Calling all geeks, nerds and assorted weirdos. Over the last year or so, something has come into existence that celebrates us just for who we are! Mystery boxes containing various gear to enjoy our geekiness. There are currently three websites that offer these mystery boxes, which are a little like opening a Christmas present every month. There used to be a fourth, Booty Box, but it went out of business last year. From what I could see online, it looked like they were having a hard time getting licensed gear, and, for a lot of us, if we can’t have Titanfall, Batman, Doctor Who or Star Wars, it’s just not geeky enough for us. So here, in order of expense, are the remaining competitors.
Loot Crate is the most economical of these options, at about $14 plus s & h. Each month, Loot Crate provides its subscribers with a themed box full of gear that matches the theme. There is no rhyme or reason to their themes, they just choose one and fly with it. For instance, the December crate was retro gaming, the January crate was “rewind” (seventies and eighties stuff) and the February crate is classic board games.
This image shows the October, 2013 crate celebrating the return of The Walking Dead to TV. It contains Max Brooks’ bestselling Zombie Survival Guide, an Ewoking Dead T-shirt (which I would love to get), a zombie greeting card, some temporary tattoos and assorted candies, buttons, etc. If you add the value of the T-shirt and the book, you easily exceed the cost of the box.
The drawbacks to Loot Crate are that you don’t get a choice of themes (it’s very “we hope that one size fits all”) and that the T-shirts tend to be of lower quality than one might like to have.
Next up the chain is Nerd Block.
Nerd Block, instead of offering one box for everyone, offers a variety of themed boxes to choose from. They have their monthly themed box, a horror box (great for horror fans like me) and a monthly gamer-themed box called arcade box for $19.99 plus s & h, as well as Nerd Block, Jr boxes for boys and girls for $13.99 each. Also, unlike Loot Crate, Nerd Block guarantees a T-shirt in each box.
Here you see one of the horror boxes, including a Pennywise the clown POP figurine, Fangoria horror collector’s cards, a Scream Factory mousepad and a skull sticker. Once again, the value of the T-shirt and the Pennywise figurine pay for the cost of the box.
The drawbacks to Nerd Block are that they have the same lower-quality T-shirts as Loot Crate and that they cost slightly more for basically the same type of gear.
SUPERHEROSTUFF.COM HERO BOX
The newcomer to this game, and the most expensive is Superherostuff.com’s Hero Box.
The most expensive of these at $49 plus s&h, this box has the advantage of having the power of the web’s leading geek website, superherostuff.com behind it. The website carries tons of licensed merchandise for just about every superhero under the sun, as well as Star Trek, Star Wars and Dr. Who. Another real plus in their column is that you can choose from ten themes: their monthly themed box (February is “Superhero Boy Scouts”), Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Dead Pool, the Flash, Captain America, Spider-man, Star Wars and Green Lantern. I could only wish that they had a Justice League box, and I’m sure that an X-man box would be a big hit.
Here is their October Batman crate. T-shirt, socks, a comic book, a key chain, a beanie and a travel mug, along with various smalls.
The drawback to this is the cost. Although I personally can vouch for the quality of the website’s gear, I have a really hard time justifying $50 + for this collection.
So get one of the boxes for yourself or a beloved geek and have fun!
~ Randal Schaffer