DnD Custom Game Box

If you’re watching Netflix’s Stranger Things, take note: no spoilers appear below, but there is minor discussion on plot points.  The introduction to the main characters features a scene that would convey very different things just a few years ago. They’re sitting around, playing Dungeons & Dragons (or DnD).  Since the show takes place in 1983, it’s clear that they’re being depicted as classic 80’s *nerds,* so to speak. And to drive the message home, they’re also part of the AV Club, get picked on by bullies, and are general outsiders. However, with the relatively recent rise of “geek chic,” these kids are endearing through our 2016 lenses. Also, DnD is experiencing a resurgence of popularity due to all this attention. Since Sunrise Packaging is in the business of boxes, it seems appropriate to turn our attention to making a custom game box for the new wave of DnD-ers.

DnD Needs Assessment

Although online versions exist, this is a game best played in person with a group. It’s a group effort. As the OG of fantasy role playing tabletop games, the custom game box needs to be as iconic as its contents. Color schemes typically fall on the darker end of the spectrum, highlighted with fiery reds, oranges and yellows.

The party of adventurers might always meet at one person’s home, or the set might travel around. This means the box needs to be both durable and easy-to-move. Light, built in handles of some sort, but rigid and strong enough to withstand  transportation. DnD game boards usually fold up, but a custom game board might need more room to lay flat. Some kind of rigid insert might be necessary. Partially for presentation, but also to keep the pieces and dice intact. It’s kind of like using a peg board for tool organization. When they’re outlined, you know exactly which one is missing. Same goes for a custom box insert.

DnD Custom Game Box

So what have we arrived at when it comes to a custom game box, specifically for DnD?

For starters, a custom two-piece setup box is the classic game box style.* The turned edge style is also ideal for the design and strength components. Turned edge boxes are made of chipboard, which is extremely durable. It also lends itself well to a variety of wraps which can best display dynamic DnD graphics and colors. Further custom options can include foil stamped linen or embossed fibers for a slightly Medieval-like feel.

To keep the innards and gaming items in place, the set up box is perfect for multiple types of inserts. Think custom die cut foam, thermoformed tray, insider liners…the options vary as much as DnD gameplay. Add in some sort of handle and you’ve got a party in a box. Literally.

Get in touch with our sales department to start work on your custom game box!

*Did you know Sunrise Packaging has established a reputation for custom game box and game board packaging?

#WhatDidYouPlayMondays Tension Mounts with Zombie Thriller Dead of Winter

As Halloween closes in (and even scarier: snow!) it might have been the perfect weekend to play Dead of Winter, a Crossroads zombie game by Plaid Hat Games. And what a thrill it was.

Dead of Winter_custom game board setup

Image: Plaid Hat Games

What is Dead of Winter?

Dead of Winter is a (semi) cooperative game of survival set during a nasty winter in a zombie apocalypse. Players must work to defend a colony of survivors from an ever-increasing zombie hoard. That’s about as surface an explanation as it gets. A board game for 2-5 players, the box says it plays in 60-90 minutes, although our sessions have always been longer.

Is it fun?

Yes and no. Yes, in that Dead of Winter is a total blast that will leave you wanting to play again immediately, no matter how late at night it is by then. No, in the same way that the SAW movies aren’t ‘fun.’

This game is intense. And I don’t throw that word around casually. This game will get your heart racing and the gears turning. Like I said earlier, on the surface this is a game of survival during a zombie outbreak, but peel back the layers and you have a full-fledged mystery-thriller-whodunnit on your hands.

For starters, this game has a traitor element. Every objective card has a secret win scenario, which means how YOU win the game is not the same as the other players. There can be multiple winners and, more likely, multiple losers. Some objective cards are marked with blood red letters that spell out BETRAYAL! Which means that if you get that card, your win objective is to hurt the colony. There may be a traitor in the game. There may not be a traitor in the game. But every round, you have the option of voting someone out of the game (aka ‘exiling’ them). This action gives that person a new objective–meaning you may have created a traitor in a game that didn’t have one. Or worse, you may have created a second traitor. In any case, you’re staring down your friends with suspicious eyes as they take their turns around the table.

Wait, I thought this was a cooperative game?

Like many aspects of Dead of Winter, this one is a gray area. While each player does have their own objectives necessary to win, you must also protect the colony. The colony itself acts as a sophisticated timer. Each round ticks away at a countdown meter, and each character death, waste buildup, and starvation outcome chips away at your morale meter. If either of these hit zero, the game ends. At the end of the game, if you haven’t completed your win scenario, you lose. Thus, it’s in your best interest to keep the colony functioning–for the time being, at least. This means contributing food to the cache, barricading doors, searching for supplies, and slaughtering zombies faster than a Walking Dead episode.

On Top of That…

There’s a Crisis event that gets revealed every round that all players must contribute to. Failure to combat this crisis usually ends in a zombie mob or a catastrophic depletion of resources. Of course, if you’re the traitor, maybe that’s right up your alley.

And On Top of That…

There are also Crossroads cards that are drawn by a neighbor on a player’s turn. If at any time the scenario plays out like on the Crossroads card–BAM!–the event triggers and you get saddled with another mini-scenario that must be resolved.

And On Top of ALL That…

Oh yeah, every time you go somewhere–even if it’s to empty the trash–you have to roll a beautifully crafted Exposure die, which can end in a fatal zombie bite, a semi-fatal wound, debilitating frostbite. Of course, you could roll no effect at all…but where’s the fun in that?

Yes, Dead of Winter is a game that truly keeps the tension ratcheting up. It exudes theme like my brow exudes perspiration when I’m playing it. Never have I played a board game that is so indepth. Every situation, every choice, feels so real…and yet, it’s still zombies at the end of the world day.

Custom Game Board and Packaging

I find one of the most interesting features of this game is its pieces. As if to mirror the game’s complexity in a distorted way, the board and its pieces are very simple. Minimalistic. The artwork is top notch, don’t get me wrong. And the soft-touch turned edge game board that represents the colony has cool industrial-blueprint-inspired graphics. But the pieces themselves–of which there are many–representing players and zombies alike are all punchboard. Chipboard standees with plastic holders and punch-out food tokens and wound markers. And yet, it seems to fit with the feel of the game. Not once did I find myself wishing I had injection molded miniatures. Any chance for more of that vivid artwork, the better!

Perhaps the only feature of the custom packaging that I didn’t care for was the insert. The simple paperboard trays did their job of separating, but with the majority of the game’s story told on separate decks of cards, it would have been nice to have more organization. There are not enough slots for all the cards, nor did the game come with enough plastic bags to keep everything separate.

Of course, this is a very small complaint, and doesn’t diminish gameplay in the least. It does however make cleanup/teardown a little bit more of a pain.

Rating: 5 Ninja Throwing Stars out of 5

Did I mention there’s a ninja in the game? Either way, I definitely will play Dead of Winter again. (In fact, I’m playing it tonight!)


WDYPM

 

 

Don’t forget to keep up with other gamers using the #WhatDidYouPlayMondays hashtag and remember to use Sunrise Packaging for your custom board game design and packaging needs!

5 Cool Features for a Standout Custom Game Box


 

Central City custom game box design, turned edges, offset printing, and glossy lamination

Central City Box Art

I can safely say that board games are the name of the, well, game around my homestead lately. My roommate and I have been spending our spare time discussing everything from hit points to game mechanics to hypothetical company names. Maybe it’s that Gen Con is just around the corner, or that an old friend of mine just launched a Kickstarter campaign for his custom game due out next year, but something is definitely in the air.

 

 

 

The indie custom game scene appears to be at its peak, and I’m absorbed with all the aspects. As much as I’m a geek about story and characters, I’m also a geek about the design side. The game board intrigues me, sure, but I’m what you’d call a custom game box enthusiast too. Between graphics, blurbs, and logos, I love to judge the proverbial book by its cover.

 

Last week, I found myself at a game shop. Surprise surprise. As I made my way up and down the aisles, I tried to keep track of what caught my eye. It wasn’t necessarily the graphics. I mean, sure, a splash of color or a cool character rendering couldn’t hurt your custom game, but what really drew me in was the packaging. An interesting shape or texture. Features.

 

Which of course got me thinking. So if you’re a game designer about to box up your hot new board game, then you may want to consider these…

 

Cool Custom Game Box Features

Handle It

custom handle box

Handle boxes make a great presentation for press kits, but they can also add a little flare to your custom game. A game box that looks like a briefcase or a treasure chest could certainly benefit from this little element. Plus, handles are just plain handy. They make your game easier to transport. Keep your meeples upright, peoples!

 

Magnetic Personality

cigar style magnet box for custom game design

Who doesn’t love magnets? Think about the last time you got a box or a device with a magnet. Now think how much time you spent playing with said magnet. It’s like a game within a game! Okay, maybe I’m just easily entertained, but magnets do add an extra level of security. The smooth snap enclosure also increases the value of your game by leaps and bounds.

 

Sleeves FTW!

example of a heat-sealed sleeve with turned edge printing and lamination

How many times have you had a board game that you loved but lost the rules? Or some other important paper element–a card, or a booklet perhaps? What if you included a sleeve in your custom game. It could safely hold rules, cards, maybe even a custom DVD to go along with your game. You could even utilize the sleeve to create a little window into your game box, another cool design feature!

 

Hold Out for the Fold Out

die-cut custom game board with turned edges and glossy lamination

You might think this idea is bonkers, but I think it’s the next revolution in game design. Folding game boards are pretty standard, but what if your custom game box became your board game! Yeah, I said it! Using buttons, magnets, tuck tabs, it wouldn’t be a stretch for the box could transform into a gameboard. Major cool factor in my book.

 

Notch Your Usual Box

example of custom packaging with thumb notches

Thumb notches, thumb notches, thumb notches. You gotta have the thumb notches, especially when it comes to custom game design. This is true for any box really. This handy little design feature makes your game infinitely easier to open. What’s the point of having thermoformed compartments for all your individual pieces if you’re just going to shake everything loose trying to get the box open. Cards all scattered, meeples everywhere like a mini hurricane hit. A little thumb notch goes a long way.

 

It can be tricky to stand out in any market, but with custom game design on the rise, the market is about to get even bigger. No matter what game box feature you go with, always remember to stand out, make a splash, and blow your audience away!