Creating a Board Game Box: 3 Things to Consider

Thinking about making your own custom board game box? Read this first. 

Sunrise Packaging has worked with a lot of unique projects over the years, but some of the most innovative and excited creators are those who make games. It’s a true passion project. And we hate to see that excitement fizzle out over some of the most common things that game makers miss or don’t consider when they design their custom game board box. custom game board box, custom game board

On the surface, creating game board boxes isn’t an overly complicated thing. But like any packaging project, there are things to consider that an outsider might not think about beforehand. The weight of the packaging materials, for instance. The mobility of the game box. The design and print quality of the box. Not to mention the copy for the box as well. In a way, custom board game boxes aren’t unlike product launch kits in everything they need to accomplish. 

Custom Board Game Box: Choose Your Own Adventure

Things that every game maker should consider when it comes to crafting their own game board boxes. Essentially, it comes down to one thing: plan ahead.

  1.  What’s your budget?
    Knowing what you want to spend can help determine other options. If you want to make money on your custom game, it’s completely necessary to have a budget in mind for what you want to spend on packaging on top of the game production costs. 
  2. How do you want users to interact with the packaging?
    Customer experience is of increasing importance. Not to mention that a great unboxing video could increase sales dramatically.  Sunrise Packaging can help craft boxes with handles and magnet closure as well as custom inserts and printed elements inside the box itself. Get creative, but keep the whimsy in check. Outlandish ideas aren’t always the most sustainable
  3. What will entice buyers?
    You’re browsing online and see a interesting game. You click on it, and read the position description. Alternate scenario: Walking through a store, you see an unfamiliar product. You’re compelled to pick it up and find more about it. How do you decide whether or not to buy it? Make sure to craft content that will speak to buyers and compel them to actually purchase it, not just pick it up for a moment.

Proper planning is the most important part of creating a custom board game box that will sell. These are just three things that you should consider. 

Contact Sunrise Packaging for Guidance

Making your own game packaging might seem more cost-efficient, but it’s not if you have to spend hours upon hours doing it. Leave it to the experts; we’ll leave the game making to you. Contact us today!

Custom Boxes & First Impressions

We all have ideas for new board games. Okay, maybe not all of us. But who hasn't sat through a long game of Monopoly or Risk and thought "This game would be way better if..." After taking that first step away from a base game, it's only a few more to determine rules and objectives, maybe even moving to designing a game board (or whatever you would call the set-up for "Cones of Dunshire").  You might be ready to commission custom boxes, but hold one second.  How do you know what the box needs?

Yes, the box needs to fulfill the basic needs: holding the game contents safely and securely, providing a pleasant experience for the user, things like that. But the cost associated with custom boxes usually doesn't rise to the top of the list. It's admittedly less interesting than choosing player tokens or designing a game board. But it's arguably one of the most important parts of launching your original board game. 

Custom Boxes: Your First Quest

New ideas for board games can come from any source of inspiration. It might be, like we mentioned above, a new take on an old tradition. It could be something entirely new and original, educational or strictly fun, or any other variety of elements. But in the early planning of the game, keep in mind how this needs to be packaged. Not just from a business or marketing sense, but from a practical and logistical standpoint as well. 

custom boxes
  1. Pare down what's necessary to play the game
    From an imaginary perspective, designing an intricate game with lots of player pieces and tokens, cards and chips, might come off like a great idea. But a game doesn't need to be upward of 100 pieces to be fun (well, unless we're talking about a literal puzzle).  Think of it this way: the more pieces your game has, the more it will cost to produce, and the more it will cost in stores. Additionally, it will affect your packaging requirements. 
  2. Using your pared down model, start to think through what style of packaging is necessary
    Custom boxes need to be able to provide protection for fragile game pieces or simply provide a home for the collective pieces and board. If these pieces are heavy, then a sturdier material, like chipboard, is going to be needed. If they're breakable in any way, consider foam inserts or plastic molding trays to keep them safe. Or, if there are other things that need to be kept from rolling around (like dice), that's another kind of tray. At Sunrise, based in Minnesota, we've helped many gamemasters think through their packaging. Bring your needs to us, and we can work through them. 
  3. Make a list of the things necessary for the box
    And not just art. People who pick this thing up off the shelf want to know a little bit more, so give them a little teaser.  Provide a statement about the game and any other relevant information. Does it include small, possibly choke-able pieces for little kids? Add that a caution might be necessary.  Is there a recommended age range for the game? Add that too. Add anything that might be necessary from a legal perspective, but don't forget that this is what needs to sell customers. 

Sunrise Packaging has been helping gaming auteurs in Minnesota and beyond to create their masterpieces for decades. We know how to prevent expensive errors and miscalculations, and how to help you think through what elements your custom boxes need to be effective. Contact us today!

Designing a Custom Game Box

Playing games is something that goes back to the beginning of sentient beings. Ok, I don’t *know* that, but we can assume that once beings started being able to think complex thoughts, they were able to become bored. And out of boredom comes attempts at relief, right? That sentiment has endured for ccustom game box, custom game board, customized incentive games for boosting productivity in businessenturies. There’s evidence that ancient Romans played tic-tac-toe; Anne Boleyn was quite adept at chess; and in modern times, a simple word game on cards can take the world by storm. It’s no wonder that board games and card games are among some of the most funded Kickstarters.  A custom game box is a great way to draw attention to your Kickstarter as well as spread the word about your product.

Ad Magic CEO Shari Spiro (recently profiled in Bloomberg) knows a thing or two about designing a custom game box. Her company has created packaging for the understated Cards Against Humanity and the more crass Poop: The Game, to name a few. Here are a few considerations for those getting ready to design a custom box for a Kickstarter board game or card game.

Considerations For Your Custom Game Box Design

  1. Have a plan
    Don’t pull a number out of thin air when it comes to packaging costs.  The goal is to make money, obviously, so think critically about what you want to sell for, and we here at Sunrise can help provide options from there.
  2. A little whimsy is doable
    Crazy custom game packaging abounds on Kickstarter, and not all packaging companies can handle the most extreme. Remember, while outlandish ideas are great to grab attention, they’re not always sustainable. Keep the whimsy to the design, the content, and the game itself.Custom Game box, two piece rigid game box, custom game box
  3. Leverage your network
    Spiro has her favorite vendors and producers to accomplish the challenges that customers place in front of her. Game makers can also reach out to the other people they know who are working to create games, or Kickstarter campaigns, and capitalize on their lessons learned.

Board games and card games are among the most ambitious projects on Kickstarter. They require a varied skillset: creative, logical, ambitious, not to mention entrepreneurial. Crowdfunding is still something of an emerging model, with clear successes and failures as far as projects go. Do your due diligence when it comes to packaging your product. It can help attract funders in the early stages, and it’ll garner new customers as your product launches.

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?

Labyrinth : A #WhatDidYouPlayMondays Playthrough

For a long while I’ve wanted a watercooler topic to call my own. You know, something everybody is buzzing about Monday mornings. But since I’m not really up on real-time TV shows and sports is another language to me, I’ve struggled to find something to make a tradition out of.

 

That’s why I gravitated so quickly to the #WhatDidYouPlayMondays hashtag on Twitter. Pioneered by Geeky Goodies, the WDYPM movement encourages board gamers to post about what games they played over the weekend. Board and tabletop games are already great for increasing social interaction, but WDYPM takes it to the next level, connecting gamers around the world. A virtual watercooler for sharing your weekend gaming experience.

 

 

So What Board Games Did I Play this Weekend?

It was a pretty busy weekend for me, but I did get to play a few different board games, including two I’ve been meaning to check out for awhile. The one I want to zoom in on is Ravensburger’s Labyrinth, designed by Max J. Kobbert.

labyrinth_board_game_ravensburger

Labyrinth has been around for awhile and for a good reason: it’s simply a great game on all points. Easy to learn and deceptively strategic, Labyrinth proved to be one addicting board game. I was hooked from the moment I opened the box.

 

Like a good custom box should, Labyrinth’s packaging boasts colorful, kid-friendly graphics that will entice players of all ages. This version of the game has updated graphics and a beautiful turned edge box with a bright green dragon on the cover–definitely hard to pass up. It also sports the tell-tale Ravensburger blue triangular logo in the corner, which sends a message on its own. It was easier to invest in this game knowing it was from a trusted gamemaker. On the flip side–literally the flip side of the presentation packaging–the game includes a brief blurb about gameplay, a shot of the full board along with a few examples of cards. Along the side the game box has a contents list and an age range. The only thing I’d like to see in addition is a play-time gauge, but after playing this game, I understand how varied it can be with this particular game.

 

I was eager to get to playing. I had heard lots of good things about this particular game, and the unboxing only urged me on. I’ve never punched cards and tiles so fast. Even as I did, though, I was impressed by the quality of the chipboard tile. It’s impossible to get a true turned edge with punch out tiles, but the ones in Labyrinth are thick and sturdy and made of a very hearty cardstock. Definitely felt like I got my money’s worth right out of the gate.

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I’ve seen board games and I’ve seen tile games, but this is the first one that had both. Labyrithing includes a die cut game board with turned edges and tiles. In fact, the board itself has tiles firmly affixed to it. The combination of the two gives Labyrinth its unique play mechanic.

 

With one extra tile to be pushed into a row or column, a player is constantly rearranging and reshaping the maze that forms Labyrinth. It is so deceptively simple, yet subtly tricky, that I found myself plotting ahead as much as I found myself saying aloud Man, this is cool!

labyrinth_custom_board_game_chipboard_tiles_gameboardturned_edge_game_board_with_chipboard_tiles

 

We weaved our detailed miniatures–very cool witches and wizards–through the ever-changing maze, claiming treasures and trying to cut one another off at every pass. While I lost both times (losing is just par for the course for me, as I’m sure you’ll find out) I still enjoyed playing. Turns were quick and active. A lot of the game was very head-to-head, which is important to a “loser” like me. Never did I feel like the big W was out of my grasp.

 

When it was time to pack up, I was curious how Labyrinth was going to pack up in the game box. After all, the game components–save for the minis–were all punch-outs. But this game was a custom packaging dream.

 

The game box boasts a black custom thermoformed tray with slots for the cards and tiles and even the miniatures. The color adds a sense of class, while the tray itself made for a clean organization for all the pieces. There’s nothing worse than having to take a beautiful and intricate game and basically just throw it in the box willy-nilly. Luckily, Labyrinth’s custom presentation packaging doesn’t suffer that fate.

custom_thermoformed_plastic_traysthermoformed_trays_for_custom_board_game_pieces

 

Then I noticed what the recessed cavity was for: there’s an extra slot to snugly fit the gameboard into the plastic tray. As both a packaging fan and a condensing aficionado, this custom game box took the cake. While it didn’t pass the “Turn Upside-Down Test” it did come closer than most games.

 

0913152015acustom plastic tray for gameboard

Bottom line: Labyrinth is a great game for the whole family, or even for a couple short on time. They can’t all be 5-hour epic gaming sessions, folks. Let’s be honest. The presentation is very polished (due in large part to the custom plastic tray) and the rigid chipboard used here doesn’t have that “cheap feeling” that plagues a lot of games in this age of mass production. And everybody loves a good fantasy theme.

 


WDYPM

 

 

Keep up with me and everybody using Geeky Goodies’ #WhatDidYouPlayMondays hashtag, and be sure to remember Sunrise Packaging, Minnesota’s own presentation packaging experts, when it comes time to print and package your custom boardgame.

 


My Indie Board Game Journey – Chapter 1


Hi, I’m Mikel and I’m and Indie Board Game Junkie.

 

In case I need to reiterate: I love board games. From the feel of rigid chipboard game boards, to the smooth turned edges, to their custom box design and packaging, I could stay in a game store all day and lose track of time completely. In fact, last weekend I did exactly that. Twice. The intricate stories and plots fascinate me. The themes game designers choose. Fantasy or sci-fi? Cards or dice? The graphics….

Oh, the graphics….

You could almost say my least favorite part of board games is actually playing them. I mean, that’s the part I lose at. Repeatedly. But that’s just a testament to how much I love tabletop and board games. I want to make one. And until recently, I thought an indie board game was just a pipe dream.

corrugated cardboard, indie board game

Step 1

When I first started writing for Sunrise Packaging, I had no idea they made game boards and game boxes. So imagine my utter excitement when I did. I was freaking out, man! Luckily, I kept it cool. Professional. Only a few tears leaked out. Jackpot.

I had been kicking around a few game ideas by then, but it had been a long hiatus since I designed a game. It was a card game called Darwin’s Moths, and it’s still a pretty fun playthrough. But the holy grail–an indie board game–still beckoned me. But it seemed so daunting. Stick to the cards, I told myself. But without any really inspiring ideas, I ended up taking quite the break. But since discovering Sunrise Packaging and being immersed in the physical realities of board game design, I’ve been reinvigorated. I’ve started hunting the white whale again.

So here’s my journey.

I’m pretty far off from a custom board game design, but I’m getting there. And it no longer scares me. When I realized the popularity of the indie board game on Kickstarter, I was emboldened. The majority of crowdfunded tabletop games seem to hit their goal and then some. And now that I’ve seen the practicality of getting my game made, board and all, it feels more real than ever. There’s a lot of steps before then, of course. Prototyping and playtesting, to begin with. This is where I really notice corrugated cardboard playing a huge roll in my personal life.

corrugated cardboard for indie board game design

Shaping Up

From cobbling together tokens, game pieces, cards, tiles, and even prototype game boards, corrugated cardboard is essential. It’s durable enough to hold its own, but cuttable enough that I can shape it the way I need it to. It’s recyclable, and customizable. I’m not sure how other startup game developers do it, but I can’t imagine the process without a healthy dose of fluted cardboard.

I guess if I had to make a point, it’s that the idea of making an indie board game feels within my grasp. More than any other passion I’ve pursued. Even writing a book–I thought the hardest part would be getting published. But relatively, that’s the easy part. But tabletop games are so in right now, it’s a great time to make that game you’ve always wanted to make. There are a lot of steps in the process, and hopefully I can share some of them with you as I go.

In the meantime, my custom Legos have arrived! Let the playtesting begin! Stay tuned!

lego pieces for indie board game design

Gotta Start Somewhere