It appears that there are many reasons to rebox a game.
A Larger Box
Let’s say you’ve bought Troyes, Tzolk’in, or Bruges. Then, soon after you give in and also acquire the Ladies of Troyes, Tribes and Prophecies and The City on the Zwin expansions. These are, I think, “no-turning-back” expansions: Once you’ve played them, there is no reason to play the base game by itself anymore. It will therefore be natural to store them with the base game — which is easy to do, since they do not include too many components.
This is reboxing — whether you keep or discard the original box.
But it will not be enough if a publisher keeps pumping out a new expansion every three months. You will soon need a box large enough to contain all those expansions. It is a bit like repotting a plant, isn’t it? A larger box will allow a “living” game to continue developing (and absorbing all minerals contained… in the gamer’s wallet).
A More Compact Box
The space saving can be significant, but reboxing can also make the games easier to carry.
An interesting, if extreme, case is this wandering gamer who traveled for eight years with 30 games packed into a single box. Of course they were filler and gateway games, but this is still quite an achievement. He must also be a luggage Tetris pro.
Successful Kickstarter projects like the BitBox make us realize that board game storage and transportation are important issues for many gamers, who are quite willing to rebox their games.
A Box in Good Condition
You have never had a game box destroyed by a cat, or by a failed deboxing attempt? What about the good old postal system?
Anyone who orders board games by mail knows what is bound to happen, sooner or later, to one of their precious packages. Crushed, smashed or left under the rain, the first victim will be the game box. And it is not always easy to have a whole game replaced because of a damaged box. That’s when a replacement box can save the day — hence the advantage of keeping some handy.
But a damaged box is not always bad news.
If one of the last 15 games you received by mail arrived damaged, just imagine how many damaged games an online store has to deal with. A store owner told me that managing damaged games was a significant part of his daily operations. They accumulate quickly, so the best way to sell them is to discount them. That’s why most board game stores, brick-and-mortar or online, have a special “dings and dents” section where damaged games are discounted according to their condition.
A Better Looking Box
Even when they have enough space for their games, and their boxes are in good condition, some gamers will treat their favorite games with a little extra.
Also, one has to admit that not every game box cover is a masterpiece.
So why not pimp up those games a little by reboxing them?
All-purpose boxes found in specialty or dollar stores can be a good fit, but look rather plain. Many gamers cover them with a printed copy of the game’s original artwork. Some even combine reboxing with deboxing, and use sections of the original box.
Do-it-yourselfers will go as far as to make custom boxes, sometimes out of wood, for their favorite games.
Also, many variations of such craft boxes, custom or deluxe storage chests, are commercially available.
A replacement box may also contain… other game boxes. A fine example of reboxing, by BoardGameGeek user professorguy, is this single wooden box, containing the boxes of all games from the GIPF project.
- A list of reboxed games, on BoardGameGeek
- How to make a game box
- The Art of Reboxing your Games, by Nick Knack
- Fluxx Reboxing Tutorial, by Luke Matthews
- A reboxing timelapse, by Claudio Martini
- Transforming a flimsy gift box into a durable game box, by Bryan Beach
- The BitBox
- A review of the BitBox, by The BoardGame Renegade