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Subject: Why Game Publishers Rule rss

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This journal entry has been on my mind for several days:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geekjournal.php3?action=viewcom...

Basically the author is suggesting that some people just bitch & moan because they just like to bitch and moan and that they probably did terrible things in a past life in order to receive such horrible karma in this life.

Well, I'm not buying into the karma thingie, but he is right that there is a fair amount of bitching and maoning about publishers, quality, shipping times, missing parts and responsiveness to the above mentioned niggardly carping about things ranging from Goo's missing red archer to the Mayfair bashers who repeatedly slam the component quality of a game they bought for under $20.

So let's get some things understood about game publishers. first off, publishers like MayFair, FFG and others are typically small companies. I don't mean small in the sense of under $500 million a year in sales. I mean small in the sense of sometimes having an employee base ranging from 3 to perhaps as many as 15 people. We're not talking about a company that has an entire division devoted to sorting out small errors.

And what about those small errors?

I don't know about MayFair, Rio Grande or Days Of Wonder, but some of the small publishers I know of don't pack and assemble their games. This is often done by the printer or another subcontractor that makes, assembles and shrinkwraps the boxes. Then (I assume), spare parts are shipped to the publisher's HQ and from there they can make an effort to fufill errors.

Since this is a specialty site it's understandable that some will hold publishers to a higher standard than they'd hold almost any other manufacturer of other products they use in their daily lives. Like cars. And computers. And film makers. And pc game publishers. And grocery stores. And electronics manufacturers. And clothing companies. And sporting goods manufacturers.

My point being that publishers are small (in most cases) and customer satisfaction is not usually one person's sole job. They do have lives, babies, they get sick just like you and they take off on holidays too. The fact is, I believe that game publishers for the most part deliver more value and responsiveness for the money than almost any other genre of product us affluent folks spend our bucks on.

Hasbro gets slammed because it's big and to some extent that is perhaps more fair than slighting Mayfair because it took a couple of weeks to get a replacement part. And I'm not picking on Goo because it took a while and he wrote long (and enjoyable) journal entries about his experience. All I'm suggesting is that Geeks tend to have a double standard when carping about quality issues.

War of the Ring comes to mind because there have been complaints about the quality of the miniatures. Huh? For under $60 you get a massive game that has very high production values, is highly rated and has a huge amount of plastic pieces. Bitching about whether a plastic miniature is bent sure seems pissy to me instead of valid. Now if you'd paid $250 for the game I'd understand. And the Mayfair-hating bunch who repeatedly accuse Mayfair of...well.. of being Mayfair because they don't think the rules sheet should have been printed on anything less than glossy, thick paper in full color and tarot-sized cards with silver edging. Total BS. You can get the game for under $20 and you whine about something like a frickin' plastic insert not being up to par? Hopefully you go up to the manager and ask for your money back when you spend $20 on a movie and some oily popcorn and it sucks.

The recent growth in popularity of board games and the competiveness of the publishers has certainly risen the bar on what us consumers expect. And I believe that the publishers in general have met, and mostly exceeded, the bang for the buck factor of boardgames. The internet has created the demand for customer service and no publisher will have a good rep if it fails to respond. That's a good thing and it's my view that we should all continue to expect the best from publishers but that we should also cut them a little slack and do some comparative analysis on thier products and their ability to make us happy before we go off and slam them for not meeting a standard that would be asked of almost no other service or product in your life.

When I grow up and own my own game company I'm going to require all my customers to fill out and pay for a service contract, just like Dell does. Then I'm going to sub out the support jobs to India and let you moaners try and tell Rajheem all about your missing meeple.



 
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Paul Sommer
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how dare you sir !!!!!
I should say someyhing nasty to you now and disagree in the strongest of tones and play devils advocate.....

soblue
But I can't.........have to agree with most of what you say.


We get a pretty damn good service from our online sellers and our B & M shops too.Adam speilt shocked me with their instant replacement of a game that was missing one part.


If the box is dented ? , well hey ,its what the box is there for , to hold and protect not to be cherished .A shrink wrapped game is a horror to behold in anyones collection.Games are mean't to played , damaged , used and enjoyed not worshipped.

 
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David Boeren
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customer service
You know, he's got a point there.

If I bought a computer for $800 and something was wrong, I would expect to be on hold to customer service for a hour before getting to a rep. Then I think I'd expect them to have to mail me a "return" packing slip. Once it came in, I'd have to mail them my computer (possibly at my own expense), and wait for them to fix it and send it back. The whole thing would take at LEAST two weeks, maybe more.

On the other hand, if I buy a copy of a $20 boardgame and there is a part or card missing, I expect to be able to get the missing part shipped to me in less than a week at the game company's expense.

Now, this has only happened a couple of times. Rio Grande was excellent, mailing me my parts and I am very satisfied with the experience. I did have to wait a while. I was told the part would ship, and when it wasn't there yet a couple of months later I re-mailed and they arrived in a few days. I have never mentioned the delay before, frankly I was just happy that they were willing to fix the problem and I had plenty of other games to play while I waited or I could use substitute pieces.

On the other hand, I have a copy of Battle Cry which is missing one confederate infantry figure and have never been able to find out how to get a replacement. I've tried looking all over the web page, emailing a generic customer support address, and never gotten anything out of it. This is a "big company" we're talking about here, Hasbro. I will probably try again sometime, because I have painted all the other figures and it looks a little silly to have such nice painted bits and then a lone unpainted Axis & Allies soldier standing in for the missing confederate.

I think actually the amount of trouble we expect to endure is almost inversely proportional to the price of the item. A fix to a small/cheap item should be easy to do. A fix to an expensive and complex item we do not expect to be as simple to achieve.
 
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Steve Downin
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Then I'm going to sub out the support jobs to India and let you moaners try and tell Rajheem all about your missing meeple.

Just make sure that Rajheem knows to tell your customers that his name is 'Roger'. That way people won't think you're shipping jobs overseas.
 
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Goo
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The thing of it is, Tripp
It's that you are really right about this. I did mention (albeit deep down in a small reply to my silly journal), that truly I was very happy with the customer service I got. Afterall, they sent me exactly what I needed with no questions asked. And truly, the fact that I waited 3 weeks for the part (one of those weeks was a holiday week) is nothing to cry about. I mean, give me a break, any other company would tell you to expect resolution in 6-8 weeks. Just about every game company customer service story you hear about is 100% resolved with no questions asked. Most of them take good care of their customers.

Honestly, I was just having fun with it. I knew that I wouldn't even have a chance to play the game in that time.

As far as games with missing parts and things like that, I work for a multi-million dollar company. You should see the shoddy crap we ship out. Big or small, all companies have QC issues. That's just the way it goes.

And I also agree with you about my complaints about the chinsy Modern Art. What I got for $17.50 is sufficient, and the whole of it is amazing. I just wanted a tiny bit more and I would have happily paid more for it. In the end, though, I love the game so much, I could play it with earwax and snot chits and toilet paper paintings and be happy with it.

So, I don't mean to seem so conflict averse. It's just that, well, you know, sometimes when someone calls you out, they just might be right. And in this, I think Tripp is right.

I am still amazed at what I get in my games for so little money. I filled my gas tank the other day with $40 and thought, that's 2 really good games. These games are really very cheap. It's only the fact that I want so many of them that makes this an expensive hobby.


-goo
 
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Quote:
If I bought a computer for $800 and something was wrong, I would expect to be on hold to customer service for a hour before getting to a rep. Then I think I'd expect them to have to mail me a "return" packing slip. Once it came in, I'd have to mail them my computer (possibly at my own expense), and wait for them to fix it and send it back. The whole thing would take at LEAST two weeks, maybe more.


Not to take this too far off-topic, but I actually just sent my $1000 HP laptop back to the manufacturer on Friday, at their expense, and I should have it back in hand tomorrow around noon. So that's well under the "two weeks" mentioned above. I was on the phone a while, but on hold, not long at all, mainly the time spent was trying to diagnosis my computer's problem.
 
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exporting jobs
Quote:
Just make sure that Rajheem knows to tell your customers that his name is 'Roger'. That way people won't think you're shipping jobs overseas


The other day Dell Leasing called me to find out if I'd sent in my check for a business lease. The caller was a woman who had such a thick accent that I doubt Gunga Din would have been able to understand her. So I asked her name. "Stephanie", she said...well I think that's what she said.

"You're calling from India aren't you?" I asked.

"I am in Denver", was what I think her response was. So I said, 'Prove it." Instead she just started in on her script again so I interrupted her and asked, "What state is Denver in?"

She hung up.
 
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Rod Spade
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... they don't think the rules sheet should have been printed on anything less than glossy, thick paper in full color and tarot-sized cards with silver edging. Total BS. You can get the game for under $20 and you whine about something like a frickin' plastic insert not being up to par?


I think I got a good value when I purchased Modern Art. However, the insert really does suck! yuk

Nevertheless, I agree with what you're saying. And Modern Art - even the new Mayfair version - is definitely worth buying!
 
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David Boeren
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Modern Art
Modern Art is a special case I think. It's pretty cheap, but a great game, and comes with unusually shoddy components.

Most people who really like the game would be very happy to pay $10 more for a Days of Wonder edition.
 
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The Games Are About Glory
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Generally agree
I can't complain about the ROI (return on investment) that your average priced board game will bring. However, I personally would be willing to pay a bit more for better packaging / components, etc. I've compared Mayfair and DoW in the past and my issue was mainly the packaging. If I had to pay an extra $2-3 so my Modern Art cards fit in the insert properly or for my Catan bits to be tucked away nicely in the box I wouldn't hesitate. Does it take anything away from the actual game? Of course not. It is nice (and maked setup times quicker) to have everything organized though.

Maybe I'm in the minority here. I recently asked a question about plastic playing cards expecting that most people would be willing to pay for better stuff but I got the opposite response. Either way, in the grand scheme of things it isn't bad at all.

There, DW. Not quite a total disagreement, but hopefully enough to satisfy.
 
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It's just a morsel, but it'll do.
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There, DW. Not quite a total disagreement, but hopefully enough to satisfy.


Thanks for throwing me the bone Dave, though it's a small one. I always feel like I must be doing something wrong if too many people agree with me.
 
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Nick Larson
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"You're calling from India aren't you?" I asked.

"I am in Denver", was what I think her response was. So I said, 'Prove it." Instead she just started in on her script again so I interrupted her and asked, "What state is Denver in?"

She hung up.


LMAO!!
 
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Dane Peacock
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Keep Smiling
You whiners, want me to call the call the waaaambulance?

Give these people a break. Everyone should be nicer to each other. Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. You hypocrites, everyone makes mistakes. Spread love, not hate. So, you didn't get what you paid for. Quit complaining. So, it takes 2-4 weeks to get the part for a game you bought to play that weekend? Don't let the disappointment show, you whiner. So, you get a big glop of green gelatinous goo in your game. Keep smiling, turn the other cheek, and live by the golden rule.
 
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Simon Hunt
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Mayfair Rocks!
Bought Tigris & Euphrates (Mayfair) by mail order. Opened the box and discovered a huge gash in one of the pieces.

http://www.mcircle.org/ebaypics/greentemple.jpg

Sent the following to Mayfair this morning:

Dear Mayfair Games,

I recently purchased Tigris & Euphrates. On opening the box I
discovered that one of the Green Temple arches had slipped through
Quality Control with a huge gash in it. Picture attached. Would you be
able to replace this for me? My shipping address is:

Simon Hunt
xxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxx, CA 95XXX

With thanks,
~Simon


Received the following response within 2.5 hours:

Dear Simon,
I am sorry you received a defective piece in your game. I will send
you a replacement in the mail.

Loren
Customer Service
Mayfair Games, Inc.

 
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Gerald McDaniel
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Now, DW
Now, DW, you weren't very nice to "Stephanie." I'd hang up on a trouble-maker like you, too, and I am in Denver.

However, regarding the main purpose of this journal -- I recently purchased Settlers of Catan. One of the green settlements looks like it was held for ransom and tortured with a flame thrower. One corner is ragged and blackened. Doesn't bother me. I always play with green and I just say the first green settlement was attacked by Catan natives, and they almost burnt the whole place down, before we settlers put out the fire. Yeah, I thought about contacting Mayfair and asking for a new green settlement, but then I came to my senses and thought "what's the big deal." I could even substitute a green monopoly house, for Pete's sake. I thought about sending Mayfair a digital photo, just to give them a laugh, but I figured they are probably a little busy trying to send replacement parts to the people who whine about every little thing. Geeze, I'm really sorry to have to agree so much with you, but sometimes that's just the way it is.......
 
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Goo
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thinking back to my Settlers
let's see... there's:

red...

blue...

white...

orange...

yeah, that sounds right. No green. What's all this crazy talk about green settlements? Maybe your set is more compromised than you thought. Then again, I wish I had green. I'm sending mine back. Who do they think they are?


-goo
 
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Tom Vasel
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5-6 Player expansion added green and brown.
 
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Paul Kidd
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You know - maybe there's something weird with the green. One of my green houses is cut so it's leaning over.

We try to put it on the edge so it's kind of windswept.

It never occurred to me to worry about it and I am usually fastidious about things.

Also my copy of "Web of Power" has too many of one of the pieces - weird. I wonder if someone else is missing some purple cloisters that sit in mine?

Anyway, I don't think I'd worry about these things unless they really affected the gameplay.

One thing however - I agree that we shouldn't be too tough on lapses so long as there is a good faith effort to rectify problems, but I would say that in the case of War of the Ring, it seems to be almost standard to have pieces missing. Things missing now and then is one thing, but when it happens to many sets there is something wrong at the production end.
 
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Gerald McDaniel
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Brown
Oh yeah, I forgot -- there is also a brown settlement missing from my 5-6 expansion. Guess the natives actually did burn down that settlement. So far, we have only played with five players, so we leave out the brown ones, but we'll just find a substitute when we play with 6 people. No big deal.
cool
 
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