Okay, so it will be a surprise to absolutely no one that when Frosthaven arrived, I did a squee. I’m fairly certain, in fact, that the squee was so intense it knocked squirrels from the trees and made the dog flee the room. Then I tried to lift the box from my front porch and promptly got over the squee to instead curse because that box is freaking heavy! I have tendons I’ve been rebuilding for the last couple of years, and I’m pretty sure Frosthaven just set me back a week or three.
Probably worth it.
Somewhat embarrassingly, getting it out of the shipping box was also a journey, and one I was glad I didn’t film, because Frosthaven the game was shipped inside a box that could only be called “snug” and I ended up having to claw at it and rip it open from the outside down the seams after fruitlessly trying to lift the game out of the box. (Max the husky, of course, was super-helpful, and enjoyed jumping on the top of the box while I tried to accomplish this.)
Ultimately, however, I got it out of the box, moved it to the shelf behind the table where we game, and then out of an act of sheer love, I didn’t open it because my husband was away on a business trip. When he got home, we cracked that box and pulled the parts out and it covered most of the dining room table, and then I flipped open the book that explained what you had to do to even begin to set up and…
…there was a diagram on how to put everything back in the box.
I don’t think we talk about this enough when it comes to board games and tabletop gaming in general, but can I wax poetic today about the sheer unadulterated joy of seeing instructions on the side of a board game box on how to put everything away in said box in an organized, structured, fashion?
There are some grade-A examples of this sort of thing out there. Parks, for one, has a place for everything and everything goes in those places. Wingspan, too, has an illustration on the side of the box and packages that fit inside other packages and it all stacks together perfectly. Creature Comforts packs away beautifully. Storage trays, clever stacking, modular pieces? I freaking love it when games do this.
And I was 100% not expecting it from Frosthaven.
In hindsight, I might have known. I’m sure one of the bajillion backer updates might have mentioned it, but even if they hadn’t, Jaws of the Lion packs away really nicely back into its box. But when I sat down and saw those instructions and then proceeded to start following the instructions to punch, shuffle and organize everything to get the game in ready-to-play status—which took, for the record, over two hours—I wasn’t sure I believed that it would go as planned.
And I was wrong. When I was done, everything did indeed go right back into that box in the order listed, and I cannot tell you how different an experience that is as compared to Gloomhaven. I still can’t get Gloomhaven back into its box, and we finished it years ago.
I’m sure I’ll be talking about Frosthaven again—I can’t wait to start playing, but my weekly gaming group is going to give Pathfinder 2e a go first for a one-shot, so it’ll be a few weeks before we actually begin with Frosthaven—but in the meanwhile, you can add it to the list of games that pack away beautifully back into the box.
Albeit one heavy ass box.
Got any examples of games that pack away perfectly? Tell me, because I’m not kidding when I say this is one of my favourite things.