Sometimes, hoping it hasn’t happened only to me, I speak to my brain, in a sort of dialogue between its two hemispheres about the Chief systems. Left and right often disagree, but they self-complete for only one thing, generating ascending climaxes: the board games.
And here, at the sight of a closed box and expectating a playful day, the movie begins: the theme of an unboxing in dimensional travel-style (what will be hidden on the other side of the cover?), an introduction with dozens of umpa lumpa who pull out everything, setting up in a few seconds some Gloomhaven, some Mage Knight, some Nemesis or an entire Bloodborne collector’s edition. Curtain! And here the match begins: on a huge solid wood table inside a nineteenth-century hall illuminated by papal candles, hundreds of pieces move in a regulated harmony followed by a dervish dance with fast motion that slows down showing the winner raising his arms (grinning at opponents or at the treacherous collaborative game, of course). Of course, that’s me. Then the candles are extinguished with a gust of wind and we go to celebrate with mead and grog, while the umpa lumpa put everything back in place.
Then I really open the box, and I realize that the movie is not “A playful hangover” but “Did you want Pandora’s box? And now open it”. I open the box and find myself in front of the usual, merciless scene of gaudy meeples, rampant miniatures and shiny decks. All, of course, in an entropic madness, as if a drunk and crazy dwarf had played all my games the day before. I try to pack everything back; using screw holders, cartons, foam cores, cutters; I even hired a management engineer. But nothing works. I am looking for umpa lumpa; I call them, but I only see a cat that licks itself where the sun does not shine. I look at my table and try to play tetris to make everything fit, using memories of combinatorics and tutorials of that Japanese person who, laughing out loud, tells you that you have to tidy up the house.
Question: “and now?”. Answer: “Organizer!”. I search, I find, I choose… but this does not separate the tokens! I search; but where do I put the cards in this? I try again; but this makes no sense! But isn’t there something that organizes, arranges, without raising the box to keep the cards wrapped, and saves space on the table? In other words: is there anything that comes close to my dream?
This question has been our obsession here in The Dicetroyers’ lair. It was floating in the air, swooping up and down like a Luftwaffe Stuka, unleashing terrible waves of disorder. But we resisted the attacks: we stood up, and a new word was born, which sums up the whole philosophy of our organizers:
Since the umpa lumpa don’t exist (it’s true! They don’t exist! Should I call him the good one?), we needed something more: a product that, itself, summarized these magical green gnomes in a few, simple and effective gestures. Helping not only for the initial setup, but also during the match, and for the packaging of the game. In the end the movie got transformed, from utopian dreams of unsatisfied glory, to solid containers and inserts; imagining the gesture of picking tokens, of taking off the miniature, of keeping own meeples close together, to avoid scattering pieces everywhere in the box or on the table.
The work we do to create a setupper begins from the rules of the game, continues in the gesture and only after, ends with a project. If every game is unique, every setupper must be unique, and must be that maternal embrace that holds a strong game in the box, and then let it go a moment later, free to express itself at its best when it is its time.
Turning a playful enterprise into a planned setupper is the work we try to do every day: too many masterpieces are left to gather dust on the shelves, waiting for their setupper. Too many mechanics are buried in the head, and left in a box with kilos of pieces. The wait is too long, the prize is too precious. It is time for a change.
Will we succed? Posterity will judge.
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