Great Game Box Blunders
Dave J McWeasely
United States
Louisville
Kentucky
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A game's box should serve two purposes:
1) Securely pack the components of the game for travel
2) Promote the game
Of late, game makers have been favoring promotion over packing, to the point where the game boxes are becoming useless for actual storage. Box design is important, and blunderers deserve some shame. I'm calling these games out!
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1. Board Game: StarCraft: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:341]
Dave J McWeasely
United States
Louisville
Kentucky
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StarCraft comes with six colors of plastic pieces, six colors of plastic chits, cardboard planets the size of your outstretched plam, 14 decks of cards, and a hugely oversized box. The insert in the box gives practically no help in organizing or storing the pieces. There is no way to conveniently access the various card decks. The box is larger than any practical backpack or suitcase. Putting it on a bike rack is dicey. This is a boardgame box so poorly designed it can only be transported by car.

Its all the more exasperating because the inside of the box is 75% air! Is it any wonder that most copies of the game come with 1-20 broken plastic pieces? With all that space to build up kinetic energy, the plastic parts bash themselves to bits!

I will not be buying another FFG big box game at retail. Sorry FFG.
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2. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:49]
Dave J McWeasely
United States
Louisville
Kentucky
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Race for the Galaxy is $37 for ~200 cards and a couple dozen victory point chits. This can easily fit in a pocket. Yet apparently the box designer didn't get the memo that this is a card game. That's because the insert is clearly not designed to hold cards. Its designed to hold...stuff...badly. Throwing the cards in the box and the box in a backpack will lead to horribly messed up cards by the time you arrive at your destination. Also, the box is 90% air. All the important components can be packed in the two tiny CCG boxes pictured. The unimportant components (rules, player aids) could have been redesigned to be smaller as well.

If I'm going to pay $37 for a card game in a way oversized box, I'd like the box to actually hold the card game.
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3. Board Game: Marvel Heroes [Average Rating:6.40 Overall Rank:1799]
Dave J McWeasely
United States
Louisville
Kentucky
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Marvel Heroes came with 20 hand painted minis. How to safely ship those across the Pacific Ocean? Why not shrink bake them into the box insert! These babies were so hard to pry out of the box that there was a real chance of damaging them. Additionally, once arrived and pried out, the insert was (as you can see) useless for holding them once again.
 
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4. Board Game: A Game of Thrones (first edition) [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:312]
Dave J McWeasely
United States
Louisville
Kentucky
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Game of Thrones had a very aggressive insert design, that was planned to hold most every cardboard chit in the game. It was an admirable attempt that failed miserably when the chit sizes and the size of the corresponding wells in the insert didn't actually match exactly. Thus the insert was basically useless. Ah well.
 
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5. Board Game: Mission: Red Planet [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:726]
Eric Franklin
United States
Milton
Washington
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I love this game, but the first English printing of this game had two issues:

1) The box took almost ten minutes to open. Every time.
2) The insert was completely useless. Which was puzzling to me, as they could have modified the French insert to use the English board.

I don't have/haven't seen the second printing.
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6. Board Game: Duel in the Dark [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:1679]
Geo
Greece
Athens
Marousi
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When you assemble the insert the components no longer fit...
 
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7. Board Game: El Caballero [Average Rating:6.49 Overall Rank:1950]
Ryan
United States
California
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This was the game I thought of when I was reading this list. I think all the cards could fit into a box that is less than 25% the size of the current one.
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8. Board Game: Blue Moon City [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:495]
Matt Fantastic
United States
New Haven
Connecticut
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It'd be pretty cool if the citadel did anything besides just balance precariously across the top of the insert.
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9. Board Game: UR [Average Rating:6.52 Overall Rank:2235]
Olav Fakkeldij
Netherlands
Beverwijk
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Once punched you have to remove the box insert to fit everything in it.
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10. Board Game: Hive [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:204]
Russ Williams
Poland
Wrocław
Dolny Śląsk
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The game consists of nice sturdy bakelite tiles zipped into a nice sturdy carrying pouch. It needs no box.

But it comes packed in a high-quality pricey-seeming useless outer cardboard box, maybe 2 or 3 times the volume of the pouch with tiles. We bought Hive, immediately opened it, and gave the empty box back to the seller.

(For comparison, Tantrix and Trax are also bakelite tiles in a pouch, and sold that way, with no useless box.)
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11. Board Game: Trapper [Average Rating:6.10 Overall Rank:6462]
Olav Fakkeldij
Netherlands
Beverwijk
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A very heavy hard plastic box insert. Works very well as long as you don't punch the tiles. It looks like this means you're not expected to play the game!
 
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Paul Denhup
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
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A true box blunder... and very rare!
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13. Board Game: Betrayal at House on the Hill [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:423]
Trencher for Life
United States
Slidell
Louisiana
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The caption on the picture says it all. I'm going to follow suit with bagging my copy.
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14. Board Game: When Darkness Comes [Average Rating:5.59 Overall Rank:11441]
Trencher for Life
United States
Slidell
Louisiana
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I admit I'm a big fan of the game and after playing out the small amount of scenarios in the core box, I went for the expansions.

Here's the problem, how in the HELL are you going to fit them in the box? I have Hell Unleashed, The Nameless Mist, and This is Not Happening. The box already looks like a freakin' po-boy with just the TINH and HU expansions (with rulebooks and tokens) put inside. I've also come to the conclusion that the core box set is not a TARDIS, it's not bigger on the inside than the outside.
 
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15. Board Game: Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:257]
Dave J McWeasely
United States
Louisville
Kentucky
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This was a cruddy box for a "deluxe" game. Putting the plastic pieces back in this insert becomes something of a puzzle every time. There's no provision for storing the cardboard chits. The playing cards have no thumb hole, so you have to scrape them out with your fingernail every time. The game board is smaller than the box and rattles around like crazy. The box is 90% air. For a "deluxe" edition they could have at least sprung for a custom plastic insert like in the original Confrontation.
 
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16. Board Game: Breakthru [Average Rating:5.76 Overall Rank:8241]
Randall Bart
United States
Winnetka
California
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The original 3M box had a very nicely shaped insert which holds all the pieces securely. Except rather than making the pieces out of plastic or wood like all other 3M games, they chose to make them out of gold and tungsten. Well they probably used cheaper metals, but whatever they are they are very heavy. Stick it on your shelf for a year, and unless you keep the humidity below 2%, the insert collapses.
 
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17. Board Game: Doom: The Boardgame [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:804]
Shawn McCarty
United States
San Diego
California
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This is the one that bugs me. Once you get the pieces punched out and the doors assembled, you can only put about 30% of the game back in the box. I've got the rest in gallon Zip-Loc bags sitting on top of the box.
 
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18. Board Game: Gloria Mundi [Average Rating:6.11 Overall Rank:3209]
Lo Ma
United States
California
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The box for this game makes no sense at all!!!

It is way too huge for the board and components - it's much wider and very very much longer than the game board. Why?????
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19. Board Game: Plunder [Average Rating:6.17 Overall Rank:3907]
Lo Ma
United States
California
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While the little treasure chest-like box is cute, it could do with some air. It is very crowded in there!!!
 
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20. Board Game: Khronos [Average Rating:6.38 Overall Rank:1994]
Lo Ma
United States
California
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Khronos has a very cool box, that's for sure, but it could be half the height!!! Lots and lots of very fancy air in this box...
 
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21. Board Game: Chicago Express [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:362]
Peter Mumford
United States
Somerville
Massachusetts
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Am I the only one who is scandalized by a game that comes in clear styrene packaging? That's so lame.
 
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