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Subject: Box insert design - feedback please rss

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Joel Finch
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I'm trying to solve some of the common complaints about box inserts:
* sleeved cards don't fit
* expansions don't fit
* parts come out of their spots

My prototype solution is shown below. Thoughts please - good, bad, indifferent? Problems to solve?

The game is based around theme packs of 54 cards, so unsleeved cards fit in the centre in tuckboxes OR sleeved cards fit in the small containers, with plenty of space for expansion packs and additional game pieces.

(More explanation in this blog post: http://www.unfair-game.com/blog-post?blogposturl=whats-in-th...)
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maf man
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Do you have a specific game in mind?
Whats your actual problem statement?

You have introduced small boxes into a big box because the big box didn't hold well enough. Besides a filing system I'm not sure what value is added. As a cheap "modular" insert concept it has potential (idk maybe that's where your going) but it still seems to be able to change to fit each player's game set-up.
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Gary Boyd
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If I understand correctly, this is a solution for the expandability of his own game. I think it's an intriguing solution. I'm not sure what the added cost would be.
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Joel Finch
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mafman6 wrote:
Do you have a specific game in mind?
Whats your actual problem statement?

Apologies, you're right, the problem wasn't specified clearly. I am trying to design a box for my game Unfair which can address some frequent criticisms of box inserts, namely expandability, sleeving, and parts on the loose. One solution is pictured, my main issue being that I don't know if it introduces other problems, or whether it's even appealing to players.

Unfair is based around 54-card packs, which need to be kept separated until they're used. Expansions would take the form of additional 54-card packs, and perhaps some parts such as counters if that pack requires them - the exact requirements of the expansions aren't known ahead of time, so a solution does need to have a modular aspect.

I could just go for a standard vacuum-form insert which holds what the game comes with. That will certainly be cheaper, but I'd prefer to make something better than the run-of-the-mill.
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Jake Staines
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The first thing that comes to mind is: have you seen the box for Eminent Domain: Microcosm? It's an oversized tuckbox that fits a sleeved 54-card deck, but comes with a bit of folded corrugated card that pads it out to contain an unsleeved 54-card deck for shipping and/or people who don't sleeve. Sadly there don't seem to be any pictures in the game's gallery, and I already threw the card insert away from my copy 'cause I sleeved it.


It's an elegantly simple solution to holding a deck of cards in the same sized box regardless of sleeving, so from there you just have to work out how to hold the tuckboxes inside your larger box - which could work with a standard vacuform or folded-card insert.
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Todd M
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Excellent question... and a hard one to answer.

My instinct is that the people who care about such things will buy something from a third party organizer company or make their own, and that those who don't will not appreciate the extra cost - unless the cost is negligible.

I would be tempted, in your position, to provide a box that would fit a standard organizer kit (like, maybe, something already available from Broken Token), and then some sort of insert that conveniently holds your base game without sleeves. The silent majority will probably appreciate this and it will keep cost down, while the OCD among us will appreciate that we can just buy an existing kit to organize it.

I could be wrong, but that's my initial reaction. Lords of Waterdeep is the only game I've ever bought where I was just amazed at the insert and its functionality - and the rulebook that showed where I was supposed to keep everything. But that was a finite set of pieces... not sure how that would apply in this case.
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Joel Finch
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Bichatse wrote:
The first thing that comes to mind is: have you seen the box for Eminent Domain: Microcosm? It's an oversized tuckbox that fits a sleeved 54-card deck, but comes with a bit of folded corrugated card that pads it out to contain an unsleeved 54-card deck

Thanks for bringing that to my attention, I'll take a look! My initial reaction is that it sounds a bit fiddly to manage the unsleeved cards and keep the insert out of the way, but combining sleeved and unsleeved in one space would certainly solve the biggest of the problems.

zephaus wrote:
The silent majority will probably appreciate this and it will keep cost down, while the OCD among us will appreciate that we can just buy an existing kit to organize it.

The more I look around at the board game market, the more I wonder if there is a majority of people who only care about cost? In this hobby, it seems like people are in it for the love of games, and price is secondary - I've just watched my facebook feed explode as 60,000 people come back from GenCon with stacks of new games as tall as they are!

zephaus wrote:
Lords of Waterdeep is the only game I've ever bought where I was just amazed at the insert and its functionality

That's part of what I would like to achieve - to make something memorable and noteworthy. I can't expect people to remark about my game if I don't give them something remarkable

I've also seen some comments from reviewers and players to the effect that good box setup can have a strong impact on the game making it to table. Knowing that the setup can be a pain turns the decision on whether to play it, so I want to make that as painless and simple as possible.
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Brian Nygaard
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Would your box come with the containers, or would each expansion come with both the tuckbox and the new container, ready to be added to the box?

I could see the container being a sleeve around the tuckbox as a compact packaging solution for providing both options bundled into the expansions.

I like the idea.
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Joel Finch
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Hopelesst wrote:
Would your box come with the containers, or would each expansion come with both the tuckbox and the new container, ready to be added to the box?

The idea is to have the containers fill the space of the box, to keep everything in place - they replace the usual folded "trench" insert, so that even with no expansions the box still works.

Then the expansions would come in just a tuckbox.

Hopelesst wrote:

I could see the container being a sleeve around the tuckbox as a compact packaging solution for providing both options bundled into the expansions.

That works, and I even considered storing the tuckboxes inside the containers in the box as well, but the difference in thickness between an unsleeved and sleeved pack of cards (for premium sleeves, anyway) is large enough that I was concerned that tuckboxes in sleeve-holders would rattle around more than people would like.

Sleeved cards can be pressed down pretty firmly, to reduce the height needed to store them, but then they're hard to get into and out of the box, which is why these containers are a bit more open than they strictly need - you can pick up the box and invert it and the pack just slides out freely.
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Sean Sullivan
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I like your idea of simple tuckboxes and a trench to organize your game, the question does come to cost for some, but depending on your distribution method, I would find this to be an excellent stretch goal for Kickstarter.

I myself have been trying to address the issue like Broken Token via www.nuggitgames.com and making my own replacement "upgrade" boxes. In my opinion far to many games don't focus on it enough. I came back from gencon and for a few games felt the two trenches provided actually hindered in game organization and threw them out.

Planning for expansions is also a good thing. One thing I've noticed with many games lately is that many add new cards for expansions, and if they would have made the box just slightly higher to store the cards upright, like your doing, and have the game board sit on top of the trench insert that allows for sleeved cards being upright, basically making the box just 5-8mm taller, it would solve many storage issues.

Your on to something here with your tuckboxes, and I would continue down this road, but also for those who want to go out try and give 4mm of space on the outside of the box, and for each row/column divider. Thus easily allowing broken token or another insert maker to provide an insert for your box. For an example http://www.thebrokentoken.com/crypto-deck-building-organizer... The wood dividers are all 3mm thick, so accounting for 4mm of space gives some wiggle room.

Take my advice with a grain of salt, it all depends on how you want to display your product. I don't think a good organizing system sells the game itself, but it does help get the game out on the table during game nights. Thus exposing the game to a larger audience.
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Joel Finch
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excalibrax wrote:
for those who want to go out try and give 4mm of space on the outside of the box, and for each row/column divider. Thus easily allowing broken token or another insert maker to provide an insert for your box.

Thanks for that suggestion, I hadn't considered ensuring there's space for an alternate 3rd-party insert as well.

excalibrax wrote:
I don't think a good organizing system sells the game itself

Yeah, I'm not expecting any insert system to make up for a dull game. I'm coming from the perspective that, assuming there are numerous perfectly good games out there, the details of manufacture or storage can help one of them (preferably mine! ) to stand out.
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maf man
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joelfinch wrote:

Unfair is based around 54-card packs, which need to be kept separated until they're used. Expansions would take the form of additional 54-card packs, and perhaps some parts such as counters if that pack requires them - the exact requirements of the expansions aren't known ahead of time, so a solution does need to have a modular aspect.

one more question just to be clear...the 54-packs are separated again after being used?

So I think having boxes over slots is a good choice for your situation. That is being said from a fan of slots fyi. Perhaps one solution to the un-sleeve to sleeve would be to have the card packs in boxes that are large enough for sleeved cards but then fill the void when first packed by having some type of filler in the box with the cards. Perhaps the rules, more in depth gameplay examples, advertising, small scoring paper pad, idk you game so maybe there are better examples. But then when sleeved the user can take the filler out and set it in the main box, hoping the filler will not need to be organized like the cards.

A second option that might work is to rotate the way you are picturing the cards sitting in your box so they stack face up rather than on their side. It will take away some ease of removal as you would potentially have a few 54-packs stacks ontop of one another but you would be able to have the depth of the box bigger and when you open a incomplete/unsleeved game the footprint of the inside would be filled but it would still have room for you to add more packs on top of them. This could work well if each pack could fall into categories ether decided by your game or by players opinion.

Slight side opinion:
I don't like games (and kickstater strech goals) that plan on adding more. Its a new age school of thought I find greedy, rude, and putting the player last. That said I do love good games that keep adding more. I don't dare think that if a good game comes out one wouldn't want to keep it going. I can't think of a game that does this, and only maybe will it be a good idea for you but maybe making a big box that fits an expanded game should be connected not to your base game but to your expansions. The players who want the well fitted box are the ones who will buy your expansions. I see that as a much better solution than selling players a half empty box to start with, implying they just have a demo version of the game (I know its not true but I just hate that about smash up, a game I very much like). Not to mention they you know you can have a 100% perfect box for all components.
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Joel Finch
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mafman6 wrote:
one more question just to be clear...the 54-packs are separated again after being used?

Yeah, sorry, I wasn't trying to be mysterious about the game, I just didn't want to make my question look like an ad

Unfair is a theme park builder, and each pack is a theme you might see on a ride. Unlike Dominion, with very fine-grained combinations which can result in curses with no curse removal, or attacks with no reactions, the theme packs add a problem and its solution together, such as money-making cards and money-stealing cards, attack and defence, etc.

The initial set of themes is Pirates, Ninjas, Robots, Jungle, Vampires. I've got a number of other themes in various stages of development - Gangsters is now equally developed as the first five, and others are underway. The packs are added one-per-player when setting up the game (though cards are shared, not kept exclusively by one player) and then sorted back into their packs at the end.

mafman6 wrote:
A second option that might work is to rotate the way you are picturing the cards sitting in your box so they stack face up rather than on their side.

I've tried this approach with an earlier prototype box - the main issue is that it becomes a treasure hunt to find the packs you want to play with, because not all packs need to be removed for use in one game. As the number of packs grows, that effect becomes worse if they're stacked on top of each other.

mafman6 wrote:
I don't like games (and kickstater strech goals) that plan on adding more. Its a new age school of thought I find greedy, rude, and putting the player last.

I appreciate that feedback - I've seen comments from others who complain that the game didn't consider space for the stretch goals or the expansions, so it's hard to know how to balance that.

My main goal in Kickstarting is to get funds to complete the artwork of the game. Each pack adds around 25-30 new images, depending on what that pack requires, so there is a significant art cost. My plan is to offer the initial 5 theme packs, and have the 6th as a stretch goal. It will be a genuine stretch goal - if we get enough interest, then the price breaks in production volume will allow us to pay for the artwork on the 6th deck.

Expanding the game isn't a greed issue for me, it's just a practical way to manage the development of the content. I have notes for 13 themes at this point, but they're not all fully developed yet, and the art cost makes doing 13 themes in one box prohibitive anyway.

mafman6 wrote:
I can't think of a game that does this, and only maybe will it be a good idea for you but maybe making a big box that fits an expanded game should be connected not to your base game but to your expansions.

I haven't seen it, but I read that one of the Power Grid expansions came with a box large enough for the original set as well, which seemed like a clever idea.

mafman6 wrote:
I see that as a much better solution than selling players a half empty box to start with, implying they just have a demo version of the game.

The board sets a minimum size anyway, so it's going to be half-empty no matter what I do. I guess the trick is to not make it *feel* half empty (I was hoping that turning the card trays face down to close up the space would do the job there).

I may be able to cut back the number of slots from 10 to 8, to give a better balance of half-empty demo vs expandability. Thanks for your comments, very much appreciated.
 
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Sean Sullivan
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I see this comments and I myself have been reading the stonemaier series about Kickstarters and I think the idea that you are planning on basically 5 decks/Sheets of cards with an additional 1 deck as stretch, with a base board to be a good one. The theme park idea itself lends itself to expansions, Just like Dominion does.

One thing to keep in mind, and this might be to keep things on the low cost side and then build up to them. Is depending on how your board is laid out and its function, is to convert it to something akin to Elder sign where all of that is kept on larger cards. Then that makes the initial base game a lot smaller, and at a lower cost. However if there is enough interest a stretch goal could be the actual board, a larger box to hold the planned expansions, inserts, etc.

I can see where the previous commenter is coming from, and its definitely a balancing game of keeping costs down, vs providing functionality. Good luck to you.
 
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