Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Waxing Nostalgic

I miss the box sets, and I don't mean the "beginner" or introductory sets. I mean going to the store and buying a complete game that included dice and character sheets. It was a self contained world with everything you needed to play except for players and pencils.

Opening those boxes was a combination of unwrapping a Christmas gift and opening up a munitions case. These were my shiny new weapons and I could dive into exploring them. I just don't get that feeling much anymore from the new game books.

Your typical boxed game had a players book, a referee's manual, and either an adventure or a gear book. The coolest thing about these sets was the brevity. They had to pack all of their rules into a small booklet, which meant learning the game could be done in about an hour. You didn't have to slog through a 500 page tome before you started kicking spy/cyborg/alien butt.

Now, the industry treats the box set like a stepping stone. You get a piece of the game, but if you want to play more then you need to invest in the bigger books. More rules! More Fluff! And eventually we'll put out a new edition so you can buy these books all over again.

Here are some of my favorite boxed sets, and damn I wish I still had them:

Top Secret SI
Star Frontiers
Gama World
even FASERIP Marvel!

I know that there are some boxed set games out now, but it just isn't the same. I feel old. Get off my lawn.


  1. LOL, in just a few hours this became my most liked topic in the history of my site. Maybe I should do a post on how to craft your own generic RPG boxed-set box.

  2. Consider this a vote for a post about creating an old school RPG boxed set :)

    1. The problem with making a pattern pdf for download is that the size would exceed what a typical house printer could print. I could split the pattern, but that would be problematic for the box art.

      A second idea is to make mini-boxes for the digest-sized Savage Worlds games. That might be more do-able. I would have to include digest-sized character sheet designs too.

    2. Crunching numbers, even a "Companion" sized box would require the person to print the PDF at 11x17.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Right there with you, particularly on the brevity score. These days so many mainstream RPGs feel artificially inflated to justify the page count. How refreshing it would be if all publishers kept their core game to 64 pages?!


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