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The VinylPad. My hands-on review of Shelby/ACE's new product prototype. Pics at the end.

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zagryan

This is how Chess House sent me their two grey vinyl boards with 2.25" squares... in a cardboard box with foam peanuts via FedEx international.  The boards rolled out flat out of the box with minimal wrinkle. 

HHD3

Boxes or tubes make perfect sense, agree. In my post a few above you see my Shelby board  (w/butters on it) 20 mins after opening the floppy bag it came in, rolled up. No box, tube, or foam peanuts. Mine was fine., after shipping across the country. 

facecards

 

Hi everyone! I ordered a couple of these new Shelby boards and another set of V3 Ultimates and they arrived last week. One board is for me. The other board and the pieces are a Christmas gift for my grandson.

Here a couple photos of how they arrived. I should mention that the top photo of the box had a bunch of brown packing paper in it. I just took it out to get a good picture. My boards came in very sturdy cardboard tubes and the boards unrolled in perfect shape. I would like to note that Shelby was extremely pleasant on the phone when putting together my order.

The bottom photo I pulled out my V3 set and set it up to give an idea what everything looks like. I haven't had the chance to play an actual game on this board yet but have inspected it carefully and have spent some time with it doing exercises and puzzles out of a book from my home library. 

Overall, I really like it and don't regret my purchase. It has some "heft" and weight to it which I like, seems well made, and the pieces move nicely. I also think it is very nice looking. I find it more enjoyable to use this board than the green and white roll up boards I have. 

The only quibble is that I would agree with others here that I would prefer that the notation be lighter colored as it is a bit difficult to see. This however, (to me anyways) is a minor point. 

Overall, I'm glad I purchased these. If anyone is thinking of buying one I think you would find it a worthwhile addition to your collection.

 

 

 

 

 

TundraMike

@ShelbyLohrman     It seems odd that the manufacturer wants nothing to do with making anymore? Can we all know why? What a shame.

ShelbyLohrman
TundraMike wrote:

@ShelbyLohrman     It seems odd that the manufacturer wants nothing to do with making anymore? Can we all know why? What a shame.

TundraMike,

The reason why is is is a new tech for them and they got into it thinking there would be a VERY high demand for these kind of products.  They do a ton of products from chess boards to Yoga mats to mousepads to Yu-Gi-Oh tournament mats.   They thought it would be an amazing extension to the last 2.  With the full color printing and ease to clean...there were going to be a hit.

That is till they brought them to market.  With the dramatic increase in price people did not want to pay the extra $$.  They were also having trouble with color consistency.  They leased a $100K machine and did not have jobs to keep it busy and the customers that did use the tech did not think the higher cost was justified.

Do I love them?  Heck yes!  I think with the proper marketing of these boards and yes the correct shipping methods these would be a tremendous hit.  But one single customer like me cannot justify such a expensive machine. 

This really stinks because this machine was also going to be the one that made the new demos for me....arghhh!!!!

But if you do not innovate and adapt...you die.  We have a couple more products in the queue after this.  Should have the next one in February.  You'll have to wait and see...aside from a select few beta testers.

Hope everyone has a great holiday!

Shelby Lohrman

American Chess Equipment

TundraMike

Thx for the explanation, what a shame. 

Pawnerai

@ShelbyLohrman  So the company is returning the machine after the lease runs out? No time for one last purchase order of Ultimate Boards?

The only Ultimate Boards made will end up being the weathered grey, the RedWhiteBlue US Championship, and some random beta test boards? 

Chess players and collectors are fickle. Aside from an innovative material there has to be variety. As you've seen from this small forum sample group, you can have the most amazing new product, but if it's not available in the EXACT color and choice of notation or no-notation that someone wants, people still won't buy it.

I'm guessing your second round of Ultimate Boards would have been a more traditional color? Maple/Walnut, or Green/Buff with notations to appeal to your large organization and institutional customers. That's when the momentum would've really started to pick up steam. What a scky situation.

ShelbyLohrman

David,

I am at the mercy of my manufacturers.  If they decide to go a different way there is not much I can do about it.  But remember, this is only one supplier.  I can (and will) find this material in other places and get it done if these do sell as well as I think they will.  We just prefer to use these guys because they are only 20 miles away from the shop and we prefer to get product made here in the USA.

As for the collection of chess players..."fickle" is not the right descriptor.  Most chess layers have an idea on what they want and are exacting on when it comes to it.  If they see something good...they wait it better.  Just like their games...messing up on the 10th to 15th move is ok, but not what they are striving for.  They want a perfect game...just like their equipment.  I respect that and that is what I want to.  Are some of these things very "nit picky"?  Yup.  But without all the feedback (both good and bad) I will not be able to get out the right products to fit the needs of the industry.

Case in point....I have been collecting all the ideas on the VTEK300 chess clocks and feeding them back to Joe the manufacturer.  We are meeting with Joe today on Zoom and working out buying the rights to the clock off of him.  I will them take the clock over to our factories and find a way to make them cheaper and more available to the public.  We are thinking of doing 2-3 levels of the clock to make them available to EVERYONE.  

Hope everyone is having a GREAT Holiday season.

thanks

Shelby Lohrman

American Chess Equipment

Wood Expressions

Pawnerai

@ShelbyLohrman  Don't forget about my max'd out 2.4375" square, borderless custom print on a standard 20" mousepad experiment after the holiday crush is over. I really think it might have merit as a new product. No one offers this!

And good luck at the tournament next week!

ShelbyLohrman
Pawnerai wrote:

@ShelbyLohrman  Don't forget about my max'd out 2.4375" square, borderless custom print on a standard 20" mousepad experiment after the holiday crush is over. I really think it might have merit as a new product. No one offers this!

And good luck at the tournament next week!

David,

Do me a favor and send me a reminder on the first week of Jan.  I have been known to get small lapses in memory...lol!

Shelby