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Subject: Nine out of Ten (Fathoms deep on the road to Hell) rss

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Daniel Stone
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This one is a game that I just had to buy. I picked up a copy of the rules to read online prior to release and decided it would be the perfect Pirate game for me. It walks that magical line of awesome somewhere between goofy and light-hearted (Like Pirate's Cove) and being an attempt at a simulation more than a game to make you laugh and cheer (Like Blackbeard.)

Opening the box the first thing I noticed was that the component quality was much better than other the other Z-Man game I've purchased recently (Dungeon Lords). The board is nice and matte finished as are each of the player boards and they're made from heavy stock. The cards are nice and resilient feeling and shuffle very nicely. The little ships look great, but they needed some flash removed on the bottoms to stand properly, pretty minor a piece of sandpaper or a razor will fix them good as new. Z-Man was polite enough to pack the game with little zip-lock bags as well to store your pieces. The one big problem with the packaging/ component quality though is that the board comes packed just above the pieces, or did in my copy's case. This meant the board came mildly scuffed from rubbing up against the masts of the ship miniatures during shipping and traveling. On mine the damage was rather bad, but it might just annoy me more because I try to keep my boards in good condition. Lastly and most annoyingly... my copy only came with seven dice (out of ten), only 6 were included in the bag and one was rolling around freely in the box and was misprinted with the skull and crossbones just showing up as a blotch

The game it's self is a ton of fun. Everyone save for one person I've played with so far have enjoyed it, including two casual gamers who never dabbled much in advanced games. It feels balanced being a merchant versus being a pirate, and a fast victory usually involves some mixture of the two. I always ended up feeling really anxious for my turn and I think the feeling was mutual among other players, but I attribute that to the excitement of the game rather than to a slow turn time, in fact combat and merchant raids are all very fast paced and are fun to watch as well as take part in. There's nothing like seeing your rival get blown out of the water,by drawing enough hull-hits to sink his ship. This game really does have everything I want out of a pirate game. Trading, epic sea battles, fun events and upgrading/customizing your ship. I've played a number of different strategies and have never felt shut out of the game entirely even when I'm behind.The captains and ships all seem quite balanced against one another, and I've had great success with every captain and ship I've played. One gripe I've heard about the game, that I do share to a lesser degree is that money gains you glory too quickly, but I'd have to play the game more to make any kind of decision about this. Also I think the estimated time of 180 minutes is a bit high. Most of the 4 player games I played were taking a much shorter time.

The rules are laid out amazingly well and are well-written. You'll have no problem just setting up the board and getting playing. By the second or third turn you should have everything down well enough to only pick up the rules once in a blue moon.

The pros:
Heavy on theme, if you love pirates, you'll love it
Quick well-designed combat and raids
Very visually appealing
Good component quality

The cons:
Can feel like the game has gone too fast
Rather sketchy packing job (too few dice, damaged board)

Overall, I say:


If not for the missing dice and damaged board then I'd have given it 4 and 1/2 for sure. I'll be changing my rating and updating this thread pending on seeing how well Z-Man's customer service does with replacing the missing dice.

(Edit: Z-Man games shipped me replacement dice for those missing from my copy of the game. Just as promised, I've changed my rating to 4.5 Their customer service was very fast and professional.)
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Re: Eight out of Ten (Fathoms deep on the road to Hell)
DrUnK3nPaNdA wrote:
If not for the missing dice and damaged board then I'd have given it 4 and 1/2 for sure. I'll be changing my rating and updating this thread pending on seeing how well Z-Man's customer service does with replacing the missing dice.

If you're reviewing a game, you're reviewing the package that people expect to receive should they purchase it. Your personal deal with getting dice replaced may or may not be worth mentioning, but to say you'll change your rating based on that strikes me as oddly inappropriate. (I'm sure some will feel differently and tell me I'm a twit for voicing that opinion.)
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Re: Eight out of Ten (Fathoms deep on the road to Hell)
Sphere wrote:
DrUnK3nPaNdA wrote:
If not for the missing dice and damaged board then I'd have given it 4 and 1/2 for sure. I'll be changing my rating and updating this thread pending on seeing how well Z-Man's customer service does with replacing the missing dice.

If you're reviewing a game, you're reviewing the package that people expect to receive should they purchase it. Your personal deal with getting dice replaced may or may not be worth mentioning, but to say you'll change your rating based on that strikes me as oddly inappropriate. (I'm sure some will feel differently and tell me I'm a twit for voicing that opinion.)


You're a twit for voicing that opinion.

For the record, that's said in jest. Hopefully you'll find humor in that given my hissy fit in that Troll and Toad thread. I still find that post relevant, but after distancing myself a bit from the issue, I look back and realize that I was being more than a bit of a hypocrite. My apologies.

Regarding your opinion Sphere, I agree. Everyone else can rate whatever game they want using whatever criteria they want, but I rate games mostly on gameplay and components as they appear in a normal copy and not hold mistakes like the damaged board against the game's rating.

Z-Man has been pretty good about replacing stuff. If they don't have the replacement parts in stock, you'd definitely get them after the fulfillment of any subsequent print runs of the game.
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Daniel Stone
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Re: Eight out of Ten (Fathoms deep on the road to Hell)
If there were pieces missing I feel it should certainly effect a rating, because it's a quality control issue, which is a problem with the game as a whole. Gameplay IS important, but I think quality packaging and a complete set of components is very important as well (to gameplay.) It's perfectly fair to judge, as a whole, the product you received. How would you judge a meal if the chef forgot to add an ingredient?
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Darrell Hanning
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Re: Eight out of Ten (Fathoms deep on the road to Hell)
If you want to let anything in the world - anything at all - impact your review, you certainly can. It is always a matter of the reader agreeing with you about the relevance of what you mention. Sphere doesn't agree. If it were a new company, I suppose I would think it relevant, but Z-Man has a solid reputation, so I don't see it as mattering.
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Re: Eight out of Ten (Fathoms deep on the road to Hell)
DrUnK3nPaNdA wrote:
If there were pieces missing I feel it should certainly effect a rating, because it's a quality control issue, which is a problem with the game as a whole. Gameplay IS important, but I think quality packaging and a complete set of components is very important as well (to gameplay.) It's perfectly fair to judge, as a whole, the product you received. How would you judge a meal if the chef forgot to add an ingredient?

If the chef forgot an ingredient then there's a problem with the meal and you could rate the meal poorly. If the chef did a fine job, but the waiter dropped the roll off the plate before serving it to you or something like that, then I don't think you should count that against the quality of the meal. In other words, if you're reviewing the MEAL, then you shouldn't let the waiter's accident affectt he rating, if you're reviewing the RESTAURANT, then you should.

So are you reviewing Merchants and Marauders? Or are you reviewing Z-Man Games?
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Curt Carpenter
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Re: Eight out of Ten (Fathoms deep on the road to Hell)
sedjtroll wrote:
So are you reviewing Merchants and Marauders? Or are you reviewing Z-Man Games?

Or the printer/manufacturer?
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Re: Eight out of Ten (Fathoms deep on the road to Hell)
sedjtroll wrote:
So are you reviewing Merchants and Marauders? Or are you reviewing Z-Man Games?


Exactly. In a similar example: my Homesteaders was soggy and warped but the game was awesome. Tasty Minstrel and Alex Rockwell were a success with a great game.

How does that apply here? M&M is a great game regardless of the unfortunate component mishaps you might have had. Hell, my copy had 2 red sloops (missing a red frigate) and a split corner. I played it twice and rated it a 9.

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Re: Eight out of Ten (Fathoms deep on the road to Hell)
sedjtroll wrote:
So are you reviewing Merchants and Marauders? Or are you reviewing Z-Man Games?


He is reviewing Merchants and Marauders, a game designed by Kasper Aagaard and Christian Marcussen and published by Z-Man games. Since it isn't a print-and-play game, part of the money he paid for this game went to Z-Man, and this makes him entitled to criticize the publisher as well.

When a BGG member (like Daniel in this case) reviews a game, what he is doing is sharing the experience this game offered him as a whole. If some of the components were faulty or missing, a small part of the experience the game was supposed to offer was ruined, and it is OK for that to be reflected on the review's final score. What's more, there's nothing that stops a reviewer from editing his review and score if/when those components are replaced (even though in this case, Daniel already covered that by specifying what his score would be if there was no problem with the components). And since I guess most of us have, at some point, made a purchase via e-bay and had the product shipped to our location, here's an example: Would you leave perfect feedback for a seller if your order was delivered damaged or with some parts missing? Even though you can't be sure if it was the seller's own fault?
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Re: Eight out of Ten (Fathoms deep on the road to Hell)
kostool13 wrote:
When a BGG member (like Daniel in this case) reviews a game, what he is doing is sharing the experience this game offered him as a whole. If some of the components were faulty or missing, a small part of the experience the game was supposed to offer was ruined, and it is OK for that to be reflected on the review's final score.

There is only one forum for Merchants & Marauders. Not one for each and every copy of the game in existence. Thus it is assumed that reviews for the game are representative of "the game", not "a single anomalous copy of" the game. As for what's "ok" to be included in a review, there is not editorial review board, so people can clearly put in whatever they want, and factor any or all of it into their final score. What people are discussing is the usefulness of doing so, not the author's right to do so.
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Re: Eight out of Ten (Fathoms deep on the road to Hell)
Most reviews have a 'components' section, in which the reviewer describes what comes in the box. Often anomalies and errors are covered in that section. I think we're all conflating the review of the game, and a rating of the game. It sounds to me like some of us suggest the rating of a game should be based on the game, while the review is welcome to include whatever you want (about production quality and customer service for example).
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Steve Duff
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Re: Eight out of Ten (Fathoms deep on the road to Hell)
Many of us certainly factor excellent components into our ratings, so it'd be hypocritical to *not* factor in bad components.

I think the key here though is to separate "one offs" from normal situations. If Joe Random walks into his game store tomorrow and buys the game, will he run into the same situation that caused you to deduct ratings points?

For something like missing dice, almost certainly not. Therefore, it shouldn't be factored in. The scratched up boards certainly seem common enough that I don't have a problem with it being accounted for.
 
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Sean Shaw
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Re: Eight out of Ten (Fathoms deep on the road to Hell)
If it's any use, to back this review up, I had similar problems, just not as bad. I wouldn't change my review, but the odd sized board and the way they packaged it didn't do any favors for the board or the pieces.

I repackaged it in a different manner in the box, but the board still has several large dents in it.
 
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Daniel Stone
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Re: Eight out of Ten (Fathoms deep on the road to Hell)
Another very important thing in regards to my review is that I'm not the only one having issues with a damaged game. I saw another thread earlier with someone having similar problems with a scuffed board due to the board being packed directly against the plastic miniatures.

I'd say that given the number of complaints I've seen here it should be something that potential buyers should be aware of.

I think people are letting their love of the game get in the way of the fact that there are many people getting damaged boards. I think I make it very, very clear in the review that I too love the game. It's a ton of fun, but it would be a biased review if I didn't mention that my physical product came damaged, just because I enjoyed the game design so much.
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Re: Eight out of Ten (Fathoms deep on the road to Hell)
DrUnK3nPaNdA wrote:
Another very important thing in regards to my review is that I'm not the only one having issues with a damaged game. I saw another thread earlier with someone having similar problems with a scuffed board due to the board being packed directly against the plastic miniatures.

I'd say that given the number of complaints I've seen here it should be something that potential buyers should be aware of.

I think people are letting their love of the game get in the way of the fact that there are many people getting damaged boards. I think I make it very, very clear in the review that I too love the game. It's a ton of fun, but it would be a biased review if I didn't mention that my physical product came damaged, just because I enjoyed the game design so much.

Again, conflating review and rating. Am I alone in seeing a difference there?
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Re: Eight out of Ten (Fathoms deep on the road to Hell)
DrUnK3nPaNdA wrote:
I'd say that given the number of complaints I've seen here it should be something that potential buyers should be aware of.

Nobody suggested otherwise.

DrUnK3nPaNdA wrote:
I think I make it very, very clear in the review that I too love the game.

You made it clear in your review that you were rating the game 4 out of 5 stars, and that you would raise that rating a 1/2 point if Z-Man's Customer Service sent you more dice. It's your review, and you're free to handle it how you choose, but that just doesn't work for me.
 
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Re: Eight out of Ten (Fathoms deep on the road to Hell)
Totally unrelated to the current line of discussion, but is the reviewer any relation to

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Just curious.
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Re: Eight out of Ten (Fathoms deep on the road to Hell)
JohnRayJr wrote:
Totally unrelated to the current line of discussion, but is the reviewer any relation to

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Just curious.

That led me to do a search for users with "drunken" in the name, and I got 17 hits. Some pretty good ones, too! Cow, squirrel, two flavors of monkey, even a carp. Not to mention daleks and dwarves.
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Re: Eight out of Ten (Fathoms deep on the road to Hell)
Regarding poor packaging. As far as I'm concerned, I always suppose that all copies are like my copy unless the outer box is damaged (like it was crushed in shipping). For the purposes of a review I see no reason to assume they weren't all packed by a machine and thus are the same.

Having said that, if the manufacturer quickly replaces the missing or damaged parts, I say as much when discussing the game.
 
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Re: Eight out of Ten (Fathoms deep on the road to Hell)
msteelman wrote:
As far as I'm concerned, I always suppose that all copies are like my copy unless the outer box is damaged (like it was crushed in shipping).

You suppose wrong. I have, and have seen, many anomolous copies of games.

msteelman wrote:
For the purposes of a review I see no reason to assume they weren't all packed by a machine and thus are the same.

You could assume whatever you want. That doesn't make it true.
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Re: Eight out of Ten (Fathoms deep on the road to Hell)
I think the rating reflecting missing pieces and especially damage caused by packaging is very relevant. He's not the only one who had issues with minor damage due to packaging, so it should definitely count for something here simply because if you buy this game, you should expect the same issue.

For the record, I ordered this yesterday from an online retailer. Expecting minor dents etc when it arrives.

Good review.
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Re: Eight out of Ten (Fathoms deep on the road to Hell)
zombiesniper wrote:
I think the rating reflecting missing pieces and especially damage caused by packaging is very relevant. He's not the only one who had issues with minor damage due to packaging, so it should definitely count for something here simply because if you buy this game, you should expect the same issue.

For the record, I ordered this yesterday from an online retailer. Expecting minor dents etc when it arrives.

Good review.

Once again - review vs rating.
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Re: Eight out of Ten (Fathoms deep on the road to Hell)
zombiesniper wrote:
I think the rating reflecting missing pieces and especially damage caused by packaging is very relevant.

It's relevant only if you have a way of determining the percentage of mis-packed sets.

Let's say 10,000 copies are sold, 100 have missing components, and half a dozen of those 100 get reported here. Precisely what percentage of your rating should reflect the 1% chance that you'll have to contact customer support? Bear in mind that you have no way of determining that it is a 1% chance from anecdotal evidence.

In this case, the O.P. is the only person I've heard of who has reported missing dice. Surely somebody else would mention it if they had that problem.
 
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Re: Eight out of Ten (Fathoms deep on the road to Hell)
I got my copy yesterday, I can say that it is not damaged at all.

There was an extra piece of cardboard in between the tray with the pointy ships and the board, which I appreciated in light of this review.

Perhaps ZMAN realized there was a problem and fixed it? Is there another publisher?

All I can say is my initial impression is that it looks great. Didn't count the dice yet, got home pretty late and just cracked the celephane to see if it was jacked up because this review had me worried.
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Re: Eight out of Ten (Fathoms deep on the road to Hell)
msteelman wrote:
There was an extra piece of cardboard in between the tray with the pointy ships and the board, which I appreciated in light of this review.

Mine had the cardboard also. Maybe the boards that got scratched didn't have that?

[edit] OK, true confessions time. I had had the game out on my game table for a week, but didn't manage to play until tonight. In the course of doing so, I got a closer look at things from a different angle, and found that my board is slightly damaged, despite the cardboard packing piece. There is a little series of indentations running through 3 sea zones, looking a bit like the rowel of a spur had been rolled across it with a fair amount of pressure.

It's not something that I'll worry about or ask to have replaced, as I didn't even notice it until I saw it with the light at a certain angle. That's not all, however. I've also got similar damage to my Mission Deck, which I had also failed to notice before sitting down to play.

In this case, it looks like the ends of the spars that support the sails on the side were pressed with considerable force into the top card of the deck, leaving a dozen or so indentations. These are deep enough that they transferred through to a total of 5 cards, each having a diminishing version of the same dents. I'm going to ask to have those replaced, as they are certainly marked, and will cause a problem when we play in future.

This doesn't affect my rating of the game, but it does add to the anecdotal evidence that a number of copies reached their destinations in less than acceptable condition. Too bad - the game is a lot of fun. It took us too long, and we did a number of things wrong, but my buddy and I both enjoyed it immensely. My captain, Machiel Van Reebeeck, chose the pirate life and had the luck of the devil. He was sailing a fine frigate, fitted out with extra Hammocks, Cannon Ports and Long Guns when he recorded his 10th Glory point.
 
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