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Subject: Email update from Valley Games rss

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John Owen
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I received this email today. I'm sure that others did, too, but I'm also sure that there are others here who didn't receive, but who are just as interested in what's going on....

Hello all,

We wanted to give you an update on where everything is at the moment and where your copy of either Titan, Municipium or Supernova is currently sitting, because it's not on your game shelf where it SHOULD be.

You can read our frustration in that opening sentence and I know you are feeling a bit in the dark by all the emails that I have gotten. So instead of trying to relay the story to each person, we had one of our customers suggest a mass email with the situation. Nice idea.

So, we'll start with Titan, most of you know we had a couple copies at Origins to show off and those were the first 10 off the press for us to give away and promote the game. When we got them at our hotel in Columbus we noticed some pretty big problems with it, there was colour issues, the tokens didn't cut right, the tray was completely wrong, print errors etc etc. So we advised our printer to stop the press and to address the issue log we sent to him from the show floor that very morning. GenCon came and we were supposed to have a few more copies to show off as the "New Titan" and again, we had some errors on them, while those were not as drastic we had to get the printer, who was now in full production, to stop again. So while some may think it's not our fault, we are still responsible so we'll take the rap. But, I think most of you would agree, that you would rather wait for a perfect copy rather than getting something right away that isn't perfect. At least the feedback so far is in that direction. So the bottom line is that it was delayed again.

Municipium, we had similar problems, and each time the situation changed, the board was cut backwards, the gloss wasn't right on the finish, the colours were different. So this also put this game behind.

Supernova is actually doing pretty well, except that the copies that we were sent at GenCon were not fully dried and caused a couple problems that we will fix without question so if you got one there, send me an email and we will get you fixed up.

So, at the end of the day we were going to try and ship everything together to North America to save shipping costs, but now that is not an option. As soon as each game is complete, we are shipping them over and so here are the dates for the games to arrive in North America, from there they will be shipping to you. European customers we have another solution that should quicken delivery time and I will explain that shortly here.

Titan is shipping to the USA on Sept 5th, by boat, and is expected to arrive in port on Oct 5-8th. Municipium is to ship 3 days after that, and Supernova 3 days after that. We will commence shipping right after that.

Shipping, one of our biggest issues and I'm sure many other people experience the headaches as well. We don't have a warehouse that has Valley Games employees, we don't actually have any employees, we have 3 guys that do different things all of them that can be done via email and telephone. We all live in Canada, great place, crappy for shipping. So we have other companies that we hire to do things for us, warehouse our games, ship them to people, and fix problems like broken generals or missing bits.

All of this is done, by me, by email and phone calls and sometimes it doesn't get done in a timely manner, not because I don't want it to nor because they don't want to it's just something that takes a little time. It's not a perfect system and it will get better. But we are considering not carrying forward with the pre-order program on any other games due to the constant headaches of print issues that cause delays to customers that have already paid and are waiting. It's not fair to you or to us, and you have every right to come yelling your frustration to us. (We then yell back to our printer and others that are dropping the ball) It may not help but I think it makes everyone feel better

We would like to, again, apologize for the delays, we are working toward perfection and sometime you have to break a few eggs to get there. We are more excited to get emails from people who have received their product and are happy than the ones we have been receiving. I do, and will continue to try and get to everyone's email in a timely manner but we do have an enormous amount that we receive and it's tough to get through them all as more pile on and frustrations mount. Your understanding with this is greatly appreciated.

Thank you once again for your support of Valley Games and we are excited to bring more great games to you in the future, more frequently too we hope!

Regards,

Torben Sherwood

Vice President, Operations
Valley Games Inc.
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Chris Demeter
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Quote:
Titan is shipping to the USA on Sept 5th, by boat, and is expected to arrive in port on Oct 5-8th.


Yikes! Slow boat from China I guess
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Geo
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trawlerman wrote:
[COLOR=#0000CC]So, we'll start with Titan, most of you know we had a couple copies at Origins to show off and those were the first 10 off the press for us to give away and promote the game. When we got them at our hotel in Columbus we noticed some pretty big problems with it, there was colour issues, the tokens didn't cut right, the tray was completely wrong, print errors etc etc.


trawlerman wrote:
Municipium, we had similar problems, and each time the situation changed, the board was cut backwards, the gloss wasn't right on the finish, the colours were different.


trawlerman wrote:
Supernova is actually doing pretty well, except that the copies that we were sent at GenCon were not fully dried and caused a couple problems that we will fix without question so if you got one there, send me an email and we will get you fixed up.


Maybe it is time for Valley Games to change their printer to a more reliable one?
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Lexingtonian
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Thank you, Josh, for posting this, and thank you, Torben, for the update. I was never bothered by the delays, because I know it must be tough running a game company, especially on the side. I'll sure be happy when Titan gets here, though.
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Gary Libby
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Quote:
So instead of trying to relay the story to each person, we had one of our customers suggest a mass email with the situation. Nice idea.


Nice idea from ONE of their customers?!? Dozens to say the least have been screaming for ages now for some communication from these guys.

At least it is a step in the right direction. Hopefully they will continue to keep their customers updated by email. It is too bad they are not posting this information themselves online at sites like BGG because there are plenty (like me) who will not preorder from them until they get their act together.

I truly hope they do get it together because the quality of their games that I own (Die Macher & Hannibal) are top notch!
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Sheamus Parkes
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GeoMan wrote:
Maybe it is time for Valley Games to change their printer to a more reliable one?


Sure, would you pay the extra cost

I'm sure that's what makes them think twice.
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Richard Young
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crazyyog wrote:
It is too bad they are not posting this information themselves online at sites like BGG because there are plenty (like me) who will not preorder from them until they get their act together.


I beg to differ. As many have been trying to tell them, they are better employed keeping their customers up to date by updating their website and keeping the periodic newsletters flowing, and letting informed gamers answer the questions that constantly pop up here (as this OP has done).

If you are a Valley Games customer, this is not where you should be coming for information about their products. VG employees have allowed themselves to be drawn into threads here, often simply making matters worse, as anyone who has watched all this unfold can attest - rather than concentrating their efforts to "getting their act together."

I hope this marks a welcome shift in VG's approach to customer service regarding more frequent e-mail newsletters - now if they would only start paying more attention to their website...
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Ronald Tin
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Isamoor wrote:
Sure, would you pay the extra cost

I'm sure that's what makes them think twice.
German companies are printing their games in Europe with superior paper quality, at competitive price.

Printing quality is the biggest reason why I never buy Z-Man products. Poor laminating and cutting is the biggest problem. Cardstock is another issue, although it does not often affect play (as we always use card sleeves) I shall also point out that cardboard chits discolour faster although I am not sure of the cause.

Finally, thanks to Torben for the mail. I finally got my needed update.
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Gary Libby
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Bubslug wrote:
crazyyog wrote:
It is too bad they are not posting this information themselves online at sites like BGG because there are plenty (like me) who will not preorder from them until they get their act together.


I beg to differ. As many have been trying to tell them, they are better employed keeping their customers up to date by updating their website and keeping the periodic newsletters flowing, and letting informed gamers answer the questions that constantly pop up here (as this OP has done).

If you are a Valley Games customer, this is not where you should be coming for information about their products. VG employees allow themselves to be drawn into threads here at their peril as surely anyone who has watched all this unfold can attest, allowing them to better devote their efforts to "getting their act together."

I hope this marks a welcome shift in VG's approach to customer service...


I WAS a customer and will not be again until they shape up their lousy act. I am not going to waste my time going to a website that never seems to get updated in the dim hope they actually are keeping up with it. What I am saying is that if they want to win back their disenfranchised customers then they better start doing a hell of let better in the customer service department. So that means they ought to be trying their darnedest to use any medium available to them to send out information.
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Ryan Newell
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crazyyog wrote:
I WAS a customer and will not be again until they shape up their lousy act. I am not going to waste my time going to a website that never seems to get updated in the dim hope they actually are keeping up with it. What I am saying is that if they want to win back their disenfranchised customers then they better start doing a hell of let better in the customer service department. So that means they ought to be trying their darnedest to use any medium available to them to send out information.
Dude, you got the information. Who cares how you got it.

"Disenfranchised customers"... Some gamers really have an inflated sense of entitlement.
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Michael
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hokuto_su wrote:
German companies are printing their games in Europe with superior paper quality, at competitive price.


So, Europeans could expect to receive their game next week (with shipment starting this Friday)? That would be very nice.
 
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Ben Foy
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hokuto_su wrote:
German companies are printing their games in Europe with superior paper quality, at competitive price.


I don't blame Valley and Eagle for trying to find other avenues for printing games at a reasonable cost. Given increasing value of the Euro, the prices of games from Germany is going to keep increasing. But there are plenty of problems with printing in China. They have to import paper/wood, increasing the cost of those components. Unless you speak fluent Chinese, you also are going to have problems communicating. Also its harder to go and interact with the printer in person.
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Isamoor wrote:
GeoMan wrote:
Maybe it is time for Valley Games to change their printer to a more reliable one?


Sure, would you pay the extra cost?


No, but on the other hand i am also not going to buy their games if they don't offer better quality. I don't need games with warping boards, wrong colors, low quality cardstock, e.t.c.
 
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Antigonus Monophthalmus
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GeoMan wrote:
No, but on the other hand i am also not going to buy their games if they don't offer better quality. I don't need games with warping boards, wrong colors, low quality cardstock, e.t.c.


I only have one of their games (Hannibal), but from what I've seen there and from the pictures of Titan it doesn't look like quality is remotely an issue. In fact Hannibal is one of the highest quality games I own. Of course we pay for that quality in delays, which is a fine trade-off for me.

The email updates are, of course, more preferable though and I appreciate this change
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Eric Gorr
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BagpipeDan wrote:
GeoMan wrote:
No, but on the other hand i am also not going to buy their games if they don't offer better quality. I don't need games with warping boards, wrong colors, low quality cardstock, e.t.c.


Of course we pay for that quality in delays, which is a fine trade-off for me.


Indeed.

It's not like I'm in any hurry to receive this new release of Titan. My current copy remains extremely playable and in good condition.

I know I'll receive the VG copy eventually and given their clear attention to detail, I am confident that it will be a high-quality release - and, ultimately, that is what is important.

I certainly will purchase from them again in the future as they release other games I am interested in.

(Civilization and Advanceced Civilization would be on the top of my list for games I hope they could do at some point in the future.)

 
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Sean P
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I feel pretty lucky to enjoy a hobby where the designers and producers are generally willing to contact their customers, and to sometimes take their advice.

I can't imagine Blizzard or some other videogame companies where the designers are so available. As a comic collector I may be able to send and e-mail, but I'm unlikely to affect the upcoming product like boardgamers seem to. I remember not knowing a game was coming out until I saw it at the hobby store near the Dungeons and Dragons stuff.

An e-mail is fine, a quick post on their website would be great, too. Whatever. I just want the game when it's ready.

These small boardgame companies have only a few employees trying to stay afloat amid a lot crises that are beyond their control. It seems miraculous that there are so many small game companies out there.
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Jared Kocet
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I'm happy to hear some news, even though I didn't get any e-mails. Probably because I pre-ordered from Eaglegames. Sure a promised ship date in July-August turning into October is a bummer, but at least they had our best interests in mind. The pictures I've seen of the new Titan are great. The fact that they keep stopping the presses because it wasn't prefect is a GOOD thing.
 
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I advise the complainers to walk a mile in their shoes. Trust me, it's a painful walk.
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Peter Hansell
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GeoMan wrote:
Maybe it is time for Valley Games to change their printer to a more reliable one?

At TableStar Games we have gone through this nightmare too. The only solution is to send the games to China with a ridiculous lead time and expectations of major delays. We sent our last game, Wealth of Nations, to China in October 2007 and had it available for Origins in June 2008. With that game we only had a few priting problems and the quality has been pretty good.

We tried getting competitive quotes from American and European printers and the cost was almost double what the chinese could do. It pains me to send more business overseas but for a small company we really do not have a lot of choice.

Peter
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BrenoK wrote:
Company: so we had a choice between a faulty game right now, or another delay for a more polished job.

I think the old maxim applies.
"Fast, Cheap or Good - Pick 2."

Acutally you will probably only get 1.
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Peteloaf wrote:
BrenoK wrote:
Company: so we had a choice between a faulty game right now, or another delay for a more polished job.

I think the old maxim applies.
"Fast, Cheap or Good - Pick 2."

Acutally you will probably only get 1.


I use that quote all the time in IT when talking with the end users. Very true and VG has chosen the latter 2, which makes perfect business sense.
I have seen the quality of the components and it is excellent (printing errors aside). I am willing to give up time to get it better, and keep it cheaper.

I also would like to cut them some slack, because they are just 3 guys, who started a game company, and managed to get our beloved classic reprinted. Thanks Torben, Rik, and Kevin!
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Tom Hancock
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Peteloaf wrote:
BrenoK wrote:
Company: so we had a choice between a faulty game right now, or another delay for a more polished job.

I think the old maxim applies.
"Fast, Cheap or Good - Pick 2."

Acutally you will probably only get 1.


If this is Valley Games' dilemma, I would prefer they continue to roll with "good" and work towards the other two as possible.
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Peteloaf wrote:
BrenoK wrote:
Company: so we had a choice between a faulty game right now, or another delay for a more polished job.

I think the old maxim applies.
"Fast, Cheap or Good - Pick 2."

Acutally you will probably only get 1.


Where's multiple thumbs button when you need it?
 
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Surya Van Lierde is pure Eurosnoot and proud of it!
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It's clear that Valley Games is pushing it's printer to do the very best job they can, a move that will probably pay dividends in the future. Once the level of quality has been established, they only have to keep working at that same level for each new game, resulting in shorter production cycles. I'm hopeful for one.
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Surya Van Lierde is pure Eurosnoot and proud of it!
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Oh yeah, this thread belong in the Valley Games forum, not the Titan forum
 
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