• Zen Bins Kickstarter Product Review and Contest!

    By now, I think most of you have seen Zen Bins, the 3rd party Dice Masters storage option currently on Kickstarter. After exchanging a few e-mails with Zen Bins, I soon had a few prototype samples coming my way. Much thanks goes out to Brian with Zen Bins for his quick response to my e-mails, and even sending the samples out the same day I requested them.

    Two days later, while pulling in the driveway I noticed a box sitting on the porch. They had already arrived. Enough with this intro, letís get to the info you guys want. Iíve tried to put this stuff in to categories.


    Quality

    First off, they arenít flimsy. They are rigid enough that they donít bend under the weight of their full capacity of dice and cards. You donít have to worry about these collapsing or folding under their own weight. It might go without notice at first, but if they were made with a lesser quality plastic youíd REALLY notice. So far, so good.


    Capacity

    I think this is what a lot of people want to know. The ridges are wide enough to hold 10 dice each, so 50 dice altogether per tray. The cards slots have some variability. Remember, each tray has two card slots, so double each of these for the trayís full capacity.


    -Unsleeved Marvel/Yu-Gi-Oh/DC Ė 42 cards per slot
    -Unsleeved D&D Ė 39 cards per slot
    -Sleeved Marvel/Yu-Gi-Og/DC (cheap ď100 for $1.00Ē sleeves) Ė 32 cards per slot
    -Sleeved D&D (cheap ď100 for $1.00Ē sleeves) Ė 29 Cards per slot
    -Sleeved Marvel/Yu-Gi-Oh/DC (Ultra-Pro graphic sleeves) Ė 26 cards per slot
    -Sleeved D&D (Ultra-Pro graphic sleeves) Ė 24 cards per slot

    Thereís also another optionÖ I know this isnít the intent, but one card slot is capable of holding 35 dice, and still able to seal shut. The only problem with this is the groove on the side for easy access. It also allows easy escape for your dice. A piece of tape, or a cut piece of foam can prevent this.


    On average, each character card has a maximum die limit of four. And each character has, again on average, three versions. I know starter characters and OP rewards throw a wrench in to that, but letís look at the average for a minute. If we have enough space for 50 dice, thatís 12.5 characters per tray. Letís round down making space for an extra die or two. Twelve characters worth of dice per tray. If each of those characters has three versions, thatís only 36 cards. Even if you have thick Ultra-Pro sleeves (I donít have any Dragon Shield sleeves to give you those numbers) you still have space for 12 more cards. I guess if you have a couple OP cards, or starter characters that have that fourth character card, you could get pretty close to filling up a tray with a playset of dice for each characterís set of cards. Not bad.

    The downside? If you donít use thick sleeves, or have more than one playset of dice per character (For instance, if you help supply the cards and dice for your whole play group) you will fill up your dice trays in a hurry, compared your card slots. This is why I presented the option of possibly putting up to 35 dice in your second card slot.

    Use

    When I first saw these, along with most of you, I said ďThose look great for transporting a team to a local event.Ē Yes, that statement still holds true. Honestly this is where these trays REALLY shine. You could even have one card slot for your team and the other for your cards that are up for trade. Or. When going to a day-long event like Nationals or the upcoming World Championships you will probably on playing in both constructed and draft events. Thereís enough room in these trays to take your constructed team and every basic action that will be released up through Age of Ultron (all cards unsleeved). And when DCís War of Light is released, Iím sure you can take a look at the list of basic actions through the sets and leave out the ones you know you wonít use or are identical between sets.


    As far as long term permanent storage, as opposed to just an on-the-go optionÖ not exactly my cup of tea. First off, I like having my cards in a binder. (Although the more sets we get, Iím starting to think this could quickly get out of hand.) If you donít count the sidekick and basic action dice, you should easily be able to fit a whole playset of dice for each character, and character cards in to three trays (which is what you get as a reward for pledging $10 to the kickstarter). Again, the problem arises if you have more than a playset of dice to accommodate a group of players. You could easily find yourself with trays full of dice and no cards.

    Alright, now this may not be the most important part of the analysis, but itís certainly the most excitingÖ.

    Durability



    As you can see, whether they are dropped straight on a hardwood floor, or bashed repeatedly on a table by a toddler, these things stay together. Thatís just amazing. While some of you donít have to worry about them being childproof, I know there are those of use that could very easily turn our backs for a second only to find a 2-year-old holding our competitive team. I do not guarantee that a child wonít open it. If they figure out that they come apart, and actually TRY to pull them apart, they could probably do it. But incidental falls or impacts wonít jar these trays loose from each other as long as you have them secure. For most people, all you need to worry about is making sure they donít come open in a bookbag or the backseat of a car. Youíre safe there.

    Final verdict

    The design could use a little work. I think they tried to fill two different roles with this product: quick and easy transport for your team on the go and long term storage for your collection. And it CAN work for either. Iíd rather see products that are more specialty made for each of these uses. Iíve already gotten word that they are in the process of making a larger tray for storing more dice. Perfect. Their first product isnít 100% funded yet, and they are already looking ahead to see what they can do to give the customers what they want. Iím excited to see how this company grows and what they come up with next. These small Zen Bins are not perfect, but they are by far the best option on the market for storing both dice and cards, especially for storing a constructed team when going to a local event. So, if you'd like your own set of Zen Bins, scroll back up to the top, and click the link to take you to Zen Bins' Kickstarter page, and donate to help them reach their goal.

    Contest

    "But Randy, their page says that the trays won't be ready to ship until the end of July. I was really hoping to get some trays to transport my team to and from Origins." Well, you're in luck. Zen Bins has agreed to work with us here at The Reserve Pool to help you out. Two lucky winners of our contest will receive two Zen Bins trays (one for the base, the other for the lid) BEFORE Origins. To enter, just take a picture or screen shot with proof that you're attending Origins or any of the Dice Masters events that will be held there, and send it to contest@thereservepool.com (feel free to blur or black out any personal info you don't want us to see). This can be a screen shot of a confirmation e-mail for the Dice Masters qualifying events, a picture of you with your passes for Origins, or whatever. We just need proof that you will be going to Origins and plan on playing Dice Masters. And I know we can't make you, but we would ask you to use the Zen Bins case when you go. If they don't work out for you, or there are problems with it, let Zen Bins know how they could improve upon this product. If you absolutely love it and want more, I'm sure they'd be happy to hear that too. Entry for the contest will close on Friday, May 8th at 12:00 pm, EST. We will do a random drawing, and winners will be announced that evening on our website. With your entry, please include your address that you would like Zen Bins to send your prize, should you win. You will be receiving your trays directly from Zen Bins themselves, so feel free to give them feedback after Origins.

    Good luck!
    Comments 17 Comments
    1. RJRETRO's Avatar
      RJRETRO -
      That's an excellent video. I hope those kids were compensated for their testing!
    1. DigitalFirefly's Avatar
      DigitalFirefly -
      Very nice review. I like by setup boxes for long term storage, but these look perfect for on the go play when I don't need to bring everything. Glad to see you can fit dice in the card trays until they release a dice only tray. Now to decide how many trays to get...
    1. Randy's Avatar
      Randy -
      Quote Originally Posted by RJRETRO View Post
      That's an excellent video. I hope those kids were compensated for their testing!
      Their overall contracts didn't break the bank. But their "Feed Me, Clothe Me, Put A Roof Over My Head" long term bonus seems to be what they were really looking for. Those long term contracts may be hard to unload in a trade anytime soon, but we're hoping it pays off.
    1. Indy Mon's Avatar
      Indy Mon -
      Top notch article, as always. This will be very helpful in helping educate my friends as to whether they should back this. Thanks!
    1. alphans's Avatar
      alphans -
      Going to show this to the other players at my store. We might pitch in together to fund a set for a bunch of us
    1. Arshen's Avatar
      Arshen -
      I'm like you Randy, I like keeping my cards in a binder, so if I were to use these for storage, it would probably be dice only. I do think, if anything, these would be the perfect things to keep all my Action and Sidekick dice in.
    1. Wicked Nerd's Avatar
      Wicked Nerd -
      Just what I wanted to hear, now I can give them my moneys with more confidence. Hooray
    1. jigsawhc's Avatar
      jigsawhc -
      Thanks for the review. Grabbed some myself.
    1. Randy's Avatar
      Randy -
      Update! This morning before we posted Zen Bins was over $1000 from reaching their goal. As of this writing they are $865 away from the $7000 goal. The end is in sight.
    1. Veaotch's Avatar
      Veaotch -
      Durability test was cute, but worthless. Push the tray off the table and let it hit on a side. I don't know how often an adult would drop something flat on it's bottom from a foot above the ground.
    1. Randy's Avatar
      Randy -
      Update! As of this writing Zen Bins is $81 away from their goal. $81!
    1. fun4willis's Avatar
      fun4willis -
      I quit procrastinating and jumped on the band wagon. Goal hit.
    1. Randy's Avatar
      Randy -
      Update! Zen Bins has reached their $7000 goal, so these trays will become a reality. Don't forget to enter our contest to get your very own set in time for Origins.
    1. Zen Bins's Avatar
      Zen Bins -
      Quote Originally Posted by Veaotch View Post
      Durability test was cute, but worthless. Push the tray off the table and let it hit on a side. I don't know how often an adult would drop something flat on it's bottom from a foot above the ground.
      We put up a drop test on our Facebook page in slow motion for you. We can adjust the tightness of these as much as we want but the trick is to keep them so they are still easy to open while remaining very secure when transporting in a backpack or whatever.

      http://https://www.facebook.com/page...49923518376976

      A big thanks to The Reserve Pool for showing off our product and to all of our current and future backers!

      -Brian
    1. IgwanaRob's Avatar
      IgwanaRob -
      Quote Originally Posted by Zen Bins View Post
      We put up a drop test on our Facebook page in slow motion for you. We can adjust the tightness of these as much as we want but the trick is to keep them so they are still easy to open while remaining very secure when transporting in a backpack or whatever.

      https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zen-B...49923518376976

      A big thanks to The Reserve Pool for showing off our product and to all of our current and future backers!

      -Brian
      Got an extra "http" in that link there (fixed in my quote).

      Was watching this, and the mention of more coming out makes me even more interested. Glad the funding was reached, gonna keep a close eye on these!
    1. Veaotch's Avatar
      Veaotch -
      Very cool! That's what I'm talking about. Now how about a non carpeted floor? Not many game stores I know of have carpet.
    1. Facie's Avatar
      Facie -
      Thanks for the review. Just backed it.