I know you’ve heard that size doesn’t matter but the truth is that she’s lying. Here’s why you should care about size when looking at your package.
When we first considered Genegrafter we were going to use a very simple setup like the following. The deck of cards went into a nice little slot and dice would go into neat rows below it. The rulebook was originally going to be a glossy sheet that folded up and went on top of everything. (You can also see why I do not do the artwork for Albino Dragon)
At one point we spoke with a company about distributing Genegrafter (Albino Dragon games are currently only sold through Kickstarter and here on the site). They pointed out that in order to be noticed on the shelf at the game store you needed to be at least a certain size. We changed the box size and ended up at a massive 10″ – squared.
Guess what else went up? Costs.
Once we looked at this seemingly simple change, everything became more expensive. Now we needed more cardboard for the box, paper for the rulebook, it used more ink, and the inserts all got a lot bigger. And it wasn’t just materials, shipping became much more complicated. Before we could have put two copies of the game in a standard USPS priority box but now we couldn’t even fit one. Shipping costs went up on the boat from China too. Now instead of taking up 56 cubic inches of volume we were now consuming 400!
To give you an idea of what this means, games are packaged into larger boxes and then loaded up on pallets like this for transport:
Where before we could have fit 2000 games onto about 5 pallets, now we were looking at closer to 35. This not only increases the weight and volume used to calculate shipping costs, but also raises the inventory costs to store them once they reach the warehouse.
When I was explaining all of this to my girlfriend months ago I showed her a copy of Thunderstone (a game I like) and how most of the box is empty. Her response was, “Don’t people get mad or feel ripped off?” Surprisingly, I’ve never heard anyone say this. I would love to see an experiment that shows how the exact same contents but different size boxes can change the perception of value.
This is one of those perceptions in the industry that needs to change if consumers ever hope to bring down costs to make more affordable games. Our customers are smarter than that and there wasn’t any need to offer something bigger than what is absolutely necessary, so went back to a smaller box, resized our manual, and actually ADDED more components than we originally promised.
What are the benefits of going smaller?
* Less cardboard and paper used so a lower material cost
* Lighter and smaller volume for freight shipping
* Lighter and smaller for domestic shipping used in order fulfillment
* Easier to carry – frankly, I’m tired of having to pack up large boxes to take with me to game night
* Greener – fewer materials means less waste
So as you can see, size does matter.