sent me a replacement for free. The second time was a bit bigger... Android was missing a "generic counter", and the Trace Amount expansion I got was missing more than just a few cards... Twelve, to be exact. FFG not only replaced these parts, but even threw in a couple extra credit chips (a 1 and a 5) to boot, once again, didn't even charge me Now, mind you, as I already stated, I got these used- and while I do believe that companies should feel obligated to replace missing or damaged parts for new games, I think most people would agree with me when I say they don't have any obligation to do such with used games, and certainly not for free. I would have gladly paid for the parts, and even if they hadn't offered replacements at all, they still would have been within their rights. But they did it anyways- they went above and beyond being "reasonable", deciding that wasn't good enough, and reached out with what can only be described as generosity. And judging from the forums on Board Game Geek, this doesn't seem to be an isolated incident, I'm constantly hearing glowing praise for how generous they are with their parts replacement.

But more than just the act of generosity itself is what the act represented to me personally... Now, I said earlier I would mention why I've been drifting away from video games, and to put it simply: The reason I have ceased to be a fan of the video game industry at large is the very antithesis of what I am praising Fantasy Flight Games for... But now I must elaborate, as the first thing you probably think of is that someone wasn't honoring warranties or replacing damaged parts... That's not the case at all. What I am talking about is the blatant attack on private ownership and consumer rights that's been going on with video games lately. The rise of the digital format and the attempt to cut off the resale of used games is quite frankly sickening, and I'd even say comparable to theft at the very least, and possibly worse crimes... But I'll not delve any further into that tangent here, my point in this topic is not to turn this into a political soap box.

The reason I decided to switch to board games was because, quite simply, there's no real way to install DRM on them. You can't lock a board game to an account, and you can't prevent people from reselling them. But this in and of itself doesn't say that the companies actively respect this right, only that they are incapable fo taking it away. However, when you go out of your way to help someone play a copy of your game that they acquired through secondhand means, that is actively demonstrating that you respect your customer's rights to A) trade or sell their copies of your games if they decide they no longer want them or B) to acquire said games through such means, without having to involve themselves with an official retailer. Now mind you, this does NOT mean someone whose replacement policies who aren't as generous as Fantasy Flight's doesn't respect such rights, simply that Fantasy Flight has solidly demonstrated such beyond question- and as someone who was driven away from a hobby by seeing those same rights taken away, that really means a lot to me.

On top of that, I really enjoy the games that I've tried so far; I'd even go so far as to say that Descent 2.0 is currently my favorite game, and Civilization certainly is among my favorites as well (coming from a longtime fan of the series who was severely disappointed with V), and I'd really like to try out my copy of StarCraft sometime. I'm eagerly looking forward to recieving my copy of Labyrinth of Ruin (hopefully it'll arrive within the week), and I certainly intend to get the Trollfens sometime, and probably the Lt Minis as well... Plus, I know my younger sister (who plays the Overlord in my current Descent campaign) has mentioned an interest in the Lord of the Rings LCG, so I'll probably try and pick up a copy of the base set for her come Christmas (which will probably be how I end up getting Trollens myself). Actually, I'd say that more than any new games, I currently want the expansions offered for your games (alongside Sentinels whenever Vengance releases...)

Now, that's not to say you guys are perfect(you guys serious need to work on your packaging inserts), everyone has their flaws, but regardless of those shortcomings, Fantasy Flight Games has quickly become my favorite company in the hobby, and I look forward to giving you more business in the future.

So, to sum things up, thank you. Thank you for making great games, and thank you for going out of your way to show not merely respect towards your customers, but generosity as well.

Sincerely,
Adam "MarioFanaticXV" Butler
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Good customer service = the cheapest and most credible promotion you can get.
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Derry Salewski
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boardgames rock. and ffg does too. (and gmt)
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Barry Hood
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MarioFanaticXV wrote:
Quote:
The reason I decided to switch to board games was because, quite simply, there's no real way to install DRM on them. You can't lock a board game to an account, and you can't prevent people from reselling them.
Interestingly, one of the criticisms I've seen leveled at Risk Legacy is that it amounts to a form of analogue DRM (or at least that it's an attempt to diminish the resale value of the game). It's a bit of an odd case, as the game is still technically playable after it's been customised, but certainly most people would prefer to buy a non-customised version (as customising it with your group is a big part of the enjoyment), I'm not sure where I stand in this regard, having never played the game and having no strong desire to.

Either way, thankfully boardgames have a long, long way to go to catch up to video games in this department, and thanks for reposting here
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Moe45673
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I have heard similar things about FFG. Owning Planet Steam, that's great news. I wonder if they'll replace the Luxury Quarters cards.... or at least offer a replacement for a cheap price.

Not to derail the thread nor to diminish FFG's wonderful customer service, but I'd like to also acknowledge that DVG is also a publisher you can count on:

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/968153/dvg-games-are-fantast...
Moe45673 wrote:
I recently purchased Field Commander: Napoleon. Upon opening the box, I saw there were a few problems due to mold. From browsing the forums, I saw that this wasn't the first time this has happened. I also saw that this was only a problem with this game in DVG's line and other games don't have this issue (either a printer or shipper issue).

Anyhow, I wrote to DVG and they emailed me back to say it's already been shipped. Upon receiving the package here in Canada, I saw that the shipping costs were...... $24.55! This is almost 1/3 of what I paid for the game! Not only this, but there were way more components than I asked for... to the point where I thought they sent me the wrong order that was meant for someone else. A quick communique confirmed that I received the right one. I almost have enough bits for two copies of the game!

Buy with confidence from DVG, they have your back. Plus, they produce excellent games (Both this and Thunderbolt Apache Leader are killer!)

I am posting this in General Gaming because DVG deserves it. By spending $25, they probably took a hit in selling me the game and I hope that this increases confidence in their brand. I know I'll be purchasing the next game in the Leader series and the Field Commander series, even though I'm happy with the two I have, because I want to support them (and I'm pretty sure the newer games will be awesome because each iteration of both these game series seem to get progressively better)
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Martin Larouche
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delinear wrote:
MarioFanaticXV wrote:
Quote:
The reason I decided to switch to board games was because, quite simply, there's no real way to install DRM on them. You can't lock a board game to an account, and you can't prevent people from reselling them.
Interestingly, one of the criticisms I've seen leveled at Risk Legacy is that it amounts to a form of analogue DRM (or at least that it's an attempt to diminish the resale value of the game). It's a bit of an odd case, as the game is still technically playable after it's been customised, but certainly most people would prefer to buy a non-customised version (as customising it with your group is a big part of the enjoyment), I'm not sure where I stand in this regard, having never played the game and having no strong desire to.

Either way, thankfully boardgames have a long, long way to go to catch up to video games in this department, and thanks for reposting here
My problem with the Risk Legacy concept is that they could've done the same exact game without having the need to "permanently" alter it. Just use cards instead of stickers for example...

The "mechanic" was done from a marketing point of view, not from a design one (they'll destroycustomize their game playing it, so if they want to play another campaign, they'll have to buy it a second time. Seeing as i've seen many people buy more than one copy specifically to start fresh a second time, i'd say it worked to an extent).
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James Garcia
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I love Fantasy Flight Games. I too have had great customer service from them. About two months ago I bought The Adventurers: The Temple of Chac (FFG Edition of course) and one of my miniatures was missing. I went to their website and filled out the form. This was during GenCon and they had a notice that there would be a delay on these requests due to GenCon. No problem thanks for the heads up. A week later I got my reply saying that they shipped me my piece.

Jump a few days later. I opened my package to realize they not only sent my missing piece, but they sent me all 12 miniatures plus the boulder. That was awesome. And because of me having doubles I now have miniatures to learn how to paint with. Not only did they help me out in a great manner, but they inadvertently helped me in starting to learn to paint miniatures.

I am definitely a customer for life. I also love the fact that they zip lock bag most of their components. Small thing that I'm sure some people don't like, but I don't care because I love it.

Just throwing this out there but I have also had great customer service with Mayfair Games. When I first bought my Settlers of Catan set I noticed I was missing a blue settlement piece. I sent the email on a Sunday night. I got a reply email on Monday morning, and I got my missing piece on Wednesday. Wow that was fast.
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Andreas Kr├╝ger
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deedob wrote:

My problem with the Risk Legacy concept is that they could've done the same exact game without having the need to "permanently" alter it. Just use cards instead of stickers for example...

The "mechanic" was done from a marketing point of view, not from a design one (they'll destroycustomize their game playing it, so if they want to play another campaign, they'll have to buy it a second time. Seeing as i've seen many people buy more than one copy specifically to start fresh a second time, i'd say it worked to an extent).
It would not be the same. What is done cannot be undone.
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Mark Larson
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Thamos von Nostria wrote:
deedob wrote:

My problem with the Risk Legacy concept is that they could've done the same exact game without having the need to "permanently" alter it. Just use cards instead of stickers for example...

The "mechanic" was done from a marketing point of view, not from a design one (they'll destroycustomize their game playing it, so if they want to play another campaign, they'll have to buy it a second time. Seeing as i've seen many people buy more than one copy specifically to start fresh a second time, i'd say it worked to an extent).
It would not be the same. What is done cannot be undone.
I'll second this - permanently alerting the game board and components is part of why this game is so engaging.
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Casey Willett
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Fantastic letter and an enjoyable read. I have come back to board games as well after losing well over 2 decades in video games. I remember back in the 80's when only one or two kids on my block had a C64 or something similar it was still very much a social event. We would all pile up at "that guy's" house on a Friday night and take turns playing our favorite games and talking about how realistic that brown box looked like a real football. Other times we would get together to swap games, hint books, video game mags, etc.. In all, and during that time, there was a great sense of community and friendship.

Over the years, the games grew better, with better graphics, game play, and the like. Popularity over PC's and consoles also grew and tech was now more affordable. Soon, everyone had a PC or console or both. Then multi player gaming entered the scene but now things have changed. The online gaming experience with other people fell into 2 general categories A)the people that live and breathe MMO's and other online games and talk in cryptic jargon code (lay a HOT on me, what is your DPS?, Anyone have a CoTH?...okay I was one of those guys as welllaugh) or B) you get together with some complete strangers online to play and get verbally ripped for everything you do or don't do. The sense of friendship and community was no longer there and despite the great games our time now offers, it can not even closely emulate the social aspects of sitting with friends or strangers to play a board game.

I still enjoy a video game from time to time but the memories created at a table with friends, food, fellowship, and some bits of cardboard will always be my fondest.
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Boardgame DRM = custom/unique dice.

See WHFRP 3rd ed and FFG's take on the Star Wars RPG.
 
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Bryan Lane
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Wow, that's pretty impressive. I assumed since Starcraft has been out of print for a while that the odds of getting replacement pieces were pretty much nil, which is why I've passed on a few copies that were missing pieces. Of course, I'd have no problem paying for these pieces, I just didn't think they were available so I've been holding out for a complete copy (at a half-ways affordable price).
 
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