It’s late at night on Wednesday 20th September, and I am tired. It’s been a long day, with work but a distant memory in the twilight of the eve. My eyelids are getting heavy, weighed down by a severe lack of concentration and even more worrying lack of coffee. I’ve spent over an hour on the phone this evening, trying to sort out some thing or other. Finally, I manage to sit down at my computer and I begin to write.
The problem is there is only one thing I want to write about. There is only one thing that is on my mind. Forget what I planned to write about, this is way more important.
Look how freaking beautiful this box is –
So I got a parcel delivered to my work today (or two days ago – I had to write this one in advance due to timing reasons) and it blew me away. I have never bought a game before just because I liked the box. Sure, I’ve purchased games based on what is printed on the box, but never before simply because the box is so amazing. Yet, look at it. LOOK AT IT!
Okay, so a bit of backstory about the game itself. Salem (better known as Salem 1692) is a 4-12 player social deduction game based on the Salem witch trials. In the game, there are Witches and Townsfolk. Townsfolk have the goal of revealing all the witches. Witches have the goal of getting all the Townsfolk to flip their “Tryal” cards. Players can play cards on one another, and there are general cards that affect the status of each player as well. This makes it (what I imagine it to be) a beautifully simple social deduction game. Once we’ve had a chance to play it then I’ll write a full review. For now though let’s get back to the box.
Facade games have released two games now, both Kickstarted and both made a shed load of money. Their games have historical themes, based on a precise year, being Salem 1692 and Tortuga 1667. The latter is a pirate-themed game for 2-9 players.
For both games, they have used the facade (you see what I did there?) of a fake book for their box. The concept is not a new one, Biblios being a great example of a book-game combo, but Facade have taken what other games have done and knocked it out of the ballpark. This is a book that, on a bookshelf, you struggle to tell is actually a game box. It’s amazing. I’ve had book safes less convincing.
A New Peak For Production Design
So the game itself, inside the box, is of mid-level quality. The cards are of a medium quality GSM, meaning they are made of a high-quality thick card but do not have the linen feel some Fantasy Flight cards have. The hourglass is standard (I’ve just realised I haven’t posted a picture of the inside of the box yet…so just scroll down a bit for that), and the tokens used within the game are acrylic rather than cardboard. No corners were cut in the making of this game – and then we come to the box.
The box genuinely looks and feels like a well-made book. The lettering is embossed and foiled, meaning it really stands out and glistens in the light. It is on both the spine and the front cover. The other edges of the box have been designed to look like pages, and do a really good job at first glance. A further inspection will show where the pager is stuck onto the sides of the box, but that is absolutely fine.
The covers mimic an old book perfectly, showing a slight impression of wear, but it is meant to be like that. It’s all printed on.
Finally, the box closes with a magnetic clasp – in much the same way Biblios does actually.
A Statement In The Gaming Industry
I’ve seen more and more posts pop up recently about how the gaming industry is getting more and more expensive. We seem to be paying more for games, and the argument behind this is that the quality of games has been increasing at a comparative rate. This may be true; however, Salem 1692 and Tortuga 1667 are examples that go against the grain. Both use this fake book design.
What do I mean by this? Taking Biblios as an example again, that costs £21.99 RRP. Similar games, in regards to components, maybe include Munchkin (£19.52) or Codenames (£15.99 RRP). Add on the quality of the box and you are probably looking at a potential RRP of £25.
Salem 1692 costs £18.50. Yes, less than £20. Yes, less than Munchkin. It is phenomenally cheap for what it is (and my wallet cannot thank Facade enough for making it cheap).
Here we see a non-standard game box, impeccably designed, with a convincing look, costing less than Starbucks sandwiches for a family of four.
This is surely a sign to the gaming industry that quality can come at a price that doesn’t break the bank. Having a game that feels finished, feels well crafted and well looked after, really makes a difference to the overall experience. Look at Facade and see what they are doing. They are smashing it.
So what do you think? Is that box amazing or what? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Alternatively, what are your favourite game boxes?
Review to come.
I’m not sponsored by Facade, but the box is awesome, so you can find the game here if you want to check it out for yourself. As I said, I haven’t played the game yet so the review will come when it has actually been played.