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The Good, The Bad and The Awesome
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Kickstarter Game Tiles Project
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TOPIC: The Good, The Bad and The Awesome
#57907
The Good, The Bad and The Awesome 10 Months, 4 Weeks ago  
OK, finally done unboxing. I had to work in the small spaces around my full time stay at home daddy gig, plus i really enjoyed taking my time doing it one box at a time. Here is a full and thorough review. Much of this has been said before, but i will add my voice to the chorus.

First impressions:

“Good lord these boxes are heavy.” Followed by, “Oh my god the inner boxes are tiny!” How can so much goodness get crammed into a little box!

I own a very few pieces of MasterMaze, just some stuff that i got off a sale table (mostly bits from the Advanced Builder set), so i should know the size, but i was still surprised at how small they were. Looking at photos on the web all day can give you the impression that 2x2 is really a lot bigger than, well, 2x2. Combine that with the tetris like packaging and it was like watching clowns spill out of a car at the circus. They just kept coming. I was stunned at how many pieces came out of each tiny box. It was great fun to take each thing out one piece at a time and inspect it, then move on to the next.

I was VERY impressed. The pieces are great, fit together well and are very nicely painted. I took the time to really look at each piece and under scrutiny you can find flaws (which i’ll discuss later), but WOW, the overall product is amazing. I was very worried about pattern repetition and it was nice to see how much care was taken in the collation process to make sure that each individual box had a good mix of paint patterns.


Standouts:

Dungeon dressings are beautifully painted. I have picked up a few odds and ends (hand painted) off of eBay over the last few months and i wish those things were as well painted as the DF stuff.

Portcullis is way cooler than it looked in the photo.

Demon Door (which i worried was a little cartoony) looks so incredible in real life. Darker than the photo and the gold drybrush makes it look magically old and worn. I like these doors much more than i thought i would.

Treasure piles. I threw them together in a box and thought the paint jobs were highly variable. Laid them all flat on a table and they are identical. Boy the metallic color really changes with angle and intensity of light. Just like real gold.

Circular walls. Wow are these fun to use/build with. I looked at the curved and diagonal wall packs as being two branches of a similar very useful tree, but in practice the circular walls just seem like much more of a joy to build with and around.



Columns are much nicer than i expected or than they “need” to be. The additional painting step of gold at the top turned these from merely functional into flavorful and decorative. Thanks for taking the time and expense to add that detail.


Disappointments:

Dwarven door is gorgeous, but the hinge color is too close to the wood color and the detail gets lost. Not so much a criticism, it just could have been more beautiful.

Metal door is tooo shiny for my liking. I will fix this with a wash or drybrush, just a bit too silver and not enough steel for my taste.

What a waste of baggies. While i appreciate the pampering each piece recieved, i can’t help but think of millions of plastic bags for nothing. If possible save the cash next time and eliminate the plastic.


Before i move on to criticism i must in all fairness start with...


Praise:

Sculpts are great. Amazing detail and nice treats like the face atop the portcullis make the set come alive. The doors open and close well and i am just thrilled with how fun this stuff is to play with. (The day my sets came, i had Rise of the Runelords in the evening, i tossed a door in my bag and literally fidgeted with it all night during play. Seems i never get tired of opening and closing the doors!)

Paint is very well done. Better than i expected - as a D&D minis guy i am used to mass produced paint jobs being rudimentary at best. This is a significant step up and i am pleasantly impressed.

Exact order to the piece, picked and packed safely and securely.

On time delivery of a massively successful Kickstarter. Impossible to overstate how impressive this is to me.

Amazing deal in two way. Financially the price per piece was ridiculously cheap which is the obvious way it was a good deal. The variety of the stretch goals is the other. In order to do all of the stuff we got in the stretch goals you would have needed to purchase at least 4 add-on sets. Stretch goals let anyone pledging for even two sets get a few diagonals a few curves, some stair bits and some dungeon dressings. This really increases the utility of the basic set in a way that is much more price prohibitive for people buying in later. DF may want to consider some version of a Mixed Accessory set down the road. It would help new buyers get diversity with their sets to figure out what they might want to invest more in (I for one will be buying more curves...).

I would say you thought of everything, but i already have a wish list for more pieces (corridor!). Still it is obvious a lot of thought went into the Kickstarter and the Game Tiles line as it stands is fully functional. This was not a teaser, where we bought the basics and then DF could makes us wait and/or charge us a fortune for all the things we need to make the sets truly shine. Stefan and Jeff (and all of us by pledging and upping the ante) made sure that most of the core utility pieces were done in the Kickstarter so that we are all fully equipped to game with our tiles even if we never spend another penny. That is very cool and much appreciated


Criticism:

This should be the smallest category, but because i am including pictures it is the biggest, by no means does that mean that these few niggling observations carry more weight than my praise.

First and really my only genuine complaint: door pulls were not painted on large doors or cell doors. They were painted on narrow doors and broken doors. This looks like a mistake or an oversight. Not tragic, but i hope DF takes steps to fix it before the next production run as i think they look better with the pulls painted. In the meanwhile i get a chance to see how steady my hand is and try to do the silver bits myself.






Funkyness. I have one badly warped door (out of over 40).



I have a few crowned floor tiles, and about five where one square is sucked down. Doesn’t show well in pictures (right rear corner). These don’t really matter and add character to the dungeon, but if you are placing pillars you need to swap out the crowned floors or the pillars look silly.




Paint. There has been a lot of talk about this. It doesn’t show as well in pics as it does in person but here are my two most glaring examples:
Two walls side by side.



In one the Earth Stone color looks like the bulk of my tiles and in the other it is almost indistinguishable from the Olive Dry brush... very pale.


Next two corners side by side.



The amount of base gray and the finesse of the dry brush go from one extreme to the other here.
What can we expect? These are hand painted tiles and each painter has a different touch. None of these pieces is problematic to me and the vast majority of the pieces are painted better than i expected. If i go back to the D&D minis analogy, when you need 5 orcs you grab 5, when you need a mini for your character you pull out all the copies you have and choose the one that has the least crappy paint job, they vary a LOT. For tiles that i will use one hundred at a time the paint jobs are way more than adequate, they’re great!


I am thrilled with my tiles and am preparing a big setup that i will post pictures of soon. My son loves playing with them and despite Jeff and Stefans warning about young children so do the twins! I assume all liability and completely indemnify Jeff & Stefan, plus i don’t let them have the little bits ;)








Thanks to Jeff & Stefan for a great Kickstarter and a ton of fun, and a huge thanks to all the new friends i have made on this forum. It is a pleasure learning from and delighting in the things you create!

Arnold (kitenerd)
kitenerd
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#57908
Re:The Good, The Bad and The Awesome 10 Months, 4 Weeks ago  
Really good review. A good read.
Love that you made a tower. Good share!
You are the first I have seen where door pulls have not been painted comprehensively. Anyone else notice this ??

I agree - a few niggles. They look great and with you son already themed for a 'spooky' dungeon I think the young lady adventurers will be facing spiders at every turn. :)
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#57909
Re:The Good, The Bad and The Awesome 10 Months, 4 Weeks ago  
dandare wrote:

You are the first I have seen where door pulls have not been painted comprehensively. Anyone else notice this ??


Someone else mentioned it.

b]weaverjk wrote:[/b]
Cood be my color-bliindness, but did the painters forget to paint
the pull rings and keyholes with some metallic color on the standard doors?


It was consistent across all my doors (those that were painted - ALL were, those that weren't ALL weren't) so i think it was just a glitch in the painting process - no biggie, but wanted to make sure it got on radar to be fixed
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#57912
Re:The Good, The Bad and The Awesome 10 Months, 4 Weeks ago  
Very thoughtful and extensive review. Thanks!
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#57926
Re:The Good, The Bad and The Awesome 10 Months, 4 Weeks ago  
Excellent review! Awesome pics and review points!
TexasStu
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#57929
Re:The Good, The Bad and The Awesome 10 Months, 4 Weeks ago  
Excellent read! The shipment I received (5 sets/all add-ons) can be described exactly by your review. Plus I have the same critique of warping on all floors larger than 2x2 (even the pool in COS is slightly warped).

I really want to draw attention to the pictures you included that focus on the paint scheme: there has been a lot of talk on this forum about how photos of Game Tiles vastly differ due to brightness, background color, etc...but your pics correctly show exactly how my Tiles look (stark contrast between base color and final (only?) drybrush coat) and it is very obvious that steps were skipped in the painting process.

All of these paint complaints make me jump to the obvious conclusion: Steps were skipped in order to fulfill and deliver the Kickstarter orders on time. It makes sense - if even ONE additional coat of paint had been added the delivery of our orders would have been pushed back at least two weeks. I can certainly forgive Dwarven Forge if that is the case but I would expect to see better paint jobs on all orders going forward as the painters won't be working under such time constraints.
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#57932
Re:The Good, The Bad and The Awesome 10 Months, 4 Weeks ago  
I believe that Stefan has already explained that DF actually has no direct control over the steps the factory uses (or doesn't) to finish the GameTiles. If a step was skipped, then DF is as much a "victim" as anyone.

As for color variances between pieces, I think this is a batch problem. Customers who purchased MasterMaze sets on separate occasions (years apart, so different restocks) have also noted overall differences in color. This has been attributed to paints being purchased and/or mixed at different times, in different batches. Given the sheer number of GameTiles produced, it is almost certain that several batches of paints were used (by different painters). Depending on how the pieces were lined up on completion, then gathered for packaging, there may actually be pieces from multiple batches (and/or multiple painters) in any box. I'm not overly concerned about it -- I just remember the color variance on the Washington Monument and move on.

The potential problem with correcting the factory's process to get "better" paint jobs in the future (for restocks of the same sets) is they won't match the sets from the kickstarter. Customers who missed the kickstarter will be fine, but anyone who has KS GameTiles and wants to buy more from a restock will be getting sets with a different paint job.
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#57935
Re:The Good, The Bad and The Awesome 10 Months, 4 Weeks ago  
I think all feedback is awesome and helpful for DF. First, I'll start by saying I'm glad I participated and really enjoy my tiles. Look forward to painting and using them.

Because most everyone is 99.9% satisfied and loves their new tiles - instead of just echoing those sentiments, I figured I'd focus on of few of the "negatives" encountered.

First, I'm missing a tile or two - I still have to take total inventory - but I think considering the volume here - they did a pretty good job. Being off 0.005% of the time isn't too bad.

There definitively was some warping, most noticeable in the smaller, thinner, pieces (at least, in my batch). I don't think this was caused during shipping, but rather during manufacturing, cooling, etc...

example: Treasure Pile is bowed:


example: Tables sometimes have dimples:


Also, some pieces had excess mold lines or flash. Considering everyone purchasing these are miniature enthusiasts, this should not be shocking or upsetting, but it is there.

example:



Also worth noting, is that the tiles are not "grey" at all. (Grey traditionally being somewhere between black and white.) Although they photograph grey (for me, when a flash is used) the tiles are most definitely a chocolate brown. Perhaps this makes the painted tiles look better in the end? It's not a problem for me because I intend on painting them, BUT... if they were really dark grey I *might have* considered playing with them unpainted - but the brown sort-of forces me to paint them instead of leaving that option?

example:



Lastly, I know that Stefan has said that no releasing agent was used, but I can most certainly see what appears to be some form of residue on some of my tiles. I think it's hard to see in a photograph - so I took two pictures (with & without flash). In the cracks and recesses there looks to be some dried, white, chalky, something or other... pooled up?

example:




Anyway, none of this is said to bash the tiles or project. Looking forward to the Caverns KS. I just think the more information Jeff and Stefan have - the better the future projects will be.
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#57943
Re:The Good, The Bad and The Awesome 10 Months, 4 Weeks ago  
Does indeed look lie there are some QA aspects that need to be looked at.

On the point about the unpainted door pulls, I wonder if it is in part down to the picture used in the DF Kick Starter.
There was no door pulls only steel hinges. ??

+ I notice that the stone colour shade painting has become symmetrical for all of the door pillar stones and not the non symmetrical look used in the Kick Starter images.
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#57950
Re:The Good, The Bad and The Awesome 10 Months, 4 Weeks ago  
Thanks for the thorough, in depth reviews:)

As far as the painting goes.....it is now "set in stone" I personally think it looks great...all future game Tiles will need to match the existing color.....all I can say at this point is anyone who does not like the color can adjust it ( I have already seen some great examples out there) or else buy unpainted tiles and paint them to their own preferences...the choice is yours my friends...

I will say that nothing was "rushed" to meet any deadlines...as our long time customers know, delivering on time, while great, and strived for, has never been our TOP priority....lol.... delivering great product is always the foremost goal...the paint jobs are outstanding considering the price...greater paint jobs would have been more expensive and I feel would have been superfluous...these are "Gaming Tiles" rather than something to put in a glass case....

Thank you everybody, hope I don't sound defensive...that is not my intent....but it has been a very tiring process...but i feel most folks are very happy overall and we will keep doing our best...I have been genuinely moved by all the pictures posted of kids playing with tiles, and all the enthusiastic postings everywhere....Jeff and DF are now working hard to correct the small things that went wrong here and there (sorry) and I am now working hard on the Caverns:)

Get ready for February!
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#57966
Re:The Good, The Bad and The Awesome 10 Months, 4 Weeks ago  
Jeff/Stefan

What is going on in the last two pics posted on the corner pieces? I had a similar situation on many of mine. Mine almost look like some of the detail is missing on some stones similar to the pictures posted. This only occurred on the corner pieces.
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#57979
Re:The Good, The Bad and The Awesome 10 Months, 4 Weeks ago  
jasdotcom wrote:
it is very obvious that steps were skipped in the painting process.


I disagree - i can identify all the colors on the both tiles, it just seems to me like one was painted faster or with a wetter brush and one was painted more gently and patiently

someone said it was a "batch issue" i think it is more likely a paint station issue - in a room full of folks painting tiles, everyone is going to have a different touch - in the case of the pale accent stones, maybe that painter forgot to mix the paint? who knows?

In the end it is a moot point - the tiles are awesome and i am having fun building stuff with them. I am running into lots of learning curve issues and will share some of those - right now i need sleep - with all the traffic it has been hard to keep up with the forums lately
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