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Subject: Why are game boxes getting bigger? rss

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Adam P
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The Whining
I bought a lot of games recently (I'm poor now, please don't rob me) and I've noticed that most of the boxes are the large square type (WxH, not depth), and filled with laughing gas. Or it should be, because I laugh at how much empty space is in there. It's becoming somewhat of a problem trying to find space on a shelf for these, and there's no reason for all these game boxes to be this size.

Three recent examples:




I could fit these into a King of Tokyo box (if I had the time).




Why are games boxes getting bigger?
Suddenly, lurking in the dark shadows, I noticed that this cult-of-the-new game Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure has a SLIGHTLY LARGER box (WxH), by at least a quarter inch. I am frightened. Will this start a new race for publishers to increase their box size even more? If I give them an inch, will they take a mile?!?! I DON'T HAVE ROOM FOR MILE-LONG BOXES!!!
(See Mechs vs. Minions for mile-long boxes.)





I'm not done yet.

Then there's the "BIG BOX" versions of games that are popular. EVEN MORE BITS, nom nom nom. Here's the thing: when I bring a game to a game night, I have to carry it. That's less room for other games, and I'm a wimp. So with a game like El Grande Big Box, I cannot get it to the table, LITERALLY. I need to shave it down into a smaller box to fit into my carry-bag, otherwise I'd need a sherpa to lug it around, and they're not cheap (but very nice to chat with).



The good ol' days
The Zman and Hans Im Glück boxes, that almost resembled a paperback book, are the prefect box size, IMO. They're practically palm-able, easily tossed onto a game table with a joyous laugh, and slip back nicely into your cheaply-assembled Ikea shelf. *sigh*



Look, I get it. Retail space appeal, etc. It's a tough business. But please, for the love of trees, let's go back to the rectangle box size. You'll be able to fit more onto a pallet, too! Think of the shipping savings (probably minimal, but nevermind that).

Most important of all, I cannot buy games if I have no where to put them!


And for those with infinite storage spaces like Dr. Strange, SCREW YOU.
(just kidding) whistle
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Chengkai Yang
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Well some of that has been standardization of boxes. FFG has like 3 standard sizes, and with all the other mergers Asmodee might have a unified set across the board. This inevitably gets others to do the same for economic benefit. The other is the minimum surface area needed to adequately convey their product. Also I think as the average pricepoint has moved upwards, a certain level of content is expected, or expansions.
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They aren't getting bigger, publishers are just choosing to package air.
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Kent Reuber
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I like having extra space so that you can store expansions with the main game.
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Joe Huber

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Mabuchi wrote:
They aren't getting bigger, publishers are just choosing to package air.


Publishers have always packaged air. One of the joys of opening a new game from Goldseiber was seeing just how much Spielluft you'd acquired.

I do think some games are being packaged in bigger boxes to gain more shelf presence, but in general I don't see it as a significant issue.
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Stephen Hall
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I, too, have wondered if boxes are getting bigger, but then I look back at the old FFG coffin boxes, and I'm not so sure.
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Sean Carduner
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I see this as a by-product of the increasing popularity of games with miniatures (and their correspondingly larger boxes).

The non-miniature games have to be packed in larger boxes to maintain shelf presence.
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Phil DeKoning
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Why are game boxes getting bigger? Because the Universe is expanding! That's Science, folks!! cool

Seriously, I suspect you've got to look one level higher to the Distributor level and see how many copies of a given game come in a case. The case boxes likely fall under a standard sizing scheme and, rather than use smaller retail boxes and pay for packing peanuts or some other padding, the retail boxes are sized to fill the case boxes.

That would be my guess, anyway.
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Tom Piperni
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kentreuber wrote:
I like having extra space so that you can store expansions with the main game.


I second that, I'm a big fan of fitting everything into one box.
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Josh
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I think I see the problem. You drive a prius.
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Langley Rock
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Mabuchi wrote:
They aren't getting bigger, publishers are just choosing to package charge for air.


FTFY
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Rebecca Jensen
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This is truly confounding. The only benefit I can think of to make a big box is 1. When competing for your eyes on a retail shelf, it's more attractive. Okay, I get that.

However, the financial benefits of putting games in smaller packages include:

1. Less production cost
2. Less freight cost
3. Ability for stores to stock more of the product
4. And potentially, consumers willing to buy more games

And really, just #3 should be reason enough for publishers to be more efficient about box sizes. I see popular games evaporate at FLGS, and while some FLGS may be restricted by their buying budget, I know some are restricted primarily by SPACE.

Add to that, the Tiny Epic series has established an empire on top of the desire for more compact games.

Oy!

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Brandon Ciantar
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Shadrach wrote:
I think I see the problem. You drive a prius.


Toyota FTW !!

Anyways I noticed this change too, particularly this year. My guess is they want to give the gamer the ability to store expansions within the base game box
Anyhow not a problem for me, I like big boxes anyways, prettier on my shelf.
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Aron
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I couldn't agree more. I really dislike these unnecessarily large boxes. Space in my house is limited.
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Trey Chambers
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If there are planned expansions, I *want* them to be larger. I hate not being able to fit a game + expansions into one box.

But if there are no planned expansions, then yea, it's ridiculous.
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Jonathan Schindler
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I've started making Codenames-sized boxes for storing games. Imhotep, for example, will fit in that size. Lots of Queen games will, too, at least if you store the boards separately. <grumble grumble>
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I did a blog post about that here...
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/29490/why-cant-we-hav...

Quote:
1) Smaller boxes look like Magic The Gathering, or CCGs.
Some consumers don't want to take part in such a business model. Barring that, nothing wrong with that for the rest who still do CCGs.

2) Smaller boxes look like filler games.
It may give the wrong impression, of which something like Race For The Galaxy definitely isn't

3) Smaller boxes look like children's games.
Again, this isn't such a bad thing on its own, but can target the wrong audience.

4) larger boxes do advertise better on store shelves.
To attract those who don't know about the game ahead of time, I'd reckon this gets more "walk-in" purchases


Someone also pointed out a #5...
Quote:
#5: box size is somewhat a function of predetermined price point for the game. RftG is a case-in-point: the price-point for the game is mid-30's (msrp); no way they'd be able to market a game for $34.99 if it was in a box the size of Coloretto. QED.
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Peter Thur
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Because...

PROFIT!!!
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Steve
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I actually passed on picking up the new edition of El Grande because of the huge box. I like the game enough to play others' copies, but not enough to store that thing.
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Kristopher Hickman
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I feel like there are three box sizes. The King of Tokyo box, the Days of Wonder size box (FF is basically the same size but more height.) and the Scythe/ Robinson Crusoe box size.
 
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Mike

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I would rather have a box with air in it that is a standard size instead of something that is odd shaped. Makes organizing way easier.
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Tomasz Podsiadło
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Don't worry, it's just universe getting bigger.
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Tom Grant
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Adam, I think you've hit on an underappreciated issue. I own a lot of games, and therefore I'm less inclined to buy new ones that come in big boxes. I'm already pretty jammed, so where will I find the room? And when I go to a gaming convention or other event, how many of these titles am I willing to carry?

I look at some of my older games that came in the standard Avalon Hill-scale boxes, such as Titan and Republic of Rome. I didn't buy the re-issues in part because of space.

I'm in the middle of selling a lot of games through BGG, and one of my criteria for letting go of a game is size. If I'm not sure how many times I'll ever play the game, and it's occupying a big part of the shelf, I'm more likely to get rid of it than others that are just as appealing to me. Later, that perception has an impact on buying decisions, too.

One of the minor reasons I've been a happy pre-order customer of GMT Games over the years, aside from the high average quality of their games, is the size issue. Everything from them comes in the same size box. I know, wargames aren't the same as other boardgames, but still...Do we need the boxes to be as large as they are? Do the games need to be as large as they are?
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Kingdaddy wrote:
Adam, I think you've hit on an underappreciated issue. I own a lot of games, and therefore I'm less inclined to buy new ones that come in big boxes. I'm already pretty jammed, so where will I find the room? And when I go to a gaming convention or other event, how many of these titles am I willing to carry?

I look at some of my older games that came in the standard Avalon Hill-scale boxes, such as Titan and Republic of Rome. I didn't buy the re-issues in part because of space.

I'm in the middle of selling a lot of games through BGG, and one of my criteria for letting go of a game is size. If I'm not sure how many times I'll ever play the game, and it's occupying a big part of the shelf, I'm more likely to get rid of it than others that are just as appealing to me. Later, that perception has an impact on buying decisions, too.

One of the minor reasons I've been a happy pre-order customer of GMT Games over the years, aside from the high average quality of their games, is the size issue. Everything from them comes in the same size box. I know, wargames aren't the same as other boardgames, but still...Do we need the boxes to be as large as they are? Do the games need to be as large as they are?


Much like improved storage ends up being on the consumer*, more efficient boxes also just falls onto the consumer. Will confess that it is a bit of a shame to have to abandon the original box for something smaller, or combining games and to lose 1 or more of the box labels and art of the other games. I've stickered game labels onto boxes to show they also contain other games, but that takes more work. There's also the downside that if somebody wants to use your copy, they'll need to be able to separate the components to use, which is at best more work.


*
--Many people chuck inserts to fit more stuff
--DBG like Dominion and Thunderstone end up using custom inserts or stuff like from Broken Token to utilize the space better
--For Rattlebones, this game was perfect for individual containers. Makes set up, tear down, and storage a breeze
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Matt Brown
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kentreuber wrote:
I like having extra space so that you can store expansions with the main game.


Splendor can fit a number of them.
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