Check and Recheck

Last week I purchased Upper Deck Entertainment’s Legendary Encounters: the Alien Deck Building Game (Wow, that’s long). I even did an unboxing video segment in Episode #5. Today, I am going to give you some tips if you are new to gaming or some reminders if you are a veteran when it comes to receiving that brand new game you’ve been waiting for and can’t wait to open and play.


1.) Save the receipt. Just in case. Paper or PDF or screen grab. It doesn’t matter — hold on to it for now. If everything is fine by the end of the article then you could get rid of it. I hold on to my receipt for about 90 days or so following my purchase. If you ordered online, then most likely a record of your purchase if kept for quite some time anyway.

2.) When you receive a game in the mail or via your friendly neighborhood UPS driver, check the box for visible dents, dings, and other damage. Assuming you didn’t buy a ding and dented package, you may be able to get a replacement box or game from the manufacturer. Check this before you open it. If it is significantly damaged, do not unshrink the game. Return it and get another one. The publisher should pick up the tab for return shipping on a damaged game box. I know you may be anxious to play it after waiting for a week or more, but if you purchased a new game, then that’s what you should get.

3.) Once you’ve cut the shrink, check the rule book. Are all the pages present? You can check the printed rule book against a PDF posted on BGG or the publisher’s web site for the game. Sometimes pages get flipped upside down in the printing process or perhaps there’s no English version in the box when there is supposed to be. Contact the publisher and they will usually send out a replacement.

4.) Next, check the game boards and player boards (if any). Often times boards may be warped beyond the point where it would flatten out by placing some heavy books on it. Or perhaps it is torn or the paper is not securely glued to the board. Those gigantic six fold boards can be especially problematic. In any case, take a picture of the defect and save your receipt. Contact the the publisher; they will usually ask for a copy of the receipt (a picture from your phone or a screen grab from an online merchant will suffice). They may also ask for a picture of the defect. If not, it still doesn’t hurt for you to send it along, not only for your own piece of mind, but also for the publisher’s records with regard to quality control.

5.) Component check — this is the big one. Count all the cubes, tokens and bits that come with the game. Is the amount of each part correct? Are all the cardboard chits printed correctly? Count all the bits twice to make sure you have exactly what you are supposed to have. The rulebook usually states how many of each bit there is supposed to be present. If not, check the game listing on BoardGameGeek. Reach out to the community there in a forum for the game and ask. People are glad to help.

6.) Card check — I made this one separate as it can be the most challenging sometimes. A game like Pathfinder Adventure Card Game with over 500 cards can be a bear to go through, but you’ll have to organize it anyway to make game set-up easier so you might as well inventory them. Usually on BGG, a user will post a list or excel spreadsheet of all the cards and their quantities in the files section of the game’s listing page. I personally had to do this for Legendary Encounters. I went through and sorted the entire 600 cards. Twice. And I found one card missing. If this happens, contact the publisher through their web site. In most cases, publisher’s will replace the missing card or cards. Again, they need to see a receipt as well the name(s) of the card or cards that are missing. This can be difficult, if you don’t have a list and you don’t know what is missing. Reach out to the board gaming community on BoardGameGeek and explain your situation. You’ll be surprised how many will step up and lend a hand.

For the experienced gamer, this is all standard operating procedure, but for others who may be new to the hobby, this is some advice I believe you should heed. Do not assume that the manufacturer got the component counts correct or that the quality is where it should be for the price of the game you have invested in.

Another brief story, I had a problem with a small dice/card game that costs around $10. Some of the dice were defective; the paint was missing inside some of the pips. After tweeting this to the publisher, they immediately contacted me to send out some replacement dice. It was only a small little game, but you expect to have all the bits present and in good working order when you make the purchase.

So, take the time and examine your game methodically when it arrives and your game is sure to last many, many plays with friends and family.

If I have forgotten anything please let me know. 🙂

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