The best subscription boxes for gamers

The Office Box
(Image credit: CultureFly)

Back in 2012, Loot Crate began offering geeks a way to get the kind of tchotchkes that come with videogame pre-orders minus the actual videogame, and since then the subscription box business has boomed. Now almost every niche interest you can imagine has their own way of paying to regularly receive surprise stuff in the mail. 

They've evolved way past "a Funko Pop and some pins with superheroes on them," and now there are subscription boxes for Japanese snacks (opens in new tab), board games (opens in new tab), and Dungeons & Dragons-themed t-shirts (opens in new tab). None of them deliver anything you need, but some of them bundle together things you might want. 

Are they really worth it? That depends how much joy you get out of surprises and receiving things in the mail, but if you're deep into a fandom you already know whether collecting trifles related to it will make you happy. And subscription boxes make decent gifts—like the old standby of a magazine subscription, they guarantee the receiver will have a reason to remember how generous you were at regular intervals for the next 12 months. And that's priceless.

CultureFly (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: CultureFly)

CultureFly's boxes aren't cheap, but rather than offering a random selection, they're extremely specific. You can subscribe to the Star Wars Galaxy Box (opens in new tab) or World's Finest (opens in new tab) (for DC Universe collectibles), but there are also subscriptions for fandoms less catered-to. Like The Office Box (opens in new tab), which once included a replica of Dwight's stapler suspended in jell-o. That's something you won't get anywhere else. They also have subscriptions for fans of SpongeBob, Supernatural, Naruto, Friends, that one cat called Pusheen, and etc. CultureFly delivers four times a year, and prices vary—for The Office Box it's either $40 each or $144 for a year, while the Star Wars Galaxy Box is $50 each or $180 for a year. At least shipping is free. 

LibrisArcana (opens in new tab)

Dice

(Image credit: LibrisArcana)

A serious dice habit can be a hard thing to kick. I once saw a man sell his own kidney for a set of machined transparent Gamescience polyhedrons. If you're in danger of falling into the same hole, factor a dice-of-the-month club into your budget to sate the beast inside you that thirsts for speckled d20s. LibrisArcana's premium dice subscriptions start at $15.50 per month (opens in new tab), with free shipping worldwide. As well as a set of resin dice every month they add little bonuses like stickers, and sometimes just more dice. They also offer pricier options like the premium metal RPG dice subscription (opens in new tab) for $22.75, which gets you seven dice so solid you could kill a goose with them.

Escape the Crate (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Escape the Crate)

Delivering a bi-monthly version of an escape room you don't have to leave the house for, Escape the Crate is basically selling LucasArts adventure games. One crate might have you (and optionally up to five friends) solve a murder during a lock-in at a 1920s speakeasy, another will see you repair a spaceship on the moon. The puzzles are presented as props and papers, some in sealed envelopes that ominously read DO NOT OPEN UNTIL INSTRUCTED, and you get a link to a website with audio versions of the instructions and narrative as well as hints if you need them. At $30 plus $10 shipping (opens in new tab) each they cost a little more than you might pay for a ticket to a real escape room, though just one of these works for a group. They can also be reset to play again or share, thanks to downloadable replacement printouts.

Geek Fuel (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: GeekFuel)

Of the standard "mystery box of pop culture junk" subscriptions, Geek Fuel are one of the more well-regarded. Rather than being padded out with stuff you could get at the Dollar Store, their boxes contain limited edition figures and exclusive t-shirts. If you're really into the latter, they have a Tee Club subscription (opens in new tab), and if you'd rather buy a box where you know what's in it they sell those too. For $35, there's a '90s gamer bundle (opens in new tab) with a PS1 button-masher tee, a "Sleep Fighter" throw pillow, a PlayStation metal coaster set, and console decal. (Sadly it does not include '90s PC gamer gear like a keyring with a tiny replica of your first 486 or a Windows for Workgroups hoodie.) Geek Fuel's monthly plan (opens in new tab) is $29 plus shipping, and if you pay for a few months in advance you get a discount and a bonus shirt. 

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games (opens in new tab). He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun (opens in new tab), The Big Issue, GamesRadar (opens in new tab), Zam (opens in new tab), Glixel (opens in new tab), Five Out of Ten Magazine (opens in new tab), and Playboy.com (opens in new tab), whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.