Sunday, 31 July 2016

Kickstarter #7

I'm at a loss

So its time for another Kickstarter post, but this week I'm at a loss.  I normally try to find four Kickstarters I like the look of, but this week I've only found one.  Nothing really jumped out at me, nothing grabbed my attention enough, and ultimately what I've found is something that (if I could afford enough of them) would plausibly solve the issue of board game storage creep.  As some people might know I've got a lot of games and little storage space.  Anyway, lets at least have a look at this Kickstarter, and I will explain why I like the look of it, but also a few things I think could count against it, or could be improved.

BitBox - Game-Ovations - LLC

There have always been attempts made to help gamers to store and improve their boardgame collection capacity.  Initially the vast majority of these storage options were designed to optomise the way the original game boxes are used.  The general introduction of Box organisers (either laser cut mdf, plasticard or foam board) has allowed people to make setting up and storing pieces in the box a lot easier.

In general this is great, games like Eclipse are a pain for bringing out on the table and setting up, so the box organisers also improve the set up time as you don't have to dig everything out.

The issue, of course, is you still have to get all the boxes themselves stored somewhere, and that is not always easy.  My personal storage unit isn't big enough now for all the games I own, and logically this means I need even more storage somewhere in the house (not actually easy when space is a premium in some houses, such as mine).  So internal organisers are good, but collections are still limited by the boxes themselves.

BitBox allows you to compress everything even more, by eliminating the need for the box, and putting all your games into a specially designed set of file boxes.  The benefit here is clear, more games fit into a smaller space.

The design idea is nothing new, I'm sure I have seen the concept before, but BitBox seems to have a clearer ideal than most.  The boxes and organisation seems to have been thought through, and you certainly get a lot for your money.  $30 will get you one of the storage units, but the idea is that will then fit 10-16 games (I'd be needing 5 of them based on that estimate).  Plus you can get a carry case variant, so that you can move your games around to play with other people.  That in itself makes things very interesting.  Of course there is something to say for buying these things one at a time when you start collecting, thus spreading the cost, something I wouldn't necessarily be able to do.

Now, I personally like this Kickstarter because of the size and depth of these boxes.  Clearly you could make these yourself from existing file boxes, if you wanted to spend that time.  However, these boxes are well laid out, you know for a fact that they have enough space in them for the boards as well as the pieces (something some of these boxes fail to do, meaning boards and rules end up loose elsewhere).  You can't quite split everything up as you could with box organisers, but at least there is that.

There are issues with the idea though.  Transferring trays over to the travel case may take longer (if you have to move boards between boxes for instance, if the boards aren't already in the same tray then you'll have to work that all out each time).  In the original game boxes that won't be the case.  They have got around the issue of knowing what is in each BitBox by having labelled outsides, which I like, but I also like seeing all the official boxes and art work crammed into my cupboard, and I know (because I have this as well) people would be loathed to give up those official boxes, so there is the need for storage just for them (though a watertight store in the loft might do).  The thing is the box art can also be the thing to tempt new players into doing something while they visit.

Finally though, and I do hope I can link Game-Ovations into this post, I really want to be able to have an envelope type thing to put the game boards into before I put them in the game tray.  That way I don't have to dig through all the folded up boards in each tray to find the right ones.  An extra set of cardboard slips that the boards go into would be ever so helpful, especially if they hand the outside label option as well.  Now I'll admit some games have a lot of space requirements for the boards (such as zombicide) but I still thing even using 2-3 of these slips for big games would be easier than lots of game boards being loose and mixed together.

Even with all those downsides I still like the look of this.  Also one of the pledge levels is just outstanding (if miles and miles off my budget at $2000).  Pay that much, and Game-Ovations will fly to your house, with an "unlimited" number of boxes, to sit and go through organising your entire collection for you.  Sometimes, the height of laziness can be ever so appealing.  That said though, I do think that is a unique and rather cool little pledge level.

There aren't really any stretch goals here, but the produce itself isn't really "expandable" in that way anyway.  There is the option of buying extra trays and boxes of course, but I think buying the packages in the set pledge levels is more than enough.  The question of course, is the downside of "losing" the box outweighed by the space saving.

Finally, for those outside the US (the vast majority of my readers), there is quite a postage price on top of the item.  Its $30 to the UK for instance.  I assume this is due to the bulk rather than the weight, but it is a shame.  I'm hoping these sorts of things get over here for retail once the kickstarter is done, at which point some of the postage will be consumed by the retailers rather than having to fall flat on the customer.. sadly we won't know if these even end up being locally sold til a lot later on.

Anyway.  The Kickstarter is right here if you do want to look.

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