Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Geek Honesty

Gamers - the hardcore serious ones - are among the most honest people I know. It's one of the things about our culture that I very much appreciate sometimes.

Those of you who don't know me in person are probably not aware of how my luck turns - it (like that of most people) swings wildly from good to bad and back again. Thankfully, the extreme good and extreme bad tend to both be for minor things - for which I am extremely thankful. And my bad luck tends to be related to things rather than people.

It means that, if everyone I know purchases the same book, mine will be the one that falls out of its cover. It happens to me fairly often - I'm not even surprised by it, anymore.

So what does this have to do with gaming and honesty?

Simple: What do I spend the most money on?

Right. Game materials. Books, board games, card games ... you name it.

My first defective game book was a copy of Sorcerer. I e-mailed the designer, asking what my options were. He just dropped another one in the mail for me. "Just send the bad one back when you get a chance."

My second defective book was a few years later - a Fantasy Flight Games d20 book (I think it was a Monstous compendium, but I'm not 100% sure). Again: A copy was mailed to me within two days.

When I went to my first convention for Asmodee (Origins 2005), I spent it in the open gaming area. At a nearby table, there was a copy of Pizza Box Football that the designer had just ... left there.

"Do you need me," I remember asking, "to keep an eye on that for you?"

"It'll be okay," he said, "You must be new at this."

Over the course of that weekend, several thousand gamers wandered through that room. Several hundred looked at the game - they rolled the dice, or played a few turns, or even played a full game.

On Sunday afternoon, the designer wandered back by. It was all there - even down to the dice and pegs the game includes. He grinned at me, "You see? I told you it'd be okay here."

It's stuck with me.

I had a defective (non-game) book from Amazon a few months back - they sent the replacment next-day air and sent a label for return shipping. I also received a little note in their instruction e-mail, "If we don't have the defective one back within 30 days, we'll bill your card for the replacement."

I have never seen a similar phrase in an e-mail from a game publisher.

It's a completely different culture, sometimes.

Oh - there's a bit more. I'll fill you in once it's fully resolved.

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