I usually host game nights at my home, where I have access to my entire board game collection within easy reach. But at times I’m called upon to bring some games to a friend’s house, or I’m traveling and want to take a few with me on a trip. At those times, I find myself wishing there were an easier way to transport games. Grumpy Owl Gamery is hoping to change that.
Board game boxes, I’ve already made clear, are primarily designed to sell the game: they take up lots of shelf space so you feel like they’re worth the price. Holding the components well is a secondary concern. That adds up to a lot of empty space (and easily crushed boxes) when you try to transport more than just a few games at a time in their original boxes. For a quick solution I just use one or two zippered cases that were originally intended for camping: they’re fairly sizable and can hold a few large game boxes vertically or a pile of small ones, and the handle on top makes it easier to carry two of these at a time.
For more games (or when space is more of a concern) I use a combination of solutions, mostly borrowed from other gamers:
- Use homemade tuckboxes for card games instead of the original box.
- Take out the plastic trays and pack several games into one box.
- Ditch the box entirely, put the bits into resealable plastic baggies and just pack the boards flat.
This last one is the most effective in reducing storage space, but it comes at a cost: packing a bunch of game boards into a suitcase or throwing them into a bag is a good way to end up with bent boards or dinged corners. And some boards are fairly large: they’re not something you can easily just fit into just any carrying case.
Here’s where The Keep comes in. The folks at Grumpy Owl Gamery love playing games but they hate transporting them, for all of the reasons I’ve listed above. But instead of just griping about it (like me), they’re actually designing a solution. The Keep is a hard carrying case that’s designed to hold some modular chambers inside: the Great Chamber is a large flat case meant to hold game boards and large manuals, and the Magic Chamber is a smaller box that is perfect for cards. The Magic Chamber also has “bit pits” which are small containers to fit all your dice and meeples, and there are plastic dividers so you can keep your Thunderstone cards nicely organized.
Grumpy Owl Gamery is currently in discussions with manufacturers and is planning to launch a Kickstarter campaign in August. Robert Groller of Grumpy Owl Gamery told me that they’re wanting to go for something high-end, not a cheap plastic bin or cardboard but something more along the lines of Pelican cases, except specifically designed to transport board games. That mean it won’t come cheap (they’re expecting this to retail at about $199) but if you’re often on the road with a lot of board games, this might be well worth it.
One more note: on the images of the Great Chamber, you may have noticed that a Monopoly board is in there alongside Arkham Horror and Ticket to Ride. I was a bit taken aback, so I asked Groller about it, who defended himself by saying that he loathes Monopoly but needed a well-known bi-fold game board to show the sizing. So your mission, dear readers, is to suggest some other game with a similarly-sized bi-fold board that he can use instead!
They don’t have any useable prototypes available yet, but I may be getting one later on to test out. In the meantime, you can get a preview of The Keep at the Grumpy Owl Gamery website or head to their Facebook page to see some photos of their wooden prototypes, and stay tuned for the upcoming Kickstarter campaign.