Note from 2016: Boulder Games went out of business in 2010, which is described in this useful BGG thread. Rather than delete this post, I’ll keep it around as a time piece from 2006.
I read a not-so-amusing anecdote on Coldfoot’s blog about an encounter with BOULDER GAMES that went horribly wrong on March 03. I have no reason to doubt its accuracy. Boulder Jim has been a hothead from time to time in the past– I recall a contretemps he got into with Clash of Arms over Jim’s description of a certain game that COA was publishing at the time, and that nearly made it into a court room. So Jim is no blushing bride about controversy. However, I’ve never had reason to complain about Boulder Jim’s customer service in the past. Jim did a lot for the hobby while making a buck or two off of it, and for a long time BG was the ONLY source for the more obscure stuff on the gaming market. Things seem to be slipping lately, however. I trundled my “wish list” over to BG’s site and did a little cyber-shopping last week. With the exception of one item that wasn’t expensive enough to exceed his 25 dollar minimum buy, everything on the list (and these were mostly in print games, too) was “coming soon, here’s a discount for your trouble”. I took my buy over to Thought Hammer.
It’s easy to bash a guy having a bad day or who is in a downward slump, but my intention here is to be constructive. BG was a leader in the discount game mail order business at one point, and now seems to be falling behind. Incidents such as Coldfoot describes don’t help much. Here’s a few suggestions I might make to Jim if I were having a few beers with him at the local trough and brew:
1) You do some things very well. The newsletter is a strength. Keep it. Ditto for the guest reviewers. This practice ties us into a wider boardgaming community and helps us make up our minds to buy things. However, if you promise a 10% discount for a review, HONOR IT. Don’t give people ammunition to slag you.
2) If something is “coming soon”, give us at least a month, if not a week. If we can save a couple bucks (the “coming soon discount” is good) choosing your company and the trade off is waiting a couple weeks, then we’ll choose you first. Almost half of the newsletter items are “coming soon”
3) On a related note, be up front about when you reordered something… it helps us eliminate a choice that will end up in an impossibly long wait (if you haven’t reordered it lately).
4) Update the shopping site. Allow us to store profiles, wish lists, etc. YOUR COMPETITION DOES THIS.
5) A little more effort in getting pictures of the game components would be nice.
6) Be up front about the Shipping and Handling fees. If you’re charging a little more for Handling to make up for the discount, that’s not so heinous for us to grasp as long as we see the process laid out in front of us.
7) Buy some linking ads on Consimworld and BGG. It doesn’t cost much.
7) For God’s sake, control the temper!! ANY phone conversation starting with the F word is not going to go anywhere useful to you.