Kickstarter Hands On Review: The Mimic Chest
The Mimic Chest
At first glance, it looks like a normal treasure chest. Roll high enough in perception, and you can see that it’s actually a precision-crafted, compact, durable, magnetic transforming caddy for all your tabletop game gear.
Out of all of the blogs that I’ve written, and all of the Kickstarter reviews that I have done, The Mimic Chest has been the single most up-and-down roller coaster ride of a Hands-On review I’ve ever written.
Oh, Mimic Chest how I love you and hate you! This rollercoaster ride began with the honor of me being given one of 12 pre-release Kickstarter Mimic Chests by Polymorph Crafts. My little mimic crawled his way to me at a snail’s pace as all of the other reviewers got there before me, I don’t blame Polymorph Crafts I blame the postal service and my Mimic. I don’t just say this in jest, Polymorph Crafts themselves have humorously told us that our Mimics have personalities, and damned if I don’t agree.
Polymorph Crafts even went so far as to include a thank you for adopting your Mimic pamphlets in the box when you receive it in the mail. The pamphlet jokes about Mimics being hard to rehabilitate and that you’ll need to spend some extra time with your Mimic when it arrives so that you can imprint on each other and get along. Well, I’ll be the first to tell you that mine arrived with the spirit of Loki the trickster God in him because it sought endlessly to aggravate me in the beginning.
I was overjoyed when I pulled my Mimic Chest out of its box, unclasp the straps, and watch it explode my hands as I tried to disassemble it properly the first time! Undaunted I picked it back up, reassembled it only to prove that my ogre hands we’re just going to break it into a million pieces a second time! My Mimic would go on to mock me until I learned just how to remove it from its magnets and assemble it properly.
Needless to say the early going between me and my and my box was a rough one, but not without reward. With The Mimic comprised of over 200 magnets holding it together as you work with it each time you set a piece into place, there’s a satisfying snap of the magnets as they come together. As you become more proficient with assembling and disassembling your Mimic its hard not be slightly awed by the fact with the exception of the Dice Tray this thing is completely held together by MAGNETS!
After repeating this process several times with the Mimic I set up the Dice Tray and Tower. I wanted to test the sturdiness of the Tower’s magnets when a handful or two dice were rolled down it. I also wanted to be sure that when dice rolled into the tray from the tower that they would not simply bounce clean out of the tray. I was pleasantly rewarded with an unexpectedly satisfying sound that the dice make when they roll down the tower. The icing on the cake was my first single D20 roll that many of you may have seen by now, was a Nat 20!! Again, The Mimic mocked me!
As it turns out my mimic does not like to be criticized, and I’m a reviewer, that makes our relationship a tedious one. Because as soon as I found the first Flaw in my mimic, it threw a tantrum and broke on me. You see I had noticed that the coasters for The Mimic needed more magnets to keep ogre handed users like me from just destroying the top portion of The Mimic when they tried to disassemble it.
With just a few extra magnets, (I know it already has 200 magnets in it and I’m suggesting extra magnets!) The result of a few more magnets would provide the dice and pencil vaults a much stronger hold making it less likely to collapse as easily. I promptly reached out to Polymorph Crafts to point out this discovery. Polymorph kindly inform me as I was typing out my observation that they recently had discovered the exact same error and we’re already implementing a fix! Sadly, I was probably not going to be able to get the new coasters with the right magnets for my pre-release review copy. My Mimic Chest didn’t like that answer and took it upon himself the break his carry strap tossing a bad rivet.
The Polymorph Crafts Team was quick to Send me out a new strap and since they needed to send me a strap they tossed in the improved coasters with the magnet fix as well! A few days later the straps and coaster arrived, I snapped the new coasters into place in my Mimic and at that point, everything changed. Gone were the mocking collapsing into pieces when I would try and pick it up. With my new well behaved Mimic in hand I decided it was time to take it to the FLGS for everyone to get a look at. While there the Mimic behaved PERFECTLY! 8 out of 8 times total strangers would take his straps off and full break him down and put him back together. Gone were the explosions of wooden bits everywhere. My Mimic was a whole new MIMIC!!
Right out of the gate I will say this The Mimic Chest is impressive, I mean it’s a box held together with 200 magnets it’s hard not to be impressed by that! Initially, when I first opened up the box and began to use it I was very frustrated with this product. I think that fate may have intervened for both Polymorph Crafts and Runkle plays games in the fact that the rivet on my case broke. Providing the opportunity for me to get a new strap and them to send me the new coaster. Because of this simple little coaster is the linchpin in the entire product in my opinion.
The Mimic Chest pre-updated coaster was a fragile pile of Lincoln logs waiting to explode at the first chance that you would bump the magnets out of position. Post adjustments, it is a far superior far sturdier product allowing you to even grasp the top of the chest and slightly twist and remove all of the vaults at once intact, a feat that before that change would have sent wood flying in every direction.
The mimic chest comes with 5 vaults, three dice, and two pens. The dice vaults are bored with 7 dice slots. The pencil vault can hold four Staedtler dry erase markers or 5 mechanical pencils comfortably inside. Each of the vaults comes with a placard that has two grooves cut in it for cards. They do the job very nice job as card stands. When not in use as part of the mimic they the placard and the vaults can be merged to form a Nifty little card rack.
The coaster is two pieces of wood snap together with two magnets on the inside and 10 magnets on the outside, when it’s on the box it’s these five magnets that form the arch support for the dice vault. Now I’m not a master woodworker but I am friends with a few. I know that the polymorph craft Team says you can use the coaster for your drinks. They assure me that the 5 layer laminate plywood plus the stain layers and the varnish that they will be using will be enough to protect your coaster.
I’m not going to say they are wrong as I do not have any woodworking skills. I will strongly say that personally, I will never put a drink on my coaster nor would I suggest you do this either. This product will cost you too much money to take the risk of even a minor amount of warpage unseating your magnets properly and ruining your box I just can’t agree with them on this.
NOTE: Since I do have a “Spare” coaster I have thought that I might do a bit of a stress test with it and see how it holds up to drinks.
The Dice Tower & Tray
The Dice Tower assembles with the satisfying feel and it locks onto your tray with magnets. I rolled handfuls of dice down the Tower with no unseating of the magnets. The tray is an excellent rolling bed and I never had any dice hop out of the box when rolled down the tower.
What can I say Polymorph Crafts are woodworkers, not leatherworkers, but they are learning. Personally, my strap did break while my box was empty. My mimic chest had a thicker leather strap that was riveted and the rivets did not seat properly resulting in blown rivets because of the thickness of the strap. Polymorph Crafts informed me that it is not the normal strap they use and promptly sent me out a new one. Since the arrival of this strap, I have put nearly 5 lbs of things in my Mimic and he has taken it like a champ.
All Things Considered, if you put any amount of stuff in this box, pick it up by the strap but I would carry it by the bottom of the box as the strap is not secured to the mimic so much as it is just wrapped around your mimic. There is some slight shifting when you try to walk around just holding it by the strap. For safety’s sake and your Mimics health hold it from the bottom if you have to carry it anywhere.
The Wood & Magnets
The Mimic will have two types of wood, the standard Mimic will be crafted from high grade 5 layer plywood quarter inch thick with three layers of stain three layers of varnish. This is the Mimic that I have and the plywood is quite sturdy. (Above talking about it falling to pieces was not a joke) The premium mimic will be made of solid Woods like Walnut, Maple, and others and I wish I could have seen how sharp that product would have looked.
Sadly I can’t give you a full opinion on how the finished basic mimic will look because the finished Kickstarter Mimic will be dipped in stain and varnish and have multiple layers of each. Where my pre-release Kickstarter was made to get to me quickly for review and only had one layer of each brushed onto it. Resulting in a different appearance than what will be delivered to backers. I can say this, I know that the product backers will receive will be better than my preview box.
At the end of the day, there is only one question it all comes down to.
“Is The Mimic Chest functional?”
When I showed it to board gamers, they liked it but many of them said they couldn’t see using all of its features for any one thing. But they could see using all of its features for different things.
When I showed it to card gamers I got much the same reaction as they felt they could only use the vaults and the placards and nothing else.
When I showed it to the miniature Gamers there was interest but they were concerned where they would put their figures to keep them from falling around in the box. Sadly I didn’t have a Hero vaults to show them.
When I showed it to role-playing gamers, it was very well-received. With only comments that it was too small to put books and maps inside being their only criticism. Many wished that you could not put everything you needed for a game in the box.
So I decided to tackle that opinion and see if they were in fact right. Now I will be the first one to tell you, a book will never fit in here. Nor will you fit a large tablet inside, but it does fit a Kindle and D&D Beyond works well with a Kindle. It’s also worth noting that later this year wizard of the coast is putting out a Kindle tablet specifically for Dungeons & Dragons oddly enough.
So I grabbed up my Kindle and a bunch of role-playing products and I stuffed 5 lb of stuff inside this box! Enough for a full 4-player game and everything that the players would need as well the GM’s things. I packed in it 5 sets of dice, 5 mechanical pencils, Dry Erase Markers, A pocket fold up Maps a dozen or so dry erase cards! I also fit inside Mini figures cards of numerous variations. The Kindle as well as a stand for it and a portable battery pack with charge cord. In short everything, you would need for a game night.
So is it functional? Absolutely.
Interestingly enough, when I started this review the cons were more about the mimic chests functionality. But these things were addressed in a brief back and forth chat with the creators. Leaving The Mimic Chests only real flaws to come forward after its structure was proven sound.
There’s is only one real thing that the mimic suffers from, and that’s it size. it’s big it’s bulky but it lacks the dimensions to hold larger gaming products that the role-playing gamer would want to take with him to game night. The Kindles a nice tablet but it’s not a great gaming tablet. The iPad Mini makes a far better gaming tablet and it’s only slightly bigger.
The mimic is also barely too small to fit Game Mastery card maps fit inside. This slight tweak would have made it a perfect case for a GM on-the-go had it been a hair bigger. Game Mastery Maps fitting in the Mimic would have provided a huge library of options for the box. That said if you are a theater of the mind group the lack of a Map is of no real issue to your group.
Lastly, because the case can still collapse if you grab it wrong and fall apart, I wouldn’t recommend storing a tablet in it unless you are very careful and put the tablet glass side down definitely.
This ranking was not an easy one for me to come too. I had to take several things into account that I don’t normally consider during a review. In the past, with other products, I usually sent the premium version of the product to get a full idea of just what the finished product will look like. In, this situation I got a Mimic they said was a 93% complete product. That’s okay yet, in the end, it affects my rating potentially because I don’t have that last 10% for me to see in my hands. Often I am given things that are closer to 99% of the final version for review.
But it’s not all that bad because I got to see the customer service side of the company while I was dealing with issues that arose like the strap and the coaster. Their speedy response and willingness to pay attention to feedback overall boosted my opinion of the company greatly.
So taking those things into account my ranking for Runkle plays games review of The Mimic Chest is a 15.
Remember a ranking of a 15 is Well above Average. My Ranking List can be found HERE. The Mimic is unique, and it does what they say it does, the product has a ton of potential when you take into account the Hero Vaults.
NOTE: The new Coaster weighed heavily in this decision. Had I finished this review with the coasters that were given to me at first I would have only given the Mimic a Ranking of a 14 at most.
The factors that hold me down form giving the Mimic from a higher rating of maybe even at 16 in my eyes is due to size, the unfinished state of the product and the choice of laminated plywood. The plywood is excellent but it’s just not Heirloom woods. Understandably this was done to keep costs down and make it a product more accessible.
I am fairly certain that many people that back this product will probably feel that the Mimic is at least a 16 or 17 if they purchase the premium woods. Understandably this will be due to the fact that I know the finished product will be superior to what I have in front of me right now.
I’m proud and honored that I had the opportunity to be one of 12 people to give The Mimic chest by Polymorph Crafts a review.
You can find them in The Mimic Chest on Kickstarter right now. They were fully funded Kickstarter day one! Go take a look at it, follow it, and adopt one.
Until next time gamers!
You can find their project on KS here! Let them know I sent you!