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Subject: WK2 Collectibility results rss

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Chris Farrell
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As long as I'm posting, here is a note I posted over on the Columbia forum with my conclusions about how the collectability of WK2 has worked out.

Here is the situation with the WK2 unit distribution as I see it, and as I think the BoardGameGeek data bears out, and as I think the FAQ hints at (but is a long way from actually saying).

I think it is clear from the numbers compiled on BGG that there are not and were not 300, or even "hundreds", of units available in the initial print run. What appears to be happening is that units are being released in cycles. So the first "burst" had 120-ish units in it (12 or 13/faction, 20 chaos, 5 werecreatures, gold, silver, and half-a-dozen artifacts). This is a very respectable number of units, and judged for what it is it's not a bad mix, but it's also not the "hundreds" advertised in the FAQ, and I think buyers (like myself) who bought thinking that the release would have larger variety of units, and that the entire unit set would be available from the start, are right to be irritated.

This is compounded by the fact that it appears from initial readings that there is no way to tell which "burst" a set of units comes from. Same packaging, same UPC, etc. This is a horrible decision from a customer standpoint. I don't mind collectability or random distribution, but I want to know what - probabilistically speaking - I'm getting. As it appears right now, I could be buying a booster which is almost certain to have units I already have too many of, or I could be buying a booster which has completely new stuff, and I have no way to know.

This is further compounded by the fact that we have no official word on some of the outstanding serious questions about the base set (like, that dreaded Foes Begone spell).

Obviously, I don't actually know what's going on. Maybe it's a regional distribution thing, maybe there has been serious clumping (although I've bought from 3 geographically diverse sources and seen nothing beyond the putative initial lot), or maybe it's something else. But I think the data accumulated so far points extremely strongly in this direction.

I've written a strongly-worded note to Columbia on these points. I've been a very long-time customer of theirs, and have always had great respect for them. I love almost all of their games, and am on the record on that. But this whole WK2 thing has me in a decidedly different mood. I think the FAQ they published was misleading. The game has been out for a couple months now and they have not been forthcoming with important information.

So what is to be done?

Wizard Kings is still a great game, it's just that the distribution question has fouled things up. If Columbia had simply been more forthcoming, saying that units would be released in bursts of about 120 and letting us know when new units cycled in, I would have been perfectly happy. But the FAQ led us to believe the unit pool in the initial distribution was much larger than it actually was, leading to purchasing decisions being made on information that seems overwhelmingly likely to have been incorrect.

I think if Columbia were to sell sticker sheets direct of "second burst" units, they could go some ways towards making things right with the early adopters. Then if they would also announce when (if) the "third burst" becomes available, that would be great.

If you were, like me, an early adopter and feel like the first release was not handled as well as it could have been, nor has Columbia been as up-front about this as they should have been, I encourage you to write Grant direct. His email is on the Columbia website. I've already sent them a note along these lines proposing such a solution.
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Jay Little
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As big a fan of the original WK as I am, I'm equally reluctant to get into Wizard Kings 2 for reasons like this. With so many games competing for my dollar, I want to know exactly what I'm getting for my investment - and I want those claims to be accurate!!

Regardless of the ambiguity and distribution quirks, are you pleased with the game and gameplay itself?
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Robert Stetler
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I considered Wizard Kings 2 to almost be double dipping, i.e. buying a game I already had. As such there had to be a solid reason to do so, and minimal reasons not to. The new rule set and new units was a positive, backwards compatibility was as well. But the collectibility aspect was a big negative - I do buy some collectible games, but I limit the number of those I buy because of the money pit issue (there are many collectible games I will not even try, because I simply refuse to open myself to another potential expensive habit). This was one more collectible game on top of a hard limit I had set for myself on the number of such I was willing to support at the same time.

When the "there aren't hundreds of units" issue hit, to me it was another negative, with a potential upside (if there were indeed fewer units, the purchase price might become tolerable). When it became clear it was simply an issue of print runs, and worse yet no distinguishing detail on which print run was which, I pretty much decided there was no incentive for me to buy the game.

At this point, the only way I see myself purchasing Wizard Kings 2 is if a full "factory set" is produced. I consider the "collectible" aspect applied to Wizard Kings to be a misguided decision. I consider the execution of that decision to have been completely and utterly botched.
 
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John Lopez
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Wow, I had somehow missed this whole WK2 thing. I love WK1, but the idea that units would be released in waves, with no way to know if you were getting variety (various waves) or consistency (all the same wave) is just lame.

They won't be getting any of my dollars *that* way. Methinks they missed the popularity of Heroscape as a counterexample for this random army nonsense.

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Ed Sherman
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I've been watching this whole WK2 thing since it was first announced, and because of these issues I have no intention of buying into the new version at all (this is coming from someone who has purchased, although not played with every expansion army and map for the original game).

It seems like every game company out there wants to get in on that collectible game gold rush, but this is still very disappointing.
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Geo
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Why bother? If you have a full WK1 set just use the new rules to play.

From the posts at Columbia's forum i suspect that something fishy is going on with WK2...
 
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Kevin Reynolds
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I have a full first set including all maps and 3 copies of the chaos units to balance things out...but I have yet to play it!
 
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Mark C
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I bought Wizard Kings, and while I didn't rate it highly due to the luck factor, I still felt it had a nice feel to it with the wood pieces/fog of war. I can't see any reason to think a collectible version recycling the same game system would be an improvement --quite the opposite.

I hope they get enough negative feedback to see that they need to keep innovating in a positive way, not cloning the worst aspects of existing games (i.e. collectibles).
 
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Tobias DeSoto
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I personally hate collectible games, so I was very disapointed when I got WK1 and then learned that WK2 was "collectible", I just ordered a huge amount of the expansions, so I will see what I get.

I have thought about it, and I dont mind the random factor, but I would really like Columbia Games to at least publish a list of what is out there. I read that they say "hundreds" of units, but only about 120 of them have been found, so what that tells me is that we have only seen the first assortment, or 'wave' of expansions, and after this batch is done with another print run will be added.

Again, I hate collectible games, but if Columbia Games would take a short moment to at least post a list of what is out there, I am sure a lot of people would end up much happier.

Derek...
 
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Euron Crows Eye
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Ive just bought my 1st expansion pack of blocks and it included an Amazon chariot which I hear is rare? That true?
 
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Albert Hernandez
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Langy wrote:
Ive just bought my 1st expansion pack of blocks and it included an Amazon chariot which I hear is rare? That true?


Look at Wizard_Kings to see what folks have been finding. You'll find it listed at the bottom of the page.

I for one am fine with the new random sticker set-up Columbia Games has opted for. I have the 1st edition base game and am not planning on buying 2.0, but will buy an occaisonal expansion to add some new units. Hopefully, after a while, I'll have enough units to make a viable Amazon & Barbarian army which I hadn't bought yet.

I think the problems that are being seen with the sticker distribution are probably related to a poor job done in the packaging process. Whoever "randomized" the sticker distribution somehow didn't make it random enough. I would guess the boxes that were distributed first all had the 120 units that folks have found. The remaining stuff was stacked behind it.
 
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Hugh G. Rection
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I was looking into buying 2nd Edition, but this has totally turned me off of this game. They are attempting to milk more money from fools gamers by randomizing what, a sticker that goes on a block of wood?!?! You're not even getting a unique figure, but a sticker!

Hey, at least it's a pre-painted block of wood, right?
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Tobias DeSoto
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You are right, be thankful, they could send you unpainted wood blocks and make you paint them too. haha
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Kevin H
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Hugh_G_Rection wrote:
I was looking into buying 2nd Edition, but this has totally turned me off of this game. They are attempting to milk more money from fools gamers by randomizing what, a sticker that goes on a block of wood?!?! You're not even getting a unique figure, but a sticker!

Hey, at least it's a pre-painted block of wood, right?


Why not just write the stats on the block of wood with a marker? I mean........are there really that many mentally retarded gamers out there?

Seriously folks. You are retarded.

Maybe for Wizard Kings 3 they can release maps in jigsaw puzzle form. So if you're lucky you might get a "rare" piece of one of the maps...and one day, and a few thousand dollars later, you'll be able to actually play on a completed one!

OH JOY! laugh

And the box to the game could be blank, completely white. And when you buy an expansion pack, it will come with stickers for the box. So you can try to be the first one of your friends to have the prettiest box!

And the expansions could have "rare" rules explanations and errata!

I mean...face it...you're all retarded yuk
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Eliot Hemingway
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Hmm, yeah, we could all do that with the stats couldn't we? Well, as long as we didn't care at all about visual quality. Oh, but CG isn't going to release a list of units. I guess we'll all have to buy a bunch to find out the stats.

That is one reason that CG isn't going to release unit stat lists. The community will do it eventually, but only after buying ginormous amounts of expansion sets.

Which makes me sad, since if the game wasn't collectible I'd have already bought 2nd edition. Their mistake. *shrug*
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Tobias DeSoto
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Kevin, I can't tell if you are being serious or joking, but either way you are making me laugh! haha
 
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Chris Farrell
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ynnen wrote:
Regardless of the ambiguity and distribution quirks, are you pleased with the game and gameplay itself?


I think I'm ultimately not quite as excited about 2.0 as I was with 1.x, but that may just be me getting used to the new rules. From what I was hearing from Columbia I was anticipating minor tweaks in the new revision, but 2.0 is a major departure from 1.x, and I think that threw me. But I still think it's a good system.

Having said all that, though, the distribution issues and Columbia's poor handling of the 2.0 release are major issues. The FAQ is, I believe, outright misleading about the composition of the block set. Several spells are in clear need of eratta, and one is clearly and obviously badly broken. Customer service has been unresponsive. If this had been released by a company other than Columbia, with their long and distinguished track record, I'd probably be putting them on my "will not buy from again" list. As it is, they've seriously drawn down their stock of goodwill with me.
 
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Chris Farrell
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Although Columbia has not actually said anything publicly, I've talked with someone who has talked to the Columbia folks, and the answer is easy for me to believe: the initial lot of boosters just got screwed up, and had only a subset of the units. It was intended that the whole lot of units be available from the start, but due to a production glitch they were not. My understanding is that the "wave" theory was incorrect, all units should be available now, and that there was not an intention of "rotating" units in or out.

So overall the news is good, but Columbia could have cleared things up earlier.
 
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Ted Kostek
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cfarrell wrote:
... It was intended that the whole lot of units be available from the start, but due to a production glitch they were not. ...

So overall the news is good, but Columbia could have cleared things up earlier.


Anyone who works w/ the public in a retail type sense gets a lot of slack from me because the public is pain in the ***. Still, the contrast w/ how DoW handled BL is striking. Some cards had the backs misprinted in way that had zero impact on game play, but DoW quickly put up a post about it anyway. Of course people complained bitterly.

Meanwhile CG has a much more significant problem with distribution, though admitedly it still didn't impact game play, and they decided to say nothing.

Unimpressive to say the least.
 
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