The Loot Crate principle seems to be taking over the world. Customers of a slightly nerdish bent are clearly tired of seeing stuff they want, and the business model of “you send us money, we’ll send you a box of goodies every month” seems to be popular as the service gets more and more customers. It’s a bit like the rich guy who walks into a tailor’s shop for a new suit every month trusting that the expert will make all the decisions for him/her: why make a choice when you can pay someone to do it for you?
Here in South Africa, we’ve already looked at one locally produced take on this with the Geek Crate. While we did like what it was trying to do, it left us wanting.
Now NerdNab is having a jab with its Nabber Box. It’s a bit more expensive than Geek Crate – R350 a month compared to R300 a month, so we’re expecting higher quality merch. The October/November box just arrived the office, so let’s crack it open.
On the outside the Nabber Box looks great. The inked cardboard is distinctive and looks pleasing in both the post and on your shelf. Aside from a logo, a QR codes (which leads to NerdNab’s Facebook page) and a URL, there’s not much to see.
As much as we like the slick presentation of a custom-printed box, we can’t help but feel like the money used to make it could have been exchanged for the contents inside, but let’s get into that…
Taking a small departure, the Nabber Box’s contents are inside of a layer of tissue paper. Again, like the box, it adds to presentation but is ultimately unnecessary.
Vault Boy mask
Hot on the heels of Fallout 4’s release (and any bank robbing you may have in mind) this mask is of a higher quality than the regular ones popular around Halloween. Adding to the quality is a black net mesh around the eyes to keep it from cutting into your peepers. it’s a nice idea (and adds to that bank robber aesthetic) but it is bothersome if your eyelashes get entwined.
The only thing in this October/November box that can be directly related to Halloween. The idea here is that the spike can be popped into your garden to add a dash of luminescence to the scene. While it does feel a bit cheap, we suppose it will survive the single day or week that it needs to be used per year. It also needs three AAA batteries, so it becomes quite the mission to fill your garden with them. In this box there was the chance to either get a pumpkin (like we did) or a mummy.
As seems to be tradition for these types of services, a custom t-shirt is included. We can’t say we like this one at all, though. The lack of any interesting print outside of branding and logos makes this a piece of clothes we wouldn’t want to wear outside. The material is actually quite comfortable, though, if not a bit on the see through side. The QR code on the back leads to the NerdNab website.
For those five among you who played (or, god forbid, are still playing) Evolve, this may seem like a nice novelty item, but for everyone else it’s just a piece of rubber with some decent printing on it. Five different bands can be had (Assault, Trapper, Monster, Support and Medic) and we got ye olde sawbones. At least you can flip it around so it becomes a plain black band.
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate key ring
This is much better than it should be. The key rings is actually made of a substantial metal (we think) and it has some heft to it. The design on the front is detailed and the back has the name of the game. If you really dislike branding you could take an iron file to it, but we digress. We can definitely see this being tacked onto a steampunk creation, and fitting in well.
SteelSeries temporary tattoo
We’re not entirely sure who this is for. People who like temporary tattoos aren’t usually old enough to have favourite brands, and if they do they’re LEGO or Barbie. Good to give to the kids, useless outside of that.
The Elder Scrolls Online music selection
Another oddity: a CD with five songs from the soundtrack of The Elder Scrolls Online. We will admit that we actually listened to the music via non-official channels on YouTube. This was mostly because none of our work laptops have a CD drive, but also because streaming it was much easier. The music is great if you’re a fan of sweeping orchestral scores of The Elder Scrolls, and we can see this being a nice item for the shelves.
This looks very promising: a first edition comic book featuring everyone’s favourite harlequin. That is until we see the subtitle under the comic number, where it says free… not exactly what you want to see in something you paid for. We’re sure comic books fans would know where to get their free comic fix, but for everyone else this is actually a great addition. At only 22 pages, it isn’t long, but what is here is a good enough read.
Bucking the trend of small, glossy magazines being put in these boxes and taking up a portion of the budget with what amounts to advertising, a simple A5 leaflet is all that’s put in the Nabber Box. One side talks about the Nabber box and the Nabber Plus, and the reverse is about the Motherload. We’ll discuss the former two below.
Cost and competition
There’s two ways to buy a Nabber Box: a single month for R350 and three months for R999, with delivery included in those prices.
To sweeten the deal, random Nabber Boxes (that are bought as part of the three month deal) have a chance to be “upgraded” to a Nabber Plus; a kind of enhanced box awarded at random. A select amount of winners would have received a pack of Rabbids Invade the World (small plastic toys), an Evolve-branded mug and a Call of Dutty-themed powerbank in addition to everything above.
Then there’s the grand prize: The Motherload which is shown off in the leaflet image. There’s only one of these available an one subscriber will get it.
Considering of all of this; is the Nabber Box worth it? At R350 it’s a bit of a stretch. There’s no one big ticket item we can point to as a huge draw. The general quality of the box is good though, and if you’re a fan of the franchises inside you may feel like you got your money’s worth.
The obvious comparison must be made to the Geek Crate at R300 per box. That extra R50 goes a heck of a long way here and you’re getting much more for it. For our money the Nabber Box pulls ahead for this first month.
As time goes on and more boxes are released, we’ll again look at the two and see which is worth yourrands.
If you’d like your own, subscribe to Nabber Box here.