Second vs. First Edition piecepacks

I own a first edition piecepack from Mesomorph Games.  My game group
owns a second edition, currently on loan to one of our other players
(hi, Kisa!).  I have seen and handled both extensively, so I feel I
have some basis for a comparison of the first and second editions.
However, remember that Mesomorph piecepacks are handmade in small
production runs, so your mileage may vary.

There seems to be a common misconception that the only difference
between the first and second editions of the piecepack is the
rulebook, which has more games in the second edition.  This is not the
case.  Here are the main differences:

1. The art.  Because of copyright issues with the artist for the
   piecepack icons in the first edition, Mesomorph decided to play it
   safe and design their own art for the second edition.  To my mind,
   this is a happy change.  The old art, which came from rubber
   stamps, was old-fashioned and syrupy (a smiling, cherubic Sun on
   the Ace, that sort of thing).  The new art is much cleaner, more
   abstract, and ultimately more attractive IMHO.  It also seems to be
   silkscreened on rather than rubber-stamped on, making for a more
   professional appearance.  If you have a second edition rulebook but
   no other second edition components, you can see what the icons look
   like on the cover of the book.

2. The texture.  The first edition was somewhat over-varnished,
   leading to a sticky, "goopy" texture, especially on the tiles, but
   also on the coins.  The new set has just the right amount of
   varnish, and a smooth, sanded feel that is very pleasant.

3. Colour-bleeding.  This is crucial.  In my first-edition set, the
   over-varnishing and rubber-stamping led to some bleeding of the
   suit colours from the suit side of the coins to the number side,
   making it apparent what suit a coin was even when the number side
   was face-up.  The effect is subtle in most cases, but if you were
   playing piecepack games for money, you wouldn't want to use my
   first-edition set; it would be like playing with marked cards.
   Fortunately, this effect is completely absent in my group's
   second-edition set.
4. The box.  The first-edition box is a plastic box evidently designed
   to hold baseball cards.  It is hard and has sharp edges, but is
   very compact.  Some people complained that it is too small to
   contain all the pieces.  With some practice, I can actually fit all
   my piecepack components into it.  Mesomorph promised the
   second-edition box would be easier to fit the components into, but
   I actually have a harder time with it; maybe it's just lack of
   practice.  In any case, the new box is wider, taller, and flatter,
   and is generally more attractive, with coloured labels on both
   front and back.  It is made of cardboard, so you will not bark your
   hands on this box, as you might have with the first edition.

Overall, the second edition is a big improvement, IMHO.  Even if you
have a first-edition set, if you have some holiday money burning a
hole in your pocket, you might want to order a second edition.  I know
I intend to order one for myself as soon as I get my financial act
together.  But don't feel you got a bad bargain if you have a first
edition.  You can use a first edition with a second edition without
confusing the pieces, and the first edition may be worth a nice sum
down the road; can you imagine owning a copy of the first deck of

Disclaimer: Although I feel I have gotten to know the folks at
Mesomorph games somewhat through extensive email correspondence, this
is an independent, unpaid evaluation.

Ron H-E

         Ron Hale-Evans ... rwhe@... & rwhe@...
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