The type of box you choose for your board game can have a big impact on your game’s quality and manufacturing cost. Board game boxes come in several types and sizes, with a variety of cardboard options and finishes available.
Understanding which type of box is best for your board game can help you impress customers with the quality of your game, all while staying within your budget.
Below, we’ve explained everything you need to know about board game boxes to successfully make your own board game, from types of boxes to common dimensions, pricing and more.
There are Three Common Types of Board Game Boxes
There are three main types of board game boxes: tuck boxes, two-piece boxes and magnetic flip boxes.
Your choice of box can have a significant impact not just on how your game looks and feels, but also how much it costs to manufacture.
Need more help choosing the right box type for your board game? Our full board game component guide explains the type of boxes and other components you can choose from in more detail.
Board Game Box Dimensions
Board game boxes come in several different shapes and sizes. Because board games vary in size, weight and total number of pieces, there’s no one-size-fits-all board game dimensions for every game.
Instead, it’s important to consider three things when you’re comparing different box types and sizes for your board game: the contents of the game box, your game’s target retail price, and the manufacturing cost for each type of box.
1. The Contents of the Box
The first thing you should consider is the contents of the box — namely, the specific components and pieces you want to include in your game, as well as the layout that you want to use to store them inside the box.
Board game box pricing increases with the dimensions of the box, meaning it’s uneconomical to choose a large box for a game with few pieces. Most industry leaders recommend against using a big box for a game with few components.
This isn’t just because of the cost of a large box — it’s also because of the psychological effect of a customer opening a big box to see wasted space. Some customers will feel cheated after they open up a large box and some may feel uncomfortable by the wasted space.
As customers might feel cheated, they may end up throwing the box away and storing the board game components separately to save space.
2. The Retail Price of Your Board Game
The second thing to consider is the retail price of your game. In the US, there are three general price brackets for board games with boxes: under $25, under $35, and under $55. There’s also a smaller fourth category for massive hobbyist games priced at $60 and above.
The price of your game is affected, to a significant extent, by the size of your box.
Typically, games in large boxes sell around the $55 range, medium for approximately $35, and small for under $25. To some extent, the size of the box you choose can have a psychological impact on its perceived value by the customer (provided it actually needs the extra size).
If you need a larger box size, upsizing is worth considering. However, remember that choosing a larger box but keeping it mostly empty is often a counterproductive decision that can affect your perceived value to customers in a negative way.
3. Your Manufacturing Costs
Choosing a larger game box can have two major negative effects on the costs of manufacturing your game.
First, a large box will cost more to produce than a smaller box. In manufacturing, there are three major sizes to consider: small, medium and large boxes. Each of these encompassing sizes fits onto a different printing paper.
The bigger your boxes, the more and higher quality material you need, and the more expensive it will be to produce.
Second, larger boxes can have a significant impact on the total cost of shipping your game from China to your target country. Because large boxes require more space, you can expect to pay a greater amount per unit shipped.
When you’re shipping thousands or tens of thousands of copies of your board game, even a tiny increase in box size can have a large, noticeable impact on your shipping prices.
Download our guide to see the most standard size boxes
Out detailed guide lists and explains all you need to know about:
- All board game box types and dimensions
- Board game box materials and finishes
- Game boards, tokens, cards & other materials
Board Game Box Materials
Although there are some custom boxes made using tin and wood, almost all board game boxes are made of cardboard.
There are three main categories of cardboard that are used to manufacture board game boxes:
- Cheap cardboard (referred to as “B level” cardboard)
- Standard cardboard
- High-density cardboard
These categories vary in density. The more dense a piece of cardboard is, the stronger it will be and the less likely it is to warp, break or lose its shape during transportation.
Additionally, each category includes several different thicknesses (weights). The thicker a piece of cardboard (or heavier), the more durable it is.
You don’t want your box to get damaged on the way to your customers, and your customers do not like to pick up a board game box only for it to feel cheaply made.
Because of this, it’s important to choose a cardboard type and thickness that’s suitable for your board game based on the number of pieces included in your game, its total weight, and the size of the game when it’s ready to be packaged.
For smaller games, it is possible to use 1 or 1.2mm cardboard while maintaining good strength and a feeling of quality. For larger, heavier games we typically recommend using 1.5 to 2.5mm cardboard.
At Hero Time, our default quoted material is the high-density cardboard made with eco-friendly materials. If you’d like, we can also offer standard quality, but we tend to avoid cheap cardboard when preparing a box for your game.
Watch the videos below to learn more about the different cardboard grades, their thickness, and how they stand up to the pressure and weight of various game components.
Stretch Goals for Game Boxes
If you would like to make your game box look and feel more premium, there are several options you should consider:
- Print inside the box. This gives you an opportunity to show your game’s art and design, give helpful information to players or just give your game more personality.
- Foil stamp. Stamping your box with gold or silver foil can give it a premium appearance and set it apart from other board games or card games.
- Linen finish. Adding a linen finish to your game box can give it a premium feel. This is a separate process that’s completed after printing and coating.
- UV spot print. Also referred to as “spot glass” or “spot varnish,” this is a special coating that enhances your game box’s shine, improves color and shields against moisture.
- Reinforced edges (default with Hero Time). Reinforced edges provide extra strength for your game box. These are included by default for our game box orders.
Contact Us for Expert Help With Your Game Box
If you’re planning to manufacture a board game and need expert help choosing the right type of box, we’re here to answer your questions.
Contact us and we can give you detailed information about box sizes, cardboard choices and all other options for your game boxes, as well as how much each option will cost for your game.