|Mansions of Madness | Published 21 December 2011|
Dear Mansions of Madness Player,
It has come to my attention that certain components and information in our recently released Mansions of Madness expansion, Forbidden Alchemy, have serious playability issues.
I am sorry and very embarrassed by this issue. Any issues with Forbidden Alchemy are especially egregious as the Mansion of Madness core game was similarly afflicted. While FFG's work on Forbidden Alchemy was well intended, its content and scenarios both novel and exciting, it's obviously not acceptable for players to receive a product with serious mistakes.
We are currently undergoing a comprehensive audit of Forbidden Alchemy, not only to affirm and understand the issues that have been identified by players, but to be completely sure that it does not have yet-to-be-identified issues.
Once we have completed this audit (which we estimate will be sometime early next week), FFG will manufacture any replacement materials necessary. When printed and received by FFG, we will send such replacement materials to affected Forbidden Alchemy owners via mail at no charge. In addition, as further apology, we will include a free copy of our new Arkham Horror novel Dance of the Damned to those players.
Retailers with copies of Forbidden Alchemy on their shelves should contact their FFG sales rep so they may be sent replacement materials directly. FFG has frozen all sales of Forbidden Alchemy for the time being, as we will be replacing the affected parts in our current inventory before resuming shipments of this product. Distribution customers should similarly contact their FFG sales rep.
We will post another article here next week with the details, errata, and information on how affected players can receive their replacement materials and a copy of Dance of the Damned.
Again, on behalf of FFG, I apologize for this unacceptable issue. FFG must do better and FFG will do better.
Christian T. Petersen
Fantasy Flight Games
Mansions of Madness is a macabre game of horror, insanity, and mystery for two to five players. Based on the beloved fiction of H.P. Lovecraft, Mansions of Madness tells a story in which one player takes on the role of the keeper, a malevolent force working to complete a sinister plot, and all other players take on the roles of investigators, the unlikely heroes who gather to oppose him.
First off, I'm glad to see FFG doing the right thing here in recalling and revising. Of course, it's still a drag, because I'm really looking forward to playing Forbidden Alchemy. (The play session animated by VonVeederGames is pretty much the best advertisement one could hope for! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYc29dVFG98) Can't wait to get my hands on it... once all the kinks are worked out.
Has FFG considered "beta testing" boardgames and expansions prior to release? The way many computer game developers do? (Is this something you guys do already?)
It seems like it it would be a good way to run new systems through the paces and look for hitches and snags. And there are SO MANY fans of games like MoM (and FF games in general), that I imagine you could quickly recruit a large group of hobbyist-playtesters. I know I'd sign up!
If beta testers signed a non-disclosure agreement, FFG could print and mail (cheap!) beta copies made out of more-or-less ordinary paper stock. Is something like this already in operation? If not... why not? It seems like beta testing could've prevented a lot of heartache and headaches all around!
Clearly it takes a lot to thoroughly explore quality-control on a game as complex as MoM. Wouldn't "crowd-sourcing" help?
Regarding the new FAQ, i'd like to point out this....
Event card III : This card should use the term "health" instead of "wounds"
is followed by:
Event card IV: (...) West is a named maniac with +3 wounds ....
C'mon, really? I love you guys, but after all the buzz you about the errors you still let this slip through ? (not to mention the unadressed boss-behind-doors problem...)
Irxson: I have some good experience with FFG. Had some broken parts in my Starcraft. They sent me replacements and signed letter. Btw. I'm from Czech Republic.
I just want to know how will they handle european customers who bought the game from their local retailer.(my case)
I just got off the phone with FF customer service and I figured I would share with all of you what I learned. It appears that the biggest problem was in the printing one of the scenarios requires rooms that are printed back to back on one piece. He further explained that when this game was tested none of the room tiles were printed back to back and so it slipped through game testing. They will be changing how they test and are very very sorry for the errors.
Say what you will about these errors. I will even add that some of there rule books read like stereo instructions; however, when you buy a game from Fantasy Flight you know that 3 things always will happen.
1. The pieces will be be second to none in quality
2. If you have a problem, you can talk to a real person who is friendly and knows what they are talking about and they will do what they can to help you in a quick fashion. (replacement parts, questions about products)
3. It will be a game that will be challenging, engaging, and a game you will play over and over again.
Winning a BGG Award for theme and another for expansion, is nothing compared to the plethora of awards Days of Wonder (the real leader in board games) receives. Have you checked out Ticket to Ride's award index?
2004 Game of the Year in Japan
2004 Game of the Year in Germany
2005 Game of the Year in Finland
Game of the Year 2005 in France
2005 Game of the Year in Sweden
2005 Origins Award winner
2005 Game of the Year in Spain
FFG (the leader in gaming) has had over 5 years to top it.
I don't play Sirlin's or Days of Wonder's or even Zman games anymore than I play FFG games. I am merely pointing out how a single video game designer or french surfer can manage their own company, games, and fan service...without error. I see no reason why an experienced gaming publisher like FFG can't.
About this whole derailing of this thread...it's not my fault Mr. Petersen set the example. In his world it is okay to hijack other people's threads. I believe these blogs are the closest I get to his threads. It is after all his company's site.
I really love MoM, and, despite its flaws, find it to be a great game, as well as a fav at our weekly game night. However, the issues with this release (Alchemy) are pretty unacceptable. In essence, beyond the typos in the booklets, 33% of the product is playable (scenario-wise). I was so excited for this release, I checked the site daily for info, called the hell out of my FLGS, only to end up with something I can't really use. Since I opened the product, and didn't discover the discrepancies around the time they started popping up on BGG, I can't return my copy. So I am stuck with an unplayable expansion, money in limbo, and bummed out.
I hope this is rectified and soon. And I do agree, FFG floods the market with their games. And while I love the vast majority of their products, some quality control needs to be instituted. I can't remember a time recently where I poured over one of their manuals and didn't find at least a handful of typos, misprints, and downright conflicting/confusing info. And I'm not the only one who feels this way.
Answer the call; give us what we paid for, and soon.
"Early next week" has come and gone. Any update?
I haven't played FA yet due to all the reported problems on BGG however I do think overall FFg produce the best Board Games and Card Games at the moment.
MOM does need some tweaking in the rules, it does seem hard on the investigators and I was hoping the deluxe expansion was going to sort it out. It looks like FFG failed in this respect.
It seems the criticism levelled at FFG on BGG, is that they don'y play test their games enough before release, if this is true then FFG need to listen to the customers and do something about it.
The talk amongst the paying/playing gamers is that FFG are greedy and rushing games out before testing and if because of this, the games are flawed the paying?playing gamers, will turn away from them, just like my group are doing from WotC and their MTG.
Respect to Mr Peterson for the quick apology and promise to sort it. I hope he and their designers read every post on BGG and sort out not only the hard wired problems with the game (the same tile needed twice in one scenario) but the consistent criticism about game balance between keeper and investigators. Whenever I have played this I do as the Tom Vassel review suggests and play it as a DM, with a lot of taking it easy on the investigators, for fear they will be anhilatated and the players just wouldn't want to play it again.
Last I check, FFG won 2011 Golden Geek awards for both Mansions of Madness and TI:Shards of the Throne.
We get it. You really like YOMI and other David Sirlin games. But that's tangential to any discussion of this post or even an evaluation of FFG products in general.
Believe it or not but there actually are lesser know publishers that try to avoid customer backlash. These are the publishers earning all of the awards. You know? The REAL leading publishers of board games.
FFG just swamps the market with their crap so that they appear to be the leaders. So what your are saying is that a publisher can't be judged by the error free products they produce and can only be judged when they slip up?
I present a challenge to you. Go play YOMI and comeback to me with its flaws. Good luck! Only flaw I could find was that it targets a specific crowd of gamers, but that isn't a design flaw.