Replacement Parts: Why Would (or Wouldn’t) a Company Offer This Service?

20 February 2020 | 121 Comments

In a move that surprised the game industry, earlier this week, Asmodee North America announced that they would no longer offer replacement parts for their games. (they’re still offering replacements, just not individual parts). Today I’m going to share my thoughts on this topic, including how Stonemaier Games handles replacement parts, and some things for any creator to consider.

The New Asmodee North America Policy

The full description is here, but the overall idea is if you purchase an Asmodee game in the US that has broken or missing components, instead of requesting the parts from Asmodee customer service, you’ll return the entire game to where you bought it and receive a new copy. Some of these stores may require proof of purchase.

So it’s not that Asmodee is no longer replacing parts; rather, they’re changing the supply chain for delivering those parts to customers, and they’re doing so in the form of a new game instead of individual components.

My Initial Thoughts

After reading the policy in detail (which I highly recommend doing before responding to it, as it seems that the headlines so far have been to the effect of, “You’re screwed if you’re missing a card in an Asmodee game!”), my thoughts are threefold:

  • For Asmodee, this seems both like an expensive endeavor (replacing entire games instead of individual components) and a motivator (decrease production errors and even design games in such a way that production errors are less likely).
  • For customers, it’s inconvenient to return an entire game (and they’re out of luck if they bought it secondhand, or if the store doesn’t have a copy available for you), but they’re getting a new game. So if you bought a copy of Ticket to Ride 2 years ago from your local game store and you lose a token, you can turn in that old game for a pristine new one if you kept your receipt. In theory. I’m not sure it will actually work out that way. I don’t think I’ve ever requested a replacement part for a game, but if I had an Asmodee game that truly needed a replacement component, I would find it annoying to need to return the entire game.
  • For game stores, they’ve suddenly gained a job they didn’t ask for, as they’re now the intermediary between you and the publisher (they’ll request a replacement game for you, or potentially provide the replacement on the spot and then request it from Asmodee). Though local stores may have more customers revisiting their stores to exchange their games (and perhaps buy other things while they’re there). I think retailers are hurt the most by this strategy–I’m curious to hear what they think of it.
  • For other publishers, I don’t love the precedent this sets. Specifically, every now and then I hear from a customer who says, “I bought a copy of a Stonemaier Game, and it was missing 1 token, so I returned/shipped it back to the store for a replacement.” To me, this is a monumental waste of resources (for the retailer and for the courier), given the easy alternative of filling out our replacement parts form for that one specific token.

Will Stonemaier Games Adopt the Asmodee Method?

Heck no. I don’t want customers returning entire games when all they need is a single card or token.

In our current system, if you have a missing or damaged component inside your Stonemaier Games product–no matter where or when you bought it or how long you’ve been playing it–you can fill out this form and we’ll send you what you need. We use software called Jira to manage this process, as we have 7 replacement parts helpers in 5 different regions.

Granted, I sympathize with Asmodee. We only have 9 games, and in 2019, Stonemaier Games spent over $43,000 to ship replacement parts (shipping fees and personnel compensation). Asmodee has over 1500 products! The sheer amount of resources–not just money–they’ve probably devoted to replacement parts in the past is staggering.

What Else Can Other Creators Consider?

The additional elements I can think of are as follows (some of these only apply to board game publishers):

  • Be strategic about how you list components on the box and in the rules. For example, if you have a game with resource tokens where the quantity doesn’t really matter, instead of listing “25 stone tokens” on the box, you could list “20+ stone tokens.” That way you avoid spending $3 to ship the 25th stone token halfway across the world when someone requests it (again, this is only annoying if that 25th token truly doesn’t impact gameplay).
  • Choose your components carefully. If you make a game with a lot of little bits and pieces, you’ll probably see a higher mispacking rate. However, if you make a game with only cards and punchboards, you may only need to replace parts when someone loses or damages a component.
  • Design sturdy miniatures. Miniatures are a pain to replace, simply because of how big they are. So whenever we create a new miniature, Panda specifically looks at it from the perspective of, “How likely is this to break?” This often results in them increasing the width of certain elements and reducing the number of different elements that they must glue together in production.
  • Use the shake test. When you receive the pre-production copy of your product, inspect it, then give it a really good shake. See which components survive unscathed, and if any don’t, you might consider reorganizing them or sealing some of them together so they’re pristine when your customers open the box.

What Do You Think?

As usual, I’d love to hear your thoughts! If you’re going to criticize Asmodee’s strategy–which you’re welcome to do respectfully and constructively–please make sure you actually read their full announcement first. Will this have any impact on your desire to buy Asmodee’s products?

***

Also read: Kickstarter Lesson #53: Replacement Parts

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Leave a Comment

121 Comments on “Replacement Parts: Why Would (or Wouldn’t) a Company Offer This Service?

  1. In the recent years I had a couple of issues with missing parts or scratched cards. With one exception (Darwlab I am looking at you) every time I got the replacement and sometimes more than I asked for :). So Up to now only good experiences so far.
    But to me the best experiences I had were Games that had some replacement parts right from the start in the box. For examples Escape Plan had a lot of wooden replacement figures. So I really like the Idea just to have by default some more in the box than is written in the Rules.

    So I would not print the exact number or “20+” in the rule book but for example produce 22 cubes, write 20 cubes in the rules and some sentence like “The number of components listed here are assumed to use with the Game. Additional components are replacements,”

  2. I had to get a replacement from Stonemaier once. I remember it being very efficient and friendly. I was impressed and pleased when I saw the Jira logo at one point (software we use in support where I work too).

  3. Hi Jamey, I recalled that you have a few individuals around the world that help with replacements? What incentive do regular people have that help commit to helping with replacements? A free game from time to time, a monthly paycheck, or something else?

        1. I buy a lot of my games via online forums, local classifieds, and social media sites. I bought a new-in-shrink copy of Scythe (my first SM game), and I got two Polania (white) armory tokens, and no mine token. Filled out the form and got my token shortly after. I’ve been a fan of Stonemaier since and will be until I die!

          Interesting article though- there’s always another side to every policy- I find my immediate gut reaction to a policy isn’t always right. Always enjoyable to read your insights Jamey.

  4. I purchased a used copy of Fallout and it was missing one mini and two cards. I filled out the replacement request on the Asmodee website and included a note that I was willing to pay for the replacements.

    After a few days they sent me an email with this response:

    Current request status: In Process
    Note: We are more than happy to help you with your request and will send the requested replacement to you at no cost.

    A few days later a package arrived all the decks from the game and the mini with this very nice handwritten note:

    “ENJ😊Y! -Brenna.”

    I have told this story to everyone in my gaming group because I felt like this was outstanding customer service. Isn’t good word-of-mouth testimonials more valuable than the cost of parts/shipping?

    Forcing customers to hassle their local game store is not going to generate any positive outcomes for customers or vendors.

    What if you ordered your game? Now you have to repackage it, send it back, and wait for a replacement to come in the mail? What a huge buzz-kill!

    If this is a cost issue why don’t they just charge for parts and the shipping? Most people are willing to pay for replacements.

    Lastly, I don’t know who Brenna is but she deserves an applause for top notch performance!

    1. I have a very similar story that happened only a few weeks ago. I got a copy of Troyes from Amazon which was missing several wooden blocks. Other than that detail, my experience mirrors the one you had, right down to the note from Brenna. I am so glad that I got that parts replacement resolved before they announced the new policy. Thanks Brenna!

      1. Yes, I forgot to mention that mine happened days before this policy changed. I went back to the website to load my status page and it wouldn’t load. So I went to the main page and saw the new FAQ.

        It looks like we both made it just in time.

  5. Now, this doesn’t apply to Asmodee exactly because they are so large but I used to do freelance work for a very small publisher that makes only a couple of minis games. They are all really good people and want the customers to enjoy their games but they had to stop offering to even sell bits (rather than full models/kits) separately as the shipping costs were cannibalizing their profits. I believe they still offer replacements if the product arrives from them with missing pieces but only if it was purchased from their online store. They simply don’t have the resources to handle replacements for items bought elsewhere. For example, shipping rates in the US just went up and a Medium Flat Rate Box is now $15.05 if shipped within the US and $75 to ship internationally.

    1. i suppose part of the difference here is that they handle their own fulfillment. they simply can’t afford to produce enough stock at one time to fulfill the requirements of a distributor like Alliance. i wonder “how small is too small” for a company to legitimately be able to offer to ship replacement parts?

  6. So if I own a game and play it for a few years, and then lose a part, I am entitled to a free replacement part? That sounds wild.

    What about wear and tear? If my cards have become scuffed from use can I request a new set?

  7. Sometime in the mid 2000’s Gamesworkshop stopped offering their parts ordering service. Up to that point you could individually order any individual part of any of their metal models, and any individual plastic sprue. As a hobbyist it was an awesome service and it was sad to see it go. They explained that as their range had expanded over time it no longer made financial sense to stock and staff the service for what were presumably quite small sales levels. I would very much think Asmodee have been going through a similar thought process. Because spares services have been part of the hobby for decades we expect them, but how many other industries provide such services?

  8. It’s just impractical to have to keep a receipt for years. Who does that? And what happens if the shop you bought it from doesn’t exist anymore?

  9. The most significant issue with retailer oriented correction is time limits. Many stores won’t take returns after a given amount of time, and worse, may require a receipt.

    Consider this scenario: a family member purchases a game as a gift in November. The gift is given in December. The gift receiver doesn’t get the game to the table until February. It is missing two pieces. The receiver must take the game back to the store it was purchased from (hope they got a gift receipt which is not common!) and hope that they don’t have a 30 day return policy (a handful of stores in my area have a 10 day return policy).

    This is unfair to the consumer and retailer.

  10. For Christmas I received a copy of Ticket to Ride London, missing a single wild train card. I’m thinking, they’ll send me that single printed card. Nope. A whole deck. Now I have deck of train cards minus one for a game I need only one card. There is simply no telling how many people needed 1 card and got a deck. What a WASTE. Something that could have been easily mailed in an envelope perhaps with a bit of card board was shipped in an oversized box and now sits in a junk box.

    I think you are making the right decision and ultimately will save more money and create less waste for simple packaging errors.

    – Loyal SG fan!

  11. Thank you for all that you do, Jamey. I really appreciate the insights you provide and all you do for your customers.

    I am curious how this new policy will interact with retailers’ policies. The ANA policy currently puts it on the retailer pursuant to the retailer’s policies. What if my local retailer is insistent on not processing these replacements? Frankly, I do not see why they should be required to – they did not mispack or misprint anything, that is on the publisher and its agents. If with nine products SMG spent over 40,000 on replacements, ANA’s costs must have been quite high. They have now shifted those costs to the retailers that have literally no responsibility to process these replacements in the US (I know that EU law is different). I know we have yet to see how the shipping will work, but it may end up costing the retailers more than just time, frustration, and lost wages. I just cannot stomach that and the PR double-speak they’ve used to advance it.

    Thank you for your insights and for realizing that when you put your customers first, we’ll stick with and support you. Proud to have supported you and will look forward to doing so!

  12. I don’t think I would leave my FLGS with an Asmodee game without verifying all pieces were there. If it’s missing anything, I’d swap it for another copy on the spot which I would also end up verifying all components.But honestly, it just makes me leery on purchasing anything from them especially from online retailers. Just my two cents.

  13. Jamey, I have been thinking about the replacement parts quandry for some time now. Mostly since one of your Sunday sitdowns where you discussed the choice of a publisher to include lavish components (not your words, but may have been related to your decision to treat us to gorgeous sculpts for Tapestry). I exchanged a couple of counterpoints with another viewer at the time. I like nice components and am very interested in things like metal mechs. I speak from a customer’s perspective. And while I understand the importance of GPDR etc., I would be very willing to make my replaced components available as replacement parts for others in my vicinity. The role you describe for the local game store as a result of the new Asmodee policy might turn into a substantial burden on those stores. Perhaps they would be willing to serve as drop box of sorts for replacement parts for gamers whose IDs have been scrubbed (a serial number or similar) to pick up a part that I am perfectly happy to drop off with the necessary label affixed. Perhaps some kinf of app could connect the willing supply with the demand. I would be happy that some of my replaced components found a happy home, the recipient is happy that they can possess it quickly in a way that is somewhat in their control, the game store might be happy with the traffic in their store, and the publisher might be happy with the alleviation on their replacement parts burden. Just a thought.

  14. I am an owner of a retail store (not board games) and although the manufacturers do offer direct replacements and help with customers, we have always taken it upon our selves to offer that service as well. In a world where shopping online takes a lot of sales from stores, that is one thing that sets us apart. Buy from the store and we will handle all returns for you. It has only helped in the form of people really enjoying our customer service, encouraging folks to shop with us when they can and also as you mentioned, bringing people to the store. In the retail business, anything that brings people out to your store is a win, even if it’s a complaint. :)

    Just to clarify, I am only commenting on this one view point from a retail owner perspective and leaving my opinions on Asmodee and their new policy out of this reply.

  15. I wonder if this new policy will encourage a new secondary market for replacement parts. With the increasing widespread use of home 3d printers, I can see folks offering this service for a reasonable fee plus shipping. At least for those “I lost/damaged my own piece” cases. Granted, I know not all components may be feasible to recreate using this method, but most could be approximated pretty well I’d think.

  16. Without knowing the fate of all the components of the returned games (are they re-purposed? Shelved for future use? Etc….) there is no way to know how costly this might be. If production costs are low enough due to volume, they might indeed save money this way, or at least offload much of the processing and handling costs to the retailers.

  17. I have dealt with a game company (Goliath Games) that charged a small fee for replacement pieces. This especially makes sense for kid’s games, which are more likely to be lost than missing, but I would prefer Asmodee offer that as an additional option. If you are missing a piece and expect it for free, return it to the store. If that isn’t an option, pay a fee.

    I would be OK with that, but I imagine that it would still ranckle many.

  18. Jamey, do you know how much of that $43,000 in replacement costs is due to customers requesting replacements for printing errors (things missing or printed incorrectly in printing or manufacturing or shipping) and how much is due to customers requesting replacements for damage caused by the customer? Do you have any intention to pass on some of that cost for printing errors to the printer?

  19. Thanks for the thoughts, Jamey. Very insightful as always. I guess I had a few thoughts. First, I’m relatively new to the hobby (I started gaming in earnest in 2015). One of the things that attracted me to the hobby was the nexus between designers, publishers and consumers. It was a tight knit group and there was a personal touch that did not exist in other hobbies. Publishers and designers were (are) accessible and interactive with consumers. While designing and publishing is a business, publishers (like SM) seem to strike a very delicate balance between the profit driven side and the consumer relation side. As Asmodee has aquired more and more, they have introduced a much more strerile corporate flavor to their market presence. To me, that may be an inevitable result of a growing market, but it saddens me because it changes the feeling of community that attracted me to the hobby in the first place. My other thought is that the pressure this puts on the FLGS cannot be understated. Many stores are making decisions about how many copies of a title to stock, re-orders are carefully considered on non-evergreen titles and they already have plenty of comeptiton with online retailers and kickstarter. They exist on razor thin margins. It’s not fair to the FLGS to be the point of contact for a customer who is more than likely unhappy because of a flaw in their purchase and then potentially be in a position to make matters worse by not having a copy of the game onhand or having to inform the customer that the game is OOP. All in all, more than likely this is an unavoidable result of growth and consolidation, but not necissarily great for the hobby in general.

  20. I got a copy of Tuscany as a gift last week and, after opening it and setting up my first game, saw that I was missing one of the star pieces. I submitted the replacement part form online and they responded promptly. Meanwhile, I still got to play the game and didn’t have to wait to return it and get a whole new game just for one piece. I, for one, love that stonemaier offers to replace missing pieces and couldn’t be more grateful that they do!

  21. Hi Jamey! It’s good to hear from someone in the industry about just how ridiculous the Asmodee policy is. What do you think the board gaming community can and should do to let Asmodee know how we feel? I’ve seen plenty of griping on forums, but shouldn’t we be holding Asmodee’s feet to the fire directly?

    1. Shane: In my opinion, per the article, it isn’t entirely ridiculous.

      If you love Asmodee products and want to continue to buy them, I would suggest that you contact them directly and let them know in a constructive way why you don’t like the policy. Try to relate to them–talk to them like a human being. :)

          1. And yes, I see your point, that it is not entirely ridiculous, though it certainly has some components that are. I wonder if this also changes Asmodee’s relationship with their manufacturers. Will the cost to replace full games then be passed on to the manufacturer?

  22. I really enjoy these types of articles / posts and you seem to nail it on he head all around. To me, earning customer trust and loyalty is critical in the long run for any business and I am becoming a huge fan of your brand in large part because of your approach to business and your relation to your customers. Thanks for continuing to do the right thing. I hope that this decision wont impact me int he future but I certainly will give pause when buying Asmodee products. To me, this is a 100% Asmodee beneficial decision as it passes the inconvenience to everyone else. I can only imagine that many FLGS will respond by employing various no return policies or simply refuse to exchange with shelf copies and instead ask the customer to wait for them to contact asmodee for replacement and so on. These FLGS will take the backlash and lose customers. Its just an ugly move all around for the business and greatly enhanced because of the size of Asmodee. in the end, people ought to vote with their wallets, I know I always do, which is why i took out my all in pledge of Wonderland War recently, despite this being a game that hits every notes for me and that I want badly, after seeing one of their affiliate slandering a competitor. Cheers.

  23. I hope Asmodee changes their agreement with FLGS then. I worked sports retail and it was part of doing business, but the agreements with companies were setup to handle it. Not sure a FLGS has enough clout for a fair agreement. The Availability of Many of their games makes this a joke as well. Might have to wait 6 months because of a piece?

    Except FFG games that I am already in on I may be done with them. There are too many small publishers out there with good games. The hassle isn’t worth it for me.

    I love when you peek behind the curtain like this by the way.

  24. I love SM Games. I own Scythe (with every expansion) Wingspan and it’s expansion (excitedly waiting for Oceanic), Charterstone (2 copies) and Between Two Castles! I love that SM is willing to replace components when pieces are missing, it makes for a business that cares about their product and heir customer. That being said, a couple of weekends ago someone spilled their drink at the table and one Wingspan card got ruined (“Little Bustard”) I would love to be able to replace that copy even though it was an end users fault that the piece is broken. The expense of shipping damaged pieces to customers is of course a costly burden, evidently. How would SM feel about incorporating a replacement program at customer cost if it were the customers fault? I’d definitely be willing to agree to pay the shipping. Heck I’d even pickup a new card at Gencon!

    1. Sydney: Thanks for your question, and we accept all types of replacement parts–it doesn’t matter how or when the component was broken, lost, or stained. So please go ahead and fill out our replacement parts form. :)

      That said, sometimes people say on the form that they want to pay for shipping; when they offer that, we let them know the shipping cost and how to send a few dollars via PayPal.

    2. I second this… I will feel better if I could pay for the shipping expense AND the missing component of my games… (if it was an end users fault)

  25. Thanks for your thoughts on this and taking the time to share it with everyone. I am a Jira admin so I was really excited to hear that you use Jira as part of the part replacement process. My two worlds collide, board games and Jira, both of which I am a nerd about. I hope Jira is making things easier for your team and the overall process.

  26. Yeah, we’ve been chatting here about our response to Asmodee’s policy change. Unfortunately, given their size in the market, it’s likely they’re going to be able to make this stick.

    It does mean that we have to now keep a list of what names Asmodee publishes, either as their own purchases, or under contract. (We really need an adjunct to anti-trust law that requires operating 100% under one name, or appending “Asmodee’s” before all the imprint names, but that’s an argument for another place.)

    If it’s our local game store, it’s an additional review based on piece counts, including types, before we buy. Online will depend entirely on the store. (We’ve used Miniature Market, Cool Stuff Inc, and Amazon to get games that aren’t specifically Stonemaier.) Conventions, we can basically forget it now, it needs to be purely a non-Asmodee game for us to buy at convention because we’re unlikely to be able to return it.

    Note: We do have a 3D printer, and I’m more than willing to use it to print replacement bits (and even upgrade bits), so our math is slightly different, but I generally prefer to print upgrade bits for a new game instead of replacement bits.

    BTW, the amount spent on replacement parts on the part of Stonemaier is not surprising, and actually not all that eyewatering, but then, I work in the print industry, so I have some clue of how much this stuff can actually cost.

  27. Hi Jamey I too was pretty shocked at the cost per annum you pay for replacements. I work in health where KPIs run our lives and I was wondering what might be an acceptable metric for packing errors or losses. You mentioned something g around 1%. Are such losses inevitable and just have to be accepted or can it be improved? I appreciate you might not be able to answer but is this something you can take up with your manufacturer and does it form part of your agreement – acceptable packing error rate? Personally I’d be mortified at the loss regardless of the fact that it’s because you put the customer 1st (which is awesome). I would do anything and everything to reduce it. But what?

    1. “Are such losses inevitable and just have to be accepted or can it be improved?”

      I think they’re somewhat inevitable, whether they’re production outliers or the result of people playing our games a lot and eventually losing pieces. We’re always looking to remove human error from the equation when packing our games at the factory, and the other notes I mentioned in the article are elements we need to continue to implement better.

      1. The industry branch where I work has very strict failure rates policies that, 10 years ago I would not have deemed possible to achieve. We count them as parts per million. I strongly believe that the game industry has a lot of room for improvement in the overall domain of quality control. But it takes time to enforce this kind of culture in a business, let alone getting results worth the money spent in these improvements, which this industry does not necessarily have available in the first place.
        Look at Lego, for instance. They produce billions of game parts. I still have to experience their first error in what I bought. It means it is doable… but they have the money to make it right.

  28. What is interesting to me here, is folks saying that they just won’t but Asmodee games any longer. A few years ago I would have described this sentiment as preposterous, and yet, what is Asmodee churning out these days? Their overall output of games, much less “must-buy” games has gone down considerably. Even FFG output has really taken a dive and they have just killed their entire RPG line. I think between KS, companies like Stonemaier Games and many of the other more traditional Euro game companies, Asmodee just isn’t pushing the envelope anymore. They should spin off or sell FFG while it still has value for them.

    1. The problem is Asmodee is buying up everyone and their mother. They own Zman, Catan studios, Plaid hat, F2Z and you can be sure their acquisition game isn’t over.

  29. My assumption is that they want to cut out all the requests from people who request parts from games that have not recently been bought.

    There are a few lessons that could be learned from the Lego world….

    1) lego will always include duplicate small parts in their boxes as extras. These are the pieces that most likely go missing.

    2) there is a thriving second hand market for Lego pieces as people need to complete their sets or need pieces to make their own creations.

    3) I love the creative, no boundaries approach of the board game industry. Table top presence has become so important. I wonder however whether a certain level of standardisation of certain elements like coins, meeples, etcetra across the range of a publisher, would be more cost effective and cheaper to produce and replace.

    4) A solution could have been to supply replacement parts for free, let’s say within a month of purchase (with proof of purchase) and charge the costs of the replacement part and a fee for shipping and handling. I think it makes sense that a publisher does not have to pay for me losing a part of the game. 999 games in the Netherlands charges a small fee for older parts.

    5) On the other hand, helping people to continue to play their games will lead to the fact that all these games serve as an ambassador for their company. So ultimately, replacement parts are a marketing expense. It is a long term investments.

    6) as board games get bigger and more exclusive and more expensive as a result, there will be less room for error On the part of the publisher and a greater need for flexible, consumer friendly customer service strategies.

  30. Living in Sweden I agree to this if this is adopted by asmodee europe especially as I have had a couple of replacement parts shipped to me, one for Everdell, one for Reavers of Midgard and something for Root and each time I was charged Taxes and import fees on a free item.

    The issue with Europe is that companies are not allowed to send free items so it kinda sucks.

    My other issue is that I bought reavers at Essen, root I bought a gear ago but was using a friends copy and everdell was through KS, so not sure how this would affect future things I purchase at events.

  31. Maybe Asmodee believes that less people will bother with trying to obtain a replacement piece if they have to go through the inconvenience of exchanging their game.

    I will point out that I bought Wingspan brand new and it was missing the top of one plastic container for the resources. Reassured my wife, who is obsessed with Wingspan, that Stonemaier is amazing and it won’t be a problem to get a replacement. When I contacted I was told these containers are a bonus and not eligible for replacement. I do understand that but it was disappointing nonetheless.

    1. Kris: Indeed, that isn’t a component listed in the Wingspan components list, so we don’t consider it eligible for a replacement. If you’d like more plastic trays, we sell them on our webstore.

  32. With all due respect, I think it’s misleading for this article to say, “Asmodee North America announced that they would no longer offer replacement parts for their games.”

    Asmodee will still be bearing the cost of replacing parts. Whole games, in fact, but what changes is HOW it gets done.

    While I do agree with your points about this policy change will give jobs to retailers that they don’t want and customers will obviously hate it (especially for people who visit FLGS and buy games while they travel), I suspect the cost-savings will be huge.

    Consider this:

    1) Asmodee is leveraging their existing retailer relationships. Thousands of retailers around the world will now act as front line triage, so Asmodee won’t have to hire extra help to handle replacement parts. Heck, they can probably eliminate staff.

    2) Asmodee will save big on shipping. Tacking on entire copies of games here & there to their existing shipping channels (be it to distributors or direct to retailers) is way cheaper than paying for shipping individual small components to thousands upon thousands of individuals around the world.

    And for those who wonders, “How can giving up an entire game be cheaper than an individual part,” should consider this:

    3) Asmodee will no longer bear the cost of counterfeits.

    Here’s an interesting tidbit for context: I personally sold, as an authorized retailer, over 200+ Asmodee games on Black Friday 2019. NONE of my customers came back to me due to missing parts.

    That’s next to zero percent missing parts for authentic copies of Asmodee games!

    So Asmodee’s probably wondering, if their manufacturer, logistics, shipping partners, and storage solutions are so good, why on Earth are they still paying so much for replacement parts and shipping?

    My guess is they’re getting crushed by counterfeits.

    Now I’m not saying people are purposefully buying counterfeit games for cheap and then going to Asmodee to ask for replacement parts, but it’s not hard to imagine counterfeiters producing bad products with bad QA, bad logistics, bad shipping partners, and bad storage solutions and offering those for cheap which in turn drives up replacement costs for Asmodee because people are used to going directly to publishers for replacement parts.

    By forcing everyone to go back to their original place of purchase with valid receipts, Asmodee will virtually eliminate the cost of counterfeits. Combined with the other two factors, that is why I think it’s cheaper for Asmodee to replace whole games through their existing distribution/retailer relationships as opposed to handling replacement parts on their own.

    That all being said, I’m fully aware of the burden the policy change places on retailers and customers. I myself as a retailer am not happy about it and am actually dropping Asmodee from my store, but I can’t help but geek out about this from a business perspective because it makes a lot of sense that way.

    Time will tell how much net gain this move actually creates for them in the long run.

    PS. Side question… does SM produce and keep spare parts? I ask because there are definitely publishers out there who tear open in-shrink copies of games just to get spare parts. That sounds extremely costly to me.

    1. How many stores will be dropping Asmodee games? If beyond a certain number follow suit after you then it will not really wind up making much sense from a business perspective.

      In any case, I am curious about the idea of dropping them from a store. Is your store a game store? If so, how could you possibly drop Admodee? It seems like you wouldn’t have anything left to put on the shelves. They don’t own everything, but they own enough that it still feels like they own just about every brand in the industry.

      Carcassonne, Feast for Odin, Stone Age, Terra Mystica, Pandemic, Love Letter, Splendor, Jaipur, 7 Wonders, Ticket to Ride, Five Tribes, Patchwork, Agricola, Caverna, Dice Forge… that’s just the really big names from the first 20% or so of the list and doesn’t even include the Days of Wonders stuff, the Star Wars and other Fantasy Flight stuff, or the CMON stuff. Are there other games out there to stock? Well, sure, but Asmodee represents a massive, massive number of the things you see when you walk into the average game store.

      1. I don’t think many stores will be dropping Asmodee because, as you said, it’s a huge library of games containing many evergreen titles.

        However, for us as a small online retailer with a different business model than a traditional brick & mortar store (I market directly to a Facebook group that I grow and operate), our focus is on Kickstarters and crowdfunded games rather than stocking retail games forever on end. So it’s not a huge loss for us (it’s actually a gain by subtraction), but it’s a shame because it seems like Asmodee didn’t even do distributors the courtesy of consulting them, let alone the retailers, before announcing the policy change.

    2. Gary: I’ll add a clarification, but I think the opening line is accurate. Asmodee is offering *replacements* but not replacement *parts*, as I said.

      Stonemaier does produce and keep spare parts. Whenever we make a print run of a game, we get a batch of extra components from our manufacturer.

      1. How do you portion these extra components? Do you have them and you 1-2% extra games to use a spares for the expected issues? Or do you have them send individual parts in bulk (like 1000 eggs packed together, a box of X instruction manuals, etc.)?

        Are these all separate SKUs for inventory? So instead of 9 games you have 9 * the qty of components all separately stored? Do you also send these to fulfillment warehouses?

        How do to manage inventory of all the spares essentially?

        1. MA: By default, our manufacturer always sends us spare parts with every print run. Each component is packaged in a separate carton. Unless we sell them ala carte, we don’t apply SKUs to them. Our replacement parts system (individuals around the world) is separate from our fulfillment system (see the article in this post about how we do it).

    3. @Gary, it makes business sense in the short term. But I do believe they will see long-time consequences. I personally think ANA is vastly overplaying its hand by shifting all of these costs (which I am sure were considerable but it is part of the cost of doing business IMO) to the retailers. I can no longer support this decision.

      There are far better ways to deal with the counterfeit problem.

  33. What if someone bought from GameNerdz or CSI?!? I gotta pay $10 shipping an entire game back to get 1 cube? Guess I’ll be buying EVERYTHING from Amazon.

  34. If Asmodee wants to make cheap(er) games with poor(er) service, that’s their right. However…

    I’m not personally going to send a game back to a landfill (which is probably what will end up happening) when all they need to do is send me one card. I’m also not going to just suck it up and proxy the card because I don’t want to deal with shipping a game back.

    If they succeed in this change to the traditional repair channel, they will start dragging the whole industry toward this consumer-unfriendly, environmentally-unfriendly policy.

  35. Sorry, if this was mentioned above, I didn’t get through all the responses. Of the claims, how many would you estimate were legitimate vs. the cat ate it or I spilled coffee on it, so I’ll just say it was missing?

    1. I think “the cat ate it” is just as legitimate as a piece that was missing from the box. We treat them the same way. If someone spills wine or grape juice while playing Viticulture, we’re more than happy to replace their cards/mats, as we’re happy they were getting the game to the table in a thematic way.

      1. Thanks for the response and totally agree with Brett!

        I wonder if some of it could be helped though. There are a number of things FLGSs stock for replacements for some games (monopoly money), I understand too much would be wasteful, but if there were some common parts…also, maybe some kind of exchange forum? I have upgraded a number of my components. The old ones are just taking up room. Also, I use my nice money for all of my games, so for some games maybe making interchangeable parts is not bad.

        1. there are some forums/lists on boardgamegeek where people post what pieces they are missing or which they have available. Small scale endeavors, though.

  36. I work in retail in Australia. It is federal law here that any faulty product can be returned to the place of purchase, at any time, for full refund. We can be fined if we tell a customer to contact the manufacturer with their issue. It seems that Asmodee might just be enforcing that type of policy.

    That being said, a board game is different to most other purchases, because it comes as a lot of individual parts in a box, unlike most other purchases. I guess they have done the math, and found that it is cheaper to deal with a limited number of stores, then an exponentially larger number of customers.

  37. I think it’s worth noting, for context more than any other reason, that Asmodee’s new policy actually makes sense for most other kinds of products and retail spaces and is I think more common with retail in general.

    If a person buys a new fish tank pump or TV set or vacuum cleaner or some such thing and it comes out of the box broken or missing something, it’s probably much more convenient and ultimately probably even less expensive for the company at least most of the time for the customer to be able to go back to the store they bought it and get a replacement immediately instead of waiting weeks for the replacement to be able to clean their floor or keep their fish alive or whatever.

    Board games – or at least ones not sold by the million by Hasbro or Parker Brothers or whoever – are different in various ways. The part that is missing or broken is *most of the time* probably not essential and in the worst case scenario could be substituted until the replacement comes. The part that is missing or broken is almost always going to be pretty small and less expensive to ship than a whole new TV set or something. Most importantly, in many or most cases the store it came from is *not* going to have an extra copy or two lying around to simply swap it out, so keeping the one you bought that’s perfect except for that one missing card or that one cracked piece or missing token and waiting for a new one in the mail is likely the better option for just about everyone.

    This may be part of why Asmodee decided to do this, because they are sortof in that category with at least some of their products where they are being sold at major national retailers and there are probably 10 copies on the shelf of Ticket to Ride at any one time. On the other hand, they own a *ton* of stuff, and so they have hundreds of games in their overall catalog which do fall into that “one copy on the FLGS shelf” category.

  38. They are not the only people who do this. I have just had a similar experience with Funko. Bought a game as Xmas gift through Amazon UK. only got open to be played beginning of Feb (no point in opening shrink till then). 1 piece missing and 2 incorrect pieces. They just said “not our problem return to retailer” even though it was outside of retailers return window.

  39. I can see pluses and minuses. For Asmodee it probably helps with stock keeping – it’s easier to track a game rather than a game and a dozen parts it has in case of replacement. Plus, retailers probably don’t have to return the item – the physical cost if materials is low and uneconomical to return. This means retailers get a source for spare parts or a demo store copy (win win).

    For the customer it’s more interesting. If they used their FLGS they can quickly get a replacement – nothing sucks worse than missing a piece and now your game is unplayable for a month while you wait for the missing pieces to arrive. So now a trip back to the store and they can get back to playing.

    This is the reality – retailers are unlikely to need to return the item – if they get damaged product, they get free replacement from the distributor (and the broken copy ends up as a demo). Asmodee just charges the distributor for one less copy to replace the bad copy. It’s very cheap to handle – the cost of a replacement copy of a game is very low, so not needing a parts department, staffing, stock and handling could be a significant savings since replacement copies are easily handled through the existing distributor network.

  40. My first experiences needing a replacement part was about 8 years ago when I brought a copy of Dixit to a work Christmas party. One of the players knocked over a cup of water and damaged 7 cards. I contacted the publisher (ironically, Asmodee) and asked if I could buy replacement cards. (It was our fault, after all, not theirs.). They WOW’d me by sending be replacements for free! This gave me a very positive impression of Asmodee and the game industry in general. I have often spoken of the positive experience as part of what makes this industry special.

    While this level of service is not required, it does foster postive relationships. It seems under this new policy, there really is no recourse for lost and damaged parts during gameplay. Most stores have a limit of 90 days for returns. I don’t think your 2-year scenario, even with the receipt, will be covered.

    I had no idea just how much could be spent on parts though. $43k! Wow! Is there a good alternative to help people who have lost or damaged pieces during gameplay? And what stops people from just claiming it was missing when they opened the box?

    Further, will this mean every game needs to be opened and inventoried immediately, even if it won’t be played right away? What about gifts purchased months in advance? What about games that are fully allocated and have several months before they will be reprinted? Can you not play your game in the interim because you have to return the whole thing for one missing piece? All these questions, sadly, seem to follow the law of unintended consequences.

    1. I sadly have the opposite experience with Asmodee. I had a card from a licensed property game damaged (despite the sleeve). Their licensing agreement apparently required destroying all remaining materials when it expired, no part replacement or support.

      I understand their hands are tied, but now I am just out of luck unless I drop over a hundred dollars for a spare copy.

    2. “I had no idea just how much could be spent on parts though. $43k! Wow! Is there a good alternative to help people who have lost or damaged pieces during gameplay? And what stops people from just claiming it was missing when they opened the box?”

      Every now and then for specific components, we may suggest an alternative (but we’re still willing to send the parts). For example, if someone’s board is warping, there are a few things they can try at home, as sending a replacement board is very expensive. Similarly, with miniatures, sometimes a touch of glue can make it as good as new. But if a customer isn’t comfortable doing those things, we’re still here to help.

      As for people just claiming the piece was missing, we do get a few suspicious requests from time to time, but they’re a fraction of a percentage.

    3. “They WOW’d me by sending be replacements for free!”

      Josh makes a vital point. The publisher has an opportunity to connect with a customer and to impress them. This can turn a customer into a fan and advocate.

      1. Would this policy be at all consistent with an overall push to sell more product at mainstream big-box stores that already have generous return policies?

        That is to say, are they effectively requiring large and small stores to compete on a more similar basis with respect to loss from returns?

  41. Thanks for this, Jamey!!! Well written, and appreciated. As both a huge fan of Scythe, and a recipient of replacement parts, I am extremely happy with how I was treated. :-) As a manager who uses Jira for a service desk, I can only offer my shoulder for crying. (Ha ha ha)

  42. Correct me if Im wrong but, I thought Asmodee games are distributed via Alliance only. Is it possible that they figured out it would be a reduction of costs to just credit the store for the return instead of processing all these requests? They could also he laying off people and shrinking the customer service department…

    I also read their products are counterfeited a lot so, this could ensure a more streamline way of making sure they are replacing games bought through proper channels?

    I’m not defending their policy, I’m just curious.

  43. It is horrible. I can’t believe they are doing this… as a customer I feel this is a case of trying to make it so costly (time/money/time without your new game/wasted resources/etc) that people are so demoralized that they give up and decide to just play with a penny as their 8th meeple or whatever. And they don’t have to replace it. Mission accomplished.

    For some individuals this may not be a big deal to drive back and return it but in SO many cases it can be a very big deal or even impossible to follow this policy. No more buying games from other people (even in shrink, or especially in shrink – at least opened you can inventory right there if you have time). No more buying from game stores you visit on vacation. Or even far from your house in your own city. Or online.

    This is the most customer un-friendly and game store un-friendly move I have seen in the industry in a very long time and it honestly angers me to the point that I probably will purchase very few if any Asmodee Games. People can say that is ridiculous or I am only hurting myself. But to me the way I spend my dollars is an important way I voice my support of things I like/don’t like, believe in/don’t believe in. I want to support publishers doing things to grow the hobby, serve customers, and support game stores. I am fortunate enough to own more games at this point than I could ever possibly need in my lifetime… I don’t “need” to buy any particular game… I have fun playing the ones I have, and the new ones that come out from companies I adore and can’t wait to support.

    Re: “Be strategic about how you list components on the box and in the rules.” My company has done this for many years. We mark 25 wheat but include 27. If we miscount, it usually isn’t by more than 2. And, it gives people extras in case they lose one at a convention or something. I mentioned this to a certain game publisher friend of mine about a year and a half ago and they told me recently that they have adopted the policy company wide to list 2 less than are actually included for every type of component. (for anything without a need for an exact number of resources, of course). He wrote me to tell me how much better their lives had gotten since doing that. LOL So many less requests for one missing cube to be sent, when it didn’t really matter. :)

  44. I used to work in the Millwork aka doors and windows industry as a vendor rep. What Asmodee is now doing that industry has done for a long time. It results in poor customer service and places the expenses and work on the retailers. I much prefer your policy of replacing just the item and believe it is right for your customers.

  45. As a retailer, I hate this mostly because asmodee works exclusively through one of the most difficult to work with distributors we have. I talked with a fellow flgs, and he actually live records opening boxes to show whether things arrived as ordered and undamaged, since it has been a constantly recurring issue for both of our stores.

    Further, we are quite small volume compared to many of their other accounts. For us to hit minimum orders regularly, which I’m sure the replacements will ride along on without adding to the order total, isn’t always as timely as we would like. I still need to read the full details of this policy, but it’s policies like this that make me seriously consider dropping the games section of our store. It’s a lot of work and headache for an increasingly cutthroat marketplace.

    The only reason I haven’t is because I’m addicted to games myself, and I do enjoy interacting with my customers about the games. :D

  46. I think that this policy is ultimately going to end up costing Asmodee significantly in the long run. I know that I as a consumer will be more wary of purchasing their products in the future, and I wouldn’t be surprised if some retailers (especially those for whom board game sales make up a relatively insignificant portion of their revenue) will carry fewer Asmodee products as a result of this decision.

    I get that Asmodee doesn’t want to support over 1500 products, but the reason they have so many is because they buy every gaming company under the sun, so they’re not getting much sympathy from me there.

    I think that a much more common sense policy would be to establish an end-of-life support date for games no longer in print, much like the software industry does. Perhaps they will provide replacements for up to 1 year after the most recent printing of that edition of the game, after which point customers will be encouraged to return the game to the retailer if the game is still inside the retailer’s return window. That way, Asmodee supports a more manageable library of games, and consumers and retailers aren’t getting completely hosed.

  47. It also sounds like people aren’t following your advice to read the actual article before responding. If you buy from your flgs, you don’t have to give it back and wait for a replacement, and you don’t have to rely on them having it on stock. You just go back and tell them there’s a problem, they order a replacement from Asmodee (which they don’t have to pay for), and you wait for it to arrive.

    Then you go pick up the replacement and give them the defective copy to return. In many cases I’d guess your turnaround will be much faster. The few times I’ve requested a replacement part it’s taken weeks to arrive.

    My flgs gets multiple shipments a week and I expect replacements will be shipped with their usual orders.

    1. So you drive to the FLGS buy a game, go home. Wrong part, drive to the FLGS and show them, go home. Wait until the FLGS gets the replacement part then drive to the FLGS to get your replacement game, and go home.

      Most FFG games seem to run out soon after release. There is a good chance you will need to wait several months for a reprint before they can fulfill the order. I don’t see this saving any time at all.

      My experience with the old FFG customer service was a replaced part within about a week. Even after Asmodee took over, it usually wasn’t more than 2 weeks.

  48. “So if you bought a copy of Ticket to Ride 2 years ago from your local game store and you lose a token, you can turn in that old game for a pristine new one if you kept your receipt.”

    I doubt this is the case. The wording is that if you buy a game and it’s missing a piece, you get a replacement box. If you lose a piece a year later that’s your fault and I see no reason they’d replace it with a new copy.

    Note the caveat that it’s subject to store return policies.

    This may be an unpopular move but it puts them on par with most other types of products on the market. They are responsible to make good on manufacturing/packing errors or defects, not customer mistakes or mistreatment.

  49. Wise words and it seems as though as big as Asmodee has gotten, it has lost site of the customer and put undo pressure on the retailer. The retailer will most likely have to wait quite a bit of time to receive their replacement. I see this as very, very short sited on Asmodee’s part. The retailer while bearing the brunt of this hit, maybe able to turn this into a positive for great customer service and it will bring customers back into the store although probably with a positive attitude. A well trained staff can make this a win.

  50. This is probably a GREAT policy if you have NEVER picked up a game with a missing piece. Unfortunately, I have, but MOST companies can help. Holy moly. I just want to play the game. So, I get an Asmodee game with a missing piece…and I MIGHT be able to play it, but NOW they want me to send the entire game back? Who pays for that? Heck, I’ve probably been anticipating getting the game – I JUST want to play it. Missing a piece? OK, I’ve done THAT before….but now I have to send the entire game back? I can’t play anything while I’m waiting? No thanks…

    1. This was a well written piece that makes a lot of good points I agree with. You mentioned that Stonemaier Games spent $43000 on replacement parts in 2019. I’d actually be interested in a breakdown of this. With Wingspan being a huge hit that was mostly sold out for most of 2019 I wonder. What percentage of replacement parts were for Wingspan? What parts were most requested. Would this have had anything to do with possible pressure to produce and deliver more copies of the game. Was there any pressure on the factory to produce more copies in a timely fashion?

      Similarly, were there any issues that could be worked out in an effort to reduce that $43K in 2020?

      Anyway, getting back to the larger issue at hand I want to highlight that unless I am blind I do not see where Asmodee’s new policy addresses what to do specifically if you bought a new game at a convention?

      Also, I think this new policy will really hurt the second hand market. Maybe I’m looking to sell an old game and it is missing a piece or two. This never bothered me as it is perfectly playable but the person looking to buy it might be bothered. Especially if they know they couldn’t get those pieces replaced.

      I grant you this leads us down a rabbit hole that some games just have a finite lifespan. I’m sure you as a publisher will publish your games for as long as you can. However, look at Carcassonne for example. Through the German publisher, HiG, they offer replacement tiles. This is great but a few years ago they changed are styles on the game and you can no longer by the classic art style and only the new art style. You can still get replacement tiles for some parts of the classic art style but eventually that option will be no more.

      I know this is obvious and goes without saying, and that said I don’t know where exactly I am going with this. I do appreciate any publisher that offers replacement parts but I understand that it can be something difficult to manage.

      So let me close by asking this, do you ever worry that Stonemaier Games might get so large as in produce so many games that you’d have to reconsider your current position? Note I’m not saying that being in that position would be bad.

      1. I think those are great questions about our replacement parts breakdown in 2019, but it would take a bit of digging to get the answers. I don’t spend much time in Jira. :)

        While Panda’s error rate is really low, we’re always looking for ways to remove the possibility of human error from certain elements of packing games. I don’t see our budget for replacement parts decreasing from year to year, though, especially since we offer continued support for older products. If you lose a card from a copy of Viticulture you bought 5 years ago, we’re still here to help.

        As for reconsidering our position, absolutely–the future holds many challenges that I don’t fully understand yet, so I’ll do my best to plan for them and pivot as needed. :)

  51. My biggest takeaway is that im sorry y’all have to use Jira. But seriously, thanks for all you do. You take on things tends to make sense to me. This is no different.

  52. One concern I have as a customer (as well as what I imagine my FLGS might say) is what if the game is out of stock? What does the FLGS do then? Am I out of luck? Likewise, if the FLGS only stocks a small number of copies, and I get a replacement from them, they’ve just lost a potential new sale for that copy. I would feel bad about that. I can also see some FLGS taking the view that it’s not worth the risk and hassle to stock Asmodee games. And, will an OLGS pay shipping for me to return an entire game to them, and will they ship out a replacement for free? Overall, as a consumer, I don’t see this as an attractive change, just one that breeds uncertainty.

    1. I assume one of the benefits to Asmodee in adopting this policy is that the retailers are already in their distribution network. They have a warehouse with the game that make deliveries to the retailers, and when a retailer makes a return request, the store will either give you a copy that they have in stock and get it replaced during their next shipment, or (more likely) order away for the replacement, and you pick it up after they receive it in their next shipment.

  53. I assume the motivation for Asmodee here is that maintaining spares and a department to send them out rather than sending out entire games through an existing distribution system that has to exist anyway is becoming an excessive expense, which makes sense. I can see how getting an entire new game could be something a customer could really appreciate, but it does raise some questions.
    1) As I understand it from the linked statement a customer requests a replacement and then has to wait for it to arrive at the store and then return to pick it up. Is there an alternative if the store is either a long way from a customer’s place of residence or even closed down after purchase?
    2) What happens if an unlocked box in, for example, Pandemic Legacy Season 1 is missing pieces? Do I have to give up on my six months in campaign game in order to get a few components?
    3) What happens to the returned games? It seems incredibly wasteful if a perfectly good game missing one or two components is going to get junked. Does anyone know if Asmodee would be sending returned games to charitable concerns or otherwise re-using them, will stores be able to or encouraged to use them as display copies? Just on an environmental level if this is a move to essentially trash a couple of tons of card and plastic each year I would be a little disappointed.

    1. I think one important takeaway I had from Asmodee’s policy change is that this policy change affects mostly newly purchased product rather than games someone bought 3 years ago. I suppose you could keep all receipts and try to game it that way. It seems like asmodee is trying to do away with replacing lost components due to usage rather than manufacturing error. If I buy a game and take it home and find a piece missing, I return it to the store to get a new copy from them or alliance or asmodee vs. I’ve been playing a game for 2 years and lost or damaged something. I’ve only ever replaced misprinted components from newly purchased products. I’ve never tried replacing components after usage or after buying second hand. I was a bit taken aback in the Twitter discussions on how often people treat the pubs like their parts dealer.

    2. “2) What happens if an unlocked box in, for example, Pandemic Legacy Season 1 is missing pieces? Do I have to give up on my six months in campaign game in order to get a few components?”

      Good question…

  54. Hi Jamey,

    This is a very interesting topic. As a small publisher this is not a big issue for us. But as you mention over 43k is something to have in mind.

    I am curious to know if printing houses offers a discount in future projects if several copies of previous games have missing components.
    Maybe this can be a reason for Asmodee to return those games as a proof.

    Other industries work this way returning to the factory defective products.

    1. Carlos: I can really only speak from my experience, which is with Panda. In our production contracts with them, we agree to a potential error rate of 1-2%. If it’s any higher than that, they’re responsible to fix the errors.

      1. Hey Jamey! Is it accurate then that the agreed upon error rate is the actual error rate? I have no real context for production but it makes me curious about what the error rate would be if the agreed upon rate was .5 or 0?

        1. Great response and why I will always have the greatest respect for Stonemaier Games. I understand the free replacement if my game comes with a broken or missing part, but if I lose a piece or if my dog chews one up, I would be more than happy to pay for it as well as the shipping. :)

          1. Daniel: It’s hard to say what the actual rate is, because all we really could know is the *reported* rate, which I’m guessing is is far less than 1-2%.

            Cat: We’re animal lovers at Stonemaier Games, so if your dog chews up one of our tokens, we’re happy to help out. :)

  55. I read the article and it’s disappointing because it doesn’t feel customer friendly. Sorry, “we have too many products” isn’t a good excuse. I understand the cost issue, but there should be some middle ground. Pass the Buck is a pretty sad customer service strategy.

  56. I haven’t read asmodee’s entire document yet, but my comment is more in what a well written and well thought out response article yours was. Its a good peek behind the curtain ($47k?!? Yikes) as thought provoking stuff.

  57. Thanks for posting this. I read their updated policy. I won’t comment specifically about their policy, except to say that it speaks for itself when it comes to revealing their priorities. I do appreciate your approach and what you wrote here. Your policy shows what your values and priorities are. Thank you! It is similar in essence to our approach to returns at Trader Joe’s (though ours are only in-store transactions and not shipping transactions). I once had to take advantage of your policy for (if I remember correctly) a couple of missing/misshaped wood pieces from Viticulture and I greatly appreciated the prompt, no hassle experience.

  58. I haven’t read asmodee’s entire document yet, but my comment is more in what a well written and well thought out response article yours was. Its a good peek behind the curtain ($43k?!? Yikes) as thought provoking stuff.

    1. Thanks Aaron! Yeah, it’s a significant expense, even when we only have a handful of games. Only 1-2% of all games we make end up needing a replacement part in their lifetime, but it adds up!

    2. I just recently ran right up against their new policy. My wife and I were setting up a game of Marvel Champions for the first time and one of the Rhino cards was missing. I immediately reached out to them about the missing card and offering to pay shipping.

      I got a form letter back saying return it to the store. Well I bought the game online from Florida and I live in California. To do this I would have to shop the whole game to Florida….for one card.

      I reached out again to a different address trying to explain the situation. Another form letter. Now I am just pissed. I ended up finding the card on the internet and printing it then laminating it. So I have one weird card. I will probably never play with the Rhino cards again and it has for sure made me hesitant about ever buying one of their games again.

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