Monday, June 30, 2008
I first played C&C:Ancients back in 2006 and thought it was perhaps the best implementation of the C&C system. In the past I've enjoyed playing ancients using various miniatures rules and I find that C&C:Ancients gives me just the same enjoyment but in a shorter time. So when I noticed an Australian mail order shop with a 20% off sale on wargames I finally made the decision to buy the base game and all three expansions - Commands & Colors: Ancients, Commands & Colors: Ancients Expansion Pack #1: Greece and Eastern Kingdoms, Commands & Colors: Ancients Expansion Pack #2: Rome and the Barbarians, and Commands & Colors: Ancients Expansion Pack #3: The Roman Civil Wars.
The only problem is that they weren't all in stock. I've only received C&C: Ancients Expansion Pack #1: Greece and the Eastern Kingdoms. But that's alright as I'm also a big fan of Alexander the Great so it was fitting that I received this first.
As I had a day off work today I decided to prepare the game for playing. So this afternoon I sat down in front of the TV, put on the 3rd season of Deadwood on DVD, and stuck stickers on all the blocks.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Saturday morning dawned clear and bright. It was a beautiful winter's day; blue sky, sunshine and a slight nip in the air (our winters in Australia are very mild). Along with myself were my wife Debbie, our 7 year old daughter Maddie, 2 year old daughter Georgia, and my Mum (AKA Grandma).
The school's Winter Carnival. The gridded enclosure is for 'Cow Pat Lotto'.
Maddie on the giant slide
I couldn't resist the slide and took Georgia with me as an excuse
Maddie in front of her self-portrait entitled 'Happy - Normal - Sad'
The calf with the $1,000 crap
Georgia was having a great time
Grandma, Maddie and Georgia enjoying the day
Friday, June 20, 2008
So on 29 May I sent an email to customer service at Mayfair Games letting them know of the problem.
On 3 June Kim McBrady from Mayfair customer support responded:
I am sorry you received defective tiles in your game. I will send you a new set of tiles for your game free of charge in the mail as soon as I can.
Mayfair Games, Inc.
On 19 June a sturdy cardboard envelope arrived from the USA with a new set of neatly-centred tiles for me.
Great customer service from Mayfair Games and a big thank you to Kim McBrady
Coincidentally, just the other day, I was reading an article by Yehuda Berlinger from back in June 2006 at The Games Journal. In this article, entitled Ethics in Gaming 6.0, he discusses the moral responsibility of game designers and publishers to their customers. I thought his comments on customer service and various types of good and bad apologies was spot on.
I'll reproduce part of the article below from Ethics in Gaming 6.0 by Yehuda Berlinger. Click on the link for the full article, it's an interesting read.
Try to ensure quality control on your product, and respond quickly and generously to people who have bought the product with broken or missing components.
Answer all customer queries with politeness, even those that are impolite themselves. The losers of any argument are the rude ones.
A brief aside about apologies
There are many incorrect ways to formulate an apology, but only a few correct ones. On a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is best:
- "You can always take your business elsewhere." (1): Thank you, I will, and so will all of my friends.
- "It's not our fault." (2): This is a non-apology, where you are not seeking to redress the issue, nor evincing any sort of sympathy for the injured.
- "We're sorry that you feel that way." (3): This is also a non-apology, which roughly translates into "It pisses us off that you feel that way. If you didn't feel that way, we would be happy." It also doesn't take any responsibility for the problem, and places all of it onto the injured party. Be careful of any apology that starts "I'm sorry that you..."
- "We're sorry if we did something wrong." (6): This is getting there, but doesn't really accept responsibility either. You are not acknowledging that you did anything wrong; you're still hoping that you haven't. You are offering an apology for appearances sake.
- "We're sorry that this occurred." (7): You are sorry, but as a matter of principle you're still trying to insist that it wasn't really your fault.
- "We're sorry that we caused this problem." or "We're sorry that we have let this happen." (9): This is a full apology, and is what the customer needs to hear. Frankly, it doesn't matter that it was really the post office's fault, and not yours; the customer doesn't care. Most people hearing this cannot help but respond with some sort of graciousness, such as "Well, all right then, these things happen. What are you going to do to fix it?" This is the target level that you want to hit for your customer service. But for the record, there is still one level to go. The complete apology is:
- "We're so sorry that we caused this problem; we are really distressed over this. Please know that we take this very seriously. This is a huge oversight on our part. I will immediately notify my supervisor, and we will review our procedures to ensure that this cannot happen again. In the meantime, that is no consolation to you for our lack of service! What can we do to regain your trust? We will be sending you a little surprise as a token of our appreciation of having you as a customer." (10)
In truth, this little speech goes on until the customer interrupts. And it is followed by a few more apologies as the conversation closes, as well.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
I've been aware of Games Workshop's Blood Bowl for many years now and knew it was a popular game. I asked my wife what edition it was as I quickly searched through BoardGameGeek. It turned out it was 3rd edition with two teams - Humans and Orcs. She didn't complain too much when I asked her to check the contents (what a wife!). She said it appeared to be mostly complete but some miniatures were missing. When she pointed this out to the person selling they dropped the price to $2! Did I still want it? For $2? You bet!
When she arrived home I eagerly checked the contents.
- Blood Bowl playing field (large mounted board) (present)
- 12 plastic Orc players (present)
- 12 plastic Human players (4 missing)
- 4 plastic footballs (present)
- Blood Bowl Handbook (missing)
- The Blood Blowl Painting Guide (missing)
- How to Play blood Bowl Guide (missing)
- 50 sheet pad of Team Rosters (missing)
- 2 Quick Reference Sheets (present)
- 2 Team Cards (present)
- 4 Star Player Cards (missing)
- 2 Colour Dugouts (present)
- 37 Colour Counters (present)
- 1 Scatter Template (present)
- 1 Range Ruler (present)
- 2 six sided dice (present)
- 1 eight sided die (present)
- 3 special Blocking Dice (present)
All in all it was $2 well spent!
Saturday, June 14, 2008
We let Maddie choose the first game. No surprise that it was Bratz Passion For Fashion (groan!). This is a roll-and-move game with a memory element. Each player plays one of the Bratz girls trying to be the first to complete her outfit. The only problem is that the various clothes and accessories are hidden throughout four revolving wardrobes. I was pleased to see Maddie win with all 4 fashion items, myself 2nd with 3 and Grandma 3rd with 2.
I was Yasmin and I have a passion for fashion! (Which one of you biatches has my top?)
When in doubt, empty the magazine! Hooah!
I was pleased when Maddie chose our third game of the morning - For Sale. This is a great little auction game that we've played quite a few times over the last couple of years. In this I game thought I played really well. I knew I was ahead of Grandma because she'd been stuck with a void cheque two turns in a row. I felt certain that I'd outplayed Maddie on most turns as well. However, when we added up the points we found Maddie had come 1st with 85K, myself 2nd with 75K and Grandma 3rd with 54k. I was so surprised at the result that I thought I'd made a mistake in my addition. After checking the scores twice more (just to be sure!) Maddie was declared the winner. Naturally she was very happy (and rightly so). I was proud of her.
Maddie decided to go do something else at that point so Grandma and I were left looking for a 2-player game. I chose one of the games I'd recently picked up in a math trade - San Juan. I'd only played San Juan twice before and that was back in February and April of 2006. Both of those were 4-player games and I remember not being overly impressed with San Juan on both occasions. However, I am aware that this game has been in the top 50 games on BoardGameGeek for a few years now so I suspected there may have been more to it then I'd had the opportunity to discover in those two plays. I felt that with a better understanding of the rules and a better knowledge of the abilities of the cards I'd probably enjoy the game. So when I saw San Juan up for grabs in the recent math trade I decided to offer up a copy of HeroQuest (which I'd picked up for about $5 at a garage sale) for it.
So Mum and I sat down to a game of San Juan. I'd read the rules and felt I had a better understanding of the game play. What I didn't have was an understanding of the strategy of building combinations and role selection. That's fine because trying different strategies is half the fun of learning a new game.
I started producing a little earlier than Mum. I was able to build a Sugar Mill and Tobacco Storage fairly early. A Smithy also went down early which helped me build more production buildings in the later part of the game. I also had a Chapel under which I was able to slip three cards before the end of the game. Then came a Silver Smelter to try and produce a better quality of goods. I also built a Prefecture mid-game which assisted me in keeping more cards during the Councilor phase. I think my 8th or 9th building was a Guild Hall which allowed me to get 2 victory points for every production building I had (which was 5 at that point). Mum overtook me in buildings at some point. When I had 10 buildings she had 11 (the game ends after the building phase in which one player builds their 12th building).
I think Mum's 11th building had been a Triumphal Arch which gives victory points based on the number of monuments one had. She laid down her 12th building (a Palace) to end the game with me only having built 11 buildings. Unfortunately for Mum, she had no monuments so the Triumphal arch was wasted (she'd mistaken her Tower and Triumphal Arch cards as monuments). She scored 20 points but it wasn't enough to stop me winning with 34 points (12 of those points were from my Guild Hall with six production buildings).
I really enjoyed San Juan as a 2-player game and am curious to play it again with more players. Mum also commented on how much she enjoyed it. I'd spotted several different strategies I'd like to try so I'll see if we can play it again the next time she visits.
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
I met Friendless this morning for a coffee and he gave me Um Reifenbreite from BGG user Scholle, and Clash of the Gladiators and Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers from BGG user Kopje Koffie.