When it comes to storing your games, most gamers I know opt to use the box that comes with the game. You get storage trays (usually), great artwork (again, usually) and it fits on a shelf. But sometimes that’s just not an option. Minis gamers, especially painters, know this pain as they are constantly buying foam inserts to protect their figures. But this storage issue also flows into card games. Games like Magic: The Gathering, Dominion, the Arkham Horror: LCG, or a host of other card games pretty much make the core game box obsolete after a few expansions. So what’s a gamer to do?
For the most part, once you’ve outgrown the core game box, many games opt for the cardboard long boxes. These plain white boxes are functional, but about as aesthetically dull as it gets. I’m sure you are thinking “There has to be a better way! Stop the madness!” For the discerning gamer, that’s where The Spartan gaming casket comes in. Designed and created by woodworker Aaron Cain, this custom solution seeks to be both functional and beautiful at the same time.
To start with, the Spartan has divider slots every 7/8″ (an improvement over the prototype we checked out that had them every 3/8″). So even if you don’t fill the entire box, you can still keep your cards from sliding around. With cardboard boxes, I always had to shove foam in the empty spaces. The box I had to check out held poker-sized cards pretty securely. I did try something larger (7 Wonders cards), but those seem just a hair too tall for the box.
The box is held closed with neodymium magnets and is quite sturdy. What really impressed me with the Spartan was the quality of the construction. When the prototype showed up for me to check out, I couldn’t figure out how to open it. No joke. I didn’t see any photos before I received one, and when I got this wooden box I spent a solid 5 minutes trying to puzzle my way in. Eventually, I figured out that the top slid off. I had tried that at one point, but the magnets were quite solid so it required a bit more force than I was expecting (but not unnaturally so). That speaks volumes to his woodworking skill as there were no obvious seams or imperfections that made the opening very noticeable.
One of the only downsides of the Spartan is its weight compared to a cardboard box. If you are doing some traveling, this will definitely be heavier in your bag. However, it’s also a lot more durable—although I wouldn’t recommend dropping it. I’d be less worried about caring this out in the rain than a cardboard box.
For those who are regular consumers of woodworking projects, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Spartan isn’t cheap. With pledge starting at levels at $135, this probably won’t be for everyone. But this column is about taking your games to the next level, and I think the Spartan does that. This can be a storage solution that you can keep for years, and the quality makes me think it will hold up through the many different games that it houses.
Overall I was very impressed with the quality of the Spartan. I think this can be a lasting storage solution for any card game who has outgrown the core box of their game. I’m always a fan of custom woodworking and the work Aaron does is amazing.
If you’d like to get your own Spartan gaming box, there are a few days left in the Kickstarter campaign. He’s offering a large variety of wood and different options to choose from (including inlays and even a dice tower). So head over to the campaign page for more information, or to become a backer.