Boxed Culture: What’s in the Box, Literally…


What’s in the Box, Literally…

As we buy games, we start to notice things about them. The production value of the components from certain companies. The art that is used to portray theme and setting. Sometimes we even start to notice weird things. The thing I noticed lately is how some companies utilize the boxes for their games. I usually end up buying a new game or two a month now a days (read this as I have slowed down a lot), and today I wanna talk about the amount of space inside of a box once you open up a game.

The Good: Gloomhaven

There is gonna be another article on this game coming soon but in short, this box is packed to the literal brim with stuff. Game tiles, character boxes, cards, tokens, minis, rule books, etc. Everything but the kitchen sink (or the dice since the game has none). The box is big because of it but I seriously think the designers did a great job of fitting things inside this box there is no space left over once the game is all packed up.

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This is the box with all the tokens and tiles removed.

This game box is a great example of the company trying to get the most bang outta their buck as far as storage. Not a single space is wasted inside this box. You definitely feel like you are getting your money’s worth. Organizing it was the best 2-3 hours of my life (10/10 would do it again). Even the community love organizing this game using the standard box!

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Plano and vacuum formed trays, Wowie, Batman!

The Bad: FFG

Not all games can have as little extra space as Gloomhaven, though. One great example of a mediocre box usage is from Fantasy Flight Games. Most of their expansions for their games have an “insert”, and that is a very generous use of the term.

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You can see that the insert in this Eldritch Horror Big Box Expansion is basically just folded cardboard. Once removed the games typically have a ton of extra space. and if used to store the game things shift and move around if you carry them. This doesn’t bode well for the contents that are not in baggies (game tiles, minis, etc). Recently, they did an expansion for Arkham Horror LCG that had an obscene amount of space left over.

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More than half the freaking box is empty!!

Albeit this box is supposed to fit more than just this expansion it is kinda of silly of FFG to assume any person buying this game for a while will use this. I have everything up to the current stuff and this box would never store all of it sleeved.

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This isn’t my box but it is very similar but with the third row filled out.

This weird box behavior is par for the course for FFG they do it will ALLL of their games. It is pretty obvious FFG wants you to remove the insert but it is not clear why they still need to make their boxes so big. Despite this, most of the time you can consolidate all the expansions into just one of the expansions boxes. Which is nice on their part as long as you don’t mind throwing out empty boxes…

The Weird: Flying Frog Games

Both of the previous examples have gone in a similar direction (albeit one opted for a strange folded cardboard road block) as both of them allow you to have an empty box to store stuff. The weird here are games that take the time to design an amazing insert but fail to think of how to fit any expansions that may happen. I love Flying Frog Games to death but their older games are a great example of this. They fit everything from the base game PERFECTLY, but the first expansion throws a kink in the whole thing.

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There are similar to FFG because there is something in the game box other than the game but these inserts are majestic they have a spot for everything (but any expansions). It is the weird because it is kinda confusing. I get that no one can plan for everything, but a little forethought never hurt anybody. I will say though that most of these games nowadays will release their expansions with either base set storage like Splendor or re-release of Flying Frog Games.

And The Rub

In the end, it doesn’t really matter to most people how much space is wasted in a box, but for an over-organizer like me, it does matter. I don’t keep boxes for posterity as it would mean I would be overrun with empty boxes. I frequently and often look for better ways to organize games, so I consider this all the time. Do you think about this stuff or is it just me? What boxes have been the best and worst for you? Let us know in the comments, and I’ll see you next time!

-Kyle

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