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Disappointment in Mayday Games

A bit ago, I bought into Get Bit‘s Kickstarter. I was pretty excited by this, because it’s a cute game by Dave Chalker, and watching a video of the game played/reviewed told me it’d be a fun game to play with kids (and thus a fun game to play with drunk friends[1]). That it was published by Mayday Games was something I knew to be wary of, but I took a chance on Dave’s game.

I bought into the level where there would be an expansion shipped separately, where you got to play the shark. I was jazzed about that, because hey, SHARK.

Just in case you missed my excitement: SHARK

I got the first package that had Get Bit in it, played it a few times, and I think there’s something neat to the game. It’s a simple game to play that ends up involving reading the people at the table, which I dig. But the real gem is in the robot pieces you get to rip apart as they’re eaten. Folks know I’m bit on tactile reinforcement of the game, and that really makes this game’s theme sing. It’s pretty fun. The components are pretty decent quality as well.

So, good game. But it’s been soured by how Mayday has treated me (and many other folks) who funded this game’s production. When I got the Sharkspansion in the mail, all I got was a plastic baggie with the six cards for the game in it. No instructions, no packing slip, nothing. I emailed Mayday about the lack of instructions, and was directed to the Boardgamegeek page for it, which had this PDF.

When it loaded, I was treated to this:

Sharkspansion PDF with registers

Mayday showing its figurative panty lines with print registers

Those are print registers, what you send in some cases to a printer to check tone and color levels upon printing. That that’s in a consumer PDF shows a lack of thought in their process. Not only is it an embarrassment, it’s also a frustration for the user who has to now make sure the printing settings are dead right so they don’t print it wrong, get a smaller version because this nearly 11.5×9 document scales down to printer margins, etc.

(By the way, folding it in a useful way that doesn’t crease on a line — which, on many printers means the ink fades on that line — and getting it to fit in the Get Bit box is a pain. Whee.)

Then, as I read the rules, I see this:

COMPONENTS

Shark Hand Containing:

  • Right Leg
  • Left Leg
  • Right Arm
  • Left Arm
  • Head (no ties)
  • Any Limb (must be tied)

6 Hunger Tokens

Great, now I discover I’m missing these Hunger Tokens. So another email to Mayday, and they guy says he’ll ship it out first thing. I appreciate that response, but I’m already soured on the experience. Their shipping is sloppy, their online resources are half-assed. What’s next?

Given the rest of the stellar production on Get Bit, I’m expecting some decent “Hunger Tokens.” I could play with pennies or bottle caps or whatever, so it’s not like I couldn’t play the game. Still, I’m looking forward to having a complete set for Get Bit, with Hunger Tokens of similar quality that continue to exude theme. Then I get this in the mail…

Sharkspansion cubes

The physical manifestation of being underwhelmed

Six wooden cubes. Six generic, something-I-could-get-anywhere wooden cubes. That’s what I waited for, that’s what Mayday spaced on sending out to people. (Also, no packing slip.)

Wow.

I get shipping fuck-ups. That happened on occasion when I was managing Indie Press Revolution, because we’re all only human. But by all accounts, nearly every shipment of the Sharkspansion was screwed up. That’s a huge vote of no confidence in their ability to fulfill, if something that sweeping happened.

Mayday has clearly communicated that if you give them money before you get product, you should expect to be crapped on. Noted. I won’t back another Mayday Kickstarter, and I’ll think twice before buying another Mayday game in the store. Now when I look at Get Bit, I don’t think “fun game,” I think “Mayday’s middle finger.” Maybe I’ll play it again. Maybe not. And while that’s a bummer to Dave, it means nothing to Mayday — they got my money.

 

This gets to a thing I’m starting to feel with Kickstarter projects, which I mentioned before: people who are taking the money and showing absolutely no respect to those backers. That’s always a risk with anything like this, of course, but I’m growing tired of feeling like Kickstarter is an avenue for having good will taken advantage of. Which makes me thinking about what I’ll do in the (probably eventual) event that I’ll do a Kickstarter.

– Ryan

P.S. As I was link-hunting for this post, I saw this on the Mayday product page for Get Bit:

Get Bit price on website

How to say you don't care about selling this

It’s forgivable on its own, but with all the other places where Mayday has shown negligence, all this says to me is “understaffed place that keeps over-committing.” And that’s a dicey place to put your Kickstarter money.

 

[1] Eleminis was, for a couple months, our “drink scotch and hack a kids game” game of choice. I’ve promised to post our hacks at some point, but that would involve me remembering them.

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10 Responses to Disappointment in Mayday Games

  1. I totally get all the frustration- the only thing I can say is that I hope you’ll keep playing and enjoying the game anyway. Especially the Sharkspansion: in my totally biased opinion it makes the game even better!

    -Dave

    • Ryan Macklin says:

      Since I have some friends who enjoyed it and didn’t have the experience I did (since they played my copy rather than bought the game direct), I’m sure I will again.

      And next time I see my nieces (which could be a year from now), I plan on bringing it, because it is a fun game.

      – Ryan

  2. Josh says:

    That sucks, man. I’ve had some Kickstarter projects that I’ve been pretty underwhelmed with, too, but not as bad as that.

  3. ralph mazza says:

    I backed the 2 set level and used one for the birthday present of Seth’s son.

    The horde of children promptly abandoned the various toys and console games acquired to retire upstairs to immediately play.

    I’ve been told its been a smashing success since.

    As a data point my copies came with the hunger tokens but no rules for the expansion.

  4. Ralph Mazza says:

    Everything I was supposed to except the rules.

  5. Judson says:

    In some ways, that’s the inevitable outcome of a low barrier to entry – you get some unprofessional crap. I’d underline “unprofessional” because in no small part, “professional” means getting the things right that when they’re right, nobody notices. Proper fulfillment is one of those things.

    • Ryan Macklin says:

      Judson,

      Sure. Though, I expect this from various folks in RPG indieland, like the Unstore crowd being notorious for crap fulfillment. Mayday, however, is a total disappointment.

      – Ryan

  6. watergoesred says:

    Did you get stickers for the robot’s faces?

    They promised them for everyone and I never received any. Nor have Mayday responded to my email regarding this.