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Franklin Mint Clue Game - Box
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Murder by Death
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 12:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

With the game board finally removed from the frame and glass, I now have confirmation that the playing surface is merely printed on cardstock, albeit a seemingly higher quality than that found in the re-issues, and is unfortunately glued down to the plywood underlayment. Sadly, I won't be able to smooth out a wrinkle I hoped to fix. It appears as though the adhesive is light enough that I could peel it up, except in testing a corner, it would crease the card stock too badly, and ruin it.So this is one repair I won't be able to make.

Another surprising revelation after removing the game board was the so-called gold trim surrounding the frame. There's a lot of confusion about what is and isn't 24K gold plated in this game. The pawns seems to be, as do the weapons tokens. I'm not sure about the Clue token knob on the drawer. It seems like brass to me, especially after the corrosion. There's also a plaque in the drawer which is likely brass as well. There was some doubt about the furniture miniatures under glass, but certainly after accessing them directly, I can confirm they're just painted plastic, with likely no gold content in the paint at all. But perhaps the most disappointing lack of gold is this new discovery, because it's not even brass, or metal for that matter.

The glass sits on a rubber gasket that sticks to the thin ledge of the frame. But this rubber gasket doesn't just cushion the glass. It serves double duty, posing as a decorative "gold" frame border. But all that glitters is not gold, or even metal in this situation. In this picture, you can see what seems to me a gold cellophane that adheres to the rounded nub of the rubber gasket which pretends to be a metal rail.

In this picture, I've pried it up -- none of this is metal, or likely gold of any kind -- it's a strip of translucent rubber which easily flexes right back onto the ledge I pulled it off of. The gold is again some kind of cellophane tape that's stuck to the outside of it. What's worse, much of the gold color has rubbed off, or otherwise exposed this unattractive rubber. I'm really going to have to think about how to fix this, as I'd like a real brass trim here. Also of note: the corner of the frame are joined with a metal bracket, not fine furniture joinery.

All this talk of gold makes the game seem much more elegant that it really is, and certainly didn't hurt the vague language used in the marketing of this edition. That nit-pick aside, I'll move on to construction. In this next photo, you can see how the screws and staples work to hold the game together. Note the screws go all the way into the top wooden frame, through the furring strips, and the gameboard itself, and in a couple of places, split the wood. And the staple holes on the upper left side of the photos, show how the strips are held against the frame in the deepest part of the wood. My pry marks can be seen on the edge of the inside of the frame, which are thankfully hidden completely when assembled.

I'm still not sure exactly why they need these furring strips, or to hold the top together independently from the screws that go all the way to the top of the game effectively holding it all together. Considering Michael's experience in repairing his game, I have to assume this was done later in the manufacturing process as problems arose in assembly. This next picture shows both the plywood construction of the gameboard, as well as the gap created between the side frame and it with the bottom otherwise fully assembled. So the furring strips are necessary to help create a tight seal with the top of the gameboard, so that it doesn't drop away from the glass. Perhaps in assembling early games they found that the furring strips slipped and the board and glass sagged, or even the glass slipped out of place, and cracked during the final stage, or otherwise damaged the game.

Next, I'll focus on the construction of the top of gameboard. One of my chief complaints is the the way the board looks under glass. There's all kinds of uniformity issues, and now I know why. In this shot, you can see how the room tabs underneath the card stock create dips, rises and dimples, which easily catch the light and call attention to them. Frankly I would expect better from a game this expensive. For starters, the playing surface card-stock could have been adhered to a thin piece of wood creating a smooth flat surface, and laid over the plywood underlayment to which all the rooms are assembled. That also could have helped thicken the upper board eliminating the furring strips needed to hold it all together. It's odd that the original Restoration Hardware edition didn't glue the playing surface down, But that at least eliminated this particular problem.

Next I removed the backwards Billiard Room. Using a putty knife, I slowly pried up the edges, with varying degrees of success. But generally it wasn't too hard to remove. The biggest problem with the BR was that one side is stuck to the tab on the Library. Note that the adhesive appears to be applied to the board itself and then the rooms placed on top. The milk-carton-like surface allows the tabs to easily separate from the adhesive in most cases. Obviously I ran into a bit of trouble in the middle of the Study-side tab.

Here's a different angle that shows how the room valance is left behind. The tabs for this then are what make for the uneven playing surface, with the rooms adhering to the underside. Unfortunately, there's no adjusting these as they are glued to the top side of the mounting board and the playing surface is glued to them. I may try to shape them a bit better though. Note the one corner is not held together by anything.

And here's how it looks from the top with the room removed:

And here's the room itself. I presume all the rooms are labeled on the the outside edge to prevent Farok doing what he did.

While I did a fair bit of damage to the upper edge of the Billard Room in removing the tab, the good news is you can't see this at all when assembled. What's interesting here is that the intricate room moldings are obscured by the valance, which wasn't apparent until the Re-issue that did away with the valance. One has to wonder why they didn't reproduce the valance as part of the re-issue room artwork, but then again, I'm sure it was cheaper not to.

Now that I've got the game apart, I'm going to take some detailed photos of these rooms:

I'm actually thinking about installing LED lights behind the room valances when I reassemble this game, assuming all goes well with the Library removal. That should really add another layer of elegance to a game which is quickly losing its luxury veneer for me during this process.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love the crisp detail your camera captures! Makes me think they could have used pictures of random wall segments for the room cards.
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Murder by Death
Forensics Supervisor

Joined: 09 Oct 2009
Posts: 2371

PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cacums wrote:
I love the crisp detail your camera captures! Makes me think they could have used pictures of random wall segments for the room cards.

I agree. I always wondered why they didn't do that.

I also just discovered another of Farok's errors -- maybe:

I've just looked at several dozen photos of various Franklin Mint editions as well as several Restoration Hardware. It turns out that billiard table on all of those is positioned so that the balls are on the end of the table closest to the interior door. In this Billard Room, the balls are closer to the French doors.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What's next?
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