Friday, August 30, 2013

The battle for space

NSKN Games has already published two games which are considered by many “heavy games” or “gamer’s games”. While we are not disputing this statement, we realized that this is also the result of misconception brought to the gaming world by the size of the respective game boxes.

Warriors & Traders, our first release, is presented is a 35 x 35 x 8 cm game box, about 1.5 times the volume of a “normal” game box. Exodus: Proxima Centauri, our successful game released in 2012 has been dressed in a 40 x 30 x 10 cm box, another “monster” filled with several hundred wooden, plastic and cardboard components.
We realized how difficult it must be even for the friendliest of our fans to organize games of various sizes and shapes on a shelf meant to host hundreds of titles. Early this year we started a project meant to make our games stand out by not standing out as awkwardly large or too long or wide. With our engineering background, we tried to think outside the box so that we can fit large games in regular boxes. But this was not all. Not only did we decide to avoid any quality compromise, we also wanted to improve the quality of all components and to relocate most of our production from China back to Europe, so we can have a better control over the quality of our board games.
We put all these ideas under one umbrella which we called “less is more”. It became a company policy which we will adhere to from now on. So, let’s see what is this policy all about:
  • top quality without any compromise – that’s something you hear every day and time will be our best witness
  • maximum functionality - every component in every box of NSKN Games must have its purpose. From the final prototype of a working board game to the final printed version, we are still play-testing until we decide there cannot be less components. We are striving to avoid redundancy, so that we can simply provide all the components needed to play the game to its full extent. No more, no less.
  • shape and size – with our gaming and our engineering background, we discovered we are very good at optimizing. We are considering the shape and size of each component and we are using every bit of space on our punch-boards until we are certain that the space is used optimally. while following the theme of the game.
  • standard box, smart ideas – the quality, feel and replay value of a board game is neither increased nor decreased by the size of its box. Manufacturing companies are able to meet almost any demand, it is only up to us to come up with the ideal solution. We chose to fit our “out-of-the-box” ideas in a standard sized box, so you will discover our games to be carefully thought, but heavier (and please take the word literally) that your usual square-boxed board games.
  • more cardboard, less air – a standard box has a volume of about 6000 cubic centimeters or 360 cubic inches. Most games use between one third and a half of this space. We decided to fill in as much as we need of this volume. We are not afraid of removing a cardboard insert and place as many as 15 punch-boards in a box on top of a few hundred wooden and plastic pieces. By giving large games in small boxes, we are hoping that our customers and fans will feel they get exactly what they pay for.
Our first experiment with the standard box is the Revised Edition of Exodus: Proxima CentauriWe are taking a risk going again the trend of the industry. Many publishers are going for non-standard sizes and even shapes. We also want to stand out, but through different means, some of which we've listed above.
We believe that this is a sign of respect for our fans. What do you think? Would you rather play, buy and store a special type of box or a standard one?

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  1. I appreciate standard boxes! Tins and non-standard boxes are hard to fit on my shelf. I get why publishers use them, but from a consumer standpoint, I wish they wouldn't.

    1. Lenny thanks for the comment. I wonder how do you evaluate the value of the game then, before you can see what's inside?

      Shelf space can be very limited for us gamers ;) even if it takes more than a whole wall.

  2. I could not agree more. That's why we're also going for the standard box