For our second entry in the It Came From Kickstarter! series, we’re looking at a game accessory: Game-Night Bags by John Wrot! (he uses the “!” as part of his name). Transportation of tabletop games has been an issue gamers have dealt with since the early days of board gaming. With the onset of tabletop gaming’s new golden age, this problem has only gotten worse.
The early days of hauling Caverna were especially difficult. With the rise in the number and variety of board games, new ways to carry said games to and from game nights have cropped up. The Game-Night Bags by John Wrot! (the writer in me cringes at that “!”) is one of the latest with a Kickstarter project that finished in June of 2016.
As stated on the Kickstarter page, John designed them to be “affordable new gaming tote bags to support your Game Nights and Gen Con 2016 shopping experience.” During the campaign, they started with the “Classic” bag design and then unlocked several others over the course of the campaign. Here’s the full list and images to go with each (images are directly from the KS page):
“The Classic”; grey with meeples tossing a game into the air (I assume it’s some form of Monopoly, and they’re upset that they have to play)
“The Homage”; burgundy with parody image of popular board games (I love the names for each of the games)
“The Kaiju”; navy blue with a giant meeple terrorizing a city (talk about role-reversal)
“The Bag of Holding”; black with meeple dressed as a traditional RPG party (why this wasn’t his first design is beyond me; the very definition of low-hanging fruit)
The bags have a relatively impressive size coming in at 15in tall, 13in wide and 10in thick. The KS claims that it can hold “4-5 big box games and then some.” I’m not sure what he views as “big box” but he clearly has little experience with Cool Mini or Not boxes. Good-natured ribbing aside, the bag does hold a good number of games. Perfect for a night when you want to bring two or three big games and a couple of smaller ones.
It would also work great as a GM/DM bag for RPG nights. With its reinforced handles and plastic bottom insert, the bag can support a decent amount of weight too (over 35lbs according to the KS). Having used it for a few months now and overloading it a couple of times, I can say it has done pretty well. The plastic insert does more than expected; it keeps the weight evenly distributed and helps the bag maintain its shapely flat bottom.
Lastly, it folds flat for easy storage.
The KS Campaign
With a goal of $1450.00 and a final pledge amount of $40, 157 (which puts it at just under 2800% funded), this campaign kicked butt. Especially impressive considering it only ran for two weeks. The campaign itself ran smoothly for the most part and John communicated well with his backers. At $7 - $9 per bag (depending on how many bags you purchased) + shipping, the price for the bag wasn’t too bad. While I wasn’t very impressed with the choice of material, the size, reinforced handles, plastic insert and nifty image design more than made up for it. For comparison, here’s a pic of the bag next to a bag of similar make that I picked up at Barnes & Noble for $2 on clearance:
The B&N bag is narrower, has thinner material and the handles aren’t all that spiffy. So, while the Game-Night Bag is more expensive, the quality is far away better. For a gaming-related product, delivery to backers went pretty well. He had all the bags he needed ready for GenCon in time. Delivery of the bags to other backers took a little longer, but the delays were minimal as far as I can tell. Lastly, my only real negative comment on the campaign is that pencils do not make for a very strong bonus item, color-changing or not. They just came across to me as unnecessary and didn’t serve as much of an incentive. I think the product practically sold itself, and unlocking more designs as stretch goals was perfect. With a longer campaign, I would have loved to have seen more colors and designs or even mixing and matching of designs and colors. But, that’s my personal wish and probably tougher to accomplish, logistically speaking.
All in all, I’m pretty happy with this product and the way the KS campaign went. I went in with a couple of others from CC team on the campaign to spread out the shipping cost. Corey was the actual backer while Gregg and I pitched in. Their comments echoed my own when I asked them about their bags. The downside for you, dear readers, is that John Wrot! (seriously, can’t get over the “!”) doesn’t sell the bag regularly. However, with a campaign this successful, it wouldn’t surprise me if he ran another one this year. John also runs his own game company, Gate Keeper Games. Be sure to visit their website, Twitter and/or Facebook page and let them know your interest in a bag if you want to see them produce another run. I for one would readily pick up another. Final Rating:
4 bags of holding out of 5