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Greenman Designs Kickstarter Product Review

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Greenman Designs Kickstarter Review

 

Recently Greenman Designs ran a kickstarter for full color templates, tokens and various other xwing goodies. I'm going to try and cover in as much detail as possible all the items I received and the kickstarter itself.

 

The Bottom Line Up Front:  I received a lot of really great, high quality stuff.  Any complaints I have are mostly nitpicks just to show them.  I would recommend the products.  However, the kickstarter for them was kind of a mess.

 

 

Templates and Range Rulers

 

I ordered only one set of movement templates in full color acrylic with the Azure Arc design.  Overall, the look of these templates is amazing.  The image on these came out great, and overall, they are exactly what I expected as a final product.  Because of the non-slip backing, these are a little thicker than normal cardboard or acrylic templates, but functionally it is no different.  I am very pleased with these.  I got two sets of range rulers, each with a full range ruler, a 1-2, and a 1 length.  One is in Azure Arc design, the other in Shatter Star design.  The Azure arc rulers match the templates in quality.  My only complaint is that image on the full length ruler just doesn't quite seem to match with the templates and other rulers I have in Azure Arc.  It looks more like bubbles underwater than an outer space scene.  However, I knew this when I ordered it, but the Azure Arc design was the best of all of them IMO except that one thing. 

JJ7MWILl.jpg

Azure Arc Banks.  Those JJ Abrams like lens flare effects are what are actually on the templates, not a camera flash or light.

 

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Some of the Azure Arc Straights.  The graininess, in this case, is camera ISO and not the actual templates.

 

 

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Why don't these match better?  It is like a totally different blue.  BTW, This was the only part of the order that was wrong - the full length was to have my handle on it, not the short ones. And I actually didn't want spaces, but that may be for the best.  Not sure how it would look all capital letters.

 

I was a little disappointed with the Shatter star rulers. (emphasis: a little bit) The image on the rulers is a bit too low resolution and so the picture is a bit grainy.  They are still very striking, but definitely not as good compared to the others I received, though the "theming" and coloration is better on these.  This is a problem for future people ordering these, as you really have no way of knowing which designs have enough resolution to create a sharp looking template.  I’m going to assume that Greenman will be adjusting the available design images based upon how some of these turned out, but I don’t know.

 

OXbgKuil.jpgShatter Star Range Rulers.  Hard to see by the pic, but the images are a bit grainy up close. A little easier to see in this full size image http://i.imgur.com/OXbgKui.jpg

 

Overall, the size matches well, if not perfectly, to my Litko templates (which compared well with the cardboard templates).  Where they vary, the Greenman Design templates seem to be just ever so slightly longer than the ones I compared them to.  The difference is minimal, probably around the thickness of 5-8 sheets of paper, and probably about what you'd expect from the variance in the cardboard templates.

 

Would I buy this product again? Yes, with the caveat that I'd have to have some pretty good images of the actual rulers/templates to ensure that the image quality was up to par.  These are truly a fantastic product IF the picture is high enough resolution.

 

 

Tokens

 

A variety of tokens of all types were available from this kickstarter.  Though there were numerous color options available, I chose to stick with a color scheme that matched the actual game components for the most part.  There was also an option for Kickstarter exclusive tokens.  I elected to go with these for both Focus and Stress tokens.  Sorry, I don't think the Focus tokens with the cutouts or the stress tokens with the interesting shape that I have pictured will be available later. Available were Focus, Evade, Stress, Crit, Shield, Energy, Reinforcement, Cloak and Ion tokens.  By and large, I am quite pleased with all of them.  I wouldn't choose light colors again.  As you can see, the yellow tokens and white designs don't show very well.  And by the way "Demonette Red" is kind of pink lol.The designs are one-sided, so they aren't quite as easy to use as the standard game bits, but it is a very minor issue and the product is exactly what I was expecting.  The shield tokens are some of the best I've seen, hands down. My only complaint is that some tokens the paint is extremely sharp and filled in, but on others it almost looks incomplete or a little faded.  Not a major deal, they still look very good, just some are better than others.  I would say about 10% of the tokens have this faded look.

 

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The various tokens

 

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A "faded" token on the left.

 

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Some bomb tokens. 

 

Would I buy this product again?  Yes. These look great, especially the shield tokens.  The ability to choose your colors is cool, and they are an overall great product.

 

To be continued...

Edited by GiraffeandZebra

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Standing Target Locks

 

Whoa.  These are cool, if not all that necessary.  They just look awesome and that is all I have to say about that.  They are made up of two separate pieces, which means they fall apart when you try to move them.  I'm not sure if it is intended or not, but I plan to just put a dab of superglue on mine to hold them together.  My only wish is that the numbers were on both sides.

 

MNAa2Bkl.jpg

 

Would I buy this product again?  Absolutely.  They don't make the game any "easier to play" and aren't any more "useful" than the basic locks, but these just look cool.

 

 

Non-slip inserts

 

Also available were square inserts that fit up into the base of the ship stand.  They are an acrylic piece with a side that is almost felt-like, intended to stop ships from moving about.  They work pretty good.  The "felt" has a bit of give, so in some ways, it replicates the softer playmats with a little give that you can push things down into to prevent them from moving.  So if you have a GF9 type thin playmat, these help for when you want to hold things in place.  As just a piece to resist movement in general, they are no better or worse than some other solutions I've seen.  I've typically used some clear adhesive rubber feet, and these inserts work about as well.  The inserts do not raise the ship up as much, so that is a benefit, but they also don't leave any room for added weight (such as the washers some people add).  You will need to glue them to the base, which makes the base look weird, though that part is covered by the base token, so it isn't a big deal.  As a side effect, they make the bases look black, so which is a pretty sharp look when ships are on a space mat.

 

zNGuIh9l.jpg

This is what it looks like when you glue in the non-slip inserts.

 

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The backside.  An optical illusion going on here, as it does stick out below the base to make contact with the mat.

 

Would I buy this product again?  Maybe.  They are fine enough, but it is a tossup between these and other homemade solutions.  But, they seem pretty good and are an “off the shelf” solution if you are looking for one.  And, other than the glue markings which are probably operator error, they do look sharp.  I haven't used them in a game yet, so they may show their superiority in play.

 

 

Ship Base Tokens

 

You could also get pilot/ship base tokens to go in place of the cardboard ones included with the ships.  Some places it looks like maybe the design was just a little too detailed for the engraving and it didn't come out perfectly, but they look great overall.  Probably a simpler design is better.  Obviously being acrylic, they have no give and so aren't sized to press firmly into place like the cardboard ones.  I think they are close as manufacturing would allow, but there is a teeny tiny bit of play in them.  Still, they are certainly good enough to use, and very handy for filling in some gaps without buying a bunch of stuff you don't need.  For example, I got some Talas, Bandits, Binayres and a Mandalorian Merc token.  Now in casual stuff, I can use two firesprays to fly 2 Mandal Mercs without needing to buy a second most Wanted set for the second ship base token.  Or use more rebel Z-95s as scum or vice versa (Most Wanted didn't give enough generic tokens for all the Zs I had obviously)

mmk27aul.jpg

I spelled his name wrong and Josh was good enough to correct it.

 

Would I buy this product again?  Maybe.  It is certainly helpful to be able to "proxy" some of these and not need to buy a second Most Wanted just to get some base tokens.  The paint detail could be improved (by simplification), but they are certainly good quality as is.

 

 

Barrel Roll Template

 

Well, first off I'll say this is a beautiful piece and very well made.  Basically, it is a template you can use to quickly barrel roll all the way forward or all the way back.  However, it kind of feels like trying to build a better mouse trap.  Sure, it works, but so does the 1 template.  And it is a little bulky, so you'll be using the 1 template in tight spaces a lot of time anyway.

 

Would I buy this product again?  Probably not.  It is great quality, I just don't see the need for it.  It was an included stretch goal and I probably wouldn't have picked it up separately if it hadn't been.

 

 

Base Markers

 

The little number markers.  For some reason, he sells them in sets of 2 rather than 3, but that isn't too big of a deal.  They fit perfectly in the bases (there is some of the non-slip backing on one side to allow it to squeeze in), and the ability to add a faction indicator is pretty nice. Overall, these are nice, plus you can add a custom image, so if your x-wing group had a logo or something you could get that on there.

MlD1SU3l.jpg

Yes, I know that this is Jek Porkins with an Empire symbol.  Sue me.

 

Would I buy these again?  Probably not, but only because I already have 5 sets from the kickstarter and rarely do you need more than that.  Definitely worth it I think if you have a local group with a logo or some other custom logo you want on there.

 

 

Deck Holder

 

This thing is also super sharp looking.  I wouldn't have ordered this separately, but man am I glad it was a stretch goal.  It just looks good, does its function well and is all around a nice piece.  However, you have to be extremely careful assembling this thing.  It has pegs that have to be stretched just a smidge to go over the other pieces in assembly, and if you are a bit off you will break a peg like I did.  Still, even though I broke it, I like the piece.  I wouldn't recommend disassembling it once it is together though, due to the risk of breaking it.  Oh, some assembly instructions would have been nice.  Work it out in your head carefully before you just start snapping pieces on.

 

OYQgvFcl.jpg

Pretty cool...just be careful not to break it.

 

 

Would I buy this again?  If I needed one, yes.

 

 

Full Color Asteroids/Debris Tokens

 

Ok, so the concept is neat.  These are well made, and I can't say there is anything "wrong", but I just expected the asteroid and debris images on the tokens to look more like a single asteroid and debris, and have a more consistent coloration.  it is probably up to taste though, as they do look nice.  Since there is non-slip backing on one side, if you want to reverse them by flipping them it looks weird and they are no longer non-slip. 

 

DfdDHoEl.jpg

BSC13sxl.jpg

 

 

Would I buy this again?  For me, no, mainly just because I don’t like the images.  But if you really want to pimp your game, it is a well made product.

 

 

Dials

 

So these are two part magnetized movement dials.  The good is, they are awesome.  Yes, they have some of the faded paint issues seen on other pieces, but they turn nice, lock together nicely for storage, and you could even color code them for ship types.  If you have some worn out dials, or a ship you fly a lot that you don't want to wear out the dials, these are good pieces.  For all the dials I received, the correct maneuvers were present.  However, they weren't always in the same order as the cardboard ones, which is kind of annoying.  I always remember that turning the face clockwise progresses from low to high speeds, but that often isn't the case here.

 

lpTRtnjl.jpg

Notice the difference in clockwise vs anti-clockwise dial arrangement.

 

Would I buy this again?  If I had a worn out dial, probably.  But just as a general thing to start replacing dials en masse?  Probably not.  Then again, the way multiple dials lock together could make them very appealing for travel/storage.  And I really think the order of movements should be corrected to match the originals. 

 

 

Epic Stuff

 

I'm not going to waste a lot of time discussing this as I don't play epic.  The epic range ruler snaps together very well, and the magnets that hold it together are rock solid.  The movement template has similar problems to the asteroids, you want to flip it for some moves and that puts the nonslip side up and the design side down.

 

Would I buy this again?  Well, I don’t play epic, but if you do, the range ruler is definitely good.

 

 

The Kickstarter

 

So, how did Greenman Designs perform on the Kickstarter overall?  That depends a lot on your perspective on things, as evidenced by the backer comments section.  Here is the bottom line.  With the exception of one error in my order and the minor "fading" on a few pieces, I received a lot of very well made products.  I was extremely impressed with the accuracy of the "order" considering the project's complexity. So if you are ordering from the web store after he finally gets clear of this kickstarter, I'm sure your experience and what you receive will be great. 

 

However, other than that, every element related to actually running a kickstarter was just poorly executed.  This was Greenman's first KS, so a lot of mistakes were made I'm sure he wouldn't make again.  Waaaaaaay too many options were available.  This made it difficult to even determine what you were getting/could get, and so far it seems to have made fulfillment way harder on the creator than he anticipated.  The survey was slow and laborious (and there were actually 4 or 5 you needed to fill out depending on the options you selected), and buggy for some people.  You had to use a specific browser sometimes, and it took me a good couple of hours and a spreadsheet to make sure I had captured everything and actually gotten what I wanted selected.  And then of course he has to fulfill all of these buggy, confusing surveys that I'm sure many filled out incorrectly, which I am certain is greatly slowing him down fulfillment of rewards.

 

The creator spent (in my opinion) far too much time with his head down, nose to the grindstone, failing to peek out and the project updated and answer backer questions.  From the beginning communication was a weakness.  Dozens of backer questions would build up over many days, later to be answered all in a big burst with no context.  If you wanted to know what an answer like "yes, bugaboo, you may substitute" meant, prepare to scroll through a hundred comments to find the question from bugaboo.  Never was the collective set of questions from comments updated in the FAQ or through an update, so you would see the same question asked, and eventually often answered by another backer, again and again.  Those updates that were provided were...hard to read.  I don’t' know if they were put together in an extreme hurry or what, but I often felt like half of what the update should have said was missing, and the other half was a stream of consciousness. 

 

There is a fine line to be managed on Kickstarters between working hard to get the project done and still keeping your backers informed of the progress.  While you don't want to unduly delay things so you can hold people's hands, you also can avoid a lot of headache and maybe even reduce your work answering questions by providing honest, thorough updates.  Updates can provide globally some answers to FAQs and generally keep the angry at bay so long as they hear from you. Especially in this case, the project was running late, and the creator was far too slow to tell backers what was going on, instead just offering that he was overwhelmed.  As it turned out in a much later update, there were numerous roadblocks and setbacks the creator could have shared much sooner.  It just seemed the whole time like he was dodging the question of what is happening and where he stands, maybe hoping that bad news would get better with time.

 

I digress.  The product Greenman Designs provides is a quality one and was well worth the wait it took to get it.  Basically, the only problem was that he fell into the kickstarter trap like so many other first time project creators.  He overreached and underestimated, which likely overwhelmed him and led to some of the communication issues.  I think he has done his best to fulfill the demands, even if I am critical of his communication.  Hopefully, he will have a lot of lessons learned from the kickstarter experience he can take into any future ones he may do.  Overall, I would definitely use Greenman Designs again through his web store after the dust settles, but I probably would stay away from future kickstarters (if he has any) unless he demonstrates he has come into it prepared the next go-around.

Edited by GiraffeandZebra

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I went the other way and used the kickstarter as an opportunity to get some acrylic maneuver templates on the cheap with none of the extras.  I agree with OP, quality was excellent, waiting was annoying.  Kickstarter was almost doomed by its own success but I'm glad I got the product and would recommend Greenman Designs as a source for acrylic goodies.

 

Worked out well in the end as kickstarter helped raise a big chunk of capital and now you can get just about anything you want in shiny, pretty acrylic for X-wing.

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Worked out well in the end as kickstarter helped raise a big chunk of capital and now you can get just about anything you want in shiny, pretty acrylic for X-wing.

 

That has yet to be seen.  I hope so, but Josh did have extreme troubles with the laser he ordered (i.e. it didn't work), and there never really was an update that said anything other than that he was outsourcing a lot of work.  That really wasn't the vision, but instead that he had a new fancy laser to churn out this awesome stuff all by himself, and I'm not sure he is there.

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While these things are cool - I don't think I could in good conscience contribute to a kick starter for any templates or associated items. I just don't see it as a viable business model - for starters, it's borderline infringement - I personally don't have a problem with it and I don't think FFG does either (because you can't really play the game with just third party elements) but in theory they could crack down on these sorts of things (again, I don't think they will or should but it could happen)

Second - how scalable is it as a business? For starters, how many other guys are trying to do the same thing and what is the market potential for your product? It's a niche game (even if you include Attack Wing) to begin with and even within the entire population of gamers, it's a niche market that would spend extra for these sorts of things. It really just seems like you overpay to get some acrylic templates and help a guy get a 3D printer or laser. Call me cynical but I don't see any of the third party template makers being a viable business (which I think is the intention behind Kickstarter)

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While these things are cool - I don't think I could in good conscience contribute to a kick starter for any templates or associated items. I just don't see it as a viable business model - for starters, it's borderline infringement - I personally don't have a problem with it and I don't think FFG does either (because you can't really play the game with just third party elements) but in theory they could crack down on these sorts of things (again, I don't think they will or should but it could happen)

Second - how scalable is it as a business? For starters, how many other guys are trying to do the same thing and what is the market potential for your product? It's a niche game (even if you include Attack Wing) to begin with and even within the entire population of gamers, it's a niche market that would spend extra for these sorts of things. It really just seems like you overpay to get some acrylic templates and help a guy get a 3D printer or laser. Call me cynical but I don't see any of the third party template makers being a viable business (which I think is the intention behind Kickstarter)

A discussion I'm sure that is a worthy one, but that I'd like to keep out of the review.  Whether something is a viable business or not usually doesn't enter the equation for me when I back a kickstarter. Kickstarter isn't a charity and I got value for what I paid.  Besides, there are an awful lot of people making them for X-Wing and many other games, so it must be going pretty good.

Edited by GiraffeandZebra

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Thanks so much for the review and pics.  I too ordered Greenman tokens in the past because I like the style and color options the best.  And I do have to say the tokens I received are awesome.  Bright colors, perfect sizes.  HOWEVER, his communication and shipping was just abysmal.  It took them over a month to ship out my relatively average-sized order.  After a week, with not even a receipt or confirmation of the order, I emailed.  Nothing.  Emailed again 4 days later.  Nothing.  Emailed a third time a few days later and asked if I needed to have paypal refund my money becuase I was seriously concerned about the legitimacy of the company.  Lo and behold, I finally got a response.  "We're busy" was the gist of it.  No problem, but some upfront communication would have been nice.  Anyway, I do love the product, but would have to give a warning along with my recommendation.  

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Wow.  Must be nice to have gotten your product.  I'm still waiting on mine.  Ugh.  I still believe in the product, just frustrated at the time.

 

Also still waiting.

Hoping for another update on the kickstarter page. It's been a while since the last, and I'm anxious to get my new templates and tokens.

 

I received shipping details for my kickstarter magnetic mats yesterday. It looks like they'll arrive first. I didn't expect that.

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I ordered my templates from the Germany guy in the Acrylic Hotness thread.  His were ready products back in March when I ordered them.  Once this kickstarter came out, everyone thought I had gotten these.  I figured it was easier to go ahead and buy the templates that were ready than do a kickstarter and wait.  Oh, and a whole set was only $25. 

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I ordered my templates from the Germany guy in the Acrylic Hotness thread. His were ready products back in March when I ordered them. Once this kickstarter came out, everyone thought I had gotten these. I figured it was easier to go ahead and buy the templates that were ready than do a kickstarter and wait. Oh, and a whole set was only $25.

I concur if you are looking just for templates. The price is about the same for just templates from the kickstarter. I backed the KS because it was an opportunity to get templates, tokens, bombs, nonslips, the whole deal. Edited by GiraffeandZebra

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That looks really cool I wish I would have know about this kickstarter.

count yourself lucky.

I promoted the heck out this...even got my LGS to throw a few hundred at it.

My LGS owner  hasn't even been able to fill out the pledge survey yet. 

both he and I have tried to get this fixed..no change.

I pretty much burned any chance of  pushing a good kickstarter on him again.

Josh stated he would try to have orders ready for people at NOVA if they contacted him.

I emailed him and Messaged him on Kickstarter within minutes of his posting that info.

(I had a friend going to NOVA)

my friend had to stop by his booth 4 times...4 times and then just got the asteroids, some dials ship tokens...

there other acrylic companies out there that will get my future business.

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I ordered my templates from the Germany guy in the Acrylic Hotness thread. His were ready products back in March when I ordered them. Once this kickstarter came out, everyone thought I had gotten these. I figured it was easier to go ahead and buy the templates that were ready than do a kickstarter and wait. Oh, and a whole set was only $25.

I concur if you are looking just for templates. The price is about the same for just templates from the kickstarter. I backed the KS because it was an opportunity to get templates, tokens, bombs, nonslips, the whole deal.

 

 

Allow me to reply here. I'm the one heychadwick was talking about, and we have the whole line too - templates, range rulers, full color tokens (the same way the templates are, with different colored prints on), nonslips, bombs (including Wave 7), asteroids (including Force Awakens), debris (including Raider) - all the goodies you could ask for. ;-)

Everything's finished, we work with 4 high grade industrial lasers, so production flow is guaranteed. I have to admit that we kinda lack on the promotional side of the business, as we are busy producing and sending out stuff :-)

 

Still, great review by the OP, nice to see that somebody else picked up the idea to produce full color acrylic items (although he was not the first to do it, as he claimed in the introduction video on kickstarter ;-) )

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So I was considering ordering a bunch of tokens and templates from Greenman's web site.

Am I reading the above right that they're not very responsive and orders are unpredictable? Because if so I'll wait or take my business elsewhere.

Any experiences with them outside of the Kickstarter?

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So I was considering ordering a bunch of tokens and templates from Greenman's web site.

Am I reading the above right that they're not very responsive and orders are unpredictable? Because if so I'll wait or take my business elsewhere.

Any experiences with them outside of the Kickstarter?

He claimed to not be filling other orders until the kickstarter is complete but if you can wait another month, you should be good.

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Reading my last post makes me angry... lol.

 

He said he shut the site down so he could focus on the kickstarter.

Project updates are few and far between. No ETA on when anyone will get their stuff.

I think I read from a reddit topic that the Greenman Designs guy was at Adepticon, which is hilarious because if he's so backordered he could've spent more time fulfilling existing his orders than trying to promote and drum up new business. I dunno, I'd be pretty peeved if I knew that and was still awaiting my Kickstarter. I'd wager he was selling new wares there that were printed in lieu of KS fulfillment as well.

Edited by Skargoth

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As much as I want my stuff from the Kick Starter Campaign, everyone who participated needs to understand that it was a Kick Starter Campaign, not an online store.  When you get your stuff, almost said if, be happy.  Did he get in over his head?  YES!  Is this KS suffering from too much success?  YES!!  Have there been lots of problems?  Yes! 

 

But anyone who is saying they want their money back, needs to read the fine print on KS...you are not guaranteed ANYTHING, or in any time frame!  This is why I didn't originally participate in this KS, but I had a friend who did, and I added stuff on (about $100 worth) and neither of us have gotten anything yet.  This might be because neither of us have been complaining enough, or maybe because we ordered about 5 billion tokens in every color under the sun between us, so maybe our fault... :rolleyes:

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