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Franklin Mint Reproduction
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Murder by Death
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Joined: 09 Oct 2009
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So I've jumped into the repair process of the RH Premiere edition and taken pictures as promised. They are taken with an original iPhone so I apologize for the clarity which tends to be somewhat blurry at close range objects (the new ones are so much better).

ONE INTERESTING DISCOVERY: The RH ads clearly state that this game has a Plexiglas® top. However, I'm, happy to inform you that the top is made out of tempered glass. So at least I do not have to worry about scratches. This also clears up the mystery of the differences between RH and Frontgate, which advertised tempered glass but still sold for $30 less than RH with no other differences than it had a white floor (plus the much nicer faux leather box). So a mystery still lingers which is how could Frontgate offer more for less than RH? I think the answer will come in the high profit margin as I dissect this rather cheaply constructed product.

Anyone with last season's game: is this just an error in the description, or could this have been a change for this season without changing the ad copy? Do you have glass or Plexi in your earlier edition? ALSO: this edition is copyright 2009 on the box and gameboard (the notepads are 2007). Is this different for anyone else?

The first picture is of the bottom of the board. Note the 8 screws that hold the entire box together. They essentially attach to the thin matching wood frame around the top of the box, with a rather limited attachment point. More on that later. Note the four pads on each corner. One of mine had been somehow scraped off inside the shipping box, which I reapplied.

click for larger image


Next I removed the screws and the bottom wooden frame. Note the exposed cross section of the wood reveals the box is nothing more than cheap pressboard with a thin exterior wood veneer. The most alarming aspect of this is that the screws slide straight through this portion and only attached on the thin wooden frame around the top. As a result there is very little to prevent the bottom of the box from moving and stripping out the extremely shallow connection the screws make with the top frame. Meaning over time as the game is moved about, it will become irreparably loose.

The bottom cover of the box is also pressboard which is cheaply glued on all four sides with a thin layer to loosely hold the board at the bottom of the box until assembled. The glue on two sides of my bottom panel had failed. If I pushed with a little more pressure, the bottom would pop completely out. Ultimately the entire game is meant to be held together by the two thin hardwood frames and the tenuous connection made by the tips of the 8 wood screws.



Next I removed the bottom casement of the game. This view of the inside of the bottom case clearly demonstrates the extent of the pressboard construction. It is everywhere. There is a pressboard insert which is hot-glued to the bottom panel. This has a spacer beneath it and above it to support the middle of the game and presumably create a tight fit once the hardwood frames are screwed together around it. Note the cutouts to accommodate the plastic legs which pierce the bottom of the rooms and are secured with hot glue blobs.



more to come ...


Last edited by Murder by Death on Sun Jan 24, 2010 10:07 pm; edited 5 times in total
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Murder by Death
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now for the top of the box. Again, a pressboard sheet with the room shapes cut out of it. As you can see in this picture, the rooms are held against the glass by this layer, which screws into the frame with 12 tiny screws. Note in this picture how all of the rooms are slightly misaligned and especially the sides of the rooms are slightly bowed in the middle. The overall look of the material is that of a milk carton, or chinese takeout containers. The hot-glue blobs can be seen dotting the bottoms of the rooms on the pegs of the room items which poke through.



Removing the screws and turning over the pressboard, you can see how the rooms are mounted. Each room has a set of tabs which fold over the pressboard cutouts (labeled with the room names). The card-stock playing surface then lays over that, and the glass overtop. The pressboard panel is screwed to the wood frame which compresses it all together. Unfortunately the rooms are not attached to anything so they are free to float about. The pressure exerted against the glass is not enough to keep them in place, especially if they receive a shock, as in shipping. This explains why my rooms were all slightly misaligned to the edges of the room borders.

Note: the kitchen and lounge are taped in place, with two different materials. One is a double-sided piece of gooey tape and the other appears to be a piece of a shipping label. Not sure exactly what these do for these particular rooms and why none of the others have them, nor why they are not the same kind of tape. But also note how the secret panel corners are splayed out and do not form tight 90 degree corners. This allows the corner rooms considerably more room to move about in the cutout, so the tape probably kept them from sliding unacceptably during shipping. My overall impression is: cheap.

You can also see my problem: the dining room table which has broken off during shipping and lays at an angle to one side.



Looking at the bottom of the dining room and the plastic table itself, one can see how this happened. As it turns out my dining room table was missing the tip off one of the legs. Several had broken off thanks to the table breaking loose on all but on leg, but all of the parts were contained inside the box, and all were recovered but this one tip. Also, the bottom of the leg had been painted gold, so it never had the tip. As a result, and which can bee seen on the bottom, that leg was never hot glued and no attempt was made to secure it. With the shock of shipping it, another leg broke out of its poorly secured hot-glue attachment, and from there the whole table was dislodged, breaking 2 legs off and the tips in the process. No quality control in the assembly of this game at all!



More on the construction of the rooms. There is no effort to assemble the rooms tightly. Many of the floors which glue down onto folded tabs are not centered and the tabs are not folder along the lines leaving gaps between the wall and the floor. But the biggest problem are the corners. No effort is made to make the a tight 90 degrees. Highlighted notably is the Library which fits tightly into its cutout in the pressboard, though is still subject to skewing since the tabs are not tightly connected. Compare it to the corners of the conservatory which splay out creating an odd-shaped room prone to movement.

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Murder by Death
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Summary.

These things are made as cheaply as possible. The most expensive components are the top and bottom hardwood frames and the tempered glass top. After that, the cheap components are thrown together without any care. Hastily assembled, the rooms are slapped into place, but not secured. Hot glue and screws, and adhesive tape from whatever seems to be handy, make tentative attachments at best. At $159, considering the rest of the plastic equipment, and blurry plying cards, this thing is far from being a "Premiere" anything, except a premiere disaster. At $79.49, Restoration Hardware is still making a huge profit on the game. I would venture to guess about 75% profit over materials and workmanship. In fact, shipping probably cost more from China than even the parts and labor used to make it.

Add to that the fact the playing surface itself has one big misprint by placement of the Clue centerpiece too close to the ballroom, there is very little here to recommend a premium price tag.

All things considered, I would have almost preferred an assemble-yourself version for a much bigger discount to allow me to take the care necessary to make this game worthy of the price-tag.

Obviously I am going to repair the dining table and reattach it. Then I am going to reshape the rooms and affix them to the pressboard so they maintain the proper shapes and cannot shift around beneath the glass. Not sure if I am going to try to move the Clue center-peice down a row of tiles. I think the scars of such surgery will show no matter what I do, unless I can find a way to replace the floor tiles completely. Painting the miniatures to be more realistic representations of the items is definitely a project, but one which I think will ultimately make me happier. I am also looking for a miniature sarcophagus to replace the couch/chair in the lounge with. And there is more than enough room inside the casement to store the equipment, but that will require major surgery and a good plan so that it does not look bad.


Last edited by Murder by Death on Sat Jan 23, 2010 6:46 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Quadsworth
Slueth


Joined: 25 Jan 2009
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great write-up, I appreciate that you took the initiative to do this.
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Murder by Death
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quadsworth wrote:
Great write-up, I appreciate that you took the initiative to do this.

Thanks Quadsworth. It wasn't really initiative as much as I had to take the thing apart to repair the dining room table and it wasn't much more effort to take pictures while I was at it.

Based on Michael's account, I wasn't about to start shipping the game back and forth to RH until I got a perfect one. Now that I know how cheaply it is constructed I see that would have been futile. I'll take a picture of the accessory box later since it was somehow damage in shipping as well.
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Quadsworth
Slueth


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wonder if you could get them to send you spare parts.
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Murder by Death
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting idea. No harm in asking I suppose. My thought is I may be able to get the accessory box swapped out no problem. I'm less hopeful for getting the dining room table by itself. My guess is RH would just want to ship me a new game to get rid of their inventory. I mean Michael had two games with problems from the first production run, as did others, and mine had a problem from the second. That does not bode well for receiving another one without problems. It also suggests that RH is prepared for a fair percentage of damaged units. My question is what do they do with them?

Do they have a little workshop somewhere that repairs damaged games? Do they ship them back to the manufacturer in China? Or, do they just throw them into the landfill and take the write off? My guess is the latter. These games are so cheaply made, they would eat up any profit by attempting to repair them in the US, much less repackaging them for sale. I have never seen a product which depreciates so much once the box is opened as these games. Likewise with shipping to China and back ... more than the cost of the game. If I am wrong and some attempt is made to "refurbish" damaged games in the US, then they may indeed have a box of dining room tables in a workshop somewhere from which they can ship me one.
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Murder by Death
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 12:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I suppose I could have seen this coming. They will happily replace the game, but cannot offer even a replacement box of equipment, much less an individual part. So at this point I suppose If they pay for everything, it is worth them sending another game, if for no other reason than to swap out the accessories box. Who knows, perhaps I will get lucky. Alternatively they have offered a discount on the damaged game I already have. Not sure which is the better option.

2/7/10 Update: RH wanted me to send the damaged game back before they shipped the replacement. To my mind, it seemed like the replacement would most likely have a problem as well, so I declined and accepted a generous 30% discount on the damaged game. Repair updates to come ...
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Murder by Death
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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Per my earlier post, I am planning on custom painting all the cheaply painted brownish/gold-looking pieces. But while I'm in there, I decided I really wanted that sarcophagus from the FM edition. So I found this miniature online, it is the perfect size to scale to the same fit as the FM game.

I'll probably need to make a new set of room cards for the game. Thinking about taking pictures of the painted items in a similar fashion as the gold plated ones on the cards, then printing them out and pasting them to the cards. Since I'm planning on using the 50th Anniversary tokens too, I'll probably have to make new weapons cards as well.

Should be a fun Summer project.

http://armorcast.com/store/product_info.php?cPath=121_41&products_id=113

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Murder by Death
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow! This turned out to be a better investment than I thought! They're selling for over $250 on eBay! And I only paid $58 for mine after discount.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=110582050289&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT#ht_2452wt_920
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Murder by Death
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

New Custom Brass Tokens for Restoration Hardware Edition (or any edition for that matter).

Not sure I like how tall they are, but they are nicely done, and do solve the problem of the normal pawn's color visibility with the thin strip around the base.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=190459968580

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TheWhitePawn
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, those look beautiful on the board. Too bad this guy has a reserve price. I hate people who do that.
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Murder by Death
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2011 2:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is this a new Franklin Mint Reproduction for 2011? Notice the peg legs, rounded corners, and it appears to include the LGE pawns and tokens - looks like Winning Solutions finally learned their lesson about cheaply painted playing tokens (now if they would just fix the board layout). Overall I definitely like this edition better. The legs are a nice touch, and make the game seem much more elegant.

http://www.winningsolution.com/product-for-sale/clue-luxury-edition/


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Michael
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2011 6:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I definitely like the legs, but the whole board looks somehow much smaller.
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CluedoKid
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2011 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the tokens are a lot larger than Franklin Mint and Premiere edition. Perhaps they are making the board look smaller.
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TheWhitePawn
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2011 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, they are definitely not LGE tokens, considering their heights. But the board is very beautiful.
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Murder by Death
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TheWhitePawn wrote:
Well, they are definitely not LGE tokens, considering their heights. But the board is very beautiful.

I was referring to the style of the pawns more than anything else. But yes you are right, the LGE were taller. Also these pawns have pewter bases, not brass. Which is odd because everything else about this game is golden hewn. Though they are the same pawns from their new 1949 Bookshelf game, which perfectly match the silver-tone of the weapons.

The weapons appear to be LGE, however, I just noticed the candlestick has a hole in it, which the LGE did not have. This means they are using 1949 re-issue molds, but with the LGE gold-tone finish.

Also I noticed their is no rope depicted. I wonder if they are going to use the plastic rope, as Frontgate did/does, or if they will go with the LGE metal version? Perhaps this is one of the customer options as we have seen.

Eliminating the paint on the pawns and tokens is certainly a step in the right direction, but I wish they would go with at least a gold plastic finish rather than spray paint. I mean this kind of finish is common on cheap Christmas balls, so why not on this "deluxe" game?



One other thought I had about this game. As long as they are going to re-issue it, why not a new floor treatment? I'd like to see a warm mahogany-colored wood-tile floor, like that used in the movie.

As for the size, when I put my LGE token on my Premier edition, it has the same ratio as the picture. We forget how big that candlestick is!
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Murder by Death
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PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2017 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So here's a question --

Has anybody thought about just removing the glass and playing this game 3-Dimensionally -- that is: placing the pawns and weapons inside the room well, rather than floating on top?

The Wining Solutions FM reproductions use a thicker coated cardboard than the rather thin paperstock of the actual FM editions. It wouldn't really be any worse for the surface than an actual gamboard. The only hazard would be if a weapon slid under the dining room table, or piano, etc.

Maybe it's time Clue/do added a pair of weapons tweezers, like the game of Operation, to more eloquently pick up and move the weapons, anyway, which would solve the problem.
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CluedoKid
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PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2017 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think they should make a giant doll-house Cluedo with suspect pieces the size of Barbie dolls, and the weapons fitting into their hands.
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alwaysPeacock
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This doesn't seem to warrant it's own thread, but since there's been a surge in talk here about the FM edition & its imitators, I figured I'd add this here.

WS Game Company (which seems to be a luxury branch of Winning Solutions) has a special product line specifically named after the Franklin Mint. At present, their catalogue only lists official Franklin Mint editions of Monopoly and Scrabble here, but elsewhere, under their Deluxe Wood Games collection, they still offer their cheaper ($249, compared to $499 for the FM games) Clue game.

I've never bothered to really research the Franklin Mint. Are they no longer in business, and WS Games has bought their luxury games designs? Or has WS only been given permission to reproduce the high quality Monopoly & Scrabble? If the latter, why not Clue, too? They can't really be turning enough of a profit on such niche products to be content just selling the cheaper version, can they? If, for example, only a few thousand people are in the market for a luxury Clue game, why not make nearly twice as much off each of those customers?

On closer examination, the product descriptions for the FM Monopoly & Scrabble both mention being licensed from Hasbro and the Franklin Mint. The description for their Clue game doesn't mention the FM at all, despite being very heavily (overwhelmingly) nothing more than a FM imitator with some changes.
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