The Keep: A&A game storage!



  • Hey All! A new company called Grumpy Owl Gamery is developing a new gaming accessory called The Keep. They have launched a Kickstarter campaign & it looks absolutely fabulous for traveling with multiple copies of A&A.

    I encourage all of you to check it out & take their survey here


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    The first link doesn’t work properly and the second one doesn’t work at all.  Didn’t try the third one.


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    Kickstarter is pretty much a fraudulent operation. Too many cases where people either not make anything and pocket the money, or put out garbage.

    It pretty much turned into a place where con artists appear to take advantage of the situation. Not unlike Craigslist.

    You just put up a listing and a basic website and you are in business.



  • @CWO:

    The first link doesn’t work properly and the second one doesn’t work at all.  Didn’t try the third one.

    All links working as of 17:02 10/03/12



  • @Imperious:

    Kickstarter is pretty much a fraudulent operation. Too many cases where people either not make anything and pocket the money, or put out garbage.

    It pretty much turned into a place where con artists appear to take advantage of the situation. Not unlike Craigslist.

    You just put up a listing and a basic website and you are in business.

    Can you cite examples? I’ve seen several reputable companies use Kickstarter as a means of producing games including Steve Jackson Games & Conquest Gaming.



  • Hi there! I’m Roy Graham, co-creator of The Keep and a founding partner of Grumpy Owl Gamery.

    @Imperious:

    Kickstarter is pretty much a fraudulent operation. Too many cases where people either not make anything and pocket the money, or put out garbage.

    It pretty much turned into a place where con artists appear to take advantage of the situation. Not unlike Craigslist.

    You just put up a listing and a basic website and you are in business.

    This is a fairly common criticism of Kickstarter these days. And sadly there’s merit to the argument. There will always be scammers. With projects like Mythic it’s easy to see where the skepticism comes from.

    Don’t let that discourage you from getting involved with you believe are worth backing. But do get informed.

    More often than not, projects perceived as ripoffs aren’t trying to grab your money and run. The creators simply over-promised and failed to deliver.

    If you find a project that interests you, the best way to protect yourself is to ask questions…

    • Do they know what the heck they’re doing?

    • Do they have the experience/have they done their research?

    • If this thing funds, will these guys fulfill all their promises?

    It’s your responsibility to get your questions answered to your satisfaction.

    Similarly, it’s the responsibility of the creator to answer those questions. To demonstrate that they do know what they’re talking about and have the dedication to see their project through to fulfillment. If they can’t do that then you absolutely should not back the project.

    Major companies have staff to answer questions. Smaller groups trying to earn trust, like ours, need to make it a point to reach out directly to our audience and address their concerns.

    Kickstarter is the best way for us to get The Keep on the market and we want to get input from our audience to make it as amazing as we can.

    We honestly do love answering questions. 🙂 If you have any please don’t hesitate to ask.


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    I dig grumpy owls logo, I want one of their T-shirts.

    Cool Idea!


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  • @hkytown1:

    I dig grumpy owls logo, I want one of their T-shirts.

    Cool Idea!

    Thanks! We like Growly a lot too. 😄 When we fund and get this sucker shipping, shirts are one of the things we want to make available.

    @Imperious Leader - Yep. Scammers are out there just like they’re everywhere else and bad news sells.

    Even taking into account those risks, we’re confident that Kickstarter is still the right way to go for us. That means we are accountable for fulfilling all the promises we make.

    I hope we can change your mind about The Keep on Kickstarter. We think it’s an awesome idea that gamers will love. And our support thus far tells us we’re right!


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    Yea all i was saying is that people should be careful just jumping into and paying money. You guys are just fine, but others have been burned paying for stuff that never comes out.


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    @C_Strabala:

    it looks absolutely fabulous for traveling with multiple copies of A&A.

    Not from what I see on their website.  I’ve had a look at the two storage systems that are described, and they don’t appear geared towards A&A at all.  Instead – and rather ironically, in view of the criticism often found on this board that Wizards of the Coast is more interested in its Magic: The Gathering game than in the A&A franchise – one of the storage systems proposed by The Keep is clearly designed for use with Magic: The Gathering and similar customizable card games:

    The Magic Chamber (Kickstarting now!) is a high quality plastic, long-box organizer tailored for cards and other similarly sized pieces. It holds about 900 unsleeved cards or 600 sleeved cards. It’s unique because of its system for adding custom dividers and other parts.

    The other storage system is described as follows:

    The Great Chamber (Kickstarting now!) is a waterproof, padded sleeve with a series of mesh pockets. These pockets come in a variety of sizes and allow you to easily store rulebooks, large hexes, boards of many sizes and more. Old Monopoly™ bi-folds, Ticket to Ride™ and Arkham Horror™ hex-folds, Tannhaüser™ and Ogre™ oversized boards - all will fit.

    Mesh pockets are the last thing into which I’d want to put tiny plastic A&A sculpts, since they’d get tangled up in the mesh or, worse, would fall out through the holes.  Ditto the plastic A&A mini poker chips, airbase markers and other small components.  As for the part about the sleeve storing “boards of many sizes”, it’s impossible to judge from that general statement if it could handle something as big as the Global 1940 boards; given how large those boards are, I’d be inclined to think that the answer is no.



  • @Imperious:

    Yea all i was saying is that people should be careful just jumping into and paying money. You guys are just fine, but others have been burned paying for stuff that never comes out.

    I completely agree with ya. It’s dangerous out there. The best thing you can do is try to protect yourself with information.



  • @CWO:

    Not from what I see on their website.  I’ve had a look at the two storage systems that are described, and they don’t appear geared towards A&A at all.

    Just the types of comments/questions we like to get! 😄 Allow me to address these one at a time.

    I believe there is a misunderstanding about what The Keep is. If that’s the case I apologize. It is one system with two components, intended to work together but not limited to that role.

    • Organizers (Magic Chambers, Great Chambers, Bit Pits) - These organizers are tailored to accommodate a variety of game pieces. They can be used as stand-alone organizers or with a mobilizer.

    • Mobilizers (The Keep Messenger) - Are designed to carry our organizers snugly and securely. Providing extra protection and making your games easier to transport

    @CWO:

    Instead – and rather ironically, in view of the criticism often found on this board that Wizards of the Coast is more interested in its Magic: The Gathering game than in the A&A franchise – one of the storage systems proposed by The Keep is clearly designed for use with Magic: The Gathering and similar customizable card games:

    It’s true that some of our staff members are M:TG players, however we are not affiliated with WoTC. The Keep is about providing options. Up until now board and card gamers have been forced to create their own do-it-yourself solution or just ‘make do’ with the original box. We felt that they deserved a better option. Something that won’t suck up hours of their valuable time crafting by hand. No it isn’t specifically designed only for A&A, but I would argue that the components certainly have a use with any A&A collection.

    The Magic Chamber is far more than simply card storage. They are designed to house cards and any other small game pieces. A little further down, in that same section you partially quoted, we describe Bit Pits. These are designed to store small pieces just like your A&A sculpts, poker chips and various markers. Of course you aren’t required to use them. You could just use baggies, placed between dividers in a Magic Chamber. The benefit of the Pits are:

    • They offer an extra layer of protection

    • Thanks to the beveled bottom, can be used as in-game trays to keep your little parts from flying around a crowded table.

    • They lock in place within the Magic Chamber to keep you pieces from shifting around in transit

    @CWO:

    Mesh pockets are the last thing into which I’d want to put tiny plastic A&A sculpts, since they’d get tangled up in the mesh or, worse, would fall out through the holes.  Ditto the plastic A&A mini poker chips, airbase markers and other small components.

    We don’t recommend putting your tiny sculpts or other small pieces in mesh pockets by themselves either. If you take a look at our Facebook prototype gallery, even we put them in baggies before slipping them into the secured pockets. Alternately you can keep them in a Magic Chamber as described above.

    @CWO:

    As for the part about the sleeve storing “boards of many sizes”, it’s impossible to judge from that general statement if it could handle something as big as the Global 1940 boards; given how large those boards are, I’d be inclined to think that the answer is no.

    As shown in those same pictures, there are two cavities for board storage. One holds standard 11"x11" sizes, the other holds up to 23.5" x 13.5". We are striving to personally test as many games as we can get our hands on. Unfortunately Global 1940 is one we don’t have on hand. That board is listed online as 35" by 32". If it folds though - it may fit.

    We’re always gathering information about specific games on our forums. Perhaps you’d be willing to let us know if it folds? If we know your game’s dimensions, we are happy to offer our recommendation for housing it in The Keep.

    For example: For up to 4 versions of Axis and Allies that use the standard size A&A boards, you can probably get away with 1 Great Chamber and 1-2 Magic Chambers depending on your storage preferences (most efficient use of space, quickest possible setup, etc.).

    Not everyone will need the entire Keep System at once. That’s the beauty of it. You can just get the pieces you need to store the games you play with now. If your needs change you can get more and still use them with the components you already have.

    This post was a little long but hopefully it was helpful.


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    I’ll leave the continuation of this discussion to the forum members who have (or may have) an interest in products designed to organize and/or transport A&A games, since at this point their comments will be more useful that mine.  In my particular case, I have no use for such products because the A&A set-up I have at home is optimized for use in that location.  My set-up isn’t portable, nor was it ever intended to be, and it already includes everything I need to keep my game components organized.  The Global 1940 map board rests on a large gaming table which I created (using card tables, canvas-covered wooden frames and black cloth), and the map itself is covered with a large, custom-sized sheet of acrylic.  My large collection of sculpts resides in a couple of dozen commercially-purchased plastic storage boxes with movable dividers (also known as plastic tackle boxes), arranged by country and subdivided by unit types.  Other storage boxes of the same type hold my other game equipment, such as the hundreds of customized plastic roundels I made for myself.  The storage boxes themselves are slotted into a row of commercially-purchased wooden shelving units under the gaming table.  None of this stuff will be travelling anywhere unless I move to a new place.  So beyond the general comments I made yesterday, it would actually be better for additional feedback to come from people who would have an actual use for game-transportation or game-organization accessories.



  • That’s cool! Everyone games differently…

    Especially considering that Global '40 was never designed for travel, I can see why you wouldn’t have much interest in The Keep.

    Now in my situation I can see using it to hold multiple editions of A&A in one place.

    For example, I can have the boards from Classic, Revised, 1942, 1941, plus rulebooks & charts all stowed in the Great Chamber(s). Then I can organize the Magic Chambers & Bit Pits according to which version is being played.

    That’s my two cents on the subject…



  • @CWO:

    I’ll leave the continuation of this discussion to the forum members who have (or may have) an interest in products designed to organize and/or transport A&A games, since at this point their comments will be more useful that mine.  In my particular case, I have no use for such products because the A&A set-up I have at home is optimized for use in that location.

    Wow! Sounds like you’ve got quite a setup over there. But yeah, I can see you not needing The Keep in your situation.

    We appreciate the healthy discourse anyway. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!


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    In terms of game piece storage, this company should make quality plastic boxes in the same size as the game, so players can then glue or affix a decal which would be the setup on top.

    This box should have 4 compartments ( land, sea air, tokens-misc)

    The plastic must not be modeling plastic, but real plastic ( not unlike the OOB pieces)

    They can sub out to HBG as distributor.



  • We’d love to be able to craft high-quality cases specifically designed for every game out there but that’s just not feasible for us at the moment.

    However, we have plans for future components once our current project funds. Such as a backpack case and an organizer tailored for miniatures.
    All interchangeable with the components currently offered.

    The Keep System is all about customization. We realize not everyone will want to organize their game pieces the same way. Just because I like having all my pieces sorted by unit type doesn’t mean someone else wouldn’t prefer them by army color. We want users to have the choice.

    For your example, you could populate a Magic Chamber (MC) with dividers to create the four compartments you describe. That way you’d have your pieces securely stored in a crush resistant case with a handle.

    MCs have a space for a label on the handle but you can easily apply stickers or decals to any flat surface.
    The Keep Messenger and Great Chamber can be easily customized with patches or transfers. Heck, you could sew on actual unit patches to show your colors.

    The plastics we will use for The Keep System are similar to what you find in most high quality tool and small part storage cases. So they’ll take a beating.



  • From what I’ve seen so far I think you’ve got a good concept here.

    The versatility of the the system seems to be on the right track.  Ensuring the system works for even the largest of map boards currently on the market would certainly be a plus.

    If you are trying to suite your product to an A&A crowd then might I suggest you post some pic’s here that demonstrate the practical application of your product in terms of the needs of the (potential) consumer base.  ie. use the prototype(s) you have to take pictures of the compartments actually holding all the individual units for a given Global team…. show the Global map fitting into the “chamber” (or whatever you call it).

    As the old saying goes… “the proof is in the pudding!”

    Good luck in your venture.  I’m 100% certain there is a niche market for this item(s).



  • Thanks for the well wishes and suggestion, Hepps01!

    Several hundred backers would agree with you, there is a market. Just need to get in touch with enough of them. 😉

    As you can imagine, we get asked the “Yes but will my game fit?” question a lot. In fact we’re compiling a definitive list over on our forum.
    grumpyowlgamery.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=11

    To better illustrate what The Keep can do for you, we’re constantly adding images to our Facebook gallery showing specific game pieces in our prototypes.
    tinyurl.com/grumpyalbums

    In the meantime, I can tell you that we designed the Great Chamber to accommodate any board up to 23.5" x 13.5". We’ve been having trouble tracking down some of the A&A dimensions so we’re hoping the community would be generous enough to help us out with that.

    We’re expecting new prototypes for the Great Chamber and Keep Messenger very soon and I’ll make it a point to get at least one photo set with A&A in there.

    (My apologies for the non-linkable links. For some reason the forum won’t let me embed links.)


  • Official Answers 2007 AAR League

    @MrRoyboto:

    (My apologies for the non-linkable links. For some reason the forum won’t let me embed links.)

    Probably that you don’t have enough posts.

    I would be curious to see photos of these Bit Pits with A&A pieces in them.

    Also the Magic Chamber with dividers and A&A pieces in them.

    Also how many Bit Pits will fit into a final sized Magic Chamber?

    Does each side have a lid?


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