Rule & Make Tournament Card Case – Product Review & Interview

Rule&MakeBox01

Rule & Make Tournament Card Case

So you play card games huh?  It doesn’t really matter if it’s a Living Card Game, Trading Card Game or something in between.  You’ve probably got a half dozen or more deck boxes.  You’ve probably got a box, bag or container to hold all your dice, counters, tokens and other bits and pieces.  You’ve probably got all that tucked into a bag along with a playmat and possibly a rulebook or a board for your favourite LCG.  You’ve probably wished that somebody, anybody would come up with a sensible storage solution to put all this into and make life easier, while at the same time looking fancy and professional.

The chaps at Rule & Make felt the same way, for quite some time too.  Two guys, living on the Gold Coast had an idea a decade ago on how to do it better, and after a long process of thought, design and prototyping they’ve released their product on the market and made it available to you.  The Rule & Make Tournament Card Case.

As an avid card player myself when Allen approached me for the first time and placed his new product on the table I immediately though ‘Yes!’.  It’s just one of those things that absolutely makes sense and you wonder why nobody thought of it sooner.  After a bit of a chat Allen asked if BTGN would like to review Rule & Make’s latest product to which I replied “Sure, as long as we can give it away afterwards!” (See end of article).  So here we are, and below you can find my thoughts on the Rule & Make Tournament Card Case.

Firstly, the case looks professional and oozes elegance just from the first look.  From the black, glossy, embossed design on the front and spine to the textured feel of the card this product immediately strikes you as quality.

Rule&MakeBox02Opening the box is simple and easy, just like opening a book, with everything held where it should be by magnets.  Once opened you now have access to the storage box itself and the hollow lid.  The hollow lid is a nice touch and can fit manuals or LCG board pieces in it comfortably, although I did notice that the Call of Cthulhu Story Board didn’t quite fit inside with this model.

The cover peals away from the lid and the storage box and is designed to be used as a playmat, handy if your are playing at a location that doesn’t have clean tables (or tables at all for that matter).  The artwork inside is quite nice, complete with what appears to be Ajani standing in a decidedly ‘Theros’ looking setting.

Rule&MakeBox03The storage box inside is equally well thought out, well designed and pleasant to the eye.  The adjustable inserts allow for a variety of setups, depending on what exactly you are storing in it and how much.  Magic: The Gathering players are likely to have a setup that allows for four to six decks (I might add that sleeved decks fit nicely) and a small section for dice.  Where as LCG players I suspect would be more likely to go with only two or four decks and more space to hold all those tokens.  Whatever your game and whatever your choice the ability to customise your storage box is not only a clever idea but a welcome one.  The cardboard used inside the storage box is quiet thick and felt durable and should have quiet a life span.

A nice little touch, each Tournament Card Case comes complete with two pouches, one black and containing five black glass beads and the other red and containing 12 red glass beads.  They didn’t have to, but they did and it’s this level of quality that really makes this product go above and beyond and really ground itself as a professional item.

Rule&MakeBox04Cons?  I have a few and for the sake of honesty and fairness I’m going to touch on them briefly.  Firstly I’m a little concerned about the outside of the  Case and just how much wear and tear it can handle.  Obviously all storage solutions suffer this fate ultimately, although the Rule & Make Tournament Card Case just looks so fancy it would be a shame if/when it became all scratched up and dented.

When I turned the case upside down (And admittedly held only one side of the case) the magnets where not strong enough to hold it closed and the contents fell out.  I don’t think you could risk putting strong magnets on the case but perhaps some sort of latch might be a nice touch.  This shouldn’t really be a problem unless you accidentally pick the box up incorrectly or are intentionally trying to make everything fall out like I was, but I felt it was worth mentioning.

Those two points aside I really can’t recommend the Rule & Make Tournament Case heartily enough.  Recommended retail is $59.95 and when you consider the cost of just one fancy deckbox you realise that the Rule & Make Tournament Case is quite competitively priced.  I know the first few batches of this product have flown off shelves across South-East Queensland and I imagine it will continue to do so in stores all across Australia and eventually the world.  Check out the stats below and head over to the Rule & Make website here and their Facebook page here.

FEATURES COMPONENTS
Capacity: up to 1,600 cards 1 x Case Cover / Playmat
Partitions: 18 configurations 1 x Storage Tray
Size: 30 cm x 21.3 cm x 7.5 cm 1 x Sleeve Pocket
Size (US): 11.8″ x 8.4″ x 3″ 8 x Partition Dividers
Weight: 1.3 kg 2 x Dice / Token Pouch
Greyboard: 1,500 GSM 5 x Black Glass Counters
Magnets: 21 12 x Red Glass Counters

Before you all race off down to your local game store and pick one of these up, have a read through the following interview I managed to grab with the co-founder of Rule & Make Mr Allen Chang.

BTGN: Hi Allen, and thankyou for taking the time to talk to us.  I suppose the first question to ask, the most logical, is how did it all begin?  How did the initial thought or idea come to be?

ALLEN: Alistair and I have been friends since 2002. We met at university studying Information Technology. Several years later we started our own software development company. We’re both gaming fanatics, but came from slightly different backgrounds. We’re both really into PC gaming but with tabletop gaming, Alistair grew up playing Warhammer while I grew up playing Magic: the Gathering. Ten years ago, I got back into Magic in a big way when I introduced it to Alistair and that’s when we had the idea to make a storage case for card-centric tabletop games. 

Originally, it was just an off-the-cuff idea to incorporate a playing mat into a case. Though our original idea was simpler: the case would have a dedicated space to put a rollout mat. Like a dozen other ideas we dreamt up at the time, the idea was shelved. However, unlike most of our other ideas, this one stuck around. Every so often we’d bring it up again, think a little more on it and put the idea back on the shelf.

 

Late last year, Alistair and I wanted to work on a project together and we set about prototyping foam inserts for several miniatures based board games. The project was motivated by our need for good board game inserts. While prototyping, we found that the components in many of the games we looked at wouldn’t fit into their original box using foam inserts. This is when we started to look at producing entirely self-contained storage solutions, which incidentally was what we wanted to do all these years.

BTGN: So what happened next?  How did you turn the idea into a physical product?  Can you explain some of the design and prototyping stages?

 

ALLEN: Before working as a software engineer, I worked as graphic designer for several years, focusing on offset printing. Alistair on the other hand is experienced with handling physical materials, having grown up with a dad that is a luthier and gets regular access to his workshop.

With any project, we always start with digital prototyping, using a mixture of CAD, Illustrator and Lightwave 3D. Once we’re happy with the general dimension, we’d then do a physical prototype using off-the-shelf materials. Alistair has a small workshop at home, and at the time I was working and living in Taiwan. This arrangement was really helpful as it allowed us to prototype ideas in Australia while I collaborated with colleagues in Taiwan to streamline and optimise the production process.

BTGN: Can you tell us a little more about the materials used in the construction of the Rule & Make Tournament Card Case and how it is assembled?

ALLEN: Compared to other standard storage cases, the case is relatively complicated build. The case is split into four separate production stages and utilises 21 magnets that needs to be oriented in the correct polarity. Furthermore, as our products are handcrafted, the biggest component in cost for us is in the assembly. To reduce cost and ensure the finish of our cases are consistent, we die-cut as much of the individual components as we can. This includes the 1,500 GSM greyboard used for the playmat cover, storage tray, slipcase and the tray inserts.

 

With the playmat, die-cut greyboard is embedded with 17 magnets in pre-cut holes. Then, matt black linen paper, used to line the playmat cover is also die-cut and placed in a machine to get it foil stamped. The playmat artwork is produced using offset printing and then processed with a matte celloglaze laminate. On assembly, the greyboard is bound with the black foiled paper then the underside is lined with the printed artwork.

 

As for the slipcase and storage tray, these are both crafted using standard bookbinding techniques. The slipcase is embedded with eight metal plates, while the storage tray is lined with 4 magnets on the underside and 3 metal plates on each long side of the tray.


With the tray insert, greyboard is lined with black craft paper before it is die-cut with the requisite holes and notches that make up the modular design. The “riser card”, which is the component that gives us the thick dividers with built-in finger holes is then folded by hand, glued and trimmed to complete the tray insert.

BTGN: Can we look forward to further variations in the design?  As in felt lining, different artwork and the like.

ALLEN: We’re currently working on different artworks that would fit various gaming genres. For example, we’re doing a sci-fi themed playmat cover that suits Android: Netrunner, Star Wars, etc. We will also be offering playmats for specific games, like a Magic: the Gathering playmat with zoned areas and a printed life counter zone that runs along the side.

 

We will also be offering different customisation options like alternate coloured box trays and slipcases. We’re also planning special edition cases with flocked insert lining and leather-bound covers as options. For very limited runs, we’re looking at laser cut / engraved metal plaques embedded on the cover.

BTGN: Any further products on the horizon you would care to share with us?  Storage solutions for other tabletop games?

ALLEN: We’re currently looking at storage solutions for miniature war gaming using the same playmat cover system as a makeshift terrain board for small skirmishes. For RPG players, we’re looking at using the cover as a DM screen. We have a few hurdles to overcome, before we can commit to it being something we will definitely offer, but we’re really excited by the prospect.

We’re also looking at accessories outside of storage solutions. We’re currently working on a messenger style carry bag for the Tournament Card Case and plan to do specifically designed bags for other tabletop games in the future.

BTGN: Thanks very much for your time Allen, we look forward to seeing plenty of Rule & Make product on local gaming store shelves.

ALLEN: Cheers. As we get new products prototyped, we’d love to give you guys a preview! Lastly, it’s really great to finally see an organisation such as BTGN representing tabletop gamers in the South East Queensland region and giving us locals a voice!

 

Well done! You’ve read to the end of the article and for this we have a special reward for you!  Wan’t to get your hands on a Rule & Make Tournament Case for FREE?!?  Well then, better head over to the BTGN Facebook page here for your chance to win!

Toby

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