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Subject: A game that needed a lot of work to get it to the table rss

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Kevin O'Sullivan
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This copy of Crokinole by Mayday Games was kindly received from the Spanish games retailer laPCra. The full review with images can be seen on my blog KevinAndGames.blogspot.com

This review follows a slightly different format to my normal reviews and is made up of the following sections: The Beginning, The Game Arrives, The Game Is Fixed, Playing The Game, What We Think Of The Game and a Postscript.

The Beginning
It was during my evening with Steve Berger at his Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Association of Gamers STAG that I first heard about Crokinole, a game he mentioned as popular with his family. Not surprisingly, for me at least, I had a quick look at it on BoardGameGeek (BGG), read some reviews and looked at some photo’s. It looked interesting and very different from any of my existing games so I duly added it to my BGG Wish List, as a way of not forgetting the idea.

As last years Essen approached I reviewed my Wish List and saw that one of the retailers would be carrying a version of Crokinole by Mayday Games. Looking more closely I discovered to my surprise that this game was priced at well over 100 Euro’s. My earlier superficial analysis had omitted to establish the price of the game. It was at this point that I began to appreciate that this was not a game like Carcassonne but rather Chess or Draughts where there are many makers of the game. Further investigation confirmed that this not insignificant price was very much at the lower end of the scale and that some of the Crokinole boards were beautiful pieces of craftsmanship, with a commensurate price tag

Given its cost let alone let alone its size (28 ½” diameter) this was quickly dismissed from my Essen shopping list and I thought no more about it, until…

I received a mail from Brett Gilbert a fellow member of the UK Gaming Media Network (with his own blog Brett Spiel ) saying he had won a Spanish prize for one of his games, Oracle Pathway which has since been picked up for publication by one of the French games publishers, Asmodee, and that given the work that Imagination Gaming do he was willing to share it with us. This very generous offer allowed the northern / core element of Imagination Gaming to acquire a number of extensions to Pitch Car whilst its southern outpost received a copy of Crokinole.

The Game Arrives
When the big day and the large package arrived imagine how disappointed I was to discover that the board was coming apart and poorly finished:

A. The outer board was screwed to the inner board from its underside but most of the screws had come loose and were moving freely in their holes;

B. The fibre board outer board although screwed to the inner board had no felt backing to protect what ever table / surface it would be placed on;

C. The central well cap came away in my hand;

D. Some of the 8 central wooden pegs fitted their holes whilst others would only go part of the way in;

E. The laminated / veneer surface had a number of bumps and marks on it;

F. The box that holds the playing pieces was nicely finished except that it’s cloth insert was loose and larger than the space it was supposed to cover and the holes to be used for the scoring pegs were so small the wooden scoring pegs would never fit them.

Thankfully I had not had to pay for this game but having subsequently had a look at the information about the Crokinole boards manufactured by or at least for Mayday Games these problems are sadly not uncommon. However I can well imagine the frustration purchasers must feel if they buy this board at over £100 and find so many issues with it. It may be an entry level Crokinole board but if you hand over £100+ pounds you would expect the game to arrive in working order.

The Game Is Fixed
Anybody who knows me knows how useless I am when it comes to any form of DIY / game repair so the imminent arrival of my brother-in-laws for a weekend indicated it was time to start thinking about fixing Crokinole.

Phase 1 meant:
1. The purchase of wide short counter sunk wood screws from local specialist;

2. Ordering Crokinole Tubing Assembly Kit or equivalent components from local DIY store;

3. Order cribbage pegs to use for the scoring board (we could obviously have just increased the size of the holes on the scoring board but that wouldn't have been nearly as much fun);

4. Ambushing one brother-in-law!

Phase 2 (with said brother-in-law in charge of proceedings) meant:
1. Marking the boards in such a way as to realign them when ready to bring them back together (the outer and inner boards were only partially secured by the original screws);

2. Remove remaining screws and drill new counter sunk holes to accommodate our newly acquired screws;

3. Scratch both sides of the boards (and the central well cap) where they sit against each other in order to give the glue a better surface with which to bond;

4. Apply “No More Nails” to the surface area then re-align the boards and screw them together;

5. Glue the central well cap in place;

6. Apply some form of felt backing to the outer game board to protect both the board and any surface on which it will sit;

7. Go and make coffee and come back later in the day;

8. Polish the central playing board and the player disks;

9. Cut 8 lengths of ½” rubber tubing and screw them onto the central board in place of the wooden pegs;

10. Drill 6 additional holes on the scoring board. 4 at one end of the run of holes to act as place holders for the two pegs and 2 at the other end to denote a score of 50;

11. Job done, now we can play the game!

Playing The Game
Played as a 2 player game each player has 12 wooden disks. Players take turns flicking their disks, using thumb and forefinger, onto the circular playing board. The disk can be placed anywhere along their starting line (the outer quadrant line opposite their opponent) with not more than half of the disk over this line. If an opponent’s disk or disks are already on the board then the disk you flick must touch one of them either directly or if you also have disks on the board by knocking one of them against one of your opponent’s disks. Should your disk and any of those of your colour it touches fail to touch an opponent’s disks then your new disk and any of yours it touched are removed from play!

If however there are none of your opponent’s disks on the board then your disk must come to rest touching or within the 15 point ring. The Crokinole board has 4 scoring zones, the central well worth 20 (disks making it into this are immediately removed and placed to one side to be scored at the end of the round), the central circle, worth 15 points, the middle ring, worth 10, and the outer ring, worth 5. When all the disks have been played the players count up their points and the winner scores the difference between the two – Crokinole is a game played over a number of rounds, the winner being the first to a 100.

The game can also accommodate 4 players where each player has 6 disks and players work in two teams or for 3 players there are two alternatives: 1 player takes 12 disks and plays against the other two both of whom have 6 disks or alternatively you buy another set of disks in a third colour and everybody plays against each other.

What We Think Of The Game
Crokinole is lively, fun and requires a degree of skill that will reward practice. As a game it can be played in 10 to 15 minutes and by most ages. With the physical nature of the game it makes an excellent family game with the only issues (ignoring all those mentioned earlier!) being:

1. Its sheer size, plus understandably the instruction stating it should be stored flat and with nothing on top of it, could make it difficult to store;

2. Price, this is obviously not a cheep game.

3. I feel it player best as a two player, although we didn't try either of the 3 player options. The four player is fun but seemed to be more chaotic with disks flying everywhere.

All that said I feel it to be an excellent addition to the collection that will prove its worth over time in particular when working with non gaming groups, care homes and in community settings.

Postscript
If you are interested in investigating this little known game than:

A: Check out the following retailers for some stunning and very different boards available in the UK, mainland Europe and North America:
Jaques of London (based just down the road in Edenbridge)
Willard
Hilinski Brothers
Muzzies' Country Lane Woodshop
Mr.Crokinole[url]
[url=http://ferti.free.fr/games/crokinole/index.php]Ferti


B. Watch this excellent video review of the comparative merits of some of the alternative boards.

C. Note that at the time of publishing this post the Mayday Games web site is stating "has discontinued its prior crokinole boards and has a new and improved board "

If you would like to see more images of the game then click here and if you liked this review then other games here
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Talorien
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Maybe you got sent one of these 'demo copy for charity' boards?

MayDay Game Crokinole Review: The Rest of the Story

:inno:
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Michel van Peenen
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Great review.

Too bad you recieved one of the "renowned" boards from Mayday.
On the other hand there now are two more persons who should be able to produce quality Crokinole Boards: You and your brother in law.
You sure put a lot of work in making the board playable.


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Yours Truly,
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There must have been a moment at the beginning, where we could have said no. Somehow we missed it. Well, we'll know better next time.
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Quote:
1. Its sheer size, plus understandably the instruction stating it should be stored flat and with nothing on top of it, could make it difficult to store;


I sometimes see photos of people storing these boards by hanging them on their walls. It's visually striking (especially the ones with art on them). It's also space-efficient. I'm curious why this would be a no-no?

I saw my first one a couple weeks ago and yeah it was much bigger than I had anticipated. A lot of fun to play.

Nice review by the way, I checked out your photos, nice job on the refurbishment.
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Matthew Rooks
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Very nice post, thank you for sharing.

This is yet another example of Mayday's serious problems with quality control. Check out is list for a plethora of other examples:

Mayday Games: A Cautionary Tale
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Mayday Games
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Kevin,

Thanks for your detailed review of the game, we are really sorry you got an imperfect board from laPCra. We don't sell to laPCra directly but I'm sure if you had contacted them or us we could have gotten you a replacement board. Did you ask them about the quality of the board? The loose screw issue you mentioned is not common, even in our discontinued boards. We have seen this a few times in our shipments but those have always been the result of mishandling by the shipping company. I'm guessing you didn't pick this up in person or you would have seen the damage before hand and asked for another board.

I'd recommend you talk to laPCra and see if they can claim the insurance on the shipment to you through DHL/Fedex or whatever company shipped it to you.

We certainly do stand behind our products and our two shipments of Crokinole to Europe quickly sold out, both at Essen in 2010 and 2011.

It sounds like you got all of the problems resolved already and are enjoying the game, we are happy to hear that. Please email me directly at seth@maydaygames.com and we'll be happy to follow up on your board directly with laPCra on your behalf if you'd like.

Let me mention to anyone else who gets a damaged Crokinole board, or a damaged game of any type anywhere, it is always best to contact the retailer who shipped it to you and the shipping company before going out and making repairs on it yourself. At least in this case we certainly could have done something.

We recently had a customer in Australia who ordered one of our new boards, but one of the two came damaged as well. He contacted us directly and we are having a new one shipped to him at no cost. Thanks again for your review and let us know if you need anything else via email!
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Stephen Smith
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JohnnyDollar wrote:
Quote:
1. Its sheer size, plus understandably the instruction stating it should be stored flat and with nothing on top of it, could make it difficult to store;

I sometimes see photos of people storing these boards by hanging them on their walls. It's visually striking (especially the ones with art on them). It's also space-efficient. I'm curious why this would be a no-no?

I'm not sure why this would be a problem for a well-made board. I've never heard of anyone with a quality board having problems due to boards being hung. I've certainly never had any problems with mine and it been hung off and on for several years. And when it wasn't hung, it was still stored upright.
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Kevin O'Sullivan
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The board certainly came with eyelets so in theory it could be hung on the wall. However from our point of view this wasn't something we wanted to do.

As regards storage I quote from point 3 under the section Care and Maintenance in the 'Rules and Care Instructions' received with the game:

"Store the board flat. Leaning it against a wall will rest its entire weight on a small section of the outside rail, eventually warping your board."

I store it in the packaging / box it came in so this point may be unnecessary however I felt it worth making as should there be a problem at a later date I felt that it would be unsurprising if one of the first questions I might be asked would be; Did you store it flat? and if I answered 'no' then I might be pointed to the afore mention point with a 'well because of that we cannot help you'.

Conjecture I know but when considering acquiring a game of this size I think storage is a consideration if you do not plan to hang it on a wall.
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Phil Thron
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seppo21 wrote:
JohnnyDollar wrote:
Quote:
1. Its sheer size, plus understandably the instruction stating it should be stored flat and with nothing on top of it, could make it difficult to store;

I sometimes see photos of people storing these boards by hanging them on their walls. It's visually striking (especially the ones with art on them). It's also space-efficient. I'm curious why this would be a no-no?

I'm not sure why this would be a problem for a well-made board. I've never heard of anyone with a quality board having problems due to boards being hung. I've certainly never had any problems with mine and it been hung off and on for several years. And when it wasn't hung, it was still stored upright.


Stephen, what materials are you using to hang your board? I've got a Muzzies board I wish to hang on the wall, but I'm not sure how best to go about it...
 
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B C Z
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Was this a "New" board or "Old" board?
 
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Kevin O'Sullivan
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byronczimmer wrote:
Was this a "New" board or "Old" board?


There was no mention that it was an 'old' board so my expectation when it arrived was that it was a new / normal board.
 
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Len
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maydaygames wrote:
Kevin,

Thanks for your detailed review of the game, we are really sorry you got an imperfect board from laPCra. We don't sell to laPCra directly but I'm sure if you had contacted them or us we could have gotten you a replacement board. Did you ask them about the quality of the board? The loose screw issue you mentioned is not common, even in our discontinued boards. We have seen this a few times in our shipments but those have always been the result of mishandling by the shipping company. I'm guessing you didn't pick this up in person or you would have seen the damage before hand and asked for another board.

I'd recommend you talk to laPCra and see if they can claim the insurance on the shipment to you through DHL/Fedex or whatever company shipped it to you.

We certainly do stand behind our products and our two shipments of Crokinole to Europe quickly sold out, both at Essen in 2010 and 2011.

It sounds like you got all of the problems resolved already and are enjoying the game, we are happy to hear that. Please email me directly at seth@maydaygames.com and we'll be happy to follow up on your board directly with laPCra on your behalf if you'd like.

Let me mention to anyone else who gets a damaged Crokinole board, or a damaged game of any type anywhere, it is always best to contact the retailer who shipped it to you and the shipping company before going out and making repairs on it yourself. At least in this case we certainly could have done something.

We recently had a customer in Australia who ordered one of our new boards, but one of the two came damaged as well. He contacted us directly and we are having a new one shipped to him at no cost. Thanks again for your review and let us know if you need anything else via email!


"Imperfect" board?

When the big day and the large package arrived imagine how disappointed I was to discover that the board was coming apart and poorly finished:

A. The outer board was screwed to the inner board from its underside but most of the screws had come loose and were moving freely in their holes;

B. The fibre board outer board although screwed to the inner board had no felt backing to protect what ever table / surface it would be placed on;

C. The central well cap came away in my hand;

D. Some of the 8 central wooden pegs fitted their holes whilst others would only go part of the way in;

E. The laminated / veneer surface had a number of bumps and marks on it;

F. The box that holds the playing pieces was nicely finished except that it’s cloth insert was loose and larger than the space it was supposed to cover and the holes to be used for the scoring pegs were so small the wooden scoring pegs would never fit them.

Sounds like it was a bit more than "imperfect".

.....why not just create a form post? Then you can just copy-paste this standard response to posts about the junk you manufacture? You've got to get tired of posting this same thing, over and over?
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Demian Johnston

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Gordianus wrote:
byronczimmer wrote:
Was this a "New" board or "Old" board?


There was no mention that it was an 'old' board so my expectation when it arrived was that it was a new / normal board.


Kevin,
I suspect the question is similar to my own. Mayday Games has released at least 3 editions of their boards:

1 (2010) MDG-4293 (Mayday Games Edition)
2 (2011) MDG-4296 (Mayday Games Premium 26" tournament edition)
3 (2012) MDG-4304 MDG-4305 (Mayday Games Beech Hardwood Tournament Edition) or (Mayday Games Mahogany Hardwood Tournament Edition)

Mayday has attempted to improve on their manufacturing and distribution methods with each successive generation. Its common to hear several complaints followed by Seth Hiatt responding and volunteering to make it right. Its been a cycle that has repeated itself a few times.

I'm guessing the board you reviewed is a 2011 generation board as I believe the 2012 only recently (if at all) started shipping.
 
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LSMB wrote:
"Imperfect" board?

When the big day and the large package arrived imagine how disappointed I was to discover that the board was coming apart and poorly finished:

A. The outer board was screwed to the inner board from its underside but most of the screws had come loose and were moving freely in their holes;


Yes this was likely caused by damage during shipping and we would have been happy to address this, though the shipping company would likely have covered this in a claim.

LSMB wrote:
B. The fibre board outer board although screwed to the inner board had no felt backing to protect what ever table / surface it would be placed on;


No felt backing on the back of the board isn't a defect, we don't advertise it as having anything like this, some felt feet can be purchased quite easily if that is a preference of someone though, we have never offered this and it isn't standard on any other boards that we are aware of, but either way it isn't a defect of the board.

LSMB wrote:
C. The central well cap came away in my hand;


Those were held on with simple wood glue on the 2011 production run, a few of them have been reported to come off. The 2012 run has been improved but the game is certainly not "broken" because of this. Some wood glue is all that is required to re-attach it. This could have been jarred loose during shipping as it sounds like it was pretty severely mishandled in transit by the shipping company.

LSMB wrote:
D. Some of the 8 central wooden pegs fitted their holes whilst others would only go part of the way in;


The wooden pegs are intentionally "tight" so they don't come out easily during play. If you twist them while applying pressure from above they should go in. Some light tapping with a mallet will also work. If you aren't comfortable doing that you can take a pair of scissors and gently twist one edge of them around in the hole to make it just a bit bigger too.

LSMB wrote:
E. The laminated / veneer surface had a number of bumps and marks on it;


Yes this is an imperfection. Because every single one of these is hand made one at a time each one is different and will have some minor imperfections to a greater or lesser extent. This shouldn't effect game play but if it does we are happy to replace the board.


LSMB wrote:
F. The box that holds the playing pieces was nicely finished except that it’s cloth insert was loose and larger than the space it was supposed to cover and the holes to be used for the scoring pegs were so small the wooden scoring pegs would never fit them.


The cloth insert can very easily be trimmed if a customer desires. Also a 2011 production item that isn't even in the 2012 version. The pegs are a known issue and we have replacement pegs we can easily send out if desired, though a little shaving off of the included pegs with scissors or knife will do the job in about 3 minutes too.


LSMB wrote:
Sounds like it was a bit more than "imperfect".

.....why not just create a form post? Then you can just copy-paste this standard response to posts about the junk you manufacture? You've got to get tired of posting this same thing, over and over?


LSMB, you've posted criticisms of Mayday over and over along with the same 5 or so other people on every single critical thread about Mayday. You are trying to "warn the people" about us.

We will continue to post replies to customers about how they can resolve any issue with our products and reach out to help them whenever we can.

These same 5 people continue to criticize us for publicly posting about how to get solutions to any problems, implying that we ONLY reply when someone comes forward publicly. Sure we will continue to help people who post publicly but it is well documented that we help people privately too.

We aren't just going to stop trying to help people, publicly or otherwise. Danged if you do and danged if you don't in your eyes I'm sorry to say.

Our posts above were intended to help the OP with any remaining problems and give information to others about how to get solutions. Since we didn't hear from the OP privately it is hardly fair to criticize us for posting publicly about it too.

We are truly sorry the OP got a damaged, imperfect board but the fact of the matter is that the OP didn't contact us or ask the retailer about the damage/issues but went on and fixed them himself. In the OP's own words:

Quote:
All that said I feel it to be an excellent addition to the collection that will prove its worth over time in particular when working with non gaming groups, care homes and in community settings.


We are glad this game is out there and will continue to work with any and all customers to ensure they are happy. We have sold over 2,000 Crokinole boards and we will continue to stand by them. We are grateful for the hundreds of you we have met at conventions or who have emailed us thanking us for making the boards available to a wider audience and for the hours of good clean fun. If you don't want a board or don't plan on buying one that is fine, but we will continue to get the word out there about the game and are grateful for all of our customers!

Have a great day everyone!

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Len
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I'm not implying anything concerning your consistently poor business practices and the poor quality of your product.

I, along with far more than 5 people (just search "mayday" in these forums for data), want to continue to share and spread the word about you and mayday games so the BGG community can make informed decisions concerning purchasing your products.
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Jeffrey Allers
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I would like to get this game someday.

One question: why not score 1/2/3/4 points, and have the first player to 20 win? Why is everything in increments of 5 instead?
 
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jeffinberlin wrote:
I would like to get this game someday.

One question: why not score 1/2/3/4 points, and have the first player to 20 win? Why is everything in increments of 5 instead?


100 is a traditional score stopping point for many games.
 
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