Monday, 26 March 2007

TIDE OF IRON delayed until May?!

Well, the news has come down that TIDE OF IRON, the latest aircraft-carrier sized box of AT wonder and joy from Fantasy Flight Games has been delayed until May. It had been delayed until April. And before that to March. You get the picture.

The reason stated by FFG appears to be that there were "concerns" about warping boards, which of course you would have seen if you'd read any of the early bird reports as posted online. After the public outrage over everything from the warping boards of RAILROAD TYCOON, the bent rulebooks of SHOGUN, and the infamous unremovable box lid of MISSION RED PLANET I have to say that Mr. Petersen and company have made the right decision- I'd hate to see yet another flagship title in the FFG stable get waylaid by crybaby complaints levelled by anal retentitve gamers apparently incapable of dealing with minor manufacturing difficulties. Warped boards means bad buzz and bad reviews, as we've seen time and time again.

Now granted, when a game is seriously screwed up in production there's definitely a call for something to be done and it might very well be the case that the boards didn't pass quality control...but I can't help but think that this is one of those situations where fear of the Almighty Internet Opinion may have had a huge influence on the decision- which is really a shame if it's as minor a problem as the reviews I've seen have noted (some didn't even mention it at all, others noted that it was easily corrected). I'd hate to be in Mr. Petersen's shoes, looking at releasing a game that a lot of money has already been invested in that you know is going to get nitpicked to death by armchair critics unaware of the cost and effort of reprinting major components of the game. And given all the internet flak FFG has unfairly recieved for releasing supposedly "unfinished" or "beta" games, I'd probably hold it back myself.

God knows how many games I've purchased over the years that have a bent board or some other wonky component...and god knows how many times I've managed to somehow get by without ever posting to the world my sheer and utter disgust with a company for making such inferior products and how I will "vote with my dollar" by never buying their crap again.

So since ToI is delayed, it might be a good idea to look at some other ways the game might better please the online boardgaming community, what with their high standards and all. I'd like to propose the following changes that should be easily completed by May:

1) Make sure I can remove the box lid in under .5 seconds.

2) Make sure that the game will fit EXACTLY into the box yet somehow magically have enough room for all the expansions. Without there being too much air in the box.

3) There should be a plastic tray specifically designed to hold each and every single piece in the game.

4) Please use the highest grade cardstock known to mankind with white edges and stainless steel card protectors included in the box.

5) Please remove all luck elements from the game. Combat can be effectively modeled through card drafting and auctions rather than dice.

6) I expect there to be a detailed order of battle included in the game along with designer notes detailing every single mechanic and how it accurately models real world situations, physics, and historical realities.

7) No swastikas. Please use the MEMOIR '44 model of "not talking about the war", so to speak.

8) I would advise another 5 years of playtesting to ensure that every possible eventuality is covered and addressed in the rulebook (which should remain under 10 pages).

9) $79.95 retail is ludicrous for a game that does not have wooden pieces. Even though BATTLELORE was $70 it promises to be more value for the money sometime in the future.

10) I expect a complete and full apology included in the box from Christian Petersen addressing the ISC problem. I would like to see this in every future FFG production.

With these suggestions in place, I believe that ToI will truly be ready for primetime and completley impervious to attack from the harsh opinions of the online boardgaming world.

41 comments:

jason718 said...

Genius. Especially the 10 suggestions. I tried to get a lot of this across on a few BGG threads, but I was always flamed for being a "fanboy." What the hell does that mean anyway? Why is it OK to say "fanboy", but not "crybaby homo?" Anyway, keep up the fantastic writing. Glad I can still read your hilarious take on things.

Old Dwarf said...

Great Zingers!Still I confess
to be a Warp Ranter.Just something
about a warped board that offends me.

OD

Mr Skeletor said...

You forgot Number 11, freight the game in via spaceship because we are sick of waiting.

Mr Skeletor said...

Dear Mr Peterson,

My name is Mr Skeletor. I work for the online, umm, publication, Fortress: AmeriTrash, or FAT for short. On this fine site we sometimes review games. If you send me a copy of the game I will gladly review it and guarantee I will give it a 10/10 rating and shill this thing to high heavens. Seriously, I will sell every last shred of my battered integrity, just get me a copy of the fucking game already! I'm dying here!

Your's sincerely,
The easily brought Mr Skeletor.

Robert Bowsher said...

I'm with the old dwarf - warped boards make Baby Jesus cry. This isn't rocket science, it's plain old bookbinding technology. The crappiest $4 Chutes and Ladders set out there has a straight board, so I don't think it's an unreasonable expectation for my $50 copy of RRT. Do I like my copy of RRT? Yes, but I'd have liked it better if I didn't have to mess with straightening out the boards.

Think of it like software. The boys at Blizzard have it down pat - they'll forgive you if you're late much more readily than they'll forgive you if you suck.

the red phantom said...

I suppose I'll be the only one here not remotely amused by all the bile and bitterness from the usually excellent Mr. Barnes' post. I think, if I may say, his BGG slip is showing, and I thought he was over it. Games are rarely savaged because of components, and when they are, it is either justified (the Die Macher reprint), or we Ameritrashers have a hand in it (come on, how many wargames have been pooh-poohed because of the lack of flashy graphics and plastic? Mea culpa!)

Mission: Red Planet just wasn't that great a game; it had nothing to do with the box top. TI3 had issues; we can argue about how big those issues are, and how well the expansion fixes them, but creating a hullabaloo about BGG pickiness detracts from the conversation. I would like to think *we* are picky, too.

I believe in FFG and in the high quality of their products, and if they need an extra month, then they do, and we can all be adults and wait for it. Thank god they don't operate like GMT with their two year long pre-orders! FFG is a successful game company and they will do what makes sense in the long run. I can't see how this is the fault of their BGG detractors, who are in a minority anyway.

From the great initial posts, I thought this was going to be a site about the greatness of Ameritrash games, not a treehouse with a few embittered gamers spitting tobacco at the BGGers who come near us. Embittered gamers, and clueless homophobes like Jason718.

Michael Barnes said...

Oh, come on Red Phantom (if that is your real name)- it's all in fun. You know as well as I do that gamers (including those at the Leading Board Game Website) nitpick things to death...and who hasn't seen games savaged over minor production issues.

Hey, I have faith that FFG is acting in their best interest as well as in ours and I know they're committed to delivering the best product possible- they are far and away the most professional publisher in the business. The point was that I empathize with what they have to take into consideration when making a big decision like this- part of it invariably is what the online community is going to say/post- like I said, if the first 10 people who post bitch about warped boards...guess what? Bad buzz.

Ain't nobody bitter here, my friend...we're here to put the fun back into this derelict hobby!

Also, I would like to echo Mr. Skeletor's suggestion to FFG. I too will gladly review the game and will unashamedly award it a 10 as well. In fact, we can print up a "Fortress Ameritrash Top Pick 2007" sticker that you guys can put on the box. If need be, I will also wrap my car with one of those gaudy advertisements for the game. ;-)

jason718 said...

Embittered gamers, and clueless homophobes like Jason718.


Whoa...someone has no sense of humor. Sorry buddy, didn't mean to offend your sensibilities. Besides, I'm no homophobe. Sometimes my old lady does this thing with her finger...ahh forget it. You've already cast your judgement die.

Octavian said...

5) Please remove all luck elements from the game. Combat can be effectively modeled through card drafting and auctions rather than dice.


You forgot flowcharts.

-MMM

Robert Bowsher said...

>>>
Games are rarely savaged because of components, and when they are, it is either justified (the Die Macher reprint)...
>>>

You're right about that. I played my brand-new copy of DM the other day, and the new issues art proved to be damn near unusable. Three of the issues's images are very similar, and two of them are differentiated only by the presence or abscence of a cooling tower. Confusion between the issues happened more than once, to more than one player.

We wont even go into the choice of Comic Sans as the manual font - I know that one drove the amateur (and professional) typographers out there crazy.

We now return to our regularly scheduled AT thread, already in progress.

teknomerk said...

Sad, but true about the list. Some folks just have to pick a nit. I think FFG made the right call. ToI is the flagship product of many more ToI supplements to come. Why take of chance now of tarnishing the name and risking negative publicity on all future products as well?

I regularly play WW2 miniatures, but I plan on buying this game. I'm willing to wait, but my patience metering is also running a bit low. It will be worth it tho.

pbwedz said...

I'm with the old dwarf - warped boards make Baby Jesus cry. This isn't rocket science, it's plain old bookbinding technology. The crappiest $4 Chutes and Ladders set out there has a straight board, so I don't think it's an unreasonable expectation for my $50 copy of RRT. Do I like my copy of RRT? Yes, but I'd have liked it better if I didn't have to mess with straightening out the boards.

I have to agree. With all the games FFG has put out, how hard is it to find a 'printer' who's boards don't warp?

The board is the focus of the game and it's not easy to replace after the fact (unlike, say, the money in Caylus which came to me in a normal envelope).

Just chill and play another game until it is ready. Also, if everyone agrees that this is the right move, then what's the point of the list?

People have been picky about their games since the days when Avalon Hill was king. This is nothing new (and certainly not limited to Euro or AT players).

Shellhead said...

I wonder if OCD is a rampant problem amongst boardgamers today? Is it possible that a decade of games featuring precisely cut wooden cubes have attracted a dysfunctional element to a hobby that was once primarily concerned with fun?

Michael Barnes said...

Just chill and play another game until it is ready. Also, if everyone agrees that this is the right move, then what's the point of the list?

Damn it!

I keep forgetting that:
1) THERE IS NO HUMOUR IN BOARDGAMING
2) THERE IS NOTHING FUNNY IN BOARDGAMING
3) THIS IS THE MOST SERIOUS HOBBY IN THE ENTIRE WORLD

I promise guys, no more jokes...I'll be serious from now on! :-|

the red phantom said...

I wonder if OCD is a rampant problem amongst boardgamers today? Is it possible that a decade of games featuring precisely cut wooden cubes have attracted a dysfunctional element to a hobby that was once primarily concerned with fun?

How is that, Shellhead? I don't play many Euros, though I know many who do. The last thought in their minds is on components. It's on the auctions, don't you know?;)

Honestly, I am quite in agreement with pbwedz. I don't see what the big deal is. Their attention to detail is precisely why FFG makes quality games that we adore. And if anyone here thinks we *aren't* part of the "component OCD" problem, they need another look in the mirror.

Michael Barnes said...

You know, I was watching MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL the other day and I just don't understand what's funny about Arthurian legend. Everyone knows they rode horses, I don't get why they were clapping coconuts together. What's the "big deal"? Moreover, what's the point?

I mean, if it was supposed to be funny then they needed to put a smiley at the end.

pbwedz said...

I keep forgetting that:
1) THERE IS NO HUMOUR IN BOARDGAMING
2) THERE IS NOTHING FUNNY IN BOARDGAMING
3) THIS IS THE MOST SERIOUS HOBBY IN THE ENTIRE WORLD

I promise guys, no more jokes...I'll be serious from now on! :-|


Jokes are great! Board2pieces is funny. One of the best ones is when one of the meeples is reading Tom Vasel's Review of Caylus and says 'Will Tom rate Caylus 'Really Really Good' or 'Really Really Really Good'? Oooh, the Suspense!' Great Stuff.

However, I have to agree with 'red phantom' that this seems like more 'bile and bitterness' than a joke.

The articles on this site is much read than on the Geek. However, posts like this just bring the site down, IMHO.

I think, if I may say, his BGG slip is showing, and I thought he was over it.

I have to agree. I thought the posts you have put on this site have been great and now we are back to the name calling...

*YAWN*

hughthehand said...

As a euro nut, I thought you suggestions were freakin' hilarious (sp?).

Good For FFG. Fix everything BEFORE it is sent out.

For you vassal users, you might want to keep an eye out and ask around about a ToI module. Someone is probably developing it since the test copies are out. And if so, it might be done before May.

Michael Barnes said...

Thank you, pbwedz, for instructing me on proper boardgame humour. I will study those examples and craft my humour to suit your tastes from now on. Talking game bits sure seems like a one-way ticket to hilarious hijinks.

Bile and bitterness is clearly not funny, all we need to do is look at Bill Hicks, George Carlin, Lenny Bruce, or Jello Biafra to see that. Those were some really unfunny people. If only they were more pleasant.

Ken Bradford said...

And now for a Carlin joke that only parents will get:


"And then, James said, 'Fuck you, Percy! You're a really cheeky bastard!'"

hughthehand said...

sigh...I read nothing bad in this article. I love BGG. But we can't even poke a little fun at ourselves?

come on.

Michael Barnes said...

If you laugh at board games it makes Reiner Knizia cry.

pbwedz said...

Thank you, pbwedz, for instructing me on proper boardgame humour. I will study those examples and craft my humour to suit your tastes from now on.

See, normally I wouldn't bother to comment if this post was on BGG, but this is your web site now. You (and others) are trying to make this site popular.

I'm sure to those who like to carry the AT banner in this 'War' against the Euro-gamers the joke was a hoot.

To the rest of the population of gamers, who really don't care one way or the other, we just roll our eyes and move on.

Bile and bitterness is clearly not funny, all we need to do is look at Bill Hicks, George Carlin, Lenny Bruce, or Jello Biafra to see that. Those were some really unfunny people. If only they were more pleasant.

And if I cared enough to read their comments, I'd might say something to them too...

Michael Barnes said...

To the rest of the population of gamers, who really don't care one way or the other, we just roll our eyes and move on.

Well hey, thanks for stopping by to post your opinions in this thread three times on your way to rolling your eyes and moving on.

BTW, I'm sure Bill Hicks would love to hear from you regarding his comments on the hobby.

Ken Bradford said...

Gentlemen...PUT YOUR PENI AWAY!


What do you think this is, "300"?

Michael Barnes said...

No Ken...

THIS...IS...SPARTA!!!!

pbwedz said...

Well hey, thanks for stopping by to post your opinions in this thread three times on your way to rolling your eyes and moving on.

I have moved on to the next article (and an excellent one it is), I just stopped back here to finish our talk.

BTW, I'm sure Bill Hicks would love to hear from you regarding his comments on the hobby.

Again, I haven't read from Bill that grabbed me. So I'm going to pass on that one.

Ken Bradford said...

Man, that movie rocks.

Michael Barnes said...

Again, I haven't read (any comments) from Bill (Hicks) that grabbed me. So I'm going to pass on that one. (edited for clarity)

Point made. Enjoy your stay at Fortress AT.

Robert Bowsher said...

Gentlemen...PUT YOUR PENES AWAY!

Fixed :)

J de said...

At last I've cast away the cookie block and reveal myself to the FAT crowd. Keep up the good work here gents, this is shaping up nicely.

Gosh, I don't mind humour, we'll just have to accept that it isn't funny everytime. If we made the same joke every night for a couple of months (like Bill Hicks used to), we could craft it into unforgetable DVD-oneliners.

Look at blogs and reactions as stand up comedy. They may miss one, but as long as they don't start a long rant insulting hecklers over their skin colour, we'll be alright.

Of course there is some bile in Barnes' views on BGG. That's his problem for putting his ego over reaching a wider audience. I'm not going to waste sleep over that. I'm happy to pick his brains here, and have a good laugh when he is funny. Which is quite often (YMMV).

the red phantom said...

Man, that movie rocks.

Seriously? All the previews looked seriously homoerotic and campy, which is not a bad thing unless you're Jason718.

However, what movie--besides Sin City--is more Ameritrash?

hughthehand said...

hey red phantom....you had me. I totally thought you were serious about this:

"Embittered gamers, and clueless homophobes like Jason718."


But then I just read this quote of yours:

"Seriously? All the previews looked seriously homoerotic and campy, which is not a bad thing unless you're Jason718."


Now I am not so sure. Are you or are you not offended by what Jason said? I'm not being an ass, I am just curious. Sometimes its hard to tell what the hell is going on.

And yes 300 showed some man ass, BUT....the nipples on the chicks were unreal? SERIOUSLY, the woman that is in that crazy trance...WOW is all I can say. (o)(o)

Ken Bradford said...

Yeah, there's enough flesh in there to satisfy any crowd.

The action sequences were top shelf all the way, the bravado ferocious, the men were "manly men" who didn't back down from anything, there was blood, guts, flying heads, chopped off legs...giant mutant trolls, sword-handed beasts...


And the Oracle of Delphi was mad hot, yo

Michael Barnes said...

But was there too much air in the box? Was it fiddly?

robartin said...

I dunno man, 300 makes Commando look like a highbrow film. I was pretty unimpressed that they took such an amazing story and basically turned it into a 2 hour long video game. It didn't help that all the actors apparently attended the WWE School of Theatre. "SPARTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!"

J de said...

I hope you don't mean to say that the Spartans actually go into battle shouting?

mtlawson said...

And now for a Carlin joke that only parents will get:


"And then, James said, 'Fuck you, Percy! You're a really cheeky bastard!'"


Dammit, Ken, that was freaking hilarious!

As a father of three kids, who have all gone (or are going through) their Thomas stage, I can definitely identify with that one. I always wanted to have Edward go and tell Gordon to shut the f@#$ up and go and pull that damn train, but this is just as good.

--Mike L.

the red phantom said...

Not to hijack even more--but I will.

Frank Miller can bite my ass. So much promise, and now all he churns out are shiny turds. It's like he's stuck in the 50's, and it's getting really old, really quick. He has nothing on Alan Moore.

Oh, I'm sorry, I'm an AT fan. "300 was briiiiliant..."

Michael Barnes said...

I'm not a _huge_ Frank Miller fan...of course DARK KNIGHT RETURNS is one of the masterworks of Western Civilization, RONIN was pretty neat, good DAREDEVIL run, and the first handful of SIN CITY stories were cool...I did really like the 300 book (I, ahem, haven't seen the film yet)though.

But Red's right...he ain't NOTHIN' compared to Alan Moore. Miller has never done anything where I've put down the book and just thought DAMN.

Kosh said...

Does somebody here actually think that, provided the board warp problem is resolved, some people aren't going to find something else to bitch about? In point of fact, there has already been bitching about the figures, and FFG doesn't seem to be doing anything about that.

Holding the game up again, for something that takes about three minutes of counter-bending to resolve, while ignoring how crappy your pieces look compared to, say, A&A miniatures - I'm afraid I don't see what's being gained. Other than, you know, pissing people off who have already been waiting since December for this game.

If I had to guess, I'd guess that FFG already has a plan in their back pocket for producing higher-quality miniatures for the game, provided it takes off, and they can make money off of them. But what they don't have is a way to make money off the board-warpage.