Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Review: Nerd Block

 I've been interested in the subscription box trend for a while now. That's where you sign up with a company and they send you a random box of their products each month. There are subscription boxes for dog treats, snack foods, beauty products, and probably a bunch more I haven't heard of. Whoever came up with this idea first is a marketing genius: there's just something super fun about getting a box of mystery goodies in the mail, like having a birthday every month. But I hadn't found one that really appealed to me, until I heard about Nerd Block, a subscription box service for geeks.

 A Nerd Block subscription is $19.99, plus about $10 shipping. (They're based in Canada.) Each month's box contains a geeky T-shirt and five or six toys/collectibles. I've received two boxes so far, and here's the rundown:

Box No. 1
Outer mailing box
Fun nerd box

The stuff in box no. 1

My first box contained a "Gremlins"-themed T-shirt, a Funko TMNT Splinter figure, a HeroClix Superman game figure (Kryptonian Warrior), a "Big Bang Theory" mystery figure (Sheldon-yay!), a package of Topps Wacky Packages stickers (never heard of these, they remind me of the old Garbage Pail Kids stickers), and a GelaSkin smart phone wrapper in a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles design.

Grade: D. A disappointing first box. The T-shirt is good quality, but I'm not a huge "Gremlins" fan. I also don't play HeroClix, I'm not into Ninja Turtles, and I don't have a smart phone. The goofy stickers went to my seven-year-old. The only thing I'm keeping is the Sheldon figure (he looks great on my computer.)

Box No. 2:
Box No. 2

The goodies unpacked
This month's shirt

 This month's box contained an awesome spooky Star Wars T-shirt, A DC Universe vinyl mini figure (The Penguin), a Spawn mini trading figure (Wings of Redemption), a Portal Sentry Turret, a mini Wolverine eraser, an Adventure Time puzzle game, and a bizarre blue plastic splotch, that is apparently a TNMT coaster.

Grade: B. Star Wars is my main geek niche, and the shirt is seriously cool. I've only seen Adventure Time a few times, but the puzzle looks like fun, the Penguin figure is cute (he's now sitting next to Sheldon), the Wolverine eraser will probably go to my seven-year-old, and the Spawn figure has amazing detail for a miniature, it may be an uncommon variant worth eBay-ing. However, the plastic coaster looks like a cheap county fair freebie, and the Portal Sentry Turret was so poorly made, the legs broke off when I took it out of the box. Which is too bad, because the box it came in was actually way cooler than the toy itself.

 I plan to give Nerd Block one more month before I decide if the value of each box is worth continuing my subscription. I think the company needs to add a survey to the sign up process, where besides shirt size, you can input your geeky preferences. There are so many ways to express geekiness - comic books, Anime, movies and TV, computer games, role-playing games, math & science, Steam Punk, etc. - the likelihood of everything in a box appealing to one person is pretty slim. If you could pick your categories of geek preferences when you sign up, there would probably be a higher satisfaction rate. ("Yes, I'd like to order a Star Wars/Doctor Who/Joss Whedon box please. With a side of comic books, and throw in some Star Trek. Thanks!")

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