My Journey to Find an Affordable & Compact Board Game Bag
There’s two words which triggers a strong emotional response for pretty much any one who is semi-serious about board games: game night. Whether that emotion is excitement, calculation or revenge, if you’re the one bringing the games you can add worry or confidence depending on how you transport your games.
That’s what it was like for me. My wife and I have a love for board games and so every family gathering we would bring at least 2 or 3 games just in case an opportunity arose to play a game. Granted we often (not so subtly) created that opportunity. For a long time my preferred way to carry my board games was either my wife’s hand bag if it was a small card game like Love Letter or Sleeping Queens, or a brightly coloured grocery bag if we took Ticket to Ride or Small World. This was fine for the most part. It was cheap but we ran the risk of whitened corners on our game boxes and out game pieces going everywhere from transporting our games on their side.
That was, until we realised there had to be a better way to carry board games. There had to be a better board game bag than our do-it-yourself solution. This realisation led us to eventually develop The Board Game Bag. But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself.
My search for a suitable game carrying bag first led me to a great thread on Board Game Geek. I found that I wasn’t alone in my search. Heaps of other people just like myself were searching for a way to carry their board games to game night or family gatherings. And just like me, many were using DIY solutions ranging from Ikea bags to tool bags to plastic storage boxes. So I knew I wasn’t alone but that knowledge didn’t really help with my situation. There was nothing that I could see which was better than I already had. Then I came across an absolute gem.
The Game Canopy
Amidst the various discussions on forums etc. I came across a board game bag that was almost perfect. The Game Canopy by Level 3B is a kickstarter project with real promise. It features great protection from it’s padded sides and would allow me to carry my games flat so all the pieces didn’t fly all over the place. Awesome! Now where do I get one? Unfortunately by the time I found out about this bag, I had missed out on backing the project. So I had to wait… until early 2017 until I could get my hands on one of their bags. It was June 2016 when I found it. Almost a year to wait!!! And then it seemed like they just kept on adding endless options of colour and accessories. I also found out later that it was going to cost me over 100USD for the basic option. Hmm… I like this bag but I couldn’t wait. I’ll also mention that I live in Australia. To get one of these bags I’d have to add on extra shipping and my costs goes up. So I continued my search.
Another great board game carrying system that I came across is The Gamefolio system by KeepGear / InIt! Like the Game Canopy it started as a Kickstarter projet and based in USA. The Gamefolio is a neat system in which you put all your game pieces into a zip-up folder/folio. Then you can take the folio to your game night safe in mind that all of your game pieces are nice an snug and protected. For carrying multiple games/folios you put them in their Vault Bag which can accommodate 4-5 Gamefolio cases. You don’t have to use the Gamefolio cases as the Vault Bag nicely fits heaps of games in their boxes.
This system is great if you don’t really care about keeping your board games in their original boxes. For me, I love my game boxes. I love the colours and artwork and its easy to see what game I’m getting out of my bag. Also the thought of pulling all my game pieces out of their boxes and packing them in something else didn’t really appeal to me. And what if I wanted to take a different game? I’d either have to shell out 100USD for the Vault Bag and 25USD for a Gamefolio case for each game I own, or have to remove the game from the folio, pack it back in it’s box, then put the new game into the folio. True the other option was just to put my boxes straight into the Vault Bag, but the Game Canopy seemed to do a better job in that situation.
The Board Game Bag
With no affordable and available way to transport my board games, I was a bit disheartened. It was back to using my grocery bags and trying to keep the games flat. Sad.
Then the idea came. Why not design my own board game bag! And that’s what my wife and I did. I wanted something affordable, something that would be small enough to store away in a cupboard, and something that would keep my boxes safe and not have to carry them on their sides. So we made The Board Game Bag.
The final product turned out to be a 12in x 12in x 12in cube. The perfect size for 4 Ticket to Ride size boxes stored flat. We wanted to make the bag as small as we could while still having enough room for a heap of games. A game with a bigger box like Lords of Waterdeep or Risk won’t fit but pretty much everything else does.
One problem we ran into was, if we were going to store the games flat, how do you get to the game on the bottom without having to get all the others out? The solution was to make both the top and side of the bag open completely. This way we could see which game was at the bottom and just slide it out.
We made all sides nicely padded and inside we used a smooth nylon material so the boxes slide out nicely and didn’t get scratched. So it packs away easily, we made it so the Board Game Bag folds flat to only 1½in. I can easily store that in my cupboard or under the bed… or just about anywhere really.
And keeping affordability in mind, The Board Game Bag retails for just 40AUD. Bargain!
Affordable, compact and keeps my games safe. Works for me. Have a look at the Board Game Bag here and tell us what you think.