Dungeons & Dragons maker Wizards of the Coast will not ship The Deck of Many Things on its original date as the company rushes to inspect reported manufacturing defects marring the physical product.
The tabletop publisher issued a rare apology on October 27th, saying that The Deck of Many Things’ physical version, which cost $99, will not arrive in retail or to those that pre-ordered it by November 14th. While the digital release of The Book of Many Things will move forward as planned, Wizards of the Coast is now planning to fulfil orders with corrected copies by the end of 2023.
After an internal review we found the product didn’t meet our manufacturing standards. Unfortunately, making this right will delay the release of the physical product, both directly from Wizards as well as our retail partners,” reads a post on the D&D Beyond forums. “We are sorry to those of you who have put in your preorders already or planned on picking up your copy on November 14. We believe that delaying the release of this product will ensure it is delivered to you in the way our team envisioned it.”
Speaking to Polygon, WotC executive producer Kyle Brink said that the company has begun investigating the manufacturing defects and “cannot in good conscience ship this stock.” Brink said the exact number of affected copies is currently unknown but that the defect rate is too high for the company to do anything but fully manufacture and ship replacements.
The Deck of Many Things contains both a physical copy of a deck of tarot cards first introduced to D&D in the 1970s, which has since become a fan-favourite artefact for its unpredictability and powerful, wacky effects when players pull a card. The accompanying book tells the story of how this diegetic deck was created, explains some of the lore and mythology around figures depicted on the cards and provides Dungeon Masters tools for integrating the artefact into their own campaigns.
Brink told Polygon that while the investigation is still underway, one possible explanation for the defective printing might be Wizards of the Coast’s recent switch away from wrapping cards and other components in a biodegradable plastic wrapping known as “cello wrap”. WotC’s two contracted printing companies, one in the US and one in China, both stopped using cello wrap in accordance with Hasbro’s 2022 Climate Action Plan.
Images of the damage to the cards can be seen in photos taken of the copy Polygon received for review, which include both scuffed and bent edges, significant warping in both directions, centring issue with the printing and other packaging materials that reportedly damaged the cards when removed. WotC did not provide a specific release date for the fixed copies, but early access to the digital edition opens to those that pre-ordered on October 31st.