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Prototype boxes?

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What is the most practical way to make boxes for prototype games?
I'm looking for something approximately 4.5 x 6 x 1.5 inches. Just large
enough to hold 2 decks of cards (ideally with something to keep them
separate) plus rules and maybe scoresheets.
For now I've printed my design on ordinary paper and wrapped it around
the box to another game. Not bad, but I'd prefer the look and feel of a
finished game.

I can imagine printing on cardboard, then cutting out and folding, but
it would probably look too amateurish.
Is it possible to buy unfolded boxes, or tops with fitting bottoms, that
could fit through an inkjet printer?
I'm sure there are other methods I haven't thought of. Thanks in advance
for any suggestions.

(This is my first post. Sorry if I'm asking an old question, but I
didn't find an answer searching "boxes" or "packaging".)

Joined: 04/23/2013

You could try something like a deck protector card box:

Like This example:

Then you could just adhere necessary stickers to the box.

It's worth a look.

Good luck!

Joined: 08/13/2008
Cardstock Box

I create boxes using cardstock for all of my games. If you go to my website and go to the Tipped Tacs page you can see if the Word file box will work for what you need. I have made a box for a single deck card game that works great, but I think this one will work better for you. It consists of a jpg box outline which can be resized and then WordArt for the text. Feel free to do whatever you like with the document.


Prototype boxes?

A good way to get a feel for boxes is to carefully disassemble boxes similar to the type you're looking for. That way, you can get an idea where the cuts and scores (folds) need to be, and you can design a template around it.

What I usually do after that is to create a template, then a design using that template. I then have it printed and mounted on a similar substrate (or sometimes, even the box itself, if the new print is dark and/or opaque enough to hide the original printing/artwork), then carefully trim the perimeter and score the folds. When it's reassembled, it looks like a professional box.

My profession for the past 10+ years has been digital printing and graphics, so if anyone has any questions, I'll be happy to help however I can. :D


I just googled for some this (I imagine 'googled' is a word by now):

Go Packaging
Custom Made Boxes

The only issue I can see with those might be cost. If I had to make my own, I would probably get the heaviest cardstock I could find and try from there.

Take a look around at origami box design too, the boxes you are talking about are not huge, so you can probably fold a prototype to size, unfold it, and experiment with printing on it. There are books cover howto make these kinds of boxes, check your library, as well as online for patterns.

Joined: 12/31/1969
Prototype boxes?

Posted previously both here in the forums and over in Web Resources is the Super Deluxe Tuckbox Template Maker, a little online app where you enter your final dimensions and it generates a PDF of the tuckbox. Very cool. To separate the decks you'd just need either a z-shaped or t-shaped (your choice) piece of cardboard to insert into the tuckbox.

The link at the top of that page about custom tuckboxes by Elliot C. Evans is also useful, as it contains some handy advice on scoring, folding, and gluing your tuckbox (in case you're unfamiliar with that kind of thing).

-- Matthew

Prototype boxes?

I would agree that a tuckbox would be your best bet for professional looking results. I have made several and all have been very professional looking. The key for me was to put clear laminate over the image before cutting out the box. That protects the artwork and gives the box a professional look. I suggest using matte finish laminate. It's a little more expensive and a little harder to find, but the finished piece looks better than the usual glossy finish.

Another note, I haven't used the tuckbox maker linked above, but I have had luck laying out a tuckbox so that it fits entirely on a single letter sized piece of card stock (110#). It is also easier to find laminate that will fit a letter sized sheet.

For the double deck box, I had to buy a sheet of poster board (had to be sure that it was unvarnished on one side), cut it into legal sized sheets and ran that through the printer. To laminate, I used a roll of laminate cut to proper size. It worked out great using the poster board (which is very cheap to buy).

For the deck separator (after buying The Testimony of Jacob Hollow I vowed that all my double deck projects would have deck separators), I used a scrap piece of poster board. I made 3 folds that looked like this "_/\_" and folded it into a T shape like this "_|_". Works great!

Best of luck!!

Prototype boxes?

Oh yeah, for assembly, double sided tape works great. It's durable and easy to use, no drying time and, when you use a laminate on one side of your art, it is fairly repositionable!

Weight of cardboard in boxes

Thanks for all the suggestions!

Now I have two more questions:

1) What is the usual 'weight' of the cardboard in game boxes? [url] Paper Mart[/url] has corrugated tuckboxes in over 100 sizes, but the 3/16'-thick "200# test" cardboard looks too heavy to me. They say:
Corrugated boxes are made of cardboard with an inner sheet, a corrugated middle, and an outer sheet.
32ECT boxes have paper thickness of about 33, 23, 42
200# TEST boxes have paper thickness of about 42,26,42
... but I don't know what that means.

2) If I make separate box tops and bottoms, what should be the difference in length and width?

Joined: 12/31/1969
Prototype boxes?

You don't want corrugated cardboard -- that's like a brown paper box, like a moving box or such.

-- Matthew

Prototype boxes?

There are two issues at work here, the material used and the type of box. I'll mention the material first:

The corrugated cardboard boxes aren't the same as the boxes that you get when you buy a game at the store. The corrugated cardboard will give it a less professional look and feel (the same kind of material that Cheapass uses to make their game boxes).

To get the look and feel of a professional game, you will want chipboard (sometimes called boxboard or pressboard) boxes. Chipboard is measured in thousandths of an inch (also called points or "pts"). The site you mention had some boxes made from chipboard. They use .024" thick, which is fairly thin (about the thickness of single ply chipboard you can buy at an art store), but usable.

Being the right material is not enough, however, which brings us to the second point, the type of box. You refer to the tuck box in your post, but that is a very specific type of box in which the end flaps tuck into the carton to close the box. You then mention the separate tops and bottoms. The term for that kind of box is full-telescoping or full-telescopic. That's the kind of box with the separate top and bottom where the top completely fits over the bottm portion. Everyone who owns a game is familiar with these.

Your graphics would then either be adhered as a sticker over a part of the box or would be "wrapped" to cover the entire top and sides and bottom and sides of each half. When adhesive is applied to the full surface of the artwork to adhere it to the entire surface of the box top or bottom it is called tight-wrapped.

A good question to ask at this point would be whether you are going into production and need the number of boxes that a manufacturer would require as a minimum, or just getting a bunch of blanks to use for prototypes or small run games. If you're going self production, you may find (and others can chime in with their experience) that a full service house will fit your needs. They will produce everything for you including the boxes.

If you're just looking to stockpile some blank boxes, then you may find the required minimum a little pricey for the size/specs of the box you want. You could co-op an order with anyone else who may be interested, but you would have to agree on a standard size to order (may be tough to get a bunch of designers on the same page regarding sizes). Another alternative may be to work with the administrators of this site to get them to carry blank (white?) boxes in the protoparts store (presumably a box that would nicely fit the protoparts quad-fold boards with room for more).

One last note, if this is just for prototypes and you're a little put off by a companies minimum order, you may find it easier to build the boxes yourself out of chipboard and some tape. If you're handy enough to create a game board and other components, you may have the skills to build a box. It will just take some experimentation to get the dimensions down.

Just a few things to think about, best of luck!!

Zzzzz's picture
Joined: 06/20/2008
Prototype boxes?

Depending on quantity/cost you need, another recent site I came acrossed might work for you.

Besides boxes, they also do a lot of other marketing items(stickers, decals, calanders, display boxes, security holograms... a lot of other things).

As always the lower quanity cost seems a bit high, but at least they offer runs as low as 50.

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