Monday, April 4, 2011

Death Mesa: Unveiling POD Prototype Results

Today, I opened up my mailbox and I finally got my Death Mesa Prototype that I had ordered from a POD. Overall, I am very pleased with the outcome, and I am confident I can fix the errors that creeped into this one. As I walk through my judgments, I will show pictures to aid the narration. When I opened up the package, my custom deck was nice and tightly shrinkwrapped. The cards did not show any sign of being bent or warped.

A Shot of the Shrink-wrapped Deck.

The Shrink-wrapped Deck in my Hand.

As I opened up the deck, there were many things that I like. The card stock is very sturdy and has a good flex to it for shuffling cards. The cards printed in the areas I had planned and were cut about as good as I could hope for. The text printed cleanly (despite the photos on this page, which I took quickly with a camera borrowed from my work place), the fonts showed up well, and the cards had a slight glossy finish to them. In terms of the colors, however, I had mixed results. To specify, it was really the brightness/darkness of the cards where I had some problems. I would have done some color management work, but I don't know what printers they have, and they weren't going to do it on their end, so this was bound to happen. Fortunately, I can tweek the colors for the official release. Anyway, time for some pictures. Some cards I think turned out really well:

Others were a little dark:

And sadly, others were way too dark:

I will have to adjust some of these cards' brightness for the official release. This was the only real problem with the cards, and that is very fixible. I might have to spend a little time on the phone with the POD, but I am confident things will turn out great. I should be able to set up online also I way for you to order your own copy for around $7.20+shipping. Details on that I will post soon.


  1. I look forward to this product. Pls, can you tell how much will be cost shipment to Slovakia?

  2. I post article on title page about this product on No tralnslation yet, duo some buggs in translation manager. Will be fixx soon.

  3. This looks pretty legit. Looking forward to the release. Off topic but this is the only way that you could hear from me, but do you know anything of the Bang! Tournament that apparently happens in Las Vegas? Wikipedia says there's one but a google search doesn't produce any results. Also off topic, I too have a degree in philosophy.

  4. Thanks for your thoughts on this prototype. I want to make sure all of the kinks are out before I start letting other players buy it.

    I hadn't heard about the BANG! Tournament in Las Vegas either. It is hard to know if what Wikipedia states is correct. I saw some obscure references to BANG! english tournies online, but nothing specific for Vegas.

    Glad to see others enjoyed philosophy. Don't get as much time on it as I used to, but I still find it a very rewarding, therapeutic study.

  5. So I looked up on international ordering from 2 PODs! The price is ridiculous on both, although I might call them up to find out if there estimator is completely off or something. 1 POD charges around $45.00 for shipping to Slovakia. The other charges around $115.00!

    I thought this was ridiculous so I went to the USPS site to get an estimated cost for shipping a very small package to Slovakia. Their site on the other hand estimates shipping as around $5.50. I don't understand the huge difference. If I can't get something figured out with the POD, I might suggest that you order a copy online and have it shipped to me. Then I can relay the package to Slovakia for $5.50. Total shipping that way would be around $10.00, which is not good, but still far more doable for the other prices. But just $5.50, when it is shipping from New York, seems the most optimal. This is a mystery.

  6. I contacted the PODs regarding the discrepencies in their shipping costs, and why it is so high. I will let you know what I find out.

  7. So, I get one response from a POD on the high shipping costs thus far. This is her response:


    The shipping options that we offer are based upon our past experiences with shipping internationally. You're right, USPS does offer an option to send an uninsured first-class envelope to Slovakia fairly inexpensively. The reasons we don't offer that option are:

    1) Items that are shipped internationally are handled many, many times. A card deck that is shipped overseas in an envelope would likely be in pretty poor shape by the time it finally arrived.

    2) By the same token, every time a package is handled during shipping, there's a chance that it could be lost in shipment. This is especially likely when shipping internationally. A package shipped in a first-class envelope without tracking information or insurance will have a very good chance of not reaching its final destination, and there's no recourse in that situation. The package is just lost, along with the money that was paid for it.

    The trackable, insured international shipping options available at this time are pretty expensive, but it's the only way we can ensure that a package will reach a customer; therefore, those are the only options we offer. If something more economical (but still easily trackable and insured) becomes available in the future, we'll be happy to pass those savings on to our customers.


    In response, I have 2 thoughts:

    (1) It shouldn't be that beat up if it covered in some bubble wrap: it's only a deck of cards, not the sort of thing that is going to get that damaged.

    (2) Even if it is uninsured and you cannot track it, and somewhat prone to get lost, most people would rather pay $7+shipping over again, instead of buy the deck 6 times over with the $45 shipping costs just so it is insured. At least I would!

  8. I post article on (now only in slovak and czech language) to know interest people for buy this expansion for about(11 per one) when I would order 40+ in one shipment. If there will be enough people, I will buy more(45+) expansion posted in one box and after arriving I will post only to Slovak and Chzech participiats of this order.

    This will be condistions:
    -enough people and post money to me before order is done(45+)
    -this will be real in June earlier, now I am to busy and I must to wait on feedback of fans on BANG on

  9. Hey Martin!

    I recently got into this supreb party game and I'm craving for more gameplay! Found your blog and I'm loving the work you've done. Too bad I live in Finland and according to the POD-site, shipping would be closer to 100USD. Also there isn't a community site in Finland so I would only be buying one deck :/

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  11. Isn`t there a way that you order them and send them to other players like you suggested before:

    " If I can't get something figured out with the POD, I might suggest that you order a copy online and have it shipped to me. Then I can relay the package to Slovakia for $5.50."

    I mean you still don`t make money out of it when people just pay you the shipping and production costs.

    How much would it cost to send to Austria!?

    And a deal with da Vinci games is not possible.

    Thanks for all the efford.

  12. Hey Ironik and Antismart (again on this I suppose),

    As for the large shipping costs, I have been working with the POD on this. In my e-mail correspondence I communicated:

    "Finally, I sent a question a little while ago about overseas shipping. I was surprised to see shipping to Slovakia cost over $100. I am sure this is to have a shipment that can be tracked and insured. People don't want to lose their shipments, so I see that benefit. However, since Death Mesa is only a deck of cards costing under $10, anyone willing to pay over $100 shipping costs to get a product shipped to Slovakia is not going to care if he has to pay around $17 (card deck cost + First Class international mail shipping costs from USPS) more than once in case the shipment happens to get lost. It seems unlikely that the deck would be lost 7 times, which is what it would take to rival the one $110 insured shipment. Is there anyway to ship uninsured, and just have the person who orders it check some disclaimer box? Just a thought. There are about 10 people in Slovakia/Czech Republic that want to order this expansion, and I know that $100+ shipment won't cut it."

    I was told in response, "I will make sure the shipping is right."

    This seemed like a vague response to me, so I asked, "As per the shipping, you mentioned that you would make sure that it is right. Does this mean that it will be able to be shipped under first class international mail, or are you doing something else?"

    Then I received this response, "I have edited the shipping settings. Try an overseas address and see what comes up for the shipping. Email me the address you used so I can test it from my end."

    My tests still showed shipping costs to be around $80-$100. They are still tweeking it on their ends. If this does not get fixed, the best idea will be either (1) to order in bulk for countries with several interested persons in them, or (2) to order a copy of Death Mesa and mail it to me, as well as mail me via money order (or perhaps some other deposit method) the First Class Priority Mail shipping costs. Then, I can mail it to you for much cheaper. Irritating if it has to go that way, because the benefit of having it online with the POD is to cut out all of these middle man steps. I will keep you and others posted on any developments regarding international shipping.

  13. Hey, just got a new message from the POD:

    "I changed the shipping calculation method. For some reason the USPS rate calculator would not work for overseas addresses so it was just giving us the UPS rates. It should be all set now."

    I have now checked the shipping for the following countries:

    United States: $6.50.
    Finland: $15.50 (approximately €10.57).
    Slovakia: $15.50 (approximately €10.57).

    The shipping is a little higher than I would like, but that is what they have available.

    Group orders might still help out with costs. It costs the same amount to ship 7 decks as it takes to ship 1! After 7, the shipping to Slovakia went up from $15.50 to $25.50 (€17.40). However, the shipping costs from 8 to 32 decks was the same at this price. I can't imagine anyone ordering over that, so I will stop the stats there. In terms of ordering multiple decks for a group, it will be easiest for friends living in the same area that do not have to ship again once they get the package. Reshipping might be worthwhile anyway, so I will leave that up to you.

    Shipping the decks to me and then me shipping them to you doesn't seem to be that beneficial anymore. Since you already have to pay $6.50 to ship it to me and then another $5.50 puts it at $12. Since this is only a $3.50 difference from their price, I don't see shipping to me as really worth your time and money. And while I consider myself a trustworthy guy, you don't have to worry about me not sending the product to you, not receiving your payment for shipping, etc. when it is done only through the POD. I think the shipping option they have is also insured/allows tracking, which is a plus. I will still check and see if they can do the uninsured shipping option, but in the mean time, these shipping costs are much better.

  14. Martin you are amazing. Everything worked fine. I just ordered a Deck with shipping costs. 24USD total with Paypal. Great work. I am looking forward to get the deck soon. Juhu!

  15. Thanks Martin! Keep being awesome!

  16. Is there a way that we can download the files for this and find our own POD service? I have a few stores in my area that (hopefully) would print this for cheap, and if I can pick it up, that would eliminate any delivery charges. Even if they're not cheap, I might be able to find one online. I live in Canada and the shipping at the POD in the Death Mesa link isn't too bad, but still around $15. Does anyone know a cheaper place?

  17. I don't think downloading the files and finding your own will work very well with any old POD service. They likely have their own templates, sizes for printing, and color differences with their prints. Thus, you couldn't just send them my files. If you could find a local POD in Canada that I could set up with, and they sent me their templates, etc., then I would be fine readjusting the files to fit their parameters. This would help you and many of the other Canadian BANG! fans. I would prefer that the POD be available online, but if not, I would still consider it. If people know of cheaper places, please let me know as well.

  18. I’ve learned a lot from your blog here, Keep on going, my friend, I will keep an eye on it.