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Subject: PSA - recent cowcow order came out bad rss

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Silver Bowen
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I recently took advantage of the 4 for $20 deal at cowcow to get copies of the original series and animated series decks (see this thread, second page, halfway down: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1663520/cards-ready-print-a...).

Unfortunately, the registration was off. a large chunk of the AS decks have a white stripe on the left side, as do a few of the OS decks. There is also noticeable variation in color between decks, but this doesn't bug me as much as the registration issues.

I've reached out to cowcow for replacements, but have no idea about their customer service. Regardless, I would caution anyone who cares about aesthetics to pony up the extra cash to get the decks from PrinterStudio or some such.





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Martin Gallo
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When they screwed up one of my orders a few years ago their response was basically tough luck it must be your fault since we posted instructions.

Good luck. Hopefully they respect you more than they respected me.
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Joseph Propati
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I've made a lot of cards through a number of the publishing companies and sometimes they mess up and sometimes the creator messes up. Are you positive you created your images with a full bleed color border? I've had misalignment issues which were usually my fault but never a white edge. If you had a full color bleed area it would never create a white edge since it would bleed past the cut zone. Have you checked each card image you sent them and verified they are fully coved in the bleed zone? If so you can show them all the images and show it is their fault. You always want to make sure before you put full blame on the company. IMHO

As a side note: I had tiles made through The Game Crafter and the first time they basically said it was my fault but after I check everything three times and had them run again it was even worse and they acknowledge they screwed up and game me my money back "well, they gave me credit which I didn't want and told them was useless". They have a 1/8" variation that they stand by but I feel is totally unacceptable!
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Gina Laurie
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I ordered the TAS and the TNG decks on that same sale. The TAS has 6 cards from the red deck that have a white margin showing and the TNG set has 3 cards that way. It was easy to fix the TNG ones because they have a black border so I fixed it with a sharpie; however, I 'm still trying to decide if I can match the red color on the TAS ones well enough. I don't know which will bother me the least-- a thin white border on few cards or a thin mismatched red border. I plan on using the TAS ones for a travel set I've made, so they won't get as much use as the other ones.

Anyway, I guess they're worth what I paid for them. I've never ordered from cowcow before this and I probably wouldn't again without a great sale like this one and then only with the expectation that they won't be perfect.

I had the original cards from Carl printed out from Artscow and they are fine, but I ended up printing out the TOS set on plain typing paper (not the backs), rounding the corners with a clipper, and slipping them down inside the sleeves of that original set (the backs are original and the fronts are now TOS). This turned out surprisingly well.

So, now I have all 4 versions. That's all there are, right? I really enjoy this game and, after I haven't played it for a while, I 'm always happy to see it on my table again. I think I'll enjoy changing the cards up.
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Silver Bowen
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kingspud wrote:
I've made a lot of cards through a number of the publishing companies and sometimes they mess up and sometimes the creator messes up. Are you positive you created your images with a full bleed color border?


I didn't create the decks. BGG user chrisemsd did. I see no problems with the images and it's obvious looking at the backs of the cards how off-center the cutting alignment is. Look at the center image and how far to the left the word "Development" is on the card back.
 
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David Griffin
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I helped the original animated deck author format the cards for artscow. I was very careful on the margins for that service and printed a deck to check out the outcome. I had no white lines on my deck. No one ever complained about those Artscow decks.

Never used Cowcow.
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Joseph Propati
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silverbowen wrote:
kingspud wrote:
I've made a lot of cards through a number of the publishing companies and sometimes they mess up and sometimes the creator messes up. Are you positive you created your images with a full bleed color border?


I didn't create the decks. BGG user chrisemsd did. I see no problems with the images and it's obvious looking at the backs of the cards how off-center the cutting alignment is. Look at the center image and how far to the left the word "Development" is on the card back.

Wow, if they are that far off alignment you can be pretty confident that it was their mistake.
The worst case they say that the off center is within their tolerance and you get no help; which means nevet use them again. Best case is they admit the screw up and credit you the total amount.
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Silver Bowen
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On the bright side, the backs don't have problems other than being off center, so the cards are still usable. But yeah, I'll never use cowcow again. Even at the discounted rate.
 
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Joseph Propati
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silverbowen wrote:
On the bright side, the backs don't have problems other than being off center, so the cards are still usable. But yeah, I'll never use cowcow again. Even at the discounted rate.

Here's the thing, word of mouth can destroy a company and quality this bad, no matter what the discount, will surely hurt these guys. Too bad, you don't get too many chances to prove yourself as a reputable company.
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Joy Cohn
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carbon_dragon wrote:
I helped the original animated deck author format the cards for artscow. I was very careful on the margins for that service and printed a deck to check out the outcome. I had no white lines on my deck. No one ever complained about those Artscow decks.

Never used Cowcow.


I've had Artscow decks that were off-register. Bought four decks and three were off. One that was off was a replacement for a deck that had run off, from Artscow - same deck that was good on the first printing.
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Tony Ball
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I bought a deck through them that someone else had created and made available on BGG. The guy who created them and most other people got good copies but mine and a few others got copies with a white stripe at the edge. They blamed the artwork despite everyone ordering from the same project.

That was the only time I had used them and I won't again.

Mostly I use PrinterStudio. I have over a dozen decks from them that other people have made and about 4 that I have made, and I have never had an issue with the company, their service or their cards.
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Martin Gallo
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Artscow and Cow Cow are the same company. Both their quality control and customer service are pretty spotty. They probably do great with large orders. I am waiting for four decks of cards right now and if they are bad I am done with them.
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I know it sucks, but you are responsible to know the tolerances and ensure the art bleed is sufficient. It doesn’t matter if somebody else ordered the same product successfully, every printing is unique. That is the point of the tolerance in the first place.
Unless you can show that the cut is shifted by more than the advertised tolerance or that image was cropped in someway during printing, they have met their burden for quality.
Nobody wants a shifter print, but if they said it could be off by up to 1/8”, you should have been prepared for that before you placed the order.
 
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Silver Bowen
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err404 wrote:
I know it sucks, but you are responsible to know the tolerances and ensure the art bleed is sufficient. It doesn’t matter if somebody else ordered the same product successfully, every printing is unique. That is the point of the tolerance in the first place.
Unless you can show that the cut is shifted by more than the advertised tolerance or that image was cropped in someway during printing, they have met their burden for quality.
Nobody wants a shifter print, but if they said it could be off by up to 1/8”, you should have been prepared for that before you placed the order.


It should be clear from the pics and comment by carbon_dragon that this wasn't user error.
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Gina Laurie
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I was just curious so here's the measurement. Looks like 1/16" on my worst one.
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Martin Gallo
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The problems I had were user error, but I was not the user in error. I followed the guidelines and even allowed for some margin of error on top of that - ArtsCow ignored ALL of that and printed at, roughly 114%. Somehow that was my fault?

I am happy and surprised to report that my recent order is playable and only about 6 cards per deck were slightly off center (a small white border on the backs of the cards, all on the left side; ONE card back poorly registered to the right and ONE card poorly registered on the right side of the front, but still readable). There are a few cards in one deck where the coating was not properly applied/dried but once sleeved all should be well.
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silverbowen wrote:
It should be clear from the pics and comment by carbon_dragon that this wasn't user error.

It is not clear from the pics or comments if there was user error. The print looks to be shifted about an 1/8” to me. I believe that is their tolerance. To me it looks like the art did not have sufficient bleed on the source file (or the printer cropped the image). I have seen/done this myself many times. If the image was scaled or the printing was cropped, then of course it is Cowcow’s responsibly and they should correct it.
OP also suggested that the printing was scaled to 114%, but it doesn’t look that way to me. Scaling would compensate for the bleed.
 
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Joseph Propati
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err404 wrote:

It is not clear from the pics or comments if there was user error. The print looks to be shifted about an 1/8” to me. I believe that is their tolerance. To me it looks like the art did not have sufficient bleed on the source file (or the printer cropped the image). I have seen/done this myself many times. If the image was scaled or the printing was cropped, then of course it is Cowcow’s responsibly and they should correct it.
OP also suggested that the printing was scaled to 114%, but it doesn’t look that way to me. Scaling would compensate for the bleed.


First, if a company says they have an alignment tolerance of 1/8", DON'T USE THEM! This to me us unacceptable and grossly inaccurate. If you can't expect a company take a perfectly centered image and place it on a card or tile and then give you back a product, with that same perfectly aligned image, that is off center by a whole 1/8" which will look like S##T by the way, is not a company you should ever use. I've never purchased a game from a company that had components with images 1/8" off center and it should never be accepted as ok. Period.
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David Griffin
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When I was uploading the Animated deck, I took the original cards and tried to put lots and lots of extra “card” around the outer edge and make sure nothing was too close to the border for printed material shown on the Artscow form. Furthermore I blew up the form as high as possible looking for potential issues.

Not sure what more I could have done. When I printed them, there were no anomalies, but I didn’t do 10 decks or anything, just 1. Note that when I printed off Carl’s non graphical decks originally I did get a few print anomalies but nothing that caused me problems.

I have since printed my own cards at Print and Play and Printerstudio (which have greatly different procedures and settings) and had no issues. I’m not an expert at this sort of thing, but don’t know what I could have done differently with artscow.

Anyone else out there who printed Animated decks from my upload in Artscow in the last year pipe up and let us know how your deck printed.

I also printed the TOS deck (didn’t have anything to do with uploading that) and that printed out very well also. The original poster said this was on CowCow and even if they’re the same under the skin, it’s possible that the website for both has slightly different standards for upload?

Also, My final uploads were very different from the originals I started with. If the original author wants my revised originals that I uploaded with the increased border widths and slight resizing and the occasional blemish fixed, let me know (they should be on my drive somewhere). Also, I think they should still be up on Artscow. If the originals I started with were uploaded without the same sorts of modification, maybe this could result in some anomalies? Not sure.

I’m not a graphical artist. I am just a software engineer with an old copy of Photoshop CS3. I will say that doing this was very good practice when I did my little game for the contest.
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Silver Bowen
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CowCow has gotten back to me and indicated they will be shipping replacement decks. So hopefully this particular will have a good ending for me.
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David Griffin
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silverbowen wrote:
CowCow has gotten back to me and indicated they will be shipping replacement decks. So hopefully this particular will have a good ending for me.


It'd be nice if you could get them to look at it to make sure there were no issues with the files. One thing I liked about Artscow was that the cards felt really good. Print and Play Admagic had the advantage of having someone knowledgeable to ask questions (good customer service). They all have their advantages. Can't easily go from one to the other because their upload strategy is so different.
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Matthew Taylor
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I’ve had the same problem with the decks I’ve had printed. I ordered a TOS dec around Thanksgiving, and it Arrived last week with those same white stripes around the edges. I will likely just end up using sharped on them, but it is a lot of them. I would say at least a third of the cards have these defects.
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Jan Horinek
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https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1924672/stay-away-cowco...
 
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David Bate
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To be honest I've seen more accurate alignment manually duplexing on my old inkjet printer.
 
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