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Franklin Mint Clue Game - Box
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Murder by Death
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2017 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, the day has come.

For all of you who want to consider the Franklin Mint edition as the ultimate
luxury item, you might want to skip this disassembly, since it lays the
realities of this game bare, and they're not all that pretty.

OK, for starters, the felt pads have to be removed and the four screws on
the corner release the base. I will probably replace these as they're kind
of cheap and worn, and didn't survive the removal very well.




Next, on the bottom you can see the holes cut into the underlayment to
accommodate the pegs of the furniture that are glued though the rooms.
We've seen this in miniature on the original Restoration Hardware First edition.
The right side of this you'll see the two guide paths for the drawer supports.
There's two layers here, the bottom is cheap particle board, and the top layer
is a denser fiberboard. The area where the drawer slides under the top layer is
interesting, since they would have to be extra careful to keep the pegs short on
those rooms as there would be a risk of rubbing against the drawer as it slides
under them.




Back to the top of the box, you'll see 9 screws around the sides which hold the
sides of the box to the top. You'll see the drawer bottom pulled out on the right.
This has to be pulled out to remove the bottom since it slides under the room
bottom support underlayment.




Next, the screws are removed and the side panel assembly is removed.




And finally the bottom side of the top of the game. I'm always reminded of Chinese
takeout when I see this view, especially with the FM as the scale is large enough
to approximate real takeout boxes. This is as far as I go, since the top of the game is
held in place by four furring strips that have been stapled to the top of the board's
wood frame. MICHAEL -- How did you remove this? I tried to pry it up, but it's such
cheap wood that it will split apart. I am planning to remove it, and replace it with
new wood strips, that I will hopefully *beep* down instead.




Some items of note here:

It would appear that someone named Farok assembled my board, and that he is
possibly in love with someone named Nam Seng. I'm assuming the heart shaped
artwork is not merely a coincidence. Farok might be a bear.

Note that room bottoms have a liberal amount of masking tape holding the corners
together. This is as cheap as it gets since masking tape tends to dry out, and
eventually falls apart. Perhaps this was just a temporary fix while assembling,
or perhaps it was intended as a cheap fix to make the game appear a bit more
polished when new, without any thought about the future.

The rooms themselves appear to be stuck to the board with some kind of adhesive
applied directly to the bottom of the game board. Note the dark areas along the
room edges, that's the sticky adhesive. Surrounding the rooms is a cardstock "shaper"
for lack of a better word. It too is glued to the room edges, and appears to give the
rooms some integrity so that they are "square". This is a very different approach than
the RH games which use a fiberboard cutout to slide the rooms into and glue the
mounting tabs to the top. Again this creates a real problem with rooms potentially
being crooked. Again, I've found that I'm unlikely to be able to straighten a room I
had hoped to fix.

Another surprising aspect is that there's no central pillar to keep the center of the
game pressed against the glass as in the cheaper RH edition. Perhaps the plywood
top is less prone to that, but it seems like a reasonable precaution. And in my game,
the edges are indeed pressed firmly against the glass, with the gold embossing
sticking to it and pulled away when I separated them. There's a definite sag in the
middle of the game in that it is not pressed tightly against the glass. I suppose
they expected the cardboard rooms to support the top, but there's quite a void in the middle,
and the rooms are merely cardboard.


Next, a particularly cheap solution -- black duct tape is attached to the three front
rooms, which create the black barrier seen in the pullout drawer. In this case,
it's not applied evenly, such that the middle of it bends over the bottom edge of
the Hall leaving a visible white gap in my drawer. At a minimum, this should have
been a piece of wood, fixed to protect the rooms from the pressure of anything
being shoved into the drawer, as many of us have done with the detective notepads,
not to mention going to the edges of the box to prevent anything from falling into
the box. There's only one thing cheaper than this construction to come.




And now finally the answer as to why the detective notes and playing cards fit in
my board and perhaps not others:

As seen above, the drawer bottom slides under the room bottom underlayment.
This underlayment is in two parts -- a base particleboard layer, and then a thinner
fiberboard layer on top of that. It's this second layer that forms the wooden barrier
that can be seen when the drawer is open all the way in an assembled game,
the edge of which even appears to be stained to match the rest of the wood.
In this next picture, the sloppy assembly of these layers can be seen:




Note that the alignment of the top layer is off on both the front edge and the drawer
guide from the bottom layer. In this next picture, I have assembled them to show
that in addition to the top layer being set back further, that the bottom layer is also
set back from the frame even further:




Now compare that to how tight the assembly is on the opposite side of the board:




It's this extra gap that gives my game the space for the notepad to slide the
extra distance back up under the rooms, allowing the drawer to close completely,
as there's plenty of space between he rooms and the underlayment as long as
nothing stops it. In inspecting the construction of this underlayment, it appears
as though the upper layer has its front holes and drawer guide drilled, then it is
attached to the shorter sub-base, and then both are drilled through, and corners
cut out, and sides trimmed. SO depending on how carefully each base underlayment
is assembled, there's going to be some variance from game to game. So it's hard
to say whether they intended the detective notes be kept in the drawer, or if that's
the exception. I do plan to remove even more of the bottom edge to make an
even more roomy space to accommodate the notes, now that I know how it's
assembled. This seems like an easy fix anyone could do to their game if there's
not enough room for their detective notepads. And I also intend to improve the
drawer space considerably so that the weapons or cards in particular can't slide
under the rooms and into the game box. It's a shame they chose to put the drawer
on the front of the game rather than the side which has a full half inch more
between the rooms and edge to easily accommodate all of the game components.
I would rotate the board to allow this, but it would take a major re-working of
the drawer (but I might give it a go over the next six years Wink.

Before moving on to the drawer assembly, these pictures are good to point out
how cheaply this game is put together -- instead of fine furniture joinery, the sides
of the game are assembled with staples -- some are quite sloppy too. So much for
a quality heirloom to pass down through the generations.


Finally the drawer itself is assembled with the final insult. The drawer is attached
with a simple *beep* that goes through a milled slot in the side of the drawer.
There are two washers, barely large enough to span the slot opening.




On my game, the washers on one side have slipped into the bottom of the slot
making the drawer difficult to open. I have since repaired that. But in the process
I found the last bit of tape used. There's a strip of ordinary Scotch tape applied
to the washers on the inside next to the drawer side of both sides of the drawer.
The only thing I can imagine is that it is there to smooth the drawer opening so
that the washers don't catch or rub against the side. If so, it's an incredibly cheap
fix, likely implemented to quickly solve a problem on the assembly floor so that
the games passed inspection.



I intend to put Teflon spacers around the *beep* shaft so that there's less play in
the drawer and for smoother operation. I'll also use larger Teflon washers so
that the operation is smoother as well. Maybe even add a second *beep* so that
the drawer can't pull out at an angle and get hung up. Again, for such an
expensive edition, they did the bare minimum in many cases. I'm not sure why,
but I always felt The Franklin Mint was set at a higher bar than the rest. Looks
like I was sucked into the marketing hype.

I forgot to mention that the drawer knob with the Clue logo had tarnished in
storage, meaning this isn't quite the gold content we were led to believe, either.

Once I hear back from Michael about how he removed the top of his game from
the top frame to access the rooms to repair his furniture, and have time, I'll show
the final disassembly of the top of the game. I'll be curious to see if the playing
surface is glued to the board underlayment, or if it rests on top as it did in the
RH re-issue. I am still surprised at how little can be repaired on this game
without completely trashing something. I have to imagine that they must have
had a few returns due to broken furniture during shipping. I wonder what they
plan was to repair them?


Last edited by Murder by Death on Thu Jun 29, 2017 9:47 pm; edited 9 times in total
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Michael
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2017 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That Farok is awesome!

I honestly don't recall how I accessed the room furniture. My dad did it. I was just watching. I only remember unscrewed the base by removing the felt pads. That was the hard to figure out part. I don't remember what we did, but I don't recall it being at all difficult.
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Murder by Death
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Joined: 09 Oct 2009
Posts: 2235

PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael wrote:
That Farok is awesome!

I honestly don't recall how I accessed the room furniture.
My dad did it. I was just watching. I only remember unscrewed
the base by removing the felt pads. That was the hard to figure
out part. I don't remember what we did, but I don't recall it being
at all difficult.


Interesting. Well there's only two ways to get at it,
based on how my game was assembled. Either carefully pry the
room off the bottom adhesive, and then glue it back, or pry off the
furring strips and replace the broken ones, or piece them back together,
with staples or screws. You might have gotten luck and yours was
attached to the top frame by screws, like the original RH re-issue,
which is how I plan to reassemble mine. Maybe they started that
way and moved to a cheaper way, or moved to screws later as broken
returns started coming in. Though once I get it apart, and can see
it better, I may try to remove an individual room completely just to
see how it was assembled. I'm curious how they even got close to
the correct positioning of those rooms if they were sticking them on
blindly from the back.


Last edited by Murder by Death on Thu Jun 29, 2017 9:23 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Michael
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are you trying to remove an individual room? Or the whole set of rooms which is how we did it.
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Murder by Death
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael wrote:
Are you trying to remove an individual room?
Or the whole set of rooms which is how we did it.


Oh, that helps. So you did remove all of them together,
which meant prying off those stapled furring strips, or unscrewing them
depending on how they were attached on yours. The latter case would have
been easy. Prying off those strips like I'm going to have to do is going to be
harder, especially if I have to replace them. I suppose it's even possible that
yours were not stapled or screwed down at all, but held in place by the 9
screws which attach the box sides. Now that would have been very easy.
Maybe I don't have to reattach the strips at all!

Thanks for clarifying.


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Michael
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sure it was just a matter of unscrewing something inside. I'm sure we didn't pry anything off as it all went right back together easily.
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Murder by Death
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2017 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It looks like I'm going to definitely try to pry a couple of the rooms off,
to correct a couple of problems. It looks like Farok was far too love struck to keep
his mind on his work ...

First there's the Library, which is noticeably crooked.





Then there's this -- can anyone spot what's wrong with this room?




I never noticed it before, but now that I'm looking so critically at the game,
I'm never going to be able to not see it.


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Michael
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2017 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know what the problem is... I'm think we discussed it on another of the games.
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Murder by Death
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2017 9:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Speaking of things wrong with the rooms, why does the
piano not have a bench or stool? Is it only meant to be played standing up,
Jerry Lee Lewis-style? The dining table has chairs connected to the table,
so it would be relatively easy to attach a bench or stool to the piano,
and perhaps give it some extra stability to prevent it breaking -- a seemingly
common occurrence with these games.


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alwaysPeacock
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2017 11:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laughing Is the Billiard Room always flipped like that in these sunken board editions? That's hilariously bad.
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Murder by Death
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2017 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@Peacock -- no, at least not the Franklin Mint editions. I looked through
several photos of the FM editions I've collected off eBay over the years, as well as
the marketing photos, an none of them have this particular defect. Farok was clearly
thinking about his date with Nam Seng instead of the proper alignment of the
Billard Room that day. But I can see how it happened. The Billiard Room is one of
the only ones that's square, with no secret passages, or other unique shapes.
The Hall is the other one.

The problems with the other FM derived games tend to flip the side walls of the
Billiard Room for some reason, even if the inside and outside walls are accurately
placed. The Hall on the other hand they tend to rotate 90 degrees.

It's stunning really the number errors made with all these licensed games,
particularly this one in which the original was correctly done and presumably they
have a picture to guide them.


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Michael
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2017 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think we need to launch an online investigation to find farok and see if he ended up with nam seng.
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Matthew
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 3:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You have summoned me back from my 6-year exile with all of your blasphemy!
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Matthew
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 2:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My experience photos 1 and 2.


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Murder by Death
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Matthew wrote:
My experience photos 1 and 2.




Not sure what we're looking at. Is that the same game with a reversed billiard room
which you repaired, or two different games? If the former, I'd love to know what was involved in
your repair, before I embark on it, and if the latter, does that represent the only two games you've
had in your possession?

Either way, considering the dozens of photos I've collected of different games over the years, it's quite a
coincidence that you and I have suffered from the error of the reversed Billiard Room, with so many
seemingly correctly assembled ones out there. I wonder if Farok assembled your game too? Wink

Although with the relatively sloppy quality control standards, it's surprising there's not more of that
particular error.


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Murder by Death
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do we think this is a dead bug that Farok taped onto the board
and has been decomposing inside the game all these years?




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Murder by Death
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael wrote:
I think we need to launch an online investigation to find farok and see if he ended up with nam seng.


No kidding. I'd kind of like to know. Did he and Nam Seng get married and have a family?


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Murder by Death
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 2:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael wrote:
I'm sure it was just a matter of unscrewing something
inside. I'm sure we didn't pry anything off as it all went right back together easily.


Well I finally got into it today. I pried the strips off, and managed
not to break them. They're made of the same material as the board. Then the
playing surface comes right out. I'm not entirely sure why they're stapled in,
since the game is presumably assembled upside down, and all the pieces are
ultimately screwed together. There's plenty of tape and adhesive used in
assembling this game, so I have to wonder why they didn't just glue the strips
to the back of the board. If you really didn't have to pry these strips off
your board, then I have to assume yours was an earlier or later edition where
they changed this. Like I stated, there's really no reason these strips couldn't
have just been laid in place and screwed through without stapling them to the
top frame. Alternately, they could have attached them with screws at a
later date -- the same solution used in the original RH re-issue -- but as
you'll see, there's very little room for a *beep* and little margin for error in
the lip of the top frame that supports the board.

I'll probably look for a different way to re-assemble this board, even though
I could re-use the same strips. I'd like to get some better wood, that lines up
with the outer hardwood frame better, for a flush surface, especially on the
front of the game over the drawer. And most likely I will glue them to the bottom
of the board, as I see no reason to tighten it against the top frame. There's plenty
of pressure applied when the base sides are screwed into the top, to hold it all
together -- with the possible exception of the front over the drawer, which I
might give some thought to another solution. When I store the detective notes
in the drawer sometimes they stick on the lip of the underside of the frame
created by the thinner furring strips as I pull out the drawer.

In this picture, the wooden strips have been pried off and laid to the side of the
top board. I did discover some rust on these staples, so not the best of materials
used here.





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Matthew
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To answer your question, these are photos of two separate games from my extensive collection.
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Murder by Death
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And here's the top, with the game board lifted out.
What remains is the frame, and glass which is slightly smaller and
mounted in its own framing.




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