Something different this week.
I’ve been rummaging in a lot of different games this week, and thought I’d ask you guys about a topic that I feel rather strongly about. It’s going back to an old hobby horse of mine: that the whole end-user’s experience needs (ideally) to be considered as a single piece and should be seamless. Often your client won’t let you do this, but it’s worth pushing for.
One thing that often gets ignored entirely is what the inside of the box looks like. Fitting stuff in is simply thought of as a matter of packing, not experience. In reality, the first impression is important. Sadly, there are few people who do this well. Awaken Realm stand out here as people who plainly think that experience through and put a deal of effort into making it a good one. Hats off to them.
For me, and I suspect many others, just looking at a game in its box is the start of the session, and it can set up a great time or cause your heart to sink a little. Judging by what I’ve read online, I’m not the only one who’s opened a box, looked inside, and just put it back on the shelf. Sometimes games are great in spite of this lack of care, other times it’s the only place care has been taken. The really great games are ones that consider the whole experience.
The following are three entirely not random games that have a different vibes for me.
What I’d like you to do in the comments is to tell me how each of these initial impressions makes you feel. Elated? Impressed? Disheartened?
Here are the games:
A: Age of Dogfights WWI.
B: 1066, Tears to Many Mothers.
Note that this isn’t about how the games play. It’s all about the shallow, yet vital, first impressions and how the image makes you feel.
So you don’t feel embarrassed, I’ll go first.
A: Gosh! That’s a box full of stuff. It’s not slickly presented, but it speaks of passion and reminds me of the kind of painful detail I’d put in my own games when I was 18 and knew for a certainty that more detail always meant better. Lots of different materials used. Clearly some (over)enthusiasm involved in the making of this. It’s a bit daunting and I’ll need to put aside some time to get to grips with this. It’ll be exciting when I do though.
B: Where’s the rest of the game? FFS. This box is at least three times as big as it needs to be and that’s just rude. People have shelf space to consider, you know. Reminds me of the bad old days of early “German games” (before they were called Euros) when paying for a game and getting a box of air was commonplace. Nobody liked it then either. Inconsiderate. Not a good start.
C: Classy. Custom inserts that you can take out and use as the supply on the table. Not only is it a full box, wasting no shelf space, but it’s useful in game too. They’ve made it easier for me to get the game on the table and quicker to set up and pack away, saving valuable gaming time. I like these people. Very positive start.
So what do you think?