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Game Inserts

Game Inserts

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Project Blog by Tom1132

Recommendations: 3

About the Project

Tom is a gamer with too many game components stored haphazardly, so it is time to set aside the paintbrush (temporarily) and get his DIY on. Armed with a knife and some craft materials, can he organize things and have game night run more smoothly? Maybe.

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Getting Started with Gaming's Foamiest Board

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Well, here we are in the new year. The time of food and festivity now well behind us as we forge ahead into a brighter and better tomorrow.

Then reality set in as I walked into my kitchen and saw my paint station, dense with models waiting to be finished (though that is another project in and of itself) and several of my bigger board games in disarray. Bummer.

In the short time since New Year, I have had people over for gaming sessions. Leaving the game room between games to fetch something from my “expandable games” bookcase looked a little something like this:

The worst part is, my tea will be cold when I returnThe worst part is, my tea will be cold when I return

You see, too many of my games are stored haphazardly; scattered over various deck boxes and plastic containers. Temporary storage solutions that, while they suited at the time, have blown out of all proportion as the games have expanded and added new content (and consequently, more inadequate plastic containers). An ever-growing, treacherous labyrinth of disorganized… STUFF.


Then Game Night comes around and the questions come;

“Can we play LOTR: The Card Game tonight?”
I’d love to, but I need a days notice to delve into the boxes, build decks and sort everything out.

“Where are the Descent monsters?”
Pfft, where AREN’T the Descent monsters.

“Can we play Monopoly?”
No. Get out. How did you get in here?


What do I do? Do I archive some of this? I don’t have a wine cellar, a basement or a garage.  And I can’t go into the attic anymore, not since I saw… the man.

Rummaging in the wall cavity I can deal with, but his new-found aerial advantage has me uneasy.Rummaging in the wall cavity I can deal with, but his new-found aerial advantage has me uneasy.

A problem for… another time.

No, the solution here, I think, is to optimize the storage space I have and condense things into as few containers as humanly possible (preferably making use of the original game box).

Feldherr foam storage is a pretty common route to go for board games; they make modular, custom-cut trays that fit neatly into the original game box they were designed for (or the various bags they also produce). However, this can be an expensive venture. *Some* of their products are available on Amazon, but you’ll find they are expensive, often with added postage charges by third party sellers. I have actually used their products (including the bags) to store my X-Wing stuff and for that, it works. But it is not a consistently priced/reliable avenue to get through everything I need to get through for my board games.

The other, more pertinent issue, is that the trays for board games are designed in such a way that you have to store your components by expansion, rather than storing all components of one type in one place. Say you’re playing Descent for example and you’re called upon to spawn a group Carrion Drakes. Okay… where are they? What expansion are those guys from? Check the monster card for a symbol… oh, we can’t. The monster card for Carrion Drakes is also in the expansion box that Carrion Drakes came from.

Some of the trays even have spaces for damage and strain tokens that came in said expansion, as if they are somehow specialized or specific to it. Why?! Damage and strain are universal tokens – you’re going to keep them with the rest that you got in the Core Set. Imagine this scenario “hey, we’re out of damage tokens, which expansions gave us more of those again?”


Same goes for new boards/tiles. You could be called upon to spawn any tile from #1-#60 and upwards (depending how much you have).

Descent has a TON of miniatures (and cards pertaining to those miniatures). When you have 30+ unique monster groups and a plethora of tiles in the game, you need your components sorted in a way that makes it quick and easy to find them, ie – all monster cards should at least be in the same place, maybe even roughly alphabetized. Tiles stored in one box divided into groups by number etc.

Don’t get me wrong, these Feldherr trays are great, they’re just not really suited to bigger, expandable games. This coupled with the expensive wooden alternatives and the fact that some games just don’t have inserts designed for them at all led me to conclude that a custom solution would be a good catch-all.

That’s when I discovered… Flex Foam!

I sawed this BOARD in half!I sawed this BOARD in half!

Moving Swiftly on, let me Phil you in about Foam Board.

What we’re looking at is basically two sheets of card sandwiching a foam… well, board (though it’s sometimes referred to as Foam Core).
Relatively easy to cut, sturdy, comes in black – this stuff is magic.

This is what you’re looking for:

You can't ride it through shark-infested waters, but it's more than enough for our purposes.You can't ride it through shark-infested waters, but it's more than enough for our purposes.

And it’s actually more readily available than I thought it was. If you’ve ever made terrain for war games you have likely come across this stuff already, but for those looking, LPC (Limavady Printing Company), GE Kee (Coleraine) and The Range (literally everywhere) all stock it and for roughly £7-8 per A1 sheet – it’s yours.

In fact this stuff has become so mainstream that hobbyists like ourselves get the somewhat refreshing experience of making an inquiry that DOESN’T result in raised eyebrows and befuddled looks. Which can only be a bonus.

Easy to find locally. Check.
Cheap…(kind of, if you plan out your cuts and get the most out of it). Check.
Cuts nicely with a good blade. Check.

All we need now is a large cutting mat and we are good to go! Over the next few weeks I’ll be documenting my process making custom board game box inserts and hopefully pass on any useful findings through my trial and error to others looking to do this with their games.


Getting Started with Gaming's Foamiest Board

Descent, Islebound and Hero Realms are among the first to receive this treatment, so expect to see them featured over the next few entries.

Until then, thanks for reading! I’ll be working at these in the meantime and pretending that the scuttling sounds coming from my attic aren’t real.

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