I was contacted recently by Grumpy Owl Gamery in regards to their upcoming product launch of The Keep, a new, modular system for transporting (and potentially storage of) board and card games. They’ve got a brand-new Kickstarter campaign that just launched today, so I thought I’d call a little attention to it and give some of my thoughts on what I know about the product so far.
Now, as you probably know, I go to a weekly game night every Tuesday. And since I’m one of the main game-bringers and game-explainer, I almost always have a stack of 6 or 7 game boxes that I’m trying to balance as I load up the van and then navigate my way into my FLGS. I usually do pretty well, but it only takes one game-sliding fiasco to make a huge mess and ruin your day. I’ll never forget one time when I was loading up my car to go to MACE (a local convention) and I was carrying both Samurai (the Queen game one) and BattleLore, and as I opened the trunk, it all went to pot. Samurai fell upside down into the trunk (which was bad enough sorting out the bajillion-odd pieces again), but the real tradegy was that the BattleLore box smashed to the ground and burst forth plastic minis and cards all over my garage.
And while not quite as dramatic, it’s always alarming when any sort of precipitation, whether full-fledged thunderstorm or just a light rain, comes up as I need to get back in the van, because inevatibly, I end up with lots of little water spots all over most of the game boxes. I’ve thought about getting a big plastic tub to tote them in before, but carring that sort of thing is a lot more awkard and limiting to me than just carrying stacks of boxes. So up to now, I’ve just sucked it up with my stacks of mostly-empty cardboard and not really even considered any other transportation option.
But the more I think about The Keep, the more I’m willing to consider another option.
So the basic idea of The Keep is that you’ve got this waterproof plastic carrying case in which you can arragnge smaller, modular boxes to carry your games around. The “Great Chamber” is designed to hold game boards (up to 10 of them) and rulebooks, while the “Magic Chambers” will hold cards (using cool little dividers) and other bits. The Magic Chambers even have space for “Bit Pits“, where you can keep tokens, cubes, or other small doo-dads and actually use it as a dispensing tray during gameplay.
If you’re like me, though, the idea and potential hassle of moving game components over into the box for every game night is a pretty big turn-off. While I could certainly see it being a very reasonable option to actually store your games in various Magic and Great Chambers (especially is space is an issue for you), I like the look of the original boxes on my shelves.
But the more I’ve looked at the plans and thought about it, I don’t know that it would really be all that big an issue to load it up each week. I mean, I already aggressively bag up all the bits in my games, and if I could more or less just dump the baggies into one of the magic boxes, it wouldn’t really take all that long. And for some of the more commonly-hauled games (like some fillers), I would be able to give them a semi-permanent (and well-labeled!) home in the box.
If I have any concerns at this point, they’re mostly about the Kickstarter campaign itself. The price for The Keep is pretty hefty ($170+), but if it’s as good quality as they promise and works like it should, it would seem to be worth it. But the goal of the project is $750,000, so it’s going to take a ton of interested gamers to get it there.
I can’t really give The Keep an endorsement at this point (since I haven’t even seen a real one yet), but I did want to share my enthusiasm about it, and I really hope that the Kickstarter campaign can be a success since there’s absolutely nothing else like this in the boardgame hobby right now. The Keep definitely has my attention right now, and who knows, maybe it will even revolutionize how I transport and protect my boardgames from now on.