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Subject: I'm a little confused. rss

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Gregory Bim-Merle
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I had been thinking about buying this game and was almost decided that I wanted it when I read some posts here on the Geek about production problems. Now I'm not sure if I should buy it. Could anyone answer these three questions.

1. Is there more then one edition of this game and if so which one has the problems?

2. What are the problems and do they affect gameplay? If so how much?

3. Finally is the company/distributor going to be reprinting/fixing the problems in the near future?
 
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Brad Miller
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1. Two versions so far. The CzechBoardGames original release, and the recent FRED Distribution release.

2. Minor card typos, messed up numbering on the scoring track, warpage/curlage of board/cards. Don't effect gameplay much, unless you've got the card curl.

3. Both. FRED Distribution is going to replace parts for as many owners as they can, and there is currently a reprint coming, which presumably will deal with these issues.
 
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Rob "Bodhi" Wolff
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a. There are two printings of the game. The first printing was a small print-run, and it sold out quickly, prompting the printing of a second print-run. If you find a copy in stores, you're finding the current FRED second print version.

b. The problems with the second print run are as follows.

- a single card was missing its cost (but there was a second copy in the game, so you knew how much it cost from the second copy)
- about 5 more cards have cosmetic typos
- the scoring track on the board is misnumbered at one point (the numbers jump 10 points)
- There are a few wooden tokens missing from the game, such that a 4-player game might have you scrabbling for substitutions depending on the situation

All of these problems are annoying, but are not game-stopping in any way.

- the single biggest issue that is arising is the quality of the cards. They seem to be printed on very thin cardstock with very little (if any) laminating or protective coating. Since the cards realitically form the basis for the game (the boards are really just a way to keep track of the score) then this is rather more serious.

This is the issue that realistically has people frustrated now. People are reporting that, after playing the game, their cards are no longer lying flat, but instead are "warped" and showing small signs of use.

C. The company *is* addressing the issue. If you e-mail Keith Blume through his BGG e-mail, he will add you to the list for a "fix pack" when it is ready. This will include the reprinted board, missing tokens, and the cards that have typos on them. However, this does nothing to address the more serious issue of the poor quality cards in the current printrun. Keith has said that it will be possible, if people contact him, to purchase re-printed card decks if and when they become available, but these card-decks would have to be paid for by the customer at cost.

So, you pay $70 for a game which you can have fixed components mailed out to you once they become available, but if you want *better* quality components (i.e. cards) from the next printing you have to actually pay money again, and no mention has been made of approximately how much money this might be.

///////////

There is no absolute guarantee that there will indeed be a third full printing of the game for retail distribution, since this requires significant money investment. However, it seems likely that there would be, given the popularity of the current flawed version.

If such a printing is to happen, it won't be for awhile, though. These things take time.

So the question is ...
Do you buy the current flawed version, have the fixed components mailed to you when they become available to you, and possibly spend more money on reprinted cards if they become available? Or simply hope that they reprint the whole thing from scratch in sufficient quantities for a retail print-run, and wait the 6-12 months for that version to hit the shelves?
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Todd Lang
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Just to let you know that the card curling problem is non-trivial. This is a primarily card-driven game, so having your rather small cards curl up and spin around on the table/board/whatever everytime you try to slide token on or off, or move cards around is very, VERY annoying. It's so annoying that I'm considering laminating my entire set of cards.

The scoring track problem I consider to be a total non-issue, as well as the missing research cost on one of the cards.
 
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Snowden Wyatt
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Another point on the "card curling". Although this has been reported by many people, some report little or no card warping. So far, suggestions of humidity affecting the amount of card warp seem to not stand up.

Aside from widely varying quality of cardstock (which I wouldn't dismiss, Chinese production of games seems to vary widely in quality), the only other thing I can think of for my lack of card warping is that I'm not too gentle with my cards. When I shuffle I use the "back breaking" riffle shuffle method. Perhaps (perhaps) the large amount of flexing I submit my cards to tends to obviate the extreme warping some people have reported (and posted pictures of in other threads).

I'm not trying to dismiss other people's issues with the cards. It's obvious by the number reporting issues that it is a problem. I'm just trying to suggest a logical reason why it's happening to some and not others. In the end, I suspect that lack of QA in the Chinese production is what it will come down to.

My biggest disappointment with the quality issues of the game is that the price to quality ratio (both quality and number of components) seems to be out of whack. If you produce in China to save costs (at a sacrifice in quality), but end up costing the same as "Agricola" which is being produced in Germany, has a similarly large number of cards AND has more wood and other bits included, something is very wrong here...

The game is great, however. It definitely scratches the civ building itch for me quite well...
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Slyvanian Frog
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snowman882 wrote:
When I shuffle I use the "back breaking" riffle shuffle method.


I riffle shuffle, and my cards are warped.

EDIT: I may have a different definition of "riffle shuffle." I do not separate the cards into two piles and bend them and shuffle them together. I shuffle them from one hand into the other.
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Stephen Tudor
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BodhiWolff wrote:
- the single biggest issue that is arising is the quality of the cards. They seem to be printed on very thin cardstock with very little (if any) laminating or protective coating. Since the cards realitically form the basis for the game (the boards are really just a way to keep track of the score) then this is rather more serious.

This is the issue that realistically has people frustrated now. People are reporting that, after playing the game, their cards are no longer lying flat, but instead are "warped" and showing small signs of use.

I agree with this -- definitely count me among the "annoyed-at-the-cards" crowd -- but I don't feel that the cardstock is all that thin. I think the thickness they used for the cards pretty good actually... ordinarily, you'd think it would be sufficient, but unfortunately, it doesn't seem to stop whatever is causing the cards to curl. I think a major cause is not so much the thickness of the stock, but the quality of the paper used. I suspect that the way the decks are so tightly wrapped in plastic could also be a factor, but that's just a shot in the dark.

snowman882 wrote:
When I shuffle I use the "back breaking" riffle shuffle method. Perhaps (perhaps) the large amount of flexing I submit my cards to tends to obviate the extreme warping some people have reported (and posted pictures of in other threads).

Good point, maybe a little healthy flexing is in order. I have always found it hard to riffle shuffle small cards, though. I find it a little hard to believe that it would actually help my cards, but it probably won't hurt to try it at this point...

I haven't yet shuffled my TtA cards in a way that would be stressful on the cards, yet there is definite curlage going on. I try to be terribly careful with any cards, particularly cards from a $70 game. I'm personally convinced that I did nothing to encourage card curl that I wouldn't have done to any other game's cards; if anything, I've been more gentle than normal. I own over 40 card games and board games with cards, and none of them have the card curl issues my TtA cards are plagued with, and believe me, many of them have seen a lot more play than my copy of TtA has.

I know Keith is having conversations with his source about this issue, so maybe there will be good news about the cards for us early adopters.
 
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Rick Holzgrafe
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A suggestion made in other threads: the problems caused by curled cards can be minimized by using a felt playing surface. My wife bought eight felt "squares" at a craft store (actually they were rectangles, maybe 8x12 inches or so), and we give two to each player to use as player mats. Cards placed on them stay put, don't spin, and are easily picked up. An added bonus is that a dropped counter usually won't bounce or roll very far if it hits the felt.

As another poster said, I'm not trying to dismiss the curling cards as trivial. But the felt player mats work just fine for us. While we're looking forward to receiving the fix-it pack, we are having no problem playing two- and three-player games right now.
 
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Eric Phillips
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How long does it usually take for the card-curling to develop? I've had my copy out of the shrink wrap for 10 days now, and have played it twice, and so far there is no sign of card-curling. Am I in the clear?
 
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Andrew Gross
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Kiyote wrote:
It's so annoying that I'm considering laminating my entire set of cards.


Due to a wonderful wife who actually listens and remembers when I make off-the-cuff comments, as of Christmas I am the proud owner of a high quality laminating machine.

Has anyone actually gone this rout? Any reason not to, since it's almost free for me (a couple of bucks' worth of laminating sheets I've already purcahsed in bulk and a bit of my time being the only costs)?
 
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Rob "Bodhi" Wolff
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The card-curling seems to be more of a result of shuffling, bending, and use than of any sort of strange warping, water absorbtion, etc., in my opinion.

Take a piece of flat cardboard, say cut out from a piece of file-folder, small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, and bend it back and forth like you were shuffling it in a riffle shuffle. Do this a number of times. Hold it in your hand like you were holding it in a deck of cards. Do this a number of times. Use it, love it, hold it for half an hour.

Now put it down. Is it flat? Probably not. It is probably a little bent.

Now, multiply this by 8 decks.

Multiply this by every time you play the game.

That seems to be what is happening here. Even after one game, when you stack the deck up again, you notice that it doesn't sit flat. Some cards are slightly bent, some cards are slightly warped, some cards more than others. It doesn't take many single offenders to cause the entire deck to be a little tippy and problematic. You can flatten them out again by smushing them or bending them individually, but it is a real pain, and again every time you do this it wears the grain of the paper, weakening them.

So I really think that this is all that is happening. We just have rather plain, unfinished cardboard that is being put through its paces and acting in an understandable fashion.
 
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Rob "Bodhi" Wolff
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One poster mentioned individually laminating all of his cards, with great success.

If it is practically free for you, I'd say you're sitting pretty!

and I'd also say I'm *extremely* jealous!
 
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Slyvanian Frog
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BodhiWolff wrote:
The card-curling seems to be more of a result of shuffling, bending, and use than of any sort of strange warping, water absorbtion, etc., in my opinion.

Take a piece of flat cardboard, say cut out from a piece of file-folder, small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, and bend it back and forth like you were shuffling it in a riffle shuffle. Do this a number of times. Hold it in your hand like you were holding it in a deck of cards. Do this a number of times. Use it, love it, hold it for half an hour.

Now put it down. Is it flat? Probably not. It is probably a little bent.

Now, multiply this by 8 decks.

Multiply this by every time you play the game.

That seems to be what is happening here. Even after one game, when you stack the deck up again, you notice that it doesn't sit flat. Some cards are slightly bent, some cards are slightly warped, some cards more than others. It doesn't take many single offenders to cause the entire deck to be a little tippy and problematic. You can flatten them out again by smushing them or bending them individually, but it is a real pain, and again every time you do this it wears the grain of the paper, weakening them.

So I really think that this is all that is happening. We just have rather plain, unfinished cardboard that is being put through its paces and acting in an understandable fashion.


I don't think this makes sense.

Normal decks of playing cards do not do that.

I do not bend the cards or shuffle them from two piles, and my cards are still warping pretty badly.

My cards started warping pretty badly about 1/4 through my first game (they really started warping before we even started playing).
 
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Matthew Brychel
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BodhiWolff wrote:
One poster mentioned individually laminating all of his cards, with great success.

If it is practically free for you, I'd say you're sitting pretty!

and I'd also say I'm *extremely* jealous!



That would be me!!! Laminating the cards solves virtually all MAJOR problems with this game.

I am having another problem though..... This game is like crack and I can't stop playing it - somebody help!!!!!

-Brave cool
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Rob "Bodhi" Wolff
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So, how much does it cost to get the cards laminated? Or I could ship it off to my new best friend with the home-laminating setup, seeing as we're both in Washington! (relax, I'm kidding)

Any estimates on cost? My google-fu is failing me, as I can't seem to work out even a ballpark estimate.

I used to work at a University with a full media-creation center in the education faculty, where you could do all sorts of fun and creative things for pennies - basically it was done at cost. Oh, how I miss that!

I imagine laminating costs more than 5 cents a page, right?
 
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Shannon L
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The forums here at BGG confused me a bit too. Some of the reviews complained about certain mechanics that allow the leader to beat up on the weakest player. Then there were the component issues.

I went ahead and bought the game and I am so happy with it. Yeah it's expensive and the component quality issues are annoying but it is a really fun game and despite the game length it has hit the table more than any other game since I picked it up.
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Kiyote wrote:
It's so annoying that I'm considering laminating my entire set of cards.


That´s what I wanna do when my copy arrives.

I only hope that I can find some laminating pouches of the right size.
 
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Matthew Brychel
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BodhiWolff wrote:
So, how much does it cost to get the cards laminated? Or I could ship it off to my new best friend with the home-laminating setup, seeing as we're both in Washington! (relax, I'm kidding)

Any estimates on cost? My google-fu is failing me, as I can't seem to work out even a ballpark estimate.

I used to work at a University with a full media-creation center in the education faculty, where you could do all sorts of fun and creative things for pennies - basically it was done at cost. Oh, how I miss that!

I imagine laminating costs more than 5 cents a page, right?


Hmm Hard to say I have my own home laminating setup and buy supplies in bulk off the internet. I would estimate about 1$ per page (8.5 by 11) for about 12 - 16 TTA cards.

I just Laminated my buddies set as well
 
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Matthew Brychel
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f-p-p-m wrote:
Kiyote wrote:
It's so annoying that I'm considering laminating my entire set of cards.


That´s what I wanna do when my copy arrives.

I only hope that I can find some laminating pouches of the right size.


If you are carefull you can actually laminate 12 -16 cards at a time using the normal paper size - takes a little longer but saves on cost!

-Bravecool
 
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Stephen Tudor
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SlyFrog wrote:
BodhiWolff wrote:
The card-curling seems to be more of a result of shuffling, bending, and use than of any sort of strange warping, water absorbtion, etc., in my opinion.

Take a piece of flat cardboard, say cut out from a piece of file-folder, small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, and bend it back and forth like you were shuffling it in a riffle shuffle. Do this a number of times. Hold it in your hand like you were holding it in a deck of cards. Do this a number of times. Use it, love it, hold it for half an hour.

Now put it down. Is it flat? Probably not. It is probably a little bent.

Now, multiply this by 8 decks.

Multiply this by every time you play the game.
...

I don't think this makes sense.

Normal decks of playing cards do not do that.

I do not bend the cards or shuffle them from two piles, and my cards are still warping pretty badly.

My cards started warping pretty badly about 1/4 through my first game (they really started warping before we even started playing).

My experience is comparable to SlyFrog's. It is definitely not normal playing card behavior, and it's been established that the warping occurs with little to no provocation. In my case, and I'm sure many others, all it took was sitting out on the playing surface for a few minutes. I barely even touched them!

I have some felt squares that I now use with this game. They help a little. They don't help when it comes to putting cards on the solid surface of the board ("solid" because I'm being careful not to call it "flat").
 
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