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Terraforming Mars» Forums » General

Subject: Terrific games, terrible publisher? rss

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Chartsiri Ratanacharoensiri
Thailand
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Greeting... I am still not sure if I can post this topic here.

I purchased Terraforming Mars from a local retailer in Thailand two days ago. This morning, I found that the inside of the box was already torn apart while I was unboxing.

I am strongly disappointed because this is the second time that game from Stronghold Games which I bought that has defect.







As a collector of good boardgames, I found that this kind of defect is unacceptable. I already send Stronghold Games an email about this issue ,requesting a replacement for the torn organiser. The rest of Terraforming Mars copies from the same retailers (Same shipment) do not have this defect. So, this issue is not caused during shipment.

So, has anyone found similar defect from this game or from Stronghold Games?

As for now, I am still waiting for their responses.

Thank you for your time.
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Yuting Yang
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I am actually surprised that there are copies of TM that have inserts intact; does anyone else actually have an insert that's not torn?

Incidentally, Dyndase, the designers have already apologized, on numerous occasions no less, regarding this issue, which should be addressed in its subsequent printings. I also have bought TM with a damaged insert but since I wanted a foamcore solution to begin with, it doesn't really bother me.

Good luck with getting a new insert and pray that it doesn't get torn by the contents inside the box.
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Chartsiri Ratanacharoensiri
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Thanks, and unfortunately, there are people whose inserts survived.

I believe everyone who purchased this game needs functional inserts. It is so unfair if the early adopters are left with broken products.

Nevertheless, you mentioned, "the designers have already apologised". Can I see the sources or anyone who I can talk in person with regard to this issue.

Thank you very much.
 
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Chaddyboy
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Mine was all torn, but I just threw it out. Problem solved! The cardboard insert didn't really do anything anyways.
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Chartsiri Ratanacharoensiri
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rebeccaarmstrong wrote:
We threw ours out so a Plano container can fit anyways.


I use containers with plenty of my games, and I can understand that using containers is better in many ways. However, as a collector, I will keep the inserts elsewhere with other games, unfold and organised. I find that the torn inserts are unacceptable, especially if there are artworks on them. The inserts should have been a cardbox instead (for instance, the epic spells battle games).

I realise that I might be too serious, but this problem displeases me to my core because I talked to Stronghold games before because of a missing component in another game, and I did not have a good experience with them.
 
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Derry Salewski
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Dyndase wrote:
rebeccaarmstrong wrote:
We threw ours out so a Plano container can fit anyways.


I use containers with plenty of my games, and I can understand that using containers is better in many ways. However, as a collector, I will keep the inserts elsewhere with other games, unfold and organised. I find that the torn inserts are unacceptable, especially if there are artworks on them. The inserts should have been a cardbox instead (for instance, the epic spells battle games).

I realise that I might be too serious, but this problem displeases me to my core because I talked to Stronghold games before because of a missing component in another game, and I did not have a good experience with them.


As a collecter of, um, inserts, wouldn't you google the game to see what kind of insert it has? Then find out they all suck and most of them tear?

Information was readily available to dissuade insert fetishists from buying this game.

I doubt they'll be mailing an insert to thailand. Go replace it at the store you got it from.
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Jeff Meyer
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If you might care, I think it's noteworthy that this game was printed in a new, domestic factory, in Lafayette, Indiana. It's the first domestic print job that Stronghold has undertaken. Personally, I accept the trade-off in quality, but to each his own.
Also, my insert was fine, but I bought it at GenCon. I'll admit, it's a fragile thing.
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Donny Behne
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Dyndase wrote:
The inserts should have been a cardbox instead (for instance, the epic spells battle games).


It's already a $70USD game. I'm not paying extra for a sturdier version of a still useless insert.
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Chartsiri Ratanacharoensiri
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kelann08 wrote:
Dyndase wrote:
The inserts should have been a cardbox instead (for instance, the epic spells battle games).


It's already a $70USD game. I'm not paying extra for a sturdier version of a still useless insert.


I can understand that the inserts are useless most of the time. But if I use containers, I will keep all the inserts those have artworks.

However, I couldn't agree more with the price of Terraforming Mars. But, there are games which are cheaper, but with better inserts. I just expected too much because of its hype and its price. Boardgame in countries outside the USA (such as Thailand) tends to be more expensive because of shipping weight and import taxes. Many games price are doubled here :/

Additionally, there is one more reason that I am so concerned about the inserts because I travel a lot. So, I need something to keep the mainboard from knocking itself inside the box. But, I want it to be the originally printed by the source, not DIY. So, I wish I could get a fix from the official source.

I still cannot find a container that will fit the main gameboard though.
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Donny Behne
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Dyndase wrote:
kelann08 wrote:
Dyndase wrote:
The inserts should have been a cardbox instead (for instance, the epic spells battle games).


It's already a $70USD game. I'm not paying extra for a sturdier version of a still useless insert.


I can understand that the inserts are useless most of the time. But if I use containers, I will keep all the inserts those have artworks.

However, I couldn't agree more with the price of Terraforming Mars. But, there are games which are cheaper, but with better inserts. I just expected too much because of its hype and its price. Boardgame in countries outside the USA (such as Thailand) tends to be more expensive because of shipping weight and import taxes. Many games price are doubled here :/

Additionally, there is one more reason that I am so concerned about the inserts because I travel a lot. So, I need something to keep the mainboard from knocking itself inside the box. But, I want it to be the originally printed by the source, not DIY. So, I wish I could get a fix from the official source.

I still cannot find a container that will fit the main gameboard though.


From a publisher perspective, the goal of the insert is to make sure the game gets to you undamaged. Beyond that, any function is a bonus. For me, the insert did that. Then went in the trash. You may need to lower your expectations.
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Nick Case
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I can count on one finger the number of games I have where I have kept the insert. Once the counters and tiles are bagged the insert always gets in the way. As most 'collectors' keep their games vertically on the shelf, inserts rarely do anything except ensure that everything falls out.

Man up, bin the insert brother.
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Dirk Meijlof
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Two people in our gaming group own TM (soon 3 ) And both copies had a torn insert.
I try not to care -it doens't effect gameplay and you can't see it from the outside- but still I'm always a little disapointed whem things like this happen.
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Chartsiri Ratanacharoensiri
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I can either see everyone's points and can lower my expectation the next time I buy a game. But, I believe that it is the price difference (the USA and Thailand) which makes some gamers expected more from the products, including myself.

From my experiences, while I was selling my games, I was always asked by second-hand buyers if I had all the components from the games, including the inserts. Therefore, I will not discard the inserts right away. Also, when I need to pack the game for shipping again, the inserts will help to some extent.

I felt better now when everyone said that it is the publisher's fault. Still, there are plenty of publishers who make good inserts. A bonus usefulness is great, isn't it.

Fortunately, I have no intentions to sell this game. But, I prefer to receive any kind of support from the publishers anyway.
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Peter Mulholland
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Big Bad Lex wrote:
I can count on one finger the number of games I have where I have kept the insert. Once the counters and tiles are bagged the insert always gets in the way. As most 'collectors' keep their games vertically on the shelf, inserts rarely do anything except ensure that everything falls out.

Man up, bin the insert brother.


Amen to this. Vacuum formed plastic inserts get kept, Anything cardboard gets chucked.
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Dirk Meijlof
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PeterM2158 wrote:
Big Bad Lex wrote:
I can count on one finger the number of games I have where I have kept the insert. Once the counters and tiles are bagged the insert always gets in the way. As most 'collectors' keep their games vertically on the shelf, inserts rarely do anything except ensure that everything falls out.

Man up, bin the insert brother.


Amen to this. Vacuum formed plastic inserts get kept, Anything cardboard gets chucked.


Yup. Incredible how many games can fit in one box when going on vacation if those excuses for selling air are taken out. We had I think 8 games in an ascension box (ascension is sleeved)
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Chartsiri Ratanacharoensiri
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I have an update for my issue.

I started this topic right after I saw the torn on the inserts this morning. I contacted my local retailer if they had another copy to exchange.

Later, the retailer told me that they already sold all the copies on their shelves, so they advised me to unpack the rest of my copy.

So... the main gameboard was damaged badly.

Firstly, the mainboard is scratched in the middle (it is because the inserts cannot protect my copy).

Then, it got worse...

Secondly, the damaged area rips the paper off the gameboard from the middle to a noticeable extent. This creates lines and areas that separate the coating layers from the gameboard. It seems that these layers are so thin that can be easily damaged. I would not dare to touch these areas.







Lastly, the tokens ah.... they are so badly manufactured. I have never seen a game which tokens are badly cut off the mold.

The only things which are acceptable are the cards.

Yeah...the inserts could not protect my game at all. I will proceed with requesting an 'actual' replacement now.

Thank you for your time reading my complaints...

I just wish Stronghold games become responsible this time.
 
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Cory Yates
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I do care about the quality of components including the insert. Just because it's a great game doesn't excuse that for me. Speaking as someone who has sold over $6,000 worth of games on here, buyers care about these things and many inserts are not worthless. The littlest things matter to most buyers. I think this one is actually pretty nifty if it was constructed correctly. For a game with an inflated MSRP, I think it should be correct next time around, but I don't care enough to ask for a replacement because to me its not THAT big of a deal. I am glad they are printing in the USA but am a bit embarrassed by the final product in regards to box quality, card stock, and insert.
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Barry Siebenthall
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Dyndase wrote:
kelann08 wrote:
Dyndase wrote:
The inserts should have been a cardbox instead (for instance, the epic spells battle games).


It's already a $70USD game. I'm not paying extra for a sturdier version of a still useless insert.


I can understand that the inserts are useless most of the time. But if I use containers, I will keep all the inserts those have artworks.

However, I couldn't agree more with the price of Terraforming Mars. But, there are games which are cheaper, but with better inserts. I just expected too much because of its hype and its price. Boardgame in countries outside the USA (such as Thailand) tends to be more expensive because of shipping weight and import taxes. Many games price are doubled here :/

Additionally, there is one more reason that I am so concerned about the inserts because I travel a lot. So, I need something to keep the mainboard from knocking itself inside the box. But, I want it to be the originally printed by the source, not DIY. So, I wish I could get a fix from the official source.

I still cannot find a container that will fit the main gameboard though.


Hello friend. Don't feel like you have to justify your disappointment. If you are unhappy, then by all means try to do something about it. Everyone has their own opinion on inserts, and you have a right to your own. I hope you are able to rectify the situation to your satisfaction.
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Chartsiri Ratanacharoensiri
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yatescory wrote:
I do care about the quality of components including the insert. Just because it's a great game doesn't excuse that for me. Speaking as someone who has sold over $6,000 worth of games on here, buyers care about these things and many inserts are not worthless. The littlest things matter to most buyers. I think this one is actually pretty nifty if it was constructed correctly. For a game with an inflated MSRP, I think it should be correct next time around, but I don't care enough to ask for a replacement because to me its not THAT big of a deal. I am glad they are printing in the USA but am a bit embarrassed by the final product in regards to box quality, card stock, and insert.


Glad there is someone who understands the completeness of the components !

Baraiha wrote:

Hello friend. Don't feel like you have to justify your disappointment. If you are unhappy, then by all means try to do something about it. Everyone has their own opinion on inserts, and you have a right to your own. I hope you are able to rectify the situation to your satisfaction.


Thanks. I wish I could do that too.

Now, the real problem occurred. I am still waiting for Stronghold games' responses...
 
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Enoch Fryxelius
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Hello Dyndase and everybody tuned in here!

First of all, it's so sad that so much on this forum is centered around component quality. With issues like this there are no winners; either the gamer ends up with poor components, or the publisher pays for components and shipping, loosing a substatial part (if not all) the revenue from selling the game in the first place. Both gamer and publisher spend time and energy in the process...

Insert: The insert was designed by my brother Isaac (the graphic designer of TM) to be functional as well as nice-looking. We thought that the punchboards and box top would keep the insert from collapsing. We underestimated the weight of the components and violence of shipping. Almost ALL games (my own ex included) have torn inserts. Unfortunately, it's very hard to ship individual inserts to customers, even if we had extra, as it would require very large flat packages with 1-2 supporing punchboards. A logistic nightmare. And it is not a game component, it's main job is to protect the components during shipping. Many of the most high-ranked games on BGG do not have inserts at all (Tzolkin, Castles of M K L etc). We are changing to flat inserts for the next reprint, and we will print a lot extra so we can provide these inserts at fairs and conventions for those who want replacements.

Cubes: The resource cubes each have an injection corner that is small and black. There was no other way to produce them and we agreed to this as the overall impression of metal coating is very nice! There are more resource cubes than you will ever need, in case 1-2 cubes are missing or you want to throw out a cube that is a little miscolored.

Box: The box material is thin, but strong. The exact same box is used for several other games.

Game Board: Well, we have not received many complaints here. It looks like the cover sheet is not glued 100% correctly. Of course, you have every right to have this replaced by Stronghold (they are the publisher - FryxGames are the game developer)

Cards: Top quality 3-layer black core. Thickness is not equivalent to strength or durability. We have had 4-5 issues with bad cuts, but that has nothing to do with the paper quality.

Player Boards: Some people would have preferred punchboard. In that case we would have to make them much bigger to make holes for the parameters. And 4 times more expensive to make. And we would still have the problem that the resource cubes are slippery and may fly around knocking things. We decided that the game already takes too much space on the table and there are already options for overlays available for those who wants. We decided to focus on developing expansions instead. We might return with a deluxe edition later on, who knows?

As developer, we humbly apologize for any defects in your copy of the game! We really hope that most people will enjoy this game, even if we didn't make all the right choices for the first printrun...

Cheers!

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Dirk Meijlof
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EagleEye80 wrote:
---some deleted real information--- We might return with a deluxe edition later on, who knows? ---some more deleted real information---
What?? surprise Call me excited! when will this be released? Tomorrow? Want!!
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Cory Yates
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One great thing I can say is that the game play is amazing. Components wise I do think the cubes are really cool...no complaints there. Whichever brother it was the did the graphic design...simply amazing. Love pretty much every choice there...one of my favorites being how all of the cards have the planet on them...putting that noticeable star in the top right was genius. Makes things very helpful. Love the board size. Lots to like really.

It just seems like Stronghold skimps when it comes to cardboard thickness and things like linen finish...first world problems though. Great game and no way I'm selling my copy any time soon.
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Chartsiri Ratanacharoensiri
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Dear Enoch Fryxelius

Firstly, I apologise for contacting out of office time because I have no track of holiday outside my home country. The reason I go public on BGG because me and one of my friends have a couple of components issues with Stronghold Games' components. As we are not using BBG aside from checking boardgame ranks, I thought posting on GG might reach to the publisher. Because the last time we had components issue, a different retailer was not helpful at all. However, this thread supposed to be about the inserts only. It is a bad decision for me to continue this thread publicly (the update). I have not unpacked the rest of the game when I started this thread.

Secondly, this thread and the local retailer explained to me about the inserts. So, I am bit less dissatisfied about the inserts now. I do not have any problem with the box and the cards at all. But, I do have problems with the cubes. The three types of resource cubes in my box are 90% miscoloured in the corner. If you recommend me to throw away miscoloured cubes, I would have only a couple of cubes left. I will discuss more on this issue on the email later.

Lastly, I have never experienced game designers who reached out and assist the gamers themselves. Please accept my apology, and thank you very much for reaching out to me out of office time and making the information available to everyone.
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Ken Chaney

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For people wondering if they should buy the game, here are some thoughts:

It's not much use to give feedback about opinions, but here are some of my observations based on several copies of the game I have seen open/played. My intent is to inform those wondering if they should buy a fun game or not due to component quality complaints by others. I have included my own opinions in some cases.

Most of the inserts are torn. The material used was clearly not up to the task. If you care about this, wait for the next version which is expected to have an improved insert. Most people won't care about this.

The "metal" cubes are plastic. Each will have one corner that is not coated. This is NOT a defect, but an artifact of the manufacturing process. Apparently the plastic cubes are coated while on a sprue tree, then cut off, leaving an uncoated cornet. While this leaves a visible mark, it is generally not noticed by most players.
In carefully checking my set, which has seen over a dozen plays, I found no evidence of flaking. Occasionally a cube will appear to have a darker shade, but on viewing from a different angle, they brighten.
Personally, I really like these resource cubes, and others I have played with have voiced no complaints.
The BGG store sells actual metal cubes you can upgrade to if you like.

The cards seem durable. They are thin, but as Enoch points out that does not mean low quality. The materials and construction used were chosen for quality, and my set has stood up very well to a good deal of handling and shuffling.
I did have one card that had two small defects out of the box, but a black marker has made it effectively unmarked. Occasionally cards get damaged in shipping or play, and this has happened with Terraforming Mars. This has nothing to do with card quality.

Player mats have been a source of much discussion and complaint. They will hold up well, and being thin they won't warp and end up "spinning" on the table. If the table is bumped or a sleeve drags across them the cubes will be displaced. This can be a game ending problem if people don't know where to put them back.
There are a bunch of overlay solutions to solve this problem. Some players use dice to track the numbers. Some players don't have any problem in the first place. This seems to be the main practical problem with the components, but one with many solutions available.
A thick mat with cutouts to firmly hold cubes in place would have been nice, but would add expense. Given the discussions about price, a judgement call has to be made. Small board game manufacturers don't get a lot of markup on games, so this is a genuine issue. A large successful Kickstarter with most of the money going to the maker allows for a lower effective markup, but traditional manufacturer/distributor/retailer distribution makes the margin at the manufacturer level very slim. The designers have been active in accepting feedback, and the above mentioned possibility of a deluxe version is exciting.

A small aside on pricing ... I know people have differing budgets, but I don't understand the issue on games for most people. If your time is "worth" $5/hr, then a 3 hour long 5 player game better give $75 worth of fun, so it seems to me it is essentially payed for in one play. If the game isn't that fun, you should consider adding a few hours at a minimum wage job as an alternative to a gaming session, or play a different game.
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Ken Chaney

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yatescory wrote:
I am glad they are printing in the USA but am a bit embarrassed by the final product in regards to box quality, card stock, and insert.


Are any of these issues related to being printed/manufactured in the USA?

The fabricating company makes whatever the producing company (Stronghold?) specifies. An underdesigned insert can be produced in Germany or China, too.

I suppose thinner materials may have been selected to keep costs constrained, but would be very interested in hearing from someone with direct experience (no speculation please!) about this tradeoff and how it might be effected by where the fabrication is done. In my personal experience, with smaller production local manufacturing end up being a better value, but I don't know if this game was made in the USA for other reasons. Maybe we can find out!

I'll reiterate that the cards are not bad at all, although they feel thinner than some.
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