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Subject: Hilinski vs (New) Mayday vs Muzzies - A Comprehensive Review rss

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Daniel Baker
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Sophia
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When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question, but because in that brief moment when the coin is in the air, you suddenly realize what you were hoping for.
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I've had the recent pleasure of being able to obtain a Hilinski board, a Mayday board (from there new batch this year), and a Muzzies Crokinole board for a day.

I loved the game from the first time I played it and racked myself silly trying to decide what board to go with. I eventually broke down and bought a board of my own.

We gamed around on all three boards to get a good feel, and came up with what I feel is a pretty comprehensive guide in which to judge each board:

Quality of Game Play, rated on a scale of 1-5 and scored in 5 areas: Pegs, Center Hole, Surface, Discs, and Gutter.

Quality seemed to be the over-arching theme on which to judge each category. I felt the best way to look at these items was as a whole and value-per-cost. Did you get the bang for your buck? I've broken up the rating thusly:

Unplayable.
Item does not function as it should. It is playable but may have flaws that effect game play.
Item functions as it should. It may still have issues that need addressed.
Item functions normal. It may have minor issues that are irrelevant to game play.
Flawless. Couldn't find a single problem.

Nothing will be scored that does not directly affect gameplay and are noted as such with an asterisk (*). These * items are listed and reviewed so you are able to get a comprehensive feel for the value of the purchase.

The order in which the boards were played are in order in which they are reviewed:



----------------------------
THE MAYDAY BOARD



THE PRICE: USD $150.00
*Please note Mayday does seem to offer additional discounts and coupons on a regular basis. This is also the only board that is available via retail.


If you've been in the crokinole scene long enough you've probably seen the controversy that surrounds the previous batch of Mayday boards. I'm not concerned with that issue here but for your information this board being reviewed is NOT from that previous line but is in fact from the new line of boards that were released just a few weeks ago (March-April, 2012).



THE PEGS : In the box you receive wooden pegs and they come in a little plastic baggy.



Just insert them into the allotted holes on the board once unpacked. Upon first inspection, they appeared to be quite strong. I did have an issue with the pre-drilled holes on the board. Some of the pegs fit tighter than others. If the board was to ever be transported, or perhaps taken off a wall I'd be afraid they'd fall out. Additionally, I'd imagine the problem may get worse as time went on as the pegs have seen some more playtime.

This brings me to my next issue --The pegs insertion point was smaller than the actual pegs it self. It seemed like a soft wood but not really brittle.



It's probably made of the same wood the discs and box were (good thing) but perhaps due to its size, the pegs just didn't scale down very well to hold the same quality. I'm afraid after some long plays some pegs may see a few too many power shots and the pegs might break off completely. Please be aware this is pure speculation on my part.

I'm not a fan of the wood pegs. I found vs metal pegs, the wood absorbed some of the kinetic energy during play thus creating less of a "bounce" when the discs hit them.



THE CENTER HOLE: I was pleasantly surprsised to find that the center was actually pretty decent. Inside the hole was a bevelled, rounded surface which makes disc removal pretty easy. The convex shape of the inner hole was not as deep or curved as I would have liked, but it's still there none-the-less.



The size of the hole fit the discs perfectly as would be expected, and the depth was spot on. The quality of the wood inside however looks to simply be painted chip-wood.



THE SURFACE: This is where I foud the biggest problem with the Mayday board. Though it is a standard tournament size board (26"), it's quite obvious that it's a vanneer of your chosen "wood" (mahogany in this case).



The lines are painted on. Thankfully, it looks like it was painted under the final layer so it looks as though the lines will not fade with continuous play (lines rubbing out is a problem with some cheaper boards).

The Mayday board had a pre-waxed finish before arrival, but you could clearly see in 4 corners of the board this "line" of sorts.



This is present in all 4 corners of the board. If you look at the picture from the beginning of the Mayday review as a whole, you can clearly see these marks in their entirety. it's my guess that this may be where the board was "clamped" in place and sprayed with it's finish, but I don't have a 100% on that.

Anytime a disc would glide over these sections it'd come to an immediate stop. I'd aslo definitely recommend a self-wax job on this board to not only fix the dry spots, but also after a while the "pre-wax finish" started to fade. We noticed a significant increase in friction after just a few plays.



THE DISCS: The discs were all cut vey well, and made of wood of course. No off-cuts, or smaller-than-the-other pieces scenario. They didn't feel brittle, and had a nice hefty weight. The black pieces were painted nicely. The best part? You get two extra discs per color.



The only thing that could have been done better in my opinion would be to have a convex side available like the pro pieces. These discs are cut the same on both sides (e.g. flat surface).




THE GUTTER: The gutter was cut round (some railings are not round for those who don't know). There was even spacing all around the board, leaving a nice even ditch from play area to rim. The job on construction though left much to be desired.

You can CLEARLY see and feel where the rims were glued together. It even puffs out on the joint a little where acccess glue/paint was applied. Not only is it an eye-sore, but I'd be weary of how it would stand the test of time over a few years.



For now though, it serves its purpose.




*SCORING: A scoring aparatus was present. It also doubled as a container for storage of all the discs. Very cool feature. The box was made of wood and had a nice smooth feel to it. The score tracker on the top lid of the box was excellent. It opened and close very smoothly, and fit very well with the overall dimensions of the box. It came with two additional peg pieces colored accordingly (white and black) to track the score.



My only complaint would be that the score box does not have a "0" starting position. They start at 5 points, which means you could either just keep the pegs out until points or scored, or just move the peg accordingly the first time points are alloted.



*WALL MOUNT: The board did include wall mounts!





THE FINAL SCORE: 3.0



----------------------------
THE MUZZIES BOARD



THE PRICE: USD
Tournament Fundy: $178.66 (179.00 CDN)
Traditional Fundy: $148.72 (149.00 CDN)

Something to note about Muzzies is that they are located in Canada. For those in the US you can expect a higher-than-normal shipping rate.

The Muzzies board was provided by my good, long time friend, David Gregg (who some of you may know as the designer of Nightfall).

Here's a nice embarrassing picture of David caught off guard with his board when he arrived at my house. I feel it really helps the review flow nicely and gives brilliant ju-ju vibes:




He first introduced me to crokinole a while back and I've loved it since. This is the board I learned on and between us we've had a plethora of plays on this one.

***Please note the Muzzies board that was used was the Traditional as pictured and not the round Tournament size. The score reflected in this review does not take into account the size differentials between the two, but purely reflects the quality standard in which we assume all Muzzie products are made.




THE PEGS: Each peg is actually made up of two parts. Each have a metal sleeve with a screw that goes through it.



I find these to be superior to wooden ones and even metal pegs on all accounts. What I do like about these are that they are indeed screws! This means their is a lot more staying power behind these pegs. I can't imagine power shots to be removing these anytime soon. In addition, if you needed to remove them for any reason (e.g. waxing) it'll still an easy removal. I can't imagine the pegs getting much better than this aside from getting the rubber sleeves that go around them to provide that awesome-sauce-super-ricochet "bounce."



THE CENTER HOLE: This is where I feel the board falls a little short. The center hole is quite shallow and no beveled indention for easier piece removal. It still functions quite nicely as is however and the quality of the board still maintains. The center hole undoubtedly still serves its purpose.



THE SURFACE: The playing surface is quite nice overall. Honestly, I feel its a little too shallow. The surface is extremely flat and level (awesome!) but not much distance between the level of the ditch and the playing surface. This allows for discs to come back onto the surface to knock around other pieces more often than I would like. Please note that I find this particular issue to be a problem with the ditch and not the actual surface.

EDIT: I have been recently informed that Murray (the gentleman who makes the boards) has fixed the low playing surface on the Tournament Round style boards. I have no confirmation if the Traditional style boards have yet been changed.



On the bright side it is real wood so I expect (and have seen) it stand the test of time. the dark tone really looks good against the much brighter ditch.

The lines are painted under a finished surface, so there will be no wear on these.

A good waxing on this board and the discs are sure to fly. After many plays it still looks fantastic and has proved to be quite durable.



THE DISCS: The discs are made of wood, cut very evenely. Again, no defects or bad sizing and maintain a nice hefty weight throughout. Both sides are a smooth surface, once again lacking the convex on one side, and flat on the other. The Good: You are provided 1 extra disc for each black and white.



THE GUTTER: Obviously, the gutter isn't round. It's Octagonal. Decoratively, I think it looks really nice. A "made-up functionality" oversight that does not effect game play in the design of a octagonal vs traditional round is present during cleanup, however.



After the game is over, we often slide the opponents disc around the gutter to each other's side in order to distribute them back to the owner. This isn't possible with the Octagonal.

The real issue with this particular railing is not the shape, but the railing height. Discs often fly off and out of the play area because the railings aren't high enough. I consider this a a rather large nuisance. Coupled with the already mentioned shallow ditch that provides a low playing surface in addition to the rail height makes a bad combo.

The quality of the railing is superb however. The edges are nice and smooth and blended together seamlessly. I hope the Tournament Fundy board doesn't have such low railings but because of the size differences between these two I'm can't know for sure if the ratios are equivalent.

I had trouble scoring this one due to the quality being so high, but the functionality so low. At the end of the day though, it all comes down to how it plays.



*SCORING: The Bad: No such item comes with purchase. Side Note: A cloth pull-string bag is included to contain and store your discs though. Not a bad addition.



*WALL MOUNTS: None available. However the inside of the board does have a lip of sorts that you are able to hang a nail on if you choose.



David has always stored his in this way and never had an issue. It would be nice to have had something added so we wouldn't have to mess with it and potentially damage something if we chose to drill some holes for extra security.


THE FINAL SCORE: 3.8


-----------------------------
THE HILINKSI BOARD



THE PRICE: USD $200 (non-decorative)

Often considered the coup de grâce of Crokinole boards and essentially the board I ended up buying. The Hilinski brothers have a strong reputation as the end-all-be-all for quality boards but this was only partly the reason why I ended up buying. I honestly wanted to get a hands on comparison myself to see if these boards were really worth all the hype.



THE PEGS: The board uses metal pegs instead of screws or wood. Even though they are similar in design to Mayday's wood pegs, I haven't had any issues with the way they peg into the board. Every hole was high-and-tight and linear.



The only thing I'd like to see on these are the rubber sleeves which are of course optional down the road.



THE CENTER HOLE: So my perfectionist-like habits (my wife calls it OCD) gets to me on this one. Carl puts a rounded stone in the nice deep recess that is the center hole.



He doesn't do this to all the boards, as each one is unique but mine came with the stone so I'm going to talk about it

The allows for easy disc removal due to its natural design. It provides natural functionality and doesn't impede or favor the discs when they come near the center. The stone is smooth and a has a very deep convex shape and looks amazing... however -_- it is not perfectly round. I know! --ready your firing squads, but it bothers me. It looks beautiful and its stylish. Some people might not even notice it... but its non-symmetrical shape just gets to me.




THE SURFACE: I have never played on a better surface than this. Unlike the previous two boards, these lines are etched into the board!





Some may see this as a concern simply because they think it should be some sort of physical hinderance to the discs during play. My stupid brain thinks the same thing. Theoretically I would imagine it provides, at least on some level, a miniscule amount of hinderance.

All I can tell you is that all who have played it say the same thing --there is absolutely no difference! It's my scientific hypothesis that the air flow that rides in the etched lines carries magic fairy dust that glides the disc across the surface like a feather.

Now some may see these etched lines as a flaw (I don't see how), others might not. Regardless, I believe aesthetically it really helps this board pull off its beautiful craftsmanship and looks brilliant on the wall. I find the line etchings to simply be a bonus. The board comes pre-waxed as well.

Something that I haven't been able to tell on any of the other boards but is definitely present in this Hilinski board is the buffed surface:



The Hilinski brothers apparently buff the surface extremely well and it surely shows. It's the first thing I, and all that have even seen it, noticed when having all the boards side by side. lastly, the natural grain on the wood is sooooo nice. it really gives the board its own unique feel.




: THE DISCS: You get twelve white, twelve black. No bad cuts. The best part? One side is Convex, the other is flat. This option allows another depth of the game to be realized.





GUTTER: Nice rounded and even ditch. Pretty good size in depth from the playing surface and the rails are nice and high. Something I noticed about these rails are how thick they are compared to some other boards. I feel it gives the board a nice "heft" that feels great when bringing it down off the wall.





*SCORING: The Hilinski board comes with a flat wooden rectangular piece of wood with two pegs. The best part is that they have a starting position unlike the Mayday score tracker.



One white and one brown (why brown? I don't know... because the discs are black, but you bet your socks I noticed).





*WALL MOUNTS: Included are two eye-screws on the back for mounting. Nice addition just like with the Mayday board.



As you can tell, the Hilinski's also write on your board and give it a unique name.



THE FINAL SCORE: 4.6


--------------------------------------
THE HILINKSI BOARD WINS!


Final Thoughts: What's worth your buck? When it comes down to it, you're paying about equal price for a Muzzies Tournament round board and a Hilinski due to shipping costs from Canada (if you live in the US). The Hilinksi actually comes out $2.00 cheaper after total shipping costs are calculated (for my location). The Mayday did fall shorter than I had hoped considering the relative price differential between it and it's better counterparts. I guess that's the price you pay for mass production vs the hand-crafted, made to order boards.

Mayday is just trading a bit of quality for speed and availability. This is not a bad thing necessarily. In a broader sense I feel it opens the game up for players who might not normally buy or even play due to the game's necessitous costs for a something that actually works. For those of us that really just want to try out a board that has just enough quality to really simply enjoy the game, or are afraid there investment has a high potentiality to be damaged in the long haul, the Mayday Crokinole board is a solid alternative and that's never a bad thing.

On a final note I did email Muzzies and Murray responded that additional options are available for customized colors when it comes to there boards. However, it is an extra charge depending on what you want. Muzzies said they are open to any requests upon ordering, just email them first.

In comparison, with Hilinksi you get the full customization right out of the box (so to speak) for the full $200.

If you're going to spend money on a board it is my humble recommendation that you go ahead, reach deep and dish out the extra $50 to get the Muzzies or Hilinski. In the end I believe you can't be dissapointed.
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Demian Johnston

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Great review, Daniel! Thanks for sharing it here!

I have a Muzzies tournament board (round rail) and a board by Joel Harper (the Puzzler). I hope to play on my father's new Hilinski board soon and compare.

[Edit: And for what its worth Murray Skaling at Muzzies was very accomodating and worked with me to choose custom staining and lines)
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Daniel Baker
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When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question, but because in that brief moment when the coin is in the air, you suddenly realize what you were hoping for.
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But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: - 1 Pet 3:15
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knipster wrote:
Great review, Daniel! Thanks for sharing it here!

I have a Muzzies tournament board (round rail) and a board by Joel Harper (the Puzzler). I hope to play on my father's new Hilinski board soon and compare.

[Edit: And for what its worth Murray Skaling at Muzzies was very accomodating and worked with me to choose custom staining and lines)


Murray was a really swell guy! great communication as you've described.

I'd like to try and get my hands on a puzzler board as well. He's been an "up and coming" board maker for a while now and some consider him one of the big boys. I considered buying from him as well before i ultimately went with the Hilinski.

In addition to the Puzzler, I'd love to get a Martin Willard.

One day maybe. And when that day comes I might expand this to a video review if reception turns out positive.

do you (or anyone else) have the low rail height issue on your Muzzie tournament board? that was the only thing that ultimately killed it for me.



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Andrew Roy
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Great, comprehensive review! I'll definitely refer to this when I go to buy my own Crokinole board in Canada one day.
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Demian Johnston

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Regarding the rail height, no. My Muzzies tournament board appears to use a form the Hilinski rail method (2 strips of 1/8" wood wrapped around the base. I liked the look Murray's solid base vs the Hilinski method.

I, too, would love the excuse to get my hands on a Willard board (maybe a WCC used board, even).

My wife prefers my Puzzler board, and its very fast after waxing.


You can see a bunch of boards (mine, my father's and my friends) at http://mlkshk.com/crokinole (Sign up and add photos of your boards!)
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Your Hilinski is particularly beautiful, even for a Hilinski.
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Daniel Baker
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When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question, but because in that brief moment when the coin is in the air, you suddenly realize what you were hoping for.
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But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: - 1 Pet 3:15
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D Beau wrote:
Your Hilinski is particularly beautiful, even for a Hilinski.


Thanks! I think >.>

The craftsmanship on those boards are extremely epic.
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mogrix wrote:
D Beau wrote:
Your Hilinski is particularly beautiful, even for a Hilinski.


Thanks! I think >.>

The craftsmanship on those boards are extremely epic.


I did word that awkwardly, didn't I? I've been trying to cut down on my coffee intake, and it's not been good too much on communication skills of mine.

I meant that relative to other Hilinskis (which are uniformly gorgeous), it still manages to stand out as being particularly lovely.

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Matthew Rooks
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Great review! Very informative and objective. Thanks for sharing!


mogrix wrote:
In addition to the Puzzler, I'd love to get a Martin Willard


As the proud owner of a beautiful Willard board, I personally would love to see how it stacks up against the competition. I am extremely pleased with mine, and my guess is that it would be comparable to the Hilsinki.
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Daniel Baker
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When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question, but because in that brief moment when the coin is in the air, you suddenly realize what you were hoping for.
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But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: - 1 Pet 3:15
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D Beau wrote:
I did word that awkwardly, didn't I? I've been trying to cut down on my coffee intake, and it's not been good too much on communication skills of mine.

I meant that relative to other Hilinskis (which are uniformly gorgeous), it still manages to stand out as being particularly lovely.



you are a gentleman among scholars, sir.
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Daniel Baker
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When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question, but because in that brief moment when the coin is in the air, you suddenly realize what you were hoping for.
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But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: - 1 Pet 3:15
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royboy_9 wrote:
thumbsupthumbsupthumbsup

Great, comprehensive review! I'll definitely refer to this when I go to buy my own Crokinole board in Canada one day.


Thanks Andrew. I hope someday soon I'll be able to do a review on another quality Canadian board maker, Martin Willard.
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Daniel Baker
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When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question, but because in that brief moment when the coin is in the air, you suddenly realize what you were hoping for.
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jigmelingpa wrote:
Great review! Very informative and objective. Thanks for sharing!


mogrix wrote:
In addition to the Puzzler, I'd love to get a Martin Willard


As the proud owner of a beautiful Willard board, I personally would love to see how it stacks up against the competition. I am extremely pleased with mine, and my guess is that it would be comparable to the Hilsinki.


I've heard many great things about the Willard. If you had to name one redeeming quality of it that you loved most, what would it be?
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Nice comparison, Daniel. I see the same lines on my MayDay board. It's a shame. I don't believe it is a "clamping" issue, it wouldn't make much sense to clamp the surface you are trying to finish. It may be a stacking issue, I don't know. I asked Seth if he sees what we are seeing and what is the cause. We'll see what he says.
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Nice comparisions!
Hope you are able to try the Muzzies Tournament one day!
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mogrix wrote:
I've heard many great things about the Willard. If you had to name one redeeming quality of it that you loved most, what would it be?


Aside from the excellent communication and customer support I personally received from Willard (he answered many questions via Skype and email prior to my purchase), I would have to say the craftsmanship of his board is of the highest quality. I bought the Willard "Round" Board (CDN$159), and it arrived in perfect shape. The finish on the board, the pegs, the discs, everything was made flawlessly. It is simple in design and look, but is beautifully made. Willard's boards are used at the Crokinole championships, and I do not hesitate to recommend them to anyone looking for a fine, quality board.
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Daniel Baker
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When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question, but because in that brief moment when the coin is in the air, you suddenly realize what you were hoping for.
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But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: - 1 Pet 3:15
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jefftang wrote:
Nice comparison, Daniel. I see the same lines on my MayDay board. It's a shame. I don't believe it is a "clamping" issue, it wouldn't make much sense to clamp the surface you are trying to finish. It may be a stacking issue, I don't know. I asked Seth if he sees what we are seeing and what is the cause. We'll see what he says.


I'd be highly interested to find out. When he respond please be sure to let us all know.

I've talked to another individual with the new Mayday board who had the same issue. From the two of us, the degree of how bad it was seemed to vary.

I believe I also saw the issue mentioned in a recent review another BGG member did.

I'd really love to here from This Guy

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regarding the "lines" as well.

I see him post quite a bit around here.
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mogrix wrote:
Thanks Andrew. I hope someday soon I'll be able to do a review on another quality Canadian board maker, Martin Willard.


The Willard boards are very nice and great to play on. Willard is a very nice guy who was very helpful answering my questions when I first purchased a board from him.

His name though is Willard Martin, not Martin Willard. I live on a road called Willie's Lane. When he found that out, he told me his friends call him "Willie".
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Daniel Baker
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When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question, but because in that brief moment when the coin is in the air, you suddenly realize what you were hoping for.
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Colorado_Jeff wrote:
His name though is Willard Martin, not Martin Willard.


I just assumed Willard was the last name as most people tend to name things in such a manner. Good to know though, thanks! thumbsup
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That's the person I contacted, he will respond because as you said, he is active here. So far, I counted three of us that have the lines on the boards.

mogrix wrote:
I'd be highly interested to find out. When he respond please be sure to let us all know.

I've talked to another individual with the new Mayday board who had the same issue. From the two of us, the degree of how bad it was seemed to vary.

I believe I also saw the issue mentioned in a recent review another BGG member did.

I'd really love to here from This Guy regarding the "lines" as well. I see him post quite a bit around here.
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Daniel and I discussed these various points as he was writing up the review; I agree with them entirely.

mogrix wrote:
The Muzzies board was provided by my good, long time friend, David Gregg (who some of you may know as the designer of Nightfall).

Thanks for the shout-out BFF kiss

mogrix wrote:
Here's a nice embarrassing picture of David caught off guard with his board when he arrived at my house. I feel it really helps the review flow nicely and gives brilliant ju-ju vibes:

Thanks for that... especially like the "ju-ju vibes" bit

mogrix wrote:
He first introduced me to crokinole a while back and I've loved it since. This is the board I learned on and between us we've had a plethora of plays on this one.

This has gotta be the only game you love that you also lose at which says a lot about the game meeple
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Jeff Binning
United States
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mogrix wrote:
Colorado_Jeff wrote:
His name though is Willard Martin, not Martin Willard.


I just assumed Willard was the last name as most people tend to name things in such a manner. Good to know though, thanks! thumbsup


He has one of those names that works either way. I only mentioned it because I really like his boards, so I wanted to make sure people know about him.
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Mad Scientist Philip von Doomula
United States
Orono
ME
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"I'm a leaf on the wind. Watch how I soar."
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I got in everyone's hostile little face. Yes, these are wooden cubes from boardgaming. Yes, I'm comfortable with that. I am enlightened.
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It's a shame you can't review a Mr. Crokinole Eagle Tournament board too. I freaking love mine.
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Demian Johnston

Connecticut
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Quarashi wrote:
It's a shame you can't review a Mr. Crokinole Eagle Tournament board too. I freaking love mine.


I'll be happy to receive complimentary shipments of both the Eagle and a Willard board and post details reviews to compare against my Muzzies and Puzzler boards!

PM me for shipping details! laughlaugh
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Daniel Baker
United States
Sophia
North Carolina
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When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question, but because in that brief moment when the coin is in the air, you suddenly realize what you were hoping for.
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knipster wrote:
Quarashi wrote:
It's a shame you can't review a Mr. Crokinole Eagle Tournament board too. I freaking love mine.


I'll be happy to receive complimentary shipments of both the Eagle and a Willard board and post details reviews to compare against my Muzzies and Puzzler boards!


^ This.

Complimentary indeed.
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Paul DeStefano
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Long Island
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I've bought a few Hilinskis.

You should note that some have wooden, rather than metal pegs.

I prefer the wood myself.
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