Sunday, April 16, 2017

ChromaCast Cajon Bag

I've always wanted a good carry solution for my board games when I bring them to friends game nights or meet ups,m which is why I backed the Game Canopy on Kickstarter. But as with any Kickstarter, I had a long wait ahead of me, and several events before then.

I started to hear about alternatives to expensive custom carry cases on the BoardGameGeek forums, and one in particular was mentioned again and again.

Cajons are cuboid shaped drums played usually by sitting on it and slapping the face with your hands. But the important thing about them is that the carry cases are them also cuboid, with some padding, and, roughly speaking, about the same base dimensions as a board game box. According to the folks at the BGG forums, ChromaCast made a good one that was fit for purpose, and only cost around $25.

At that price, it was worth the risk.

My ChromaCast cajon bag can hold six to seven board game boxes stacked one on top of the other, as long as we're not talking the oversized ones. Even then, there's a little breathing room on the sides for a hardback RPG book or small card games. It has light paddding all around, and a big, chunky plastic zip running down each side that opens the entire front panel, giving easy access to remove any of the games within, which is very nice. It also has a flap on the front top that covers the gap at the top where therre isn't any zipper, protecting the contents from the rain.

The fabric is apparently water resistant, though I doubt it's to any great degree, but it's a fair sight beter than an Ikea bag would do, or, apparently, my backpack, which has failed me once too often. The interior fabric is rough and I wouldn't want to have my games sliding around in it too much, as I could easily see it rubbing off corners and edges. That's why when I've used it to date I've packed it on the sides with either some light cloths or one or two play mats.

The stitching around the outside isn't designed to stand up to the weight of a full load of games either. The top handle is only stitched to the upper seams, and the shoulder straps, while slightly better, are still very lightweight. I used my bag to carry games to a few meet ups and Terminal City Tabletop Convention, and it's already ripping at the top.

One solution I've been using is not over filling the bag. Instead of packing the seven games it could hold, I only pack four, filling the rest of the space with a large felt I can use on the table we're playing at, as well as some small, light card games. Even then, I'd only carry lighter boxes in it, so no Cosmic Encounter. Another option is to invest in one of those small shopping trollys you often see the elderly employ. Attach the bag to that and wheel it around, rather than carrying it.

It's clear that others have been using this bag and enjoying it for board game travels. The Amazon reviews are all 4 or 5-stars, with hilarious comments like "Cajon owners beware, the board gamers have found your Cajon bags, and we love them", and "I bought this for my husband who is a HUGE gamer".

Mainly because of it's price, I'm hesitant to dismiss the cajon bag as a possibility if you're looking for something to carry your games in. As long as you're aware of the caveats and willing to be careful with it, you really can't go wrong for $25. It is functional, it will somewhat protect your games, and it does turn heads when you unzip the front panel and reveal a broad selection of games instantly accessible for play.

Related Posts:
The Game Canopy
Board Game Review Master List
Battle Of The Board Game Bags, comparing the Canopy to the ChromaCast

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