Boxwars – The Art of Building Amazing Cardboard Armour and Weapons and Destroying Them in Glorious Combat

Boxwars is a fast-growing entertainment phenomenon that takes the childhood pastime of playing with cardboard boxes to a whole new level. Participants use reclaimed cardboard to create the full range of battle gear – armour, weapons, monster trucks, tanks, gigantic animals, and more. Then they put on monumental battle shows during which every creation is completely destroyed!

Boxwars is the brainchild of Australian friends Hoss Siegel and Ross Koger, who came up with it nearly a decade ago over drinks. “There was a lot of drinking involved,” Koger said in an interview. “We sort of imagined this concept one day, and thought yeah let’s give it a go. We did it at a party and had a great time, and thought let’s do this again!”

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Photo: Campbell Manderson/Facebook

Koger explained that with each new boxwar party, the suits and structures became more and more elaborate until they couldn’t fit in their back gardens any more. So they decided to move the party to a local park on Boxing Day 2002 (how fitting), and people who were having barbecues at the park rushed over to watch them. And that’s when they realised that their silly games actually had huge entertainment value.

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Photo: Campbell Manderson/Facebook

“That was the beginning of Boxwars,” Koger said, “and we go to the same spot every year on Boxing day! The suits, since then, have gotten more elaborate as have the crowds, and it’s funny that something which spawned from a stupid idea at a party has become so big.”

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Photo: Campbell Manderson/Facebook

Today, Boxwars builds complex structures, armour, props, and sets, for each themed battle. The sport has expanded beyond Boxing Day – it is now a part of nearly every major festival or event in Australia and around the world. “We do props and workshops,” Koger explained. “For Stereosonic last year, we built these large robots with lights  that hung over the crowd. This year’s Sydney Festival we did a Mad Max theme where we shut down a city street and drove dune buggies down it!”And for the Down on the Farm music festival in Victoria, they did a kangaroo cull-themed battle with the warriors donning giant ‘roo suits’ and armour, ‘driving’ their monster trucks.

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Photo: Campbell Manderson/Facebook

Boxwars is now run by the Boxwars Council (consisting of Hoss and Ross), and has legions of fans across the globe. “One of our main aims is to bring cardboard back to the consumers who discarded it in the first place without realising its true potential,” the official website states. “Cardboard, or the street name ‘box’, we quickly discovered had brilliant properties for engineering. The limits of scale and awesomeness were continuously pushed to greater commanding heights with the development of our skills with this great stuff.”

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Photo: Campbell Manderson/Facebook

Koger further revealed every piece of battlegear in Boxwars is handmade by the warriors themselves. He said that there’s generally a core group of people who actually do the Boxwars props, and a bigger group of warriors that builds with them all the time. “There are lots of different groups that come to events in all cities around Australia who help build,” he said. “The concept has even spread overseas in Edinburgh and a bunch of guys in the Netherlands who we got to meet last year (that was awesome), as well as in Russia. It’s getting around, as it’s a concept that can work anywhere, and we’re happy that people overseas can identify with what we’re doing here in Melbourne and make stuff that’s pretty awesome.”

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If you’re into this whole cardboard battle thing, you might also want to check out the awesome Cardboard Tube Fighting League, which we featured a few years back.

Photo: Campbell Manderson/Facebook

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Photo: Campbell Manderson/Facebook

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Photo: Campbell Manderson/Facebook


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