I didn’t really think about it while punching the tokens, but I did notice at the time that many of the tiles in the new edition of Betrayal at House on the Hill began to warp upon tearing open the shrinkwrap, especially the character tiles, pictured right.
It wasn’t until I saw the thread on Boardgamegeek discussing the extent to which some people’s copies are warping, both cardboard tiles and some plastic figures — the blue figure has been nicknamed “Ilene Back” by some owners. Check out this post in particular for a photo of a particularly bowed example of the starting tile.
Given this game was ultimately published by Wizards of the Coast, I’m surprised that such a widespread issue like this would slip through. It sounds like the whole print run was affected, which suggests they decided it was more cost effective not to do anything about it and deal with unhappy customers than fix the warping issue. In light of some of their recent board game products, particularly Castle Ravenloft, which seemed like a solid home run in terms of a well-made game, it’s surprising that Betrayal at House on the Hill would turn out like this.
Or is it? Betrayal had some factors working against it: the first edition sold horribly in stores; it was reportedly on clearance for a pittance in Wizards of the Coast’s retail stores for a long time before it gathered a cult following that drove up secondhand prices. Nor is it attached to a high profile intellectual property like Dungeons & Dragons as Castle Ravenloft is. I can imagine both those considerations leading to a situation where not only did this problem slip through the production process unnoticed, but the decision to handle the problem by replacing warped components as requested — with tiles from the same print run, mind, so they’re equally likely to warp.
I have elected to take this opportunity to explore the customer service process. I wrote Wizards a letter expressing my disappointment in the apparent lack of quality control, sending a copy via their email contact form, as well printing it out to send via traditional mail. Within fifteen minutes, I received a reply from a weekend customer service representative . . . seemingly didn’t read my letter very closely, as it included all the information requested in the reply. Less than two hours later, I had an email saying a replacement set of tiles would be sent out promptly.
The letter hit the mail box Saturday evening. As I wend my way through this replacement process, I’ll keep you updated as to how it goes — and how far it goes, as I’m not going to settle for a second warped set of tiles. Just you wait.