Monday, March 19, 2007

Weird insertions and asshole designers.

Thank you Avalon Hill. Here is a game company that had the foresight enough to look at their newer games and say "That's just too much junk to have an insert. Why oh why don't more game companies make this crucial decision? The big open boxes of their newer large box games with a simple compartmentalized grid stuck in the bottom of the box is excellent. There's a big open box for you to bag all your pieces and store them in. Ahhhhhh that's how it was meant to be! Well done AH too bad you aren't still out there producing games these days.

Then you got Mayfare Games who insists on using the same insert for every game...of course that means their insert makes no fucking sense what-so-ever. What is that amorphis piece of black plastic that we see inside those smaller boxed games? Speaking of it...why the hell do we even have one in Catan the Card Game? I mean the whole frigging game is just a few square cards...does this really require an insert?

What about Phalanx...oh now here is a company who thinks everything has a place...damned right in a ziploc bag and thrown in the box dammit! Not according to Phalanx though. Take a peek inside Mesopotamia and you'll see the true example of a good idea gone hideously bad. A little spot for every little item. The biggest reason this is a problem is that there isn't a big BOARD to hold everything in place when the game is tipped or carried on it's side. As a tile laying game a board just doesn't exist. So sure enough components everywhere nearly every time you pick up the game. Some of their other games do have these highly defined and specific inserts too but the boards at least make an effort to hold all the bits in their rightful places...however if memory serves me correctly Maharaja, Revolution and Nero all use the same insert but that's got nothing to do with functionality just me taking a mental tangent for a moment.

Now I'm not usually one to make a big fuss over an issue like this because to me it's not an issue at all. If the given plastic insert of a game doesn't work then I simply remove it and throw the damnable thing away. I'll bag my components and toss them in the box. I have however heard time and time again that people don't want to do this because they feel they are throwing away a part of the game. You've got to be kidding me? This just annoys me. The mentality that you will keep something that causes aggravation, that's absurd.

Take the new Mission Red of the worst designed inserts ever...NO one should keep that atrocity. That was just about the first thing I did when I opened the box. Certainly as this picture shows you can get those rockets into the box but why in fuck's name would you want to spend the time it takes to put all those rockets in there in that kind of order when you can be...oh I don't know playing another game? Now everything is very neatly packed in plastic bags and I can hand the players all their colored astronauts and their deck of cards quickly and efficiently. I actually believe when the insert was designed they forgot about the rockets. Think about it they knew they were going to sit nicely on top in the sprus just no one considered what would happen with them once you punched them out! Mall of Horrors which is also by Asmodee has a very nice insert and everything is neatly stored, so the company knows they can do it right. Iliad has a very small insert (as it's a very small box game) but is just fine for what it does.

Seems to me every company out there goes back and forth on good/bad insert design. Uberplay did a great job with Motley Fool's Buy Low Sell High. You don't even have to back the individual stock pieces or worry about the cards. The board fits so snugly into the box everything stays in it's given compartment. WOW! Sunken City also seems to be very well put together and no issues there. Oasis on the other hand is the game you toss the plastic monstrosity and bag the bits. Right down the middle of the road comes New England....almost the same approach as AH with their new Risk rethemes but it has a lovely fall leaves printed OPEN area so you are forced to bag the stuff and throw them in the box. This is the way to go if you have a game that has a bunch of small parts like this. Well done over all Uberplay.

So see I'm not hard to please (got a few women who can attest to that) I just want functionality. When done right a larger insert I can appreciate the work put into it and will happily use said insert for the life of my game. Just don't be artsy for artsy sake. Make it work nicely and do what it's suppose to do hold the fucking pieces in the box, nice and neat. Alright I'm done with this topic.

No comments: