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 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!
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.
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
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
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!