A Gnome's Ponderings

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The agony of box air

Lowell Kempf
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Box air has become my new enemy. That sentence means that I am safe in my cocoon of first-world problems

It’s no secret that board game boxes have a terrible space to the actual stuff inside ratio. Which means that box air has actually been a problem for me for a long time. I am only now just realizing how much it affects my game closet.

I recently got a thrift copy of Battle Cry, even though I’m trying to consolidate my collection. And, thanks to the size of the board, it’s not a game I can put in a smaller box, not without a box cutter, some electrician’s tape and some confidence that’s probably false. However, literally about half the box was empty. I ended up putting four 3M card games, several stashes of Looney Pyramids, and even a couple other games.

Now, I do realize that all the plastic figures probably came on sprues and so did the terrain tiles. The pre-assembled game probably took up the space that is now home to a bunch of other games. So it’s not completely insane. But a four panel board, instead of a two panel one, probably could have created a more manageable box.

Another game that I recently punched and assembled is the Rise of Augustus. Now, I really do think it’s a good game and one I want to play more of. But it consists of two sheets of cardboard pieces, a deck of cards and some meeple tokens. And it’s in a Ticket to Ride size box. It takes up, at most, a quarter of the box. The tile sheets weren’t even the same size so don’t tell me they couldn’t have been printed differently.

Okay. For many games, the box is the only advertisement most people will ever see. The box that is on the store shelf is the only argument that the publishers can make to the general public to buy the game. A big, colorful box is something folks will see on the shelf.

And yes, I am not that target. I’m the guy who goes online and reads up about a game before buying it. But catching the eye of folks who are not like me may make the difference between profit and loss.

But, selfishly, that’s not my problem. My problem is that I am trying to maximize my shelf space and cut back on the excess that overflowing from the game closet. And from that perspective, inefficient boxes are a relax pain. And since I have been putting games in plastic cases or putting more an one game in a box, I have really seen how much wasted space there are in game boxes.

The next step would be put a bunch of boards of different games in one box and e rules and pieces in another. I'm not sure I'm ready to separate games like that, though. It would make it tricky to take them to other homes.
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