Tag Archives: Nollkoll

Boardgames in the News: Withdrawal of Customer Service by Asmodee

One of the characteristics of modern boardgames is the number of pieces in the box:  generally the more complex the game, the more pieces there are, and the more it costs.  For many, part of the fun of acquiring a new game is checking, sorting and otherwise caressing these, often bespoke, pieces.  It is very easy to lose or break a piece and an estimated 1-2% of new purchases arrive damaged or with something missing.  One of the truly special things about the boardgame industry has been the general understanding of the sadness caused by a missing piece, and the support the manufacturers give when a game has become incomplete, even if it is not the manufacturers fault.

No Thanks!
– Image by boardGOATS

For example, just over a year ago, one of the boardGOATS dropped a counter for No Thanks!.  After an extended session of “Hunt the Game Piece”, we eventually found it nestling in a cushion of dust, just out of reach, exactly where it fell, having cleanly dropped through the gap between the pub floorboards.  The game is inexpensive and readily available, but our copy is much played and much loved, and replacing it for the sake of one token seemed wasteful.  Of course the missing token could be substituted with something else, a penny say, but that would have made us sad every time we played it.  So, a quick email to AMIGO Spiele offering to purchase a couple of spares, and one week later a small handful of red counters arrived in the post—exceptional Customer Service from a superb company.

No Thanks!
– Image by boardGOATS

The remarkable thing is that this is not the only example:  similar service has been received from Zoch Verlag (Auf Teufel komm raus), NSKN Games (Snowdonia: Deluxe Master Set), Queen Games (Kingdom Builder), Ferti Games (PitchCar), Tactic (Nollkoll), Z-man (Le Havre), Rio Grande Games (Torres) & Splotter (The Great Zimbabwe), to name but a few, sometimes their fixing a problem of their making, sometimes just helping out.  This superb service (sometimes with a fee, but often without charge) builds a good relationship with the customer and encourages more sales—so not so much “No Thanks”, as “Yes Please”!

Orléans
– Image by boardGOATS

Last week, however, Asmodee USA closed its Customer Services Department to the public, and announced that all games with missing pieces should be returned to the vendor (as yet there is no comment on who should pay for returns of online purchases, or what happens with gifts that arrive with a piece missing).  Worse, the FAQ adds that when buying a second-hand copy, they “encourage you to make sure that all components of a game are present and intact before purchasing” as they “cannot offer replacements for products that were not purchased directly from our USA retail partners or webstores”.  Their justification for this is:

“With the number of quality titles in Asmodee USA’s growing library, maintaining an independent stock of elements of each game becomes more difficult. We believe offering the customer service through the store they have purchased the game from will be a better experience.”

It was initially thought that this would only affect USA customers, however, it seems that is not the case.  Asmodee UK have passed the buck:  according to their website, for replacement pieces for Asmodee, Fantasy Flight Games, Days of Wonder, Catan, Plaid Hat Games or Z-Man Games, “please visit http://parts.asmodeena.com/”, which in turn simply says:

“As of February 18, 2020, if a game is purchased in the US that has damaged or missing components, please return to where you originally bought the game for assistance.”

This change in policy may or may not make business sense in the short term, but for the gamer it is a very sad loss of what always felt like friendly support, and something that made boardgaming special.

UKGE 2018
– Image by boardGOATS

5th March 2013

Since people were there nice and early, we started off the evening with a quick game of Turf Horse Racing.  This is a clever little game where players bet on horses, but the return depends not only on the place and the “stake”, but also the number of people who bet on the horse.  Thus, if several people backed the same horse, the return would be a lot lower than one which only one player bet on.  Nobody backed Raven Beauty, but even it did better than Roamin’ Emperor who might as well have had three legs.  Up front however, the race was quite tight with Mosstown Boy making a mad dash for the line only to run out of steam and lose to Lagoon Lady, Red Baron and Silver Blaze.

Turf Horse Racing

Next we played the “Feature Game” which was Nollkoll (aka Speedybag), which is another quick, fun game, but was universally agreed to be the most stressful game any of us had ever played.  Basically, players turn over a card which has a shape on it and players have to feel in their bag and pull out a matching small plastic shape.  The first wins the card, the person with the most cards at the end wins.  It was a tight game, but oh soooo stressful!

Noll Koll

Then it was Queen’s Necklace.  We had one player who was new to it, but the rest of us played it a few weeks ago, so revisiting it was nice as it meant we could use what we had learnt the first time.  It was a much closer game this time with one round really making the difference between first and second place.

Queen's Necklace

Our fourth game of the evening was Coloretto, which strangely was new to most of us, though it is a well known game.  Play is very simple:  you can either draw a card to add to a “truck”, or take one of the “trucks” and add the cards in it to your collection to make sets of different colours. Each “truck” has a maximum of three cards and only the largest three sets score points with any others scoring negatively.  It is a fun little game closely related to Zooloretto, and in many ways much better as you don’t get side-tracked by cute fluffy animals, barns and vending stalls.

Coloretto

Finally we finished off with our old favourite, Bohnanza (known within the group as “The Bean Game”).  Since we all knew this one very well, we just checked the specific details for player numbers and launched straight into a game.  Unfortunately, the deck hadn’t been shuffled very well before it was put away, so the first time through the pack was a little strange, but we sorted that out for the second time through.  It was another tight game, but the “Queen of Cards” won by one card giving her a hat-trick for the evening.

Bohnanza

Learning Outcome:  Shuffling is a skill we all need to improve.