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Duke Bushido

This thing looks too good

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Seriously.  I've found a couple of forged "new od stock" things over the years, but there is usually a really obvious give away. 

 

In this case, if it is a fake, they have gone far enough to use actual celo versus shrink wrap, which was impressive. 

 

The cover looks wrong: it's lacking a gloss, and the stock is thick. 

 

The stipling on the inside is pristine, without blur or overlap.  The ink on the cover art is "too crisp." Most damning is that it's in two pieces of readily-available size.  

 

Still, nothing is glaringly obvious (like my fake 2e box set that was printed with _toner_!  And the cellophane was dam Ed convincing. 

 

Can anyone shed any light on this? 

 

 

 

There is a part 2 as well; my camera crew got too exited and cut off the filming mid-way through.  :lol:

The

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I have been studying this thing well beyond the time I should have been in bed, and have come to a conclusion:

 

I believe it is a counterfeit.  Fortunately, it was a damned cheap one, so no real harm.   The evidence against authenticity:

 

The refraction isn't right.   There is a thing in the printing industry referred to as "coated paper."  in modern printing, the coatings have advanced and the inks have advanced to the point where we actually print on top of pre-coated paper.  This is where you get that weird "the black is too shiny" and "some black floats on top of other black" look when you shine certain colors of light at angles to the item.  Not only that, but coated stock was gloss-only back then.  Today it's a satin or a matte by default, with gloss still being done primarily the old "on top of the ink" method that takes a real print shop, and a damned well-supplied one to boot.  In short, this whole thing, the colors are shinier (because they are ink!) than the stock, and in the old school, that just wasn't done.  Mostly because it wasn't possible.

 

The old stuff (specifically, the covers of the 1e and 2e rules books (I have _lots_ of those to examine!  :lol:  ), the covers of the 3e books, and the 3e screen) not only do not possess this quality, but are clearly coated _over_ the final printed image.  So...  this one item exists using a methodology that was not used on anything before or after it was allegedly printed.

 

The ink is just too crisp!  I don't mean the color per se (though they are _vivid_, I assure you, suggesting bleeds weren't set too carefully.  And why would they be?  The pasteboard is _thick_!)  This is a two-fold problem.  First, it's more crisp and clear than anything else I have as old as this allegedly is, and that includes a couple of books I _know_ were real new-in-sealed-package when I opened them.  Ink _moves_.  Well, sort of.  It drinks in; it blurs, it ages, dries, and fades unevenly when examined very, very closely.  This specimen looks like it is fresh off the printer in every way, including the complete lack of smudging or blurring of the colors.  The second problem is that this board is thick enough to have made the _box_ out of; no other GM screen (Champions or otherwise) I have ever seen (as a cheap printed product) is this thick.  You could take two layers of your regular off-the-Wal-Mart shelf card stock, glue them together, and still not be quite this thick.

 

Also seriously damning is that the screen is in two pieces.  Inexpensive "professional office" printers are readily available that will handle tabloid-sized sheets  (this is the size that was used to print the old staple-bound rules books on up through third edition).  You could do this inexpensively if you were just wanting to have a laugh  (the price at which it was sold suggests the attempt was not profit-driven).  This is the _only_ GM screen I have ever seen from _any_ game that was four-panels and in two pieces.  Why?  Well you need a pretty substantial investment to print something of those dimensions.

 

Two minor quibbles before tackling the interior:

 

The font in which "2nd EDITION" is written appears nowhere else on _any_ HERO product from 1e through 3e  (I know: I spent the chunk of my time since the last post looking at every single one of the physical products from all three of the first editions).  Not only that, but the other examples of the 2e blurb all feature the same blurb (even in shape, and this one varies slightly) that reads "REVISED SECOND EDITION"  not "2nd EDITION".

 

What are the odds that this screen would still be product # HER005?  Seriously.  The revised core rules got a new number (HER001B; the "B" is new-- not sure if it was for "boxed" or to show revision.  I assume "Boxed" since the revised Enemies retained it's designation of "HER002" in spite of being revised.  However, everything else published during the second edition got catalogue numbers that were sequential and _subsequent_ to 1e.  Why would this screen retain the same designation?  Worse still, the font of that catalogue number is identical to the 1e screen.  This is the only instance of a 2e product (alleged, I should say) not getting a bolder, larger typeface for the back-cover catalogue number.

 

Now the inside:

 

It's too damned crisp; too damned clean, and there is _no_ misalignment between chart borders and colored shaded area, which would be next to miraculous in the days of two-stage printing (which something like the inside would have been done with).  The typeface is too delicate and far too clean.

 

There is little doubt in my mind that this screen is a counterfeit.   It's a beautifully done counterfeit, and ultimately, that's what's wrong with it.   :lol:   

 

I even went so far as to examine the cellophane.  It _is_ cellophane: it's hard and thin and crunchy, but it's not yellowed (the cellulose caused yellowing with age), and it will deform just the tiniest bit-- "stretch," if you will-- before yielding those aggravating, run in every direction except straight tears us old folks remember.  So evidently it's pretty new cellophane, and possibly there has been a formula change to make it a bit more durable than it used to be.

 

 

At any rate, I heartily believe it to be a fake, but truthfully, the only reason I am bothered at all by this is because now I am back to wondering if there ever was a 2e GM screen.  I had concluded that there likely was not, else there would be some trace of it somewhere on the internet.  Then this thing showed up, and has started me to wondering all over again.

 

 

 

The bonus?  I get to do the ol' Contac Paper thing and make me a nice 2e GM screen.   :D

 

 

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Hi Duke,

 

I very well may have owned this once, but that was long ago and my memory just isn't THAT good.  Having said that, take a look at https://www.rpggeek.com/rpgitem/67115/gamemasters-screen-champions-2nd-edition - it has a picture of the "cover" of the screen showing the same "2nd Edition" splash and the "HER005" stock number.  It also references that it was made up of two 2-panel sections.  I also have a couple other info sources: one is an old web page from the Wayback Machine (https://web.archive.org/web/20120413095739/http://www.sysabend.org/champions/HERO_System_Products_List.html) where if you scroll down a ways to the section for the original Hero Games stuff, it lists both 1st & 2nd edition versions of the GM screen as stock # 005.  The entry for the 2nd edition screen does mention "Revised Edition" rather than "2nd Edition" which both yours and the image at the link above show, but that may very well be a mistake.  The other info source isn't something I can give a link for, but there's a capsule review of the product in issue #51 of Space Gamer magazine (written by Aaron Allston) that mentions that the screen is 'two 17" x 11" screens folded in half'.  (For the curious, Aaron's conclusion of this 4-paragraph review is "GMs who really want a good-looking cardstock screen should pick this up; misers (like me) will improvise.")

 

That certainly doesn't address any of your observations about the print job, but it DOES seem like the form factor and details are right, at least.  If it is a knockoff, then it at least seems to be a well-made one...?

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Thanks so much for the information!

 

And yes; I have no doubt that this is a knock off.  Stylistically, it's a eel-done knock off: details are right, etc (well, most of them).  Whoever did it did not pay enough attention to the materials themselves, though.   Like all the detective stories that involve stealing the end papers from very old books to ensure period-accurate materials for preparing forgeries?   

 

At any rate, thank you for the info.  The two-piece info tells me it's more accurate than I thought.

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I have those same game shields, which I got from Hero Games so long ago. I have my doubts it is fake. I carefully watched your video for lighting on it, the font, etc. If it is a fake, it's so exacting it's fooled me.

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5 hours ago, Tech said:

I have those same game shields, which I got from Hero Games so long ago. I have my doubts it is fake. I carefully watched your video for lighting on it, the font, etc. If it is a fake, it's so exacting it's fooled me.

 

 

I'll be honest, Tech: it fooled me, too.  I had to compare it-- rather closely-- with my 1e screen (also two piece; that had just slipped my mind until I snagged it).  That wasn't easy, as my 1e screens was bought (ab)used.  I really had to look at the details-- I even had to call in some help.  The woman I _thought_ I was going to marry before I met my wife is an actual honest-to-goodness printer and layout artist and graphic designer-- not the modern kind of "graphic designer" (which seems to mean little more than "I understand color and I sort of understand that there is some kind of difference between rasterization and vector.....?" ), but an genuine learned-her-trade-from-the-press-up graphic designer.   She gave me a few things to look for that I hadn't thought of myself-- key among them being the printing _under_ the gloss coat or _on_ the gloss coat, and the shades of black.  That is, can you see the black trunks as different from the black inside the cape?  That's a key as to how the image was generated and layered.  The color is _identical_, and that black was not applied twice (or more) by the printer, but was likely applied in a different _direction_, as the print head would read that layer as being best-built in "x" direction while the other was best built in "N" direction.  That, and gloss-over-color would have made that effect difficult to achieve no matter what, as the gloss would interfere with the reflection.

 

But the art itself-- while "identical"-- was "finer" on the 2e screen.  The lines were both thinner _and_ cleaner.  Again, it's entirely possible that the original was reworked, cleaned, rei-inked and re-colored, but in the period we are talking about, that would have been a big-budget job.  Why spend that money and not actually just get better art?  (Don't get me wrong!  I _love_ Williams' stuff, but that wasn't really a great example, even at that time.).

 

There were some other things-- and as I _think_ I mentioned  (and may not have; when I get really into wanting to tell something, I have massive omissions-- words, ideas, etc), I very much could be wrong.  They may have actually spent the money for what was at that time "the new way" to do that sort of printing.  But it wasn't in every printshop back then, either, and frankly, I don't think Hero Games had many more resources then than they do now.  :lol:   That's why I'd like to find a second sample somewhere: for a solid comparison.

 

Seems weird they'd go back to the "old style" for the 3e screen. (thought it _is_ known to be more durable; it's just more expensive to make)

 

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That's the _weird_ thing:

 

They really _aren't_.

 

_Unless_ you have a "new in shrink-wrap, never opened" item _and_ it's being sold through some kind of specialty clearinghouse.  I have mentioned before that I never pay over twenty bucks for a 2e boxed set (book and box is good enough; map preferred; all else is not important: I have enough of them!  :lol: ), and I rarely pay more than 10 bucks for a 2e book: it has to be in _exceptional_ condition for that!

 

In fact, about three years ago, I saw on an auction site a slew of RPG material going for very little, including both a still-sealed 2e boxed set and a D&D boxed set (the really old blue/grey ink on white jobbie from our youths).  They were going for, I think, about forty bucks each.  Not ridiculous, but again-- I have _plenty_ of 2e books, and I passed.

 

And while it's not common, it's not strange, either, to find a sealed old game for what is a more-or-less _reasonable_ price (you know: for a "mint in box" game that no one plays anymore).

 

When I was actively _looking_ for one, the only one I found was through a well-known retailer for RPG material, and the price was _outrageous_!  I think I payed about eighty bucks for it.  Not because "I must have this!", but because my kids were really getting interested in the game, really wanted to know what it was like to get a new "set of Champions," and really wanted to see those little dice whose loss I lament from time to time.  :lol:

 

So I thought "this _one_ time," etc.

 

After realizing it was a counterfeit, I searched around looking for other "sealed in box" stuff, because I wondered the same thing you did:  are these things bringing in big bucks?!

 

What I found was what I related: not really.  Unless they are being sold through a "name brand" retailer.

 

What I suspect is that there are like.... maybe two?  Four guys?  who fake a few things now and again, sell them off quickly, and use this to make a few dollars now and again.  I don't think it's an actual cottage industry or anything-- there just isn't enough market!

 

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