Posted Friday, 30-Oct-2015
A review of BattleBin, a new board game subscription service.
Makeup. Coffee. Snacks. These are only a small sample of mystery “box-of-the-month” clubs that are available these days.
Offering recurring shipments of related items for a monthly fee, I personally attribute the success of subscription services to two things:
1. The ease in which you receive a curated selection of “stuff”
2. The fact that they offer a small surprise to people used to extensive and exhaustive research preceding every purchase.
Enter BattleBin, a small company that aims to provide the same experience for games.
BattleBin is a monthly box of hand selected gaming items, from cardboard to video, delivered directly to your door. Each month features a few items relating to a central theme. Past boxes have included miniatures and paint sets, giving the uninitiated a great starting point.
My box’s theme is “Battles & Brews” and has a few of the dice and card drinking games that have popped up in the past couple of years.
Included was Iron & Ale, a card game where players sling drinks around the table while gambling with resources on which player will win various head-to-head physical challenges.
Also in the box is a Drinking Quest starter set which includes a pint glass featuring an unholy cross between a frat boy and a beholder known as the Beerholder.
Drinking Quest is a Munchkin-esque game where your beer is your life, and you take your character on a quest to gain the most XP.
The box also contains some Drinking Dice, a couple of nice burlap bags proudly emblazoned with Viking Sack of Loot and Dwarven Bag of Holding, a microgame to help determine who picks the game for game night, and a very nice set of metal dwarven fantasy coins to be used with any game. Himself a non-drinker, the creator of BattleBin also includes alternate rules to use with all of the included games that use those coins in lieu of drinks.
Card based drinking games may not necessarily be up your alley and that is part of what makes a monthly mystery box service difficult to review.
I got lucky; as a home-brewer and craft beer enthusiast, I’m certain these games will hit my table a number of times. But if you’re reading this and wrinkling your nose at the games included, you may wonder if it’s worth risking roughly $30 a month on such a product.
I initially shared that concern. I extensively research board games before I buy them, watching videos and reading reviews. By the time the box arrives in my hand I could probably almost open it up and play immediately. Of course, this means any sense of surprise is gone. Part of why I like Secret Santas so much is that surprise.
Even when I’m getting a game from my wishlist, as with the BoardGameGeek Secret Santa, I still love knowing that my Santa is likely choosing a game that spoke to him or her as much as it did to me. That same sense of care seems to be packaged into BattleBin. It in no way felt like I was getting a random box of cast-off games.
There was a lot of thought put into the products, and even the way they were packaged. My pint glass was wrapped up inside those bags, leading to a sense of discovery as I unpackaged it.
There is an obvious amount of care put into BattleBin. The box includes a small mini-magazine explaining each item and why they chose it. It’s clear that a lot of thought is put into developing each BattleBin and I think that’s the most important thing to consider in a “of-the-month” type product.
If you’re willing to trust someone else to put together a fun and cohesive experience, I think BattleBin represents an excellent value for you or for a gamer in your life. Especially the gamers who seem to have everything.
The best recommendation I can give is the fact that I’ve already ordered next month’s box. I’m looking forward to seeing what “Rockets & Rivets”, a WW2 themed box has in store.
For a full video unboxing, check out the video from ‘MTGirl’ on YouTube.
Published by BoardGamePrices.com
Coming at you this week: Paladins of the West Kingdom, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrel, and the new game from Gil Hova!
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