01Caleb BoxIn writing this blog I am inspired by three things: my admiration for the fantastic board game journalism of Shut Up & Sit Down; the apt timing of my obsession’s upswing paired with the beginning of my year abroad; and lastly, my fascination with—and subsequent modification of—this game box as a way to efficiently unleash games.  The latter is what I would like to dissect today.


02Caleb Box 03Caleb Box 04Caleb Box

After many revisions, the final box holds the following:11Caleb Box

  1. Pairs
  2. Avalon*
  3. Love Letter
  4. Coup
  5. Red 7
  6. Get Bit!
  7. Bohnanza
  8. Skull

*[DISCLAIMER: Even though I have stolen the majority of the components from its mother game—The Resistance—I will refer to the social deduction game included in this game box simply as “Avalon”, as my game group refuses to call it by anything else.]


05Caleb Box

Component Overlap
Component Overlap

Brittanie Boe‘s original travel box is simple, varied, and accessible, but—as she points out at the end of her post—it suffers from one weakness: the untapped potential in component overlap. Her example—the lack of necessity in including Love Letter tokens when Council of Verona tokens could have served just as well—inspired me to take things a step further. My own design achieves component overlap in every way I can imagine, perhaps gratuitously. However, this attention to detail not only allowed me to fit an extra game, it allowed me to pack games with more components—and therefore, more depth—more efficiently.

12Caleb Box 09Caleb Box

Avalon and Pairs are the progenitors of the box: they lend the majority of their components to other games. I’ve modified the Pairs deck, shown right, (which is triangular: 1xA, 2×2, 3×3, 4×4, etc.) to have all black sevens, each inscribed with a green skull. These, when combined with the plethora of red nines and tens, provides the ability to construct: 1) up to seven player’s worth of Skull hands, and 2) a variable number of role card sets for Avalon.

05Caleb Box

Nearly all of the Avalon components have been switched out for more portable alternatives: Stone/Reed disks from Agricola as Approve/Reject tokens, Grain disks as mission participant markers, and my own unpatented modular Avalon board cards. The black, white and gold tokens lead a double life as the 1$, 2$, and 3$ coins for Coup, as well as replacements for the 13 Love Letter “tokens of affection.”

06Caleb Box 08Caleb Box

I’m also quite proud of the efficient distillation of the Red7/Get Bit! combination. The Dismember-men find crannies to sleep throughout the box, and their original cards are replaced perfectly by those found in the Red7 deck.

Bohnanza is the only stand-alone game. It could have been replaced by any number of ~100 card-decked games: Innovation, Sushi Go!, Star Realms, etc.


04Caleb Box 07Caleb Box

There are two innate secrets hidden within the Twin Flip’n’Tray Box that I uncovered during my exploration of it. Both are simply ways to fill the air pockets—inherent to the box’s design—with useful odds and ends.

First, the numerous places for post-it notes: I have found four areas where, if deemed appropriate, the user might adhere a number of post-it notes. The user can use these as a means to keep score, or, as I have chosen to do so above, as a cheat sheet for games with player number dependent variable setups, such as Bohnanza. On the other post-it is a list of the eight games housed in the box.

The second secret is pictured above and to the right. The two swivel compartments in the box come together to create a sliver of negative space between them, broad enough to house ten or so cards. I built upon this by gluing a cheap magician’s card wallet to the top of the drawer section. This provided me with a simple and fast way to access the reference cards for both Love Letter and Red7, as well as the Get Bit! shark card.


I believe this to be a worthwhile evolution upon Bebo’s original #travelgamebox, an example of the individualization possible within the limits of the medium. To leave the door open as Bebo did, I will say that this box could be optimized to sit at any point on the scale between content and efficiency. I do not claim to have the most efficient box ever, nor do I claim that my box has the best games ever. My only hope is that some lost soul will pick up this idea where I left off and create something even grander.

Photos by Sean O.


2 thoughts on “Unboxing

  1. i notice coup card bit different than standart card size, where you put coup card?
    do you think normal deck box can safely for put coup card too?

    thank you for writing this articel, not many writer bring about travel with board games.


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