Sunday, May 3, 2009

A weakness for tin

I have to admit I have a weakness for tin game boxes. Nothing is more likely to get me to shell out money for a game I already own than putting it in a snazzy tin box.

I'm not sure what the economics are of tin boxes. On the one hand, I do see them used to package some decidedly low-end products. It's not uncommon to see a tin box version of chess or dominoes in a retailer like Wal-Mart or Walgreens that doesn't cost a lot. These do tend to be public domain games where nearly all the cost in in materials and not in any creative design.

But Hasbro has put out some nice tin-box editions for games such as Scrabble, Clue and Monopoly as well that also have really nice game play components as well.

Tin boxes stand up well to the test of time, compared to paper boxes, although they still require proper storage. The weak point in game boxes are the seems, which tend to split with age. For tin boxes the biggest threats are dents and rust. Some tin boxes use hinges, which can break, but most tin boxes simply use a snug fit for the top.

It may very well be that tin containers are not an economic decision for low print-run products such as wargames, but I wouldn't mind seeing them used for some euros. Tin boxes may be too associated with U.S. producers, though, to appeal to the Euro crowd. And there may be less incentive for them to go that route because German-style game boxes are very sturdy.

Right now the latest editions of some Hasbro titles have gone low-cost, presumably to attract new players and keep sales up during tough times. But eventually there will be new "deluxe" editions of Acquire and Diplomacy and I wouldn't mind seeing a tinned version of either one.

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