I was thrilled last week to discover a hefty box on my front porch containing a review copy of WotC latest premium product, The Deck of Many Things. The slipcased bundle includes a 192-page Book of Many Things, an 80-page Deck of Many Things reference guide, and a 66-card Deck of Many Things in a handsome and sturdy slip-cased box.
Overall, this product is incredibly gorgeous and they were obviously going for wow-factor production value. But man, Wizards just can't do anything right these days. First of all, I had to destroy the slipcase by way of a pull-tab to open the box. What a foolish design choice. This set cost $100, one of D&D's most expensive product offerings. Owners of this set are going to want to keep it on their shelves in the slipcase. Even adding the ability to tuck the flap back into the box (like a cereal box top) would have been a better design choice.
Then, the slipcase the cards came in was way too tight for me to get the card box out. I tried and tried and finally, out of frustration, had to cut it away and destroy it. That made me sad. It was lovely.
Then, once inside the card box, I was shocked to discover that the beautiful, gold-edged cards were badly warped. I mean badly warped. And strangely, they're not even cut to the same size. There are three slightly different sizes to the trim job. Quality control anyone? Hello? If I'd actually plunked down 100 bones for this thing, I'd be livid and would want my money back.
It turns out, my experience was not isolated. As review copies got sent out and the responses and reviews started coming in, pointing out these issues, Wizards announced that they were delaying the Nov. 14 release "after an internal review…found the product didn't meet our manufacturing standards." Wow, they got all the way to shipping before they discovered the cards were warped and badly cut? Crazy.
I only hope that in this release delay they'll also re-think the design of the outer slipcase and adjust the size of the inner card slipcase. This is a really beautiful-looking product, the contents of the Book of Many Things looks juicy for DMs, and the cards themselves are designed to be a fun, thematic way of planning an adventure in real time using a tarot-like card spread (among other uses).
Given the high price point, this is already a product that only a segment of the D&D community will be able to afford. Wizards needs to get the manufacturing of this right. I guess this delay also means they'll likely miss the holiday season, blowing another significant revenue opportunity.
I don't know about you, but I think Wizards desperately needs to draw a Moon card from The Deck right about now (the Moon grants 1d3 wishes).