I recently got to try a couple of new games from GenCon, Quarriors and Eminent Domain, but I am not here to discuss the games. I’ll cover them in my monthly recap of the games I play in August.
I don’t understand why companies insist on creating packaging in non-standard configurations when the game doesn’t require it?
One of the first things I noticed about Quarriors is it came in a “collectible” tin. What makes it collectible? Is it because WizKids is the only company foolish enough to waste money on a largish cube tin when a box would have been much better?
I hate tin boxes. Compared to cardboard, they are stronger, but the lids are often less likely to stay put during transportation. The corners are never square and usually a tin will take up a little more space than a box would. A good recent example of this is the Ticket to Ride: USA 1910 expansion. The tin is just a little larger all the way around because of the rounded corners, while the box with its nice, tight 90 degree corners allows for a slightly smaller profile.
In the case of Quarriors, not only is it a tin box, but it isn’t even in a really useful shape. Everything in the game would likely have fit in a Carcassonne-sized box, or a Thurn and Taxis sized box if the fit in the smaller one wasn’t quite big enough. Setting up and putting away the game would be easier because you wouldn’t have to worry about the plastic layers in the tin, and it would be easier to see the various plastic baggies of dice in a box than it is at the bottom of the deep cube with the black plastic insert.
Being in a tin makes me less likely to buy a game. Another strike against the packaging is the cube shape. The games footprint is unique and that makes it harder to stack or pack with other games when I take them out to play. If I stack it on top of other games, it is smaller than most box footprints (while taking up more volume) and that means any kind of shock or bump might cause the tin to dish the box. Ease of transport is something I’ve begun to seriously consider when I buy a game. For Quarriors I am going to have to figure out an optional way to store and transport the game. It’d be easier if it were just the dice, but finding a container to hold the dice, the cards, the score board, and the bags is going to be more difficult.
Another example of an odd box is the meeple-shaped box the Carcassonne anniversary edition. In what universe is that a good idea? I thought that wood box that Carcassonne: The City came in was a bad idea because there was no way to make the latch stay closed. Once the reprint was I traded off my wood box so I would be able to happily replace it with a nice, boring, standard-sized cardboard box.
Kitschy little things like the plastic meeple container for the Carcassonne: The Phantom expansion are less bothersome because it’s meant to drop into the base game’s box. I also get why some games get packed in odd-shaped/sized boxes. Sometimes a tube is needed because the game map might need to be vinyl. Sometimes the game is just so large (Tumblin’ Dice) that it needs to be in a non-standard size box.
Here’s hoping that these oddities remain oddities and barely seen, and that Quarriors gets a boxed edition sometime soon.