Box size

Hi all, 

I have been thinking about box size recently and wanted to know what you all thought?

I often find with games that you end up with a large amount of empty space in the box (even if you keep the insert, and inserts themselves are often not too efficient) and wondered if you found this useful: easy packing, space for theoretical expansions etc. Or if you would rather games tend to pack down smaller?

There is also potentially the idea that you make the size of the box match the 'weight/size' of a game. I.e. if a game is complex giving it a bigger box even of the components don't warrant it to give players an idea of what they might be about to buy/play? Do you think that is useful or is it more a marketing ploy: big box therefore you will pay more for it?

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Supporter6 months ago

Interesting question. I can certainly see the marketing side of it where buyers could equate "big box = more complicated/good/valuable" game. On the flipside, a big box could also scare off potential buyers who aren't looking for something so involved. This is closer to how I typically react to big box games, because I usually prefer games that play within 2 hours and something that doesn't have so many pieces/require long setups.

When it comes to the efficiency of the inside of the box, I lean closer to wanting something compact and efficient. This is mostly because I have limited storage space. I did start realizing why so many people want a bigger box for expansions though, when I first got #Tuscany: Essential Edition. Granted, Viticulture (and Stonemaier Games in general) does a good job in anticipating storage space for expansions. I feel like it's really tough for a publisher to make the call because so many variables go into it. In the case of something like #Root (my favorite game), I'd actually like having all of the expansions in their own boxes: (1) because I want to keep the boxes and the art and (2) because I wouldn't want one giant box to store all of the expansions. But if an expansion is more of an add-on and less of a standalone game, then I'd definitely prefer have one box to store them all.

Supporter6 months ago

@jameystegmaier Did have the opportunity to redesign the #Viticulture: Essential Edition box because it was a later edition also knowing they had a hit expansion which likely made it easier to fit it in. Although, to be fair, I'm not sure if that thought was also put into the original. 

6 months ago

At the time of the original Viticulture box design, I had no idea what would happen next with the game. This was back in 2012. It's true that when we updated the game a few years later, I also knew what would go into Tuscany Essential. That said, I actually think the core Viticulture box and insert work pretty well, especially considering how deep of a box it is. I could have otherwise revised it for any of the dozen reprintings.

Starting with Charterstone, we started targeting more "standard" box dimensions (296x296mm, varying in depth but often 70mm), as that seems to be what customers want.

Supporter6 months ago

When games follow the "standard" it does make it easy to have a slot for the game on my shelf. Although when I'm bringing games to a friends house it's nice to have it as compact as possible.

I think I'd take a nice shelf presence over carrying convenience though.

6 months ago

It is nice to have a 'neat' shelf of games where box size matches. Although I think I probably sit in the other side in terms of personal preference

Supporter6 months ago

My shelf is a hodgepodge of all different sizes. It’s actually kind of annoying. 

6 months ago

Yeah, I do know what you mean, it is super nice when they line up

Supporter6 months ago

It doesn’t help that my shelf is really deep as well, so I actually have 2 rows of games on the same shelf. 

6 months ago

Ha, clearly the solution is to just keep buying games until you have enough of each box size for them to stack neatly

6 months ago

Yeah, it absolutely goes both ways, the smaller the box the 'smaller' and potentially more accessible the game. Although obviously this isn't always the case. Is there a game where you feel you have been misled by a box/cover and therefore disappointed by the game?

Supporter6 months ago

i hear you about the expansion boxes. Some seem like a waste to just throw away or replace even if they don't hold the contents of the expansion anymore. 

Supporter6 months ago

Huh, I’m the exact opposite for Root. I want all of it in one box. 

Supporter6 months ago

I might feel differently about it when I do get an expansion haha. @sdirrane's storage solution looked like a great option.

Supporter6 months ago

Yes, that did look really cool. Except I’m all out of cardstock here at home. 

6 months ago

One challenge that I perceive is the gap between how to ship a game and how to store it.  For example, punch-out token boards take up more space than their tokens will, and tend to sit on top of the included organizer.

One idea I had was to ship a box with a cardboard (not plastic) insert that holds the contents properly for shipping but can be converted into an adequate storage solution.  Maybe something as simple as turning it upside down where it has proper trays, or folding it along some perforated lines to reshape it.  Maybe even simply include a flattened cardboard insert in the bottom of the box, which then gets folded into a set of trays.  This would allow the box to be sized as efficient as possible but still have plenty of space for storage once unpacked.

As for expansions, one idea I had was to release expansions with an oversized box that's specifically designed to store the expansion plus all previous content.  Each subsequent expansion could come with a slightly larger box, enabling gamers to toss the previous box and move into the new one.

6 months ago

There was an interesting musing and discussion on this topic by Jamey Stegmaier a couple years ago: https://stonemaiergames.com/one-box-to-rule-them-all/

Apparently that lead to the release of the Scythe Legendary Box.  I found that was an interesting solution.  While the Legendary Box wasn't for me, there are clearly people who appreciate it.  I thought that the size of the original Scythe box was quite appropriate and fit everything nicely for shipping and storage, without adding too much air.  It's also pretty dense, weighing a lot for its size.  I (just barely) fit the first 2 expansions in it, and wouldn't mind if it was just a little bit bigger.

One game that had the perfect box size was Gloomhaven; at least after everything was organized into trays (I had 3D printed a bunch of inserts).  In that regard, it also had the benefit of not having to accommodate a bunch of expansion content.

Both of these games seemed pretty cognizant of the practical implications of box size.  Meanwhile, the Carcassonne Big Box just pissed me off.  Needless, gratuitous, wasteful.  The amount of air in that box is disgusting.  I had never destroyed a box before, just to cut it down to size, but for Carcassonne I made an exception.  To a much lesser degree, the Mage Knight Ultimate box could/should have been smaller, but it wasn't nearly as bad.

In the case Carcassonne, I absolutely think it was a marketing ploy to gain shelf presence.  For Mage Knight UE, I think it was just inefficient design.  Unlike Carcassonne, the Mage Knight inserts at least actually touch the bottom of the box.

Meanwhile, there are cases like the Arkham Horror LCG box, which make me say: "wat?".  If there was ever a good case to sell a mostly empty box, this is it.  A game that is designed to have players regularly buy cards and expand on their collection should come with a relatively large box that is designed to efficiently store those cards.  A long, narrow, tall box would have been perfect.  Instead, they opted for a short, square box with a lot of empty space that's too awkward to actually store those cards.

Supporter6 months ago

Big boxes also don’t get overlooked as easily on the shelf. Maybe not a big deal for people who only buy online but it has to make some difference on store shelves. 

6 months ago

That's true, but that is I guess of more benefit to the publisher than the consumer, not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself. However, if it then causes issues for the consumer (difficult to store due to shelf space) it potentially does become a negative overall

Supporter6 months ago

I’d rather the box be a bit too big than too small. As much as I love #Root the box is just too small. I really appreciate the box size for #Star Wars Imperial Assault. I can cram a ton of stuff in there!

6 months ago

I don't mind too much if the insert doesn't accommodate future expansions, but I do  mind when the insert doesn't accommodate sleeves for the base game. Seriously, I have had to toss several inserts simply because I wanted my cards sleeved and the space for the cards is not big enough. Annoying.

For actual box size, I guess the smaller the better, but if it's a game for which I will probably want or be expecting expansions, I'd prefer it be a little bigger and able to hold at least one expansion.

6 months ago

I can imagine that gets frustrating, you'd assume they'd know for at least some games that folks like to sleeve cards. Do you end up sleeving most of your games?

6 months ago

Nope, just the favorites

Supporter6 months ago

I’ve never sleeved cards. Am I an unwashed peasant?

Supporter6 months ago

I do for my favorite games only, otherwise it be too costly. I thought everyone was as OCD as me about their games haha.

6 months ago

Yeah, same here. For me to do it, I've got to expect to play the game fairly regularly and keep it a long time. Though I've sleeved a couple of games just because I had some extra sleeves lying around.

6 months ago

Haha no, but in that case you shouldn't let unwashed peasants touch your cards!

6 months ago

I love me a good insert that makes everything fits will and it is snug. I do not like a game that has a lot of components, is large and expensive then it does not include an insert...that is when I have a problem with a box size. The game I think of is #Quodd Heroes, man did that game have a ton of components and little to no help organizing it and a lot of space in that box. 

6 months ago

I often think similar with #Eldritch Horror, that is a box full of cardboard but there is no insert (at least in the second hand copy I got) which adds to set-up time. Although it does leave space for expansions I guess. But I don't buy a tonne of expansions so that isn't always a big pull for me. That said I liked that #Pandemic: On the Brink expansion box had space to put the base game into that box rather than the other way around (and wasn't any bigger than a regular pandemic box, just a different insert)

6 months ago

It is very pleasing as a consumer to know that a designer or production company took the time to put together something helpful like you mentioned with that pandemic box!

6 months ago

Actually #Wingspan has no insert, but it works surprisingly well. That is one densely packed box. The player mats and sheer number of cards make the box heavier than you might expect for the size of box.