Thursday, December 30, 2010

Now That's a Box

Yesterday, I was very happy to receive a copy of the Spanish-language old school RPG, Aventuras en la Marca del Este. Many thanks to Pedro Gil and his colleagues for sending it to me all the way across the Atlantic. I'll almost certainly have more to say about the game in coming days, but what I wanted to share immediately was just how impressed I was by the box in which the rules are packaged.

Now, unlike a lot of old schoolers, I'm not a box fetishist. I don't believe for a second that all that's needed for the second coming of 80s faddishness is more boxed RPGs. The hobby's falling away from mainstream consciousness has very little to do with the fact that most RPGs these days are sold as books, but that's a topic for another day.

That said, I do appreciate boxed RPGs and consider both Brave Halfling's Swords & Wizardry: White Box and Lamentations of the Flame Princess Weird Fantasy Role-Playing to be terrific products. Heck, I even appreciate that WotC came out with a boxed edition of D&D IV. But none of them has a box to compare with the one that came with Aventuras en la Marca del Este. It's big, well-made, and extremely sturdy. I could easily see carrying this box from place to place without its slowly coming apart over time.

I'm not sure you can see very clearly how thick the box is in the above photo, but it really does put all other boxes I've seen (including WotC's very nice box) to shame.

My apologies for a blurry image here; I'm a terrible photographer. Still, I think this picture goes a little way toward showing the thickness and sturdiness of the box. It's completely unlike any I've ever seen before, reminding more of a boardgame's box than what we've typically seen for RPGs in the past. I absolutely adore it (and the game too -- more on that later).


  1. Very nice. The artwork isn't shabby either.

    That box looks comparable to the Master Tile sets for 4E. It's probably so because the tiles NEED to be carried around. I guess WotC doesn't think rule/supplement box sets get lugged around.


  2. That's an awesome looking game.

    Looking forward to hearing about it!

    Interestingly I've noticed that B & N now has a very large section of Board Games, Card Games, and other boxed games. One of the employees told me that they recently expanded the section and that they've been selling quite well.

    Maybe going with a box format for a game isn't such a bad decision right now. . .

  3. I recently managed to score a box an iPad came in from a friend who bought one. Now there's a well made box - fits my digest sized books nicely.

    I really like that spanish pizza box though.

  4. Thanks to you James for posting about our box in your blog. We hope you enjoy the game. We have put a lot of work in this old school rpg, with tons of nice illustrations.

  5. You make me very jealous, young man! I am DESPERATE to get the boxes I bought a few days ago... another 10 days to wait, though! :(

  6. It really would help to have RPGs in local game stores, book stores, Wal-mart, Target, Big Box Bookstores, copies circulating in libraries, and finding their way into thrift stores.(Various games, not just WOTC's, though I'm surprised Paizo hasn't tried for wider distribution.) Box sets(with limits of course: for example, TSR's Planescape was too ornate, and reduced return on investment, and then there's Avalon Hill's cost overruns, but I doubt that'd happen nowadays!) are ideal, cuz they look like a game, but books are visually appealing too. There should be both, imo. I'd prefer a complete game to installments, however.

    As for this Box, awesome! I wish I knew Spanish...A friend of mine is a native speaker who plays RPGs, I'll send him a link.

  7. I have to add that this game has been a huge success and I have seen it prominently featured in several hobby stores. I think this game (together with Embelyon, a spanish Microlite 20) is going to be responsible of a new interest for the old school in Spain by the "normal people".

  8. can some post a link to were i can order this. I think it is time I learn spanish.

  9. Of all the OSR products out there, this is the one that I think could be the biggest hit. Just looking at that cover makes me want to play it.