Sunday, February 2, 2014

False Start

So, I previously owned the 3rd edition of Ars Magica. I never played or GMed it, though. It was during my days with my "D&D or Death" group. I loved most of the ideas of the game. I honestly don't remember the system overly. I remember the covenants, troupe-style play, and of course, the magic system. Mythic Europe struck me as one of the coolest "settings" ever devised, and I still hold that opinion. From time to time I still google the game and look at various reviews and forum posts.

Recently I finally decided to go ahead and order a copy. It was one week ago today, in point of fact. The game is in its 5th edition, which based on all my research, is the best. Fans of Ars Magica don't indulge in edition wars, though. They almost universally like every edition of the game, although they acknowledge the 5th edition as the "best".

So, I bounced over to Amazon, searched for "Ars Magica 5th Edition" and came up with this:

I selected a Used Paperback (Like New condition), and waited. The projected delivery date was this past Thursday, which surprised me. I didn't select any sort of expedited shipping. Well, it didn't arrive on Thursday. I was tracking it online and knew it had found its way to Atlanta. I also knew Atlanta was locked in the grip of a rare southern snow storm, so I expected a delay. It arrived Saturday (yesterday).

When I opened the box, I saw this:

I was not amused. As I said earlier, fans of the system have plenty of good things to say about all the editions, but I want the latest, and generally considered best, edition available. Besides which, I have the free pdf of 4th edition which Atlas Games makes freely available on their website.

After some clicking and "research" into the Amazon page, I discovered that ALL of the paperback copies are 4th edition. That is not made overly clear, considering you get to them from the 5th edition page. On top of that, while far from identical, the cover bear the same "celtic snake" centerpiece. Well, to be honest, I think my own haste played more a part than a very modest similarity in cover art. My main point of confusion, though, was that I did not anticipate the 5th edition product page to take me to 4th edition buying options.

Anyway, I notified Amazon. I chatted with a representative about the problem last night. In the end, I was issued an RMA and return shipping label. I was told that the procedure is that I return the unwanted product and that upon receipt they will credit my debit card for the purchase plus shipping. It should take about three weeks total for the credit to be applied.

BUT . . . my representative went ahead and issued the credit request, rather than have me wait until they received the 4th edition copy. That was excellent customer service. I was very pleased. I've not had any problems with Amazon before this, so I had no experience with their customer service. I've not had any qualms about using Amazon, but this experience make me even more comfortable.

As soon as I finished with customer service, I went back to the product page and promptly ordered a hard cover copy of 5th edition. Guess what? It is due to arrive Thursday.