Playing Gods rolls along— and QC Headaches…

by | Feb 19, 2009 | News | 0 comments

The gods are not smiling upon me at the moment…

Over the past month or two I have recieved a handful of complaints. Not about me, or my service, of course, as that has been exemplary. (That’s not just a gratuitous, self-serving statement– well, actually it is, but it’s the truth; as one customer, Charles Rantz, wrote to me: “I contacted you about a missing game piece in my Playing Gods game, and I would like to say thank you very much for taking care of my missing Kali figure right away. Anybody who takes care of customers like you did deserves to make it in this business. Thanks again.”)

No, I’m talking about the game itself. Now, as you (hopefully) know, I didn’t manufacture the game myself. I didn’t stick the labels on the boards or pour the molds for the figures. Instead, I hired a company to do that for me. They, in turn, subcontracted the job to at least two sets of people somewhere in the world, a printer and a manufacturer (I’m not exactly sure where, it’s apparently a closely-guarded secret, but I’ll bet they speak Chinese). Of course everyone along the way gets a cut of the cash, a slice of the pie, a “nibble of the nubble” as they used to say in Scotland.

My point here is that there’s a lot of people and chains of responsibility involved, and ultimately if something is amiss, it is me who has to deal with it. “What could be amiss with the world’s first satirical board game of religious warfare?” you are probably asking yourself. “It seems like such a great idea and great game… I bought one for myself and another as a gift, and I’m thinking about buying a third to keep in reserve in case something happens to mine.” Okay, you’re probably not thinking all that to yourself— though you should.

The complaints are small compared to the number of games sold, but I’d rather be flogged in public than have an unhappy customer. So it is with some annoyance, alarm, and irritation that I have gotten some e-mails like these: 1) “WHEN I OPENED MY GAME IT HAD A DUPLICATE JEW GOD ,BUT NO CHRISTAIN GOD.” 2) ” We opened up Playing Gods this weekend (alas, we didn’t actually PLAY it because my friends are too easily distracted) and it looks like I have two Jesuses (Jesii?) and no Hindu icon. Is that right? If there’s a multi-armed icon, I want it! How can I get one?” 3) “The game is very cool, but I noticed that my board is a bit warped.”

I’ll bet Hasbro and Parker Bros. don’t get customer complaints that begin, “I have two Jesuses (Jesii?).” Good times.

I’m guessing so far I’ve got 15 complaints of missing pieces (including not enough chips, a missing pawn) and 3 or 4 complaints about warped boards. In the process of opening games up and signing the boards, I’ve come across about 20 or 30 that were not 100% flat, but I had no choice but to send them out like that. I complained to the company, and got the following response: “I spoke to the factory. When you have a final count of missing pawns we will order and send replacement pawns and some replacement game boards to you.”

My answer: “I appreciate you contacting the factory, though I don’t know that getting replacement pawns and boards will solve the problem. I have no way of knowing how many of the games have missing or defective pieces, as I have only moved one-fifth of the games. I cannot open and inspect the remaining 4,000 games, even if I wanted to, and until the last case is sold, I won’t have a “final count” of missing pieces. That could be a year or more away. By then, of course, I won’t need any replacement pawns or boards. The real problem is the boards; if I need to send someone a new one because theirs is warped, the only place I can get one (hopefully) is by opening and cannibalizing a new, unopened box, which I then can’t sell because it’s opened and missing a board. So, in addition to postage, each warped board is costing me a complete game in sales, between $20 and $40. So far I have only had to send out three replacements, but if I get complaints about a bunch of games with warped boards in the coming months and years, it could end up costing me hundreds, or potentially thousands of dollars. I understand that in any big production run there will be some mistakes and errors, and I hope that most of them have been caught, but if it turns out that a significant number of games are defective (warped boards, missing parts, etc.) then simply sending me replacement parts will not help me in any way, nor will it compensate me for the loss of income that are a direct result of your factory’s quality control issues.”

No response yet. If anyone has any problems with any of the games, or hears of anyone who has, please contact me directly and I’ll take care of it. This is one of the joys of being in charge of everything…


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