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Through the Ages: New Leaders and Wonders» Forums » News

Subject: Through the Ages Expansion – Printing Error Explanation rss

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Elwen
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We’re sorry to announce that we still have no concrete release date for Through the Ages: New Leaders and Wonders. The card printing problem that led to the original delay last month is more difficult to solve than we expected. As a result, we hope to have the game out by Spring of 2020, but we can’t be more specific.

The problem we are trying to solve is that the card backs for the expansion look different than the card backs for the base game. This means players can make out how many expansion military cards their opponents have, or see whether the next prepared event is from the expansion. This is not information players should have.

We apologize for the delay this is causing. We would not be postponing the game’s release, however, unless it was to ensure that every player of Through the Ages and its expansion has a good experience.
The cause of this problem, we have discovered, is twofold.

First, the paper supplier that we used for Through the Ages went out of business. So we simply cannot get the same paper for the expansion. The new paper absorbs card varnish differently, resulting in the card backs for the expansion having a much glossier look than those for the base game.



Second, we have discovered that the card backs for different print runs of the base game do not match each other. This is something we attempted to avoid over the years of printing Through the Ages. But we have been using a third-party printer for these cards (not our usual printer), and it seems that our communication with them on the importance of keeping card backs uniform must have somehow broken down.

This means that no one shade we used for the expansion would match every existing copy of the base game.



The solutions to these problems are also twofold.

First, with our card printer, we are testing different varnishes and papers to find something that is a better match for the existing base games. This process takes time, however. That is one cause of the delay.

Second, we now plan to include a new full set of all the Through the Ages base game military cards in every copy of the expansion. That will make us absolutely sure the card backs match for every game owner. This is the other cause for delay. There are added resources and costs involved in adding all the base game military cards to the expansion. And with three parties that all have to agree (us, the printer, and the card supplier), it is taking time to find a solution.

Also, this means including almost 300 cards in every copy of the expansion, rather than the planned 121. For that reason, we will probably have to raise the price. The original price was $25, and it will likely rise to $30. We apologize for this change, as well, and we hope players understand that this is the only way to ensure that they get the game experience they expect and deserve.

There are some nice side effects of this solution, too. It ensures that players can't distinguish base game cards from expansion cards by how worn the base game cards are. Having a full new military deck in each expansion means any game owner, no matter how well-loved their current military deck is, can play with the expansion without giving information away. And if you wish, you can keep two decks, so when you want to play without the expansion, you don't need to hunt through the deck and pull the expansion cards out.

One other important note: If you preordered the expansion and got a redeem card for it as proof of purchase, your price will still be $25. Also, we are extending the validation date on that redeem card through June of 2020. It says December of 2019 on the card, but that can now be ignored.

We’re still set on bringing players this expansion as soon as it's printed correctly. Our top priority is to make our players happy and to make their gaming experience as flawless as possible. We ask you to stay patient with this delay, if you can.
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Ben Kyo
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Excellent response to a problem many publishers never bother to address.
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Chris
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Thank you for taking the time to get it right. I’d rather have a great product later than a mismatched copy now.

One question - since the expansion is on the app, are there any cards you’ve seen data on that might be tweaked and could be tweaked now that the printing has been pushed back?
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Paulo Renato
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this is how you should solve a problem. Fantastic work
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Alter Schwede
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alenen wrote:
Thank you for taking the time to get it right. I’d rather have a great product later than a mismatched copy now.

One question - since the expansion is on the app, are there any cards you’ve seen data on that might be tweaked and could be tweaked now that the printing has been pushed back?
Yes, I really appreciate that solution.

Concerning balancing issues: Please buff Moses!
I mean, with the updated cards, is there anyone by now, that does rank him not the worst leader of all?

If not, please show me one scenario, in which he could shine, that is not easily countered by the enemy!
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Greece
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I've played with the expansion as one of the big EU retailers had it available, and the issue isn't much noticeable with sleeved cards, especially if you don't know where to look.
Actually the biggest color difference is the front side of the cards (which is more colorful) and not the backs. But this goes to show the attention to detail and perfectionism from CGE thumbsupthumbsupthumbsup
 
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Thanasis Patsios
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I wasn't planning on getting the expansion, but the professionalism shown will probably push me over the fence! Other publishers should take notes!
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Jack Francisco
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I'd prefer a delay and matching cards than no delay and mismatched ones.
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Alani Mani
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I'm reposting my previous comment from thebold thread here as well.

Oh wow, very honorable move here from CGE. Most publishers would just release it as is, so I'm taking my hat off for them.
On the other site, I don't think it is really necessary to include a second full deck of military cards. Most users would not care about slightly different card backs (but of course here on bgg those are in the minority). For those who really care, the probability is high that they sleeve anyway. Different varnish should not be noticeable and colors would be really hard to distinguish.
Probably over the top, but again, I think it's really honorable that they take so much care.
It's just a pretty long delay, though.
 
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Michael NaGu
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Benkyo wrote:
Excellent response to a problem many publishers never bother to address.
This.


Also, great communication.
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Laurence C.

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thank you for your share

for other board games which have the same problem, we add sleeves with the same backs
 
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Jeff Thompson
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What about the non military cards? Won't there be extra info from the deck showing which card is next?
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Richard
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Hi,

I don't expect this type of stated solution for games. Physical games have issues and quirks of the physical world. That said, it's great to see you do this and I hope it works out.

Also, the communication is fantastic. Thank you!
 
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Joe Martineau
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A good solution to an unfortunate problem.


 
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Rickard Nilsson
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I love Through the Ages, and I love the communication and transparency here.

That being said, unfortunately I have to drop the first negative comment here.

First of all, this is why I dislike expansions in general. This is an issue I'm constantly afraid of. It didn't need to be an issue, but let's be honest and harsh here and acknowledge the fact that CGE choose to have a non-standard card size where opaque sleeves doesn't exsist.

If you are at all afraid of marked cards, sleeeves is already a must, and a hell to find at all. Opaque sleeves would have hidden both marks and color inconsistency and made it less of a problem, for some.

One solution would actually be to include sleeves instead of all cards.

Second of all, I don't like that this mistake is put on the consumer by having increased cost. I spend a lot of money on board games, it's not a huge economical issue, but more of a princicple that we have to pay for their mistake. Annoying.

Third of all, sure, you address the military cards, but what about the yellow cards? You will be able to tell certain cards aside from other ones. If you run expansion cards only, it will be very obvious when you're about to run in to a wonder/leader. If you run the balanced vanilla, you can make conclusions which specific leader is coming up, depending on what cards you've seen.

This again wouldn't have been a problem if only they picked a size where opaque sleeves existed.

I love CGE and their games, and I want to support them in every way I can, including buying now 5 copies of the app. But I'm not as pleasing with this decision as the rest seems to be. Sorry.
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Richard
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Hi,

You're unhappy about having to pay $5 more but would be fine if the game fit sleeves which would cost much more to sleeve the entire game? What about folks who don't like sleeves?
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King Maple
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I must be a lucky one as I cannot tell cards apart between base game and expansion unless observing up close. Definitely unnoticeable during actual gameplay.

I would not even have known this is an issue.
 
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Rickard Nilsson
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Coren wrote:
Hi,

You're unhappy about having to pay $5 more but would be fine if the game fit sleeves which would cost much more to sleeve the entire game? What about folks who don't like sleeves?
Absolutely. The $5 is matter of principle, and still they don't provide me with sleeves. That doesn't solve the sleeve problem and it doesn't solve the marked cards for civil cards.

That's just my opinion, as an avid sleever, and I understand most people differ.
 
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Chris
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Mysticum wrote:

Third of all, sure, you address the military cards, but what about the yellow cards? You will be able to tell certain cards aside from other ones. If you run expansion cards only, it will be very obvious when you're about to run in to a wonder/leader. If you run the balanced vanilla, you can make conclusions which specific leader is coming up, depending on what cards you've seen.
I don't think this is correct - with the new balanced leader setup, I believe there is a side board with the leaders visible. The card in the deck will only alert you that a leader or a wonder is available next, when the card is drawn, you replace it from the side board.

And if that's still too much knowledge (even though everyone at the table is still privy to the same info, deal from the bottom of the deck.

(Apparently I've had too much experience dealing with Mage Knight imperfections)
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marge ajeto
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Slashdoctor wrote:
I must be a lucky one as I cannot tell cards apart between base game and expansion unless observing up close. Definitely unnoticeable during actual gameplay.

I would not even have known this is an issue.
this is closest to truth..
I'm very lucky that I received this expansion and we have already played five games with it..
I don't like sleeves and I don't like digital..
and nobody of us would even notice that there is a slight difference with cards if it weren't announced by CGE.. and this little difference would exist in every case since base game cards are already used for many times..
btw. it is an excellent expansion to play with and you can feel how much effort and testing was included before releasing it.. and I generally don't like board games expansions..
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Rickard Nilsson
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alenen wrote:
Mysticum wrote:

Third of all, sure, you address the military cards, but what about the yellow cards? You will be able to tell certain cards aside from other ones. If you run expansion cards only, it will be very obvious when you're about to run in to a wonder/leader. If you run the balanced vanilla, you can make conclusions which specific leader is coming up, depending on what cards you've seen.
I don't think this is correct - with the new balanced leader setup, I believe there is a side board with the leaders visible. The card in the deck will only alert you that a leader or a wonder is available next, when the card is drawn, you replace it from the side board.

And if that's still too much knowledge (even though everyone at the table is still privy to the same info, deal from the bottom of the deck.

(Apparently I've had too much experience dealing with Mage Knight imperfections)
What I meant is that given all the cards that's been coming, you can sometimes calculate what the upcoming card might be since some leaders/wonders have one cardback and the other have another cardback. Not a huge problem, but still one I don't like.

And yes, I understand most people don't notice these things during gameplay, but I do. I notice very small differences in paper quality between print runs, which makes expansions terrible, and especially cards that don't have standard card size for sleeves, since sleeves solves this problem right away.

--

I do appreciate CGE's great communication and transparancy, but I also want to point out some critism so they are aware of them. This unique card size have been discussed before, and it has a lot of drawbacks.
 
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Ben Kyo
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Mysticum wrote:
This unique card size have been discussed before, and it has a lot of drawbacks.
... but only for people who sleeve cards AND have a problem buying the appropriate size (is it really that difficult to find?), and I'm not convinced that is a significant slice of the market.
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Rickard Nilsson
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Benkyo wrote:
Mysticum wrote:
This unique card size have been discussed before, and it has a lot of drawbacks.
... but only for people who sleeve cards AND have a problem buying the appropriate size (is it really that difficult to find?), and I'm not convinced that is a significant slice of the market.
Sure, as with all drawbacks, they are only relevant for the relevant people? It has advantages too, but drawbacks as well, no question.

If you wonder if it difficult to find, the answer is that opaque sleeves doesn't exist on the market AT ALL. The only sleeves that exists is transparent and special made for this game only. Considering the number of board games, it's easy to understand how unique card size they have chosen for this to be the case.

If I'm wrong, please link med opaque sleeves for them and I gladly take everything back. Finding transparent sleeves is hard enough and doesn't even address this problem.
 
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Matthias Mahr
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Mysticum wrote:
What I meant is that given all the cards that's been coming, you can sometimes calculate what the upcoming card might be since some leaders/wonders have one cardback and the other have another cardback. Not a huge problem, but still one I don't like.
And what alenen meant is, that is not true. All the leaders and wonders, from base game and expansion alike, sit on their separate board. What is shuffled into the decks are proxy cards (Leader 1, Wonder 2, etc.), which all have backs from the expansion. So whenever such a card is top of the deck, you know it will be a Leader or Wonder, but it could be any of these cards.
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Tony Svanström
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Most serious players would need a new (not worn down) base game anyways, so this whole song and dance about going out of your way to make it a separate expansion feels a bit ridiculous.
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