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Carcassonne: 10 Year Special Edition» Forums » News

Subject: Buyer beware if you care about new packaging flaw rss

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Bryan Jensen
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Received my new 10th Anniversary Carcassonne a couple days ago. It's an adorable package, but I was disappointed to discover that they haven't shrink-wrapped the package for protection. Mine arrived with many abrasions and small tears/lifts around the edges, despite FairPlayGames having packed the box really well.



FPG reports all their copies came unprotected from the distributor that way, so any better copies are not available. Jay at Rio Grande Games regrettably at first diverted the issue to say that Hans Im Gluck "was unable to find a way to shrinkwrap the odd shape" and that they "left here without the damage." Unfortunately the way the manufacturer packed them in their cartons only separated by craft paper and without any shrinkwrapping, the ink gets rubbed off the box package as it is shipped, and it ultimately arrives looking like it's an old game with noticeable shelf wear.

Having a common commercial shrink wrap tunnel at my work I ran the new box through the tunnel and it came out just fine and without tears. Yes, it doesn't look aesthetically ideal as there is puckering in the negative space around the Meeple shape. But it seems like a reasonable compromise considering the end customer should receive a quality product that looks new.



Jay now reports he will request it to be used on future editions. If you're a customer for whom this issue would influence your buying decision, I hope this report helps. You may want to wait for a reprint. Or you may not mind your game looking like worn-in jeans. Who knows?

(On a positive aside the new Meeples are really good looking - nice and weighty feeling for their size.)
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Derek Thompson
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They looked at terrible at my FLGS so that made me decide not to get one... pretty bum deal.
 
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Jim McMahon
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I received my copy from Boards and Bits, and there are no defects on the box at all.
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Bryan Jensen
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jimmcmahon wrote:
I received my copy from Boards and Bits, and there are no defects on the box at all.


That's good to hear but puzzling. Maybe different intermediary distributors are breaking down the master cases and boxing them differently -- not that it's not a poor decision on the publisher's part they're not shrink-wrapped, but means some copies obviously look better than others.
 
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Derek Whaley
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Just got mine off Amazon and the entire top of the box was ripped off. It looked terrible and I am going to try again. Hopefully the second version is better than the first.
 
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Shawn Kirkham
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All of them at my store were also not great, but I bought the best one I could find. I wonder how much more the cost would have been for a Tin Box? That would have been cool for this anniversary edition.

You have to admit though, those transparent colored meeples are pretty awesome!

I might buy a couple of the packs of meeples separate too. We have a few of those boxes in the store too.

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Burster of Bubbles, Destroyer of Dreams.
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I got a 3-pack from Tanga -- the original distributor box was just dropped in the mail, with nothing at all protecting the games. All of them have rubs along most of the edges, and there are a few incipient box splits, even just on cursory inspection. I was really expecting better condition for this special collector's item; even a piece of paper in the carton separating the game boxes would have made a huge difference, I think. I have not yet opened any of the boxes to see if the contents sloshed around enough to get damaged.

(And no, I don't blame Tanga -- for most games their handling method would have been OK.)
 
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Bryan Jensen
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Morganza wrote:
I got a 3-pack from Tanga -- the original distributor box was just dropped in the mail, with nothing at all protecting the games. All of them have rubs along most of the edges, and there are a few incipient box splits, even just on cursory inspection. I was really expecting better condition for this special collector's item; even a piece of paper in the carton separating the game boxes would have made a huge difference, I think. I have not yet opened any of the boxes to see if the contents sloshed around enough to get damaged.

(And no, I don't blame Tanga -- for most games their handling method would have been OK.)


FairPlayGames reported to me they received all their inventory scuffed in 3-pack cartons. Jay at RGG said they were shipped to distributors from manufacturer in 6-pack cartons, so he seemed to feel the problem is the distributor's fault. (Which is possible the issue was made worse at that step.)

Nevertheless, the individual game boxes can be shrink-wrapped adequately to significantly reduce abrasion, albeit aesthetically not ideal, despite what Hans Im Gluck apparently reported to RGG, so the problem has to take ownership there. On future printings we may get things fixed insofar as package abrasion matters (or not) to consumers. Meanwhile, when I complained, Jay didn't offer to arrange for a good box to be sent to me. Told me to just return it to the store and they, unfortunately, don't have any stock that looks better.

The contents however turned out to be undamaged, and make a fair little Anniversary set.
 
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Burster of Bubbles, Destroyer of Dreams.
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Note that the ubiquity of shrink-wrap is an ecological nightmare, which is why European games are often not shrinked.
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Bryan Jensen
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Morganza wrote:
Note that the ubiquity of shrink-wrap is an ecological nightmare, which is why European games are often not shrinked.


Excellent point. Don't want to soapbox it, but another perspective I think is interesting: "Green" choices are about more than one point in a product's ecological footprint. If sales are affected such that there are damaged product or unsold product returns that are then disposed, or must be trucked extra times for return, warehousing and/or disposal, then it is a negative and hidden externality to push the waste and extra human labor problem elsewhere when it could be mitigated by the use of shrink in the first place.

Furthermore, to use a sealing "band" around a product (which is what HIG did with this product) requires two manufacturing goods chains: higher mil plastic plus stickers, where shrink is one goods chain. Were they compressed by plastic volume, bands do not reduce plastic consumption as significantly as you'd expect considering that a strong shrink film can be significantly thinner because the enclosing strength is bound across more square inches. Plus bands don't work to limit the externalities of product damage.

The avoidance of shrink film for waste-reduction purpose seems to me more perception than substance when the greater matters of waste have to do with things like the cartons, product size, product content material and weight, waste in producing the product content itself, and how efficiently they can be distributed to the end consumer. Board games -- like all products -- have numerous points of ecological inefficiency and I'd be surprised if HIG is meticulous about maximizing the reduction of waste across the whole manufacturing cycle. For example, think about the waste volume of boardstock sprues that get tossed after a typical Euro is readied for play that could be significantly reduced were the sprues punched, collected, and recycled or efficiently disposed at the point of manufacture. That cost and waste externality is pushed onto the consumer's local environment for the sake of maximizing price point and margins. If the "green" choice is paramount there are more significant compromises that should be considered when it comes to the board gaming business than eliminating shrink wrap.

I'm not saying I have a full grasp of RGG's or HIG's business ecological footprint, but I do work in consumer entertainment products and I have some appreciation for the compromising balance to consider in a product's manufacturing, distribution and consumption lifecycle. I'm skeptical the avoidance of the use of a good shrink film is as "green" as it would seem. My experience would lead me to think it's a poor compromise considering all steps of the product life cycle.

Wow, how was that!

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the dougster
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I was really disappointed with the packaging. I bought as a gift and ended up having to glue the box lid sides down as they kept springing off. Not to mention the scuffs on the top of the lid.
 
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Matt Barnes
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That is odd, mine from Miniature Market looks pristine. I will check over again more carefully tonight, but nothing looked worn the few times I have played it.
 
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Andreas
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I just saw that its now made in China. Wasnt it before made in Germany? Not a good move by the publisher seeing it from a european perspective :(
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