After all the reviews for higher end boards, I am a bit embarassed to review this one, but it's available everywhere and not at an exactly cheap price, so some people may be intrigued by it.
I knew this was not a high quality board, but given the good reviews it had received on amazon, I thought it was worth a try.
The board came packed in its own box with no padding and then this box came inside an amazon larger box with some paper padding that had already crumbled by the time it reached me, allowing for some play inside. The story here could have been better.
The outer box was easy to open, but I couldn't figure out how to open the game box neatly, so I ended up partially tearing it apart. If you want to keep it as a cover, you should perhaps take a knife to a side and cut it carefully. Once all this was done I extracted the board and held it in my hands. Right then I noticed two things: it was very light and it already seemed to have structural integrity issues: the frame was creaking as I was tilting it in my hands to examine it.
The board is basically composed of a fairly thin base plate of pressed wood on top of which sits the thin round game board. The plate is wedged into the wooden frame composed of 8 pieces joined together. This is a very weak construction. The creaks I had noticed came from a couple of frame joints that were not tightly joined - they allowed the frame segments to slightly move against each other but not enough that I could see how they were held together. Another issue is that the frame holds the base elevated when placed on a flat surface - given the thinness of the plate, I would expect it to warp in time.
A better idea would have been to have a frame reinforcing the rear of the base as well as the structure of the frame. That would have required giving away the printed Checkers board, but let's face it - most people buy this product to play Crokinole, not Checkers. They should have included a paper Checkers board instead of compromising the integrity of the board.
Now for the playing surface: I am not sure of its material but basically it looked like something rather rough with a smoother surface on top. Note that the surface was not perfectly smooth, but had some small ridges - I expect this was done to decrease friction. This part would have been OK, but the painting of the surface had several small defects. It looked as if the surface got painted while dirty and some dirt got painted over, leading to small bumps in the surface. These may not have been high enough to impact the disc movement but were not pleasing to the eye or touch either. The paint was also peeled off in a couple of small places, but since these happened to reveal white on blue, they were quite visible; the manufacturer should consider including some paint to touch up these defects or they should just have better quality control. The edges of the center hole were also rough and reminded me of another reviewer's warning that they may wear off during play - it would have been nice if they were treated with some sealant.
The playing discs were all there in a corner of a box in a plastic bag with one page with the game instructions. If you cannot see them, check the game box bottom or open it at both ends to make sure they're not stuck in a corner on the other side from the one you opened. They seemed to be made of wood covered with a glossy paint. They slid well on the playing surface.
Overall, this just isn't a product worth $55 (amazon's price at this time) and especially not the higher asking prices that some sellers offer it for. For such price, you can purchase a high quality Chess or Backgammon set that required a lot more skill in crafting and used much better materials. Given how simply this board is put together, they could sell it as a DIY project and cut off the assembly work. If you don't have any option, this board can be used for a while, but don't expect it to hold very well in time.
I would rather put the cost of this board towards a more expensive board. I would even prefer the less expensive double sided board made by Carrom, which seems better built and offers interesting game alternatives (including Checkers!), but has even less standard board markings than this one.
The Bojeux board goes back for a refund.
[UPDATE 2015/11/5]: I had mixed up which box I teared apart during unpacking - I corrected the story inline.
- Last edited Fri Nov 6, 2015 12:10 am (Total Number of Edits: 2)
- Posted Thu Nov 5, 2015 4:10 am