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Subject: After finally receiving it, my thoughts on GTR:Black Box regarding quality. rss

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Nick King
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So I finally received my copy of GTR:Black Box from my FLGS. (The F is a stretch sometimes).

I chose the FLGS pickup option because I assumed there would be some benefit to the FLGS, even though I'm not sure anything was ever explicitly stated, and I was bummed when I talked to the store owner after CGF confirmed my pickup and he said that there was no benefit mentioned. Turns out the FLGS gets a demo copy for the store for accepting the delivery, which is pretty awesome. Unfortunately there was a communication breakdown along the way, because I almost ended up with 3 copies instead of 2 because the store owner had no idea one copy was for him, even after receiving it.

It's funny that CGF even misses positive communication opportunities, unless I missed the free demo info, which is entirely possible.

The bubbling on my boxes sucks, but because it is black it isn't as bad as some of the pictures look. For a deluxe edition of a game from an experienced independent publisher, it is still unacceptable. I have done manual box coverings better, and the 4 boxes from Indy Boards and Cards I have are all significantly better(Haggis, Flash Point, Resistance, Resistance: Avalon).

I had no noticeable ink transfer to the box lid, and no noticeable dishing, so this is good. The game smells like what I assume to be the inside of a Chinese factory, which sucks.

The card quality everyone is raving about is OK. I have handled thousands of Bicycle card decks, and Bicycles are definitely better. The GTR cards feel very nice, but they are very thin, and I expect them to show horizontal crease lines if bridge shuffled a couple dozen times. I don't think they are any better or worse than FFG Cosmic Encounter cards, which are a nice linen finish and good stock, and hold up to lots of shuffling. The cards definitely had chipping out of the box, and the jacks were the worst off just like everyone else has said. The cards are not of any standard size, which is the dumbest decision ever. If you make a card game, let people sleeve it if they want to, why make it difficult? The good news is, they are only about 1/16" short both horizontally and vertically, so standard magic sleeves aren't terrible. penny sleeves will probably not do the trick.

The player aids are awesome. They have a cool flowchart look, rounded corners, and look extremely well done. I would have liked them on chipboard instead of cardstock, but they are still extremely well done.

I thought I had read that they were going to make the insert fit sleeves, but it doesn't. IMO, I'd like publishers to stop using the vacuum inserts and copy what Queen did with kingdom builder. Just make a nice cardboard insert that gives us a couple of workable sections to put stuff where we want and give the box some structure.

The KS addons I received were great quality as well. The leader token is very nice.

After stepping outside of the slowness and poor decision making, planning, and communication of the GTR Kickstarter project, I think I have realized what the actual issue is:

This project should have been a lot simpler and better than it was. It is a case of super high expectations for a proven game that was going to get the design treatment it deserves, but it all fell flat. It could have been amazing. A few minor decision changes and things could have went so differently, and so much more positively.

How can I back another CGF project based on what has happened to this one? I'll still keep my eyes open, I guess if they go into more detail on their plan for the next one I might still participate if it looks good, but its going to take a lot of convincing, which sucks. KS is perfect for companies like CGF, that just need a little up front capital to put their products out there, but reputation sticks around. It will be interesting to see how recovery goes, and if the game is good enough to outlast any issues the production and project in general have had.

One thing I think is important to mention though, is how well the Volunployees at CGF have done in trying to mitigate the backlash and put out so many fires. They put up with bitching about things they had no real control over, tried to do the right thing almost all of the time, and don't get a lot of credit for it, because there is still a pretty huge crowd of people tapping their feet getting increasingly frustrated with not having a game they paid money for a long time ago. I hope after everyone receives their games they can take a step back and see that these guys are trying to do the right thing, they just started off in a pickle.

With the above said, I do think its absolutely shitty and inexplicable for Ed to have stayed so silent since June. I don't understand how someone can let people they aren't paying take the heat like that.
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David desJardins
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ohgeetee wrote:
With the above said, I do think its absolutely shitty and inexplicable for Ed to have stayed so silent since June. I don't understand how someone can let people they aren't paying take the heat like that.


I can explain it. He's figured out that when he posts he only makes things worse.
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Kevin O'Brien
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Very nicely, reasonably and comprehensively stated, Nick (ohgeetee). I pretty much agree with everything you wrote (though I'm still waiting to receive my "extras").
 
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Len
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DaviddesJ wrote:
ohgeetee wrote:
With the above said, I do think its absolutely shitty and inexplicable for Ed to have stayed so silent since June. I don't understand how someone can let people they aren't paying take the heat like that.


I can explain it. He's figured out that when he posts he only makes things worse.


As a customer and backer, I never want to see a post from Ed again.
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Martin Ralya
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ohgeetee wrote:
How can I back another CGF project based on what has happened to this one?


This is pretty much where I am as well. If CGF does another KS campaign, I will almost certainly ignore it and see how the actual game turns out.

I kept an ear casually to the ground over the past year, and not much I saw or read, including the finished product, suggested to me that their next crowdfunding effort would be much better handled than this one.
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Doobermite
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Quote:
The GTR cards feel very nice, but they are very thin


Yes. I noticed the thinness immediately. I compared the cards to the original, cartoony cards, and the cartoony cards were much thicker and stronger. What I do appreciate is how clean the new look of the game is. When I first saw the new graphics for the cards online I thought they looked like "abstracted yuck-ness." But after playing with the new cards the graphics are pretty nice and fade into the background. I still debate as to whether I should sleeve them, though.
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Jeffrey Speer
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I have riffle shuffled my friend's copy- they don't seem that flimsy to me. I thought it was the core of the card, rather than its thickness that was important.
For example, magic cards I had back in the day were more prone to bending. More recently, card stock in Last Night on Earth is thicker, but below par of these.
 
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Randall Bart
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dbmite wrote:
Quote:
The GTR cards feel very nice, but they are very thin

Yes. I noticed the thinness immediately.


Thickness of cards is not quality. The beautiful cartoony cards are not high quality cards.
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Russell Howell                (What's Right?) (What's Wrong?)        
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dbmite wrote:
What I do appreciate is how clean the new look of the game is. When I first saw the new graphics for the cards online I thought they looked like "abstracted yuck-ness." But after playing with the new cards the graphics are pretty nice and fade into the background.


Ironically, I expected the new graphics to help me get this to the table, but after one play, no one in my group will play this again due to what they claim to be "dull" cards that have no life to them. They feel as if they are playing a prototype and refuse to see past it. They want "theme" as they described it.

I now have an expensive, stress filled, paper-weight which I do not wish to part with because I appreciate both the artwork and what it took to acquire it. Blah!
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Randall Bart
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badgeguy wrote:
"dull" cards that have no life to them.

That was perfectly obvious to me. I can't imagine why anyone would play with the dull cards, when bright cartoony cards are available.
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Fernando Robert Yu
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Barticus88 wrote:
badgeguy wrote:
"dull" cards that have no life to them.

That was perfectly obvious to me. I can't imagine why anyone would play with the dull cards, when bright cartoony cards are available.


Agreed. Plus the quotes on the cards!

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Mathue Faulkner
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TheFlatline wrote:
ohgeetee wrote:

The card quality everyone is raving about is OK. I have handled thousands of Bicycle card decks, and Bicycles are definitely better. The GTR cards feel very nice, but they are very thin, and I expect them to show horizontal crease lines if bridge shuffled a couple dozen times. I don't think they are any better or worse than FFG Cosmic Encounter cards, which are a nice linen finish and good stock, and hold up to lots of shuffling. The cards definitely had chipping out of the box, and the jacks were the worst off just like everyone else has said. The cards are not of any standard size, which is the dumbest decision ever. If you make a card game, let people sleeve it if they want to, why make it difficult? The good news is, they are only about 1/16" short both horizontally and vertically, so standard magic sleeves aren't terrible. penny sleeves will probably not do the trick.


Wait... what? I haven't gotten around to sleeving yet (I have more important things to do) but assumed I was going to have to because of production/chipping issues... and now I read that they aren't of an appropriate/standard size for the myriad of sleeves out there?

Sigh. I had already resigned myself to accepting that the insert wouldn't accommodate sleeves, but this is...

Sigh.

I suppose that I should be happy that the game hasn't kicked my dog or salted my garden.

I agree with you though. There's no way I'd ever kickstart CGF again. I'm not opposed to doing business with them via a game store, but even a dumb animal is once bitten twice shy

Sleeves fit fine. I'm not sure why he thinks they don't. Maybe I don't expect a skin tight fit and he does...
 
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Nick King
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Quote:
Sleeves fit fine. I'm not sure why he thinks they don't. Maybe I don't expect a skin tight fit and he does...


I expect them to fit the same as all other cards would fit in sleeves. We currently have 3 standard card sizes we primarily deal with, which is 2 too many imo, but regardless, there are 3.

Poker Size(MTG, Pandemic, Bicycle, Thunderstone, etc.) Sometimes called Standard Card size
Bridge Size(All FFG American Board game size) Usually called American Board Game Size
European Board Game size(Dominion, Agricola, etc.)

The GTR cards are none of these 3 sizes. They are closest to MTG Size as I said, but they are 1/16" short on both height and width. This ends up working out OK for a higher quality MTG sleeve like KMC or a nice backed Ultra Pro, but does not do well with cheap penny sleeves. This is definitely a matter of preference, but regardless of what your personal preference is, the size is absolutely smaller than standard, which is really just a way to have some subset of unhappy people. If they were MTG sized as expected, no one would have said a word, but like everything else involving CGF and this project, they decided to change something that probably didn't need changing, and opened themselves up to more criticism.

Hopefully this clears my end up a bit. I was just looking to give an accurate description of what I received, particularly because I was vocal about the shortcomings I felt I was going to receive, and felt I should at least be vocal about those things that weren't as bad as expected, as well as those that were.
 
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Troy Winfrey
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TheFlatline wrote:

I suppose that I should be happy that the game hasn't kicked my dog or salted my garden.


Oh no! Those were achieved KS goals that should have been included with your shipment, Flatline. They may still be on the docks in Shanghai, but no worries, I'm sure they'll show up eventually.

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J Sinnett
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ohgeetee wrote:
Quote:
Sleeves fit fine. I'm not sure why he thinks they don't. Maybe I don't expect a skin tight fit and he does...


I expect them to fit the same as all other cards would fit in sleeves. We currently have 3 standard card sizes we primarily deal with, which is 2 too many imo, but regardless, there are 3.

Poker Size(MTG, Pandemic, Bicycle, Thunderstone, etc.) Sometimes called Standard Card size
Bridge Size(All FFG American Board game size) Usually called American Board Game Size
European Board Game size(Dominion, Agricola, etc.)

The GTR cards are none of these 3 sizes. They are closest to MTG Size as I said, but they are 1/16" short on both height and width. This ends up working out OK for a higher quality MTG sleeve like KMC or a nice backed Ultra Pro, but does not do well with cheap penny sleeves. This is definitely a matter of preference, but regardless of what your personal preference is, the size is absolutely smaller than standard, which is really just a way to have some subset of unhappy people. If they were MTG sized as expected, no one would have said a word, but like everything else involving CGF and this project, they decided to change something that probably didn't need changing, and opened themselves up to more criticism.

Hopefully this clears my end up a bit. I was just looking to give an accurate description of what I received, particularly because I was vocal about the shortcomings I felt I was going to receive, and felt I should at least be vocal about those things that weren't as bad as expected, as well as those that were.


I found that KMC "Perfect Size" sleeves are good for this game. They're enough smaller than other sleeves that the GTR Black Box cards fit into them... albeit rather less snugly than most games would.
 
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Just wanted to say that I played my copy for the first time today. In the abstract, I did notice a little chipping on the backs, however in practice it didn't make a difference at all because you're paying attention to your own business, not bluffing or reading other people's hands.

The art is what it is, I appreciate it, but I respect someone that likes the other version. I personally liked the cartoony aspect, but I hated the overall inconsistency of the aesthetic of the original.

The box had bubbles, and just feels shoddily put together, but oh well, its a box. I have rabbits, so if I'm ever just slightly curious, chunks of boxes get torn off anyways.

The product delivery is the main issue. I won't avoid CGF (like I would Mayday) but I won't be preordering anything from them again - not with Ed at the helm. I appreciate that his day job needs to take precedence, and even though I trust CGF to eventually deliver on future preorders, I'd rather keep my cash in my hand until I can get the product immediately in exchange.
 
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Marc Bishop
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Box has air bubbles popping up and the cards were imprecisely sliced: I see influence borders on the top of certain of my cards...

At least they fixed the sub-par drawings. Thank you for that.
 
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aaarg_ink wrote:

...I have rabbits, so if I'm ever just slightly curious, chunks of boxes get torn off anyways.



Um, is it you eating the boxes or your rabbits? I can only hope the Tammany Hall KS doesn't drive me to cardboard consuption...
 
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Prisme wrote:
Box has air bubbles popping up and the cards were imprecisely sliced: I see influence borders on the top of certain of my cards...


That's atypical, you should be able to get replacements for those cards.
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John Drake
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aaarg_ink wrote:


The product delivery is the main issue. I won't avoid CGF (like I would Mayday) but I won't be preordering anything from them again - not with Ed at the helm. I appreciate that his day job needs to take precedence, and even though I trust CGF to eventually deliver on future preorders, I'd rather keep my cash in my hand until I can get the product immediately in exchange.


Tell me about it. I'm in the USA and still waiting on my copy shake
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Randall Monk
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For me, the cartoony cards were so awful they prevented me from buying the game.
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UnknownParkerBrother wrote:
Prisme wrote:
Box has air bubbles popping up and the cards were imprecisely sliced: I see influence borders on the top of certain of my cards...


That's atypical, you should be able to get replacements for those cards.


Yeah, I have air bubbles in my box, whatevers, but if the cards are not cut correctly, definitely contact CGF and get a replacement, that's not acceptable.
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Dave Wiebe
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badgeguy wrote:
dbmite wrote:
What I do appreciate is how clean the new look of the game is. When I first saw the new graphics for the cards online I thought they looked like "abstracted yuck-ness." But after playing with the new cards the graphics are pretty nice and fade into the background.


Ironically, I expected the new graphics to help me get this to the table, but after one play, no one in my group will play this again due to what they claim to be "dull" cards that have no life to them. They feel as if they are playing a prototype and refuse to see past it. They want "theme" as they described it.

I now have an expensive, stress filled, paper-weight which I do not wish to part with because I appreciate both the artwork and what it took to acquire it. Blah!


Same here. And those Out of Town sites cause physical pain to my eyes to try reading!

At least I can still reuse the box...
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