sorry for being absent in the comment section and not responding mails in the past 2 weeks, the Essen Spiel fair has taken its toll on "normal business" and we still need to recover. Essen has been a real blast, but more on that in another update.
Before we go to the task of responding one by one all of the mails you have written, we would like to step back and get everyone up to speed on the manufacturing and fulfillment issues we are finding.
MANUFACTURING/FULFILLMENT ISSUES AND WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE AFFECTED
As outlined in previous updates, we are experiencing a significantly higher than usual rate of manufacturing errors. Many of you got the perfect product we had planned for (thank you for letting us know), but others are missing items, or have defective components.
This update is designed to let you know:
a) what to look for in terms of potential manufacturing errors, based on current experience
b) what to do in case you are affected and need to report to us
c) what to expect in terms of timing for receiving replacement items
To add to the number of incidences, we also have some problems with fulfillment itself, some of you were sent the wrong product or didn't get specific add-ons you ordered, or had damages from transport. Some others haven't received their product yet, while others in their area received theirs fine. On top, one fulfillment partner (Aetherworks for Australia/NZ) is extremely difficult to communicate with and isn't confirming whether they sent out the backer material (recent comments by Australian backers having received a shipping notice suggest they finally are sending the packages, but we don't have official confirmation from them).
First of all, we would like to send a message of reassurance: we WILL get you the product you ordered, and we WILL respond each of your mails. Please understand that it is taking us some time, for one because of Essen, but also because we weren't prepared for such a high number of incidences and had to put systems in place to deal with them and track them, otherwise we would end up in chaos. We think we can catch up with our backlog and respond to everyone during the course of next week, letting each of you know what the next steps are.
In the meantime, for anyone not having received or reviewed their package yet, please review it as soon as you can, so you can help us solve everyone's problems faster.
a) what to look for?
First of all, have the component list ready which we posted here. Below we list a series of errors that have been reported, to help you in your search for errors. We are truly sorry for the errors that have been found, you can imagine that each case is a blow for us, as much as it is for you.
While this list is long, it is by no means an indication that the production is a disaster as such, it is quite normal to see different assembly or production errors in a production as complex as ours. It is true, though, that some of the problems should never have happened, complex production or not.
Please don't see this as an invitation to report "whatever little thing you can find", we are already hit bad enough as is by problems we had no control over, use common sense to decide whether an issue is eligible for replacement or not. We don't want to argue with you, you are our backers and most important partners.
- Wooden token issues
Count the number of tokens, comparing it to the component list. In some cases single tokens were missing, in some cases full affinities, so please check carefully, we want you to "be complete".
Check specifically the front and backsides of the blue and green mercenary assignment tokens, in a batch of the production, these tokens were printed incorrectly, with either 2 front sides or 2 back sides.
In 2 cases in France, backers reported they received bags with rotten tokens, humidity had entered the bags and the white silicate bags apparently hadn't worked in trapping the humidity. If you experience this, don't open the bags, so that you don't get the smell or inhale the spores of the wood mold.
If you find any token issues, please take photos and proceed to "what to do".
- Punchboard issues
There were two types of error reports regarding punchboards:
1. a few punchboards came damaged, even before punching out tokens
2. some punchboards were not cut sufficiently deep, so that punching out the tokens proved difficult and some tokens broke.
In case 1, please take photos of the punchboard(s) before punching out the tokens, in case 2, please take photos of the specific torn tokens you would like us to replace. Proceed to "what to do".
- Dice issues
We had a few cases of missing or defective dice.
If you have any dice issues, please take photos, record the number of affected dice of each type and proceed to "what to do".
- Card issues
While the cards are generally great in quality, we have seen numerous issues of problems with the printing of the BACK of the cards.
Some decks have significant background color variation. Minor color variations are ok in our eyes, because the backside of a card is only seen when being the top card of a replenishment stack. But major color variations are clearly not acceptable, even if they don´t affect gameplay.
Some cards have also had significant blobs or dirt on the backside.
Note that the errata of the card SPORUS (should have been an A category instead of a B category Monster) is just an errata, a mistake that we communicate but that in itself does not warrant a replacement of your deck.
If you have any issues with your cards, please note which card decks are affected, take photos, and proceed to "what to do".
- Rulebook issues
Some of you didn't receive the correct rulebook language.
If you have any rulebook issues, please take a photo of the rulebook you received and the box sticker and proceed to "what to do".
- Damaged boxes
In some cases, backers had significant dents in their box, potentially because of insufficient protection by the packaging of the fulfillment center. These damages we will have to evaluate together with the respective fulfillment center.
If you find any issues with your box, please take photos and proceed to "what to do"
- Incorrect product
Some of you received the wrong product, for example a Leader copy instead of a Monster copy.
If you experience this problem, take photos of the packing slip or shipping invoice, the box (see that the sticker with the barcode is visible) and proceed to "what to do".
- Missing product
Some of you haven't received their product yet, while others around you in the same geographical area have.
If this is your case, proceed to "what to do", we will use next week to follow up with the respective fulfillment centers.
b) what to do
Please report any issue with photos to email@example.com. Please be aware that we do not track other channels like facebook, twitter, KS messages, comments, BGG mails, etc, the firstname.lastname@example.org account is the only one we are using for incidence resolution.
If you have already sent a mail to email@example.com, please don't send another one asking for the status! We have a large backlog of mails to answer, and we will get to it during the next week, please give us time to catch up with everyone. We admit we weren't prepared for this and it happened at the worst possible moment with all of us out for a full week in Essen, but we commit to get back on track.
c) what to expect
As part of our crisis management, we have had several meetings with LongPack during the Essen Spiel fair and mapped out a plan to produce and deliver replacement components. While we can assure everyone that you will get your components, we must unfortunately also tell you that it is going to take us quite a while.
In order to know the quantities of replacements to produce, we will have to wait until beginning of December, because we want all backers to have received their product and have had a chance to review it.
LongPack will then produce replacement material second half of December/first half of January. After that (and before Chinese New Year), an external service in China will assemble individual envelopes with the replacement material for each affected backer. These envelopes will be sent by air to hubs in each region and sent forward from there. All in all, we expect they will be delivered in February/March.
This seemed an awful long time to us when we first discussed it with LongPack, but they made us see that assembly of hundreds of envelopes with different needs for each single case is not to be done in a hurry, we don't want to get it wrong once more. They will also need to edge up their quality control mechanisms for this.
For some of the issues, we will try to find a more immediate solution, in particular for those cases that don't allow you to play the game right away (for example, missing rulebook, or a missing token sheet). Luckily, most issues are not preventing you from enjoying the game while you wait for your well-deserved replacement items.
So much for now, sorry again for this whole ordeal, and sorry for not getting individual answers out to everyone yet, we promise to get to it starting Monday.
Second Gate Games
PS: A HUGE thank you to all of you who have been so extremely positive in your error report messages, it is just great to see how backers appreciate that problems may arise and comment positively on the project as such and the game! THANK YOU!
A big THANK YOU also to the many backers helping out in the comment section and on BGG to guide others on different topics while we were unable to attend!