After a long hiatus from the task of insert creation I received my Kickstarter edition of Scythe from Stonemaier Games. It’s a great looking game, the components are well crafted and the Kickstarter components really make for a wonderful upgrade and really push all my happy buttons in the ways of a great tactile interaction with a game. The biggest issue with this box was the cards. I like cards, they are an ideal method to implement game mechanics while also giving a medium for visual flare, but with cards comes those little plastic baggies I so loath when packing up my games. An insert was needed. Maybe just a few card bins because surely I couldn’t fit anything else in this box. I surprised myself and made it work.
Each card type has its own box and I even got a divider in with the medium sized cards so I could easily divide the standard game cards with Automa cards.
The bank was a nice addition that I originally didn’t think I’d be able to implement due to the space restrictions within the box. First I was going to just stick with the little plastic snap together containers that came with the game but that would mean I could either store all the coins or resources but one of the two would be relegated to my old nemesis, the little plastic baggies. The bank box holds all my resource bits and coins and now I can use the provides plastic containers to hold some resources so I can divide them across the table. Now you have more than one pool of bits to pull from which decreases the need for the long distance, component toppling table reaches or constant need for the “could you please pass the…” during a game session.
Player bits were stored in individual boxes to further speed up game setup time.
I elected to not create a custom miniatures tray. The one designed by Stonemaier games looks to be strong enough to handle a lifetime of use and its contoured spaces for the miniatures will keep them safe after having hand painted each one. I was quite pleased with that storage tray and I’m really happy to see game makers providing component storage vacuformed trays that are not just the blister pack variety that will find themselves in the trash right after opening,
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This prototype has been updated to better fit the core game and the Fire & Ice expansion, check out the newest revision HERE
I posted a survey on my Kickstarter and decided to get the top three inserts designed. One of those three was for the board game Terra Mystica.
My attempt in every insert I design is to decrease setup and pack-up time of a board game and try to consolidate expansion boxes into the original core game box. For the first time I found I was unable to accomplish both of these goals. Terra Mystica contains a large number of components but that I can deal with. That’s just dimensions, organization, maybe a little trigonometry. This game was the king of cardboard sheets when you add its expansion. A pile of faction boards, new mechanics required boards and it added an entire extra map. For me its all or nothing. I’m not going to throw away the original map or have it sit alone on a shelf. I accepted the fact that this insert would cover the base game and the base game alone.
My main issue with this game isn’t the large number of components or the super thick stack of cardboard, Its the excessive number of player bits. It’s a 5 player game at max but it comes with 7 different faction colors. I’m all down for variety but to add another 2 colors of faction, now totaling 9, with the expansion basically doomed this game to never fit in its core box.
I give you the Thinker Tinker Maker Terra Mystics Insert:
After playing suburbia a few more times I realized that I wanted to revise a few features of my first Suburbia Insert. The first being an upgrade to the Bits Box so that it could have a lid that would allow the entire box to be stored on its side. I also wanted to make sure it would have all the room for adding a 5th player from the upcoming 5-Star expansion due in August here in the States.
The Great Old Ones Demand Everything Fit in One Box!
I really enjoy Elder Sign. I’ve played it many times and with different people. Those people also liked the game. It seems that enough people have enjoyed that game that Fantasy Flight thought it would be wise to release not one but two expansions to the base game. The core game fit in the box well enough, but like most games with plentiful game pieces, removing tokens from bags and then putting them away at the end of the game got old fast. At the time, a simple fix for this issue was a custom foam core insert, which was modeled in an evening and held together with hot clue (which still is used as a prototyping method today).
When the second expansion Unseen Forces came out I had some insert overflow issues. Things didn’t quite fit as neatly as before, but still sufficed for the time. Then the 3rd expansion Gates of Arkham came out and I realized I was in trouble. Would I really be forced to have this tiny little expansion box filling up my ever dwindling shelf space? I felt like a Shambling One torn through the dimensions. No! So, I put on my imaginary detectives hat and started at it, measuring and arranging, making models and configuring, and at last I had my great wonder of organization complete. It was no easy task. The new expansion adds a surprising quantity of components and with the awkward shapes of the new portal tokens I was confronted with yet another horror to overcome. Continue reading Laser-Cut: Elder Sign Insert→
After having backed the Kickstarter Campaign for Dice Empire, designed and created by a local Pacific NW company, Tinderbox Entertainment, and thoroughly enjoying the magnificent dice I received from my investment, I was happy to jump on board their newest go at a full fledged game. This unique little gem was Length X Wit ,designed by Dave Myers. Now, usually I wouldn’t feel too drawn to a word smithy game. I’ve had my time with Scrabble and the likes and I have to admit it usually doesn’t go well for me. I’m not always great with the words. I’ve been known to lean pretty strongly on my spell checker. You might be saying “but Stefan, you write these little bits on your website and they seem to be pretty well comprehensible”. Continue reading Game Review: Length X Wit→
There comes a time in every bloggers life when simply taking photographs just won’t due, especially when you’ve spent hours meticulously perfecting a particular craft only to have it blurred out in photographs. This revelation came in January for me. Stefan had just received the Star Wars Imperial Assault board game and would soon receive Cthulhu Wars, which came with amazingly detailed figurines all just waiting to be painted. He spent hours setting up layers, working on toning, highlighting, and shadows, and was simply just doing some amazing work with some impromptu paints and spare time. Continue reading Lighting Solutions: DIY Lightbox/ Ikea Hack→
I enjoy the occasional game of Magic The Gather. I’ll even get into playing at game store when I can afford it. I can rarely afford it as the cost for MTG seems to easily enter the realm of meth habit money. One thing that most game stores have in common. Tables. It’s hard to play magic without a table and those tables get sticky with little kid fingers and beverage residue. No thank you. What I need is a play mat. I know of a internet based company called Inkedplaymats.com. You can buy play mats they have in stock, which I’ve done or you could design your own, which as you might have guessed I have also done. As you may or may not know I’m a mechanical engineer when I’m not protecting the world from board game disorganization. I do drafting drawings all the time. Seems like a good opportunity to combine the two.
I’ve been painting miniatures for a few years now. It started with RPG characters and villains then moved to painting the minis for my board games as more and more board games are now including minis with their games. When starting out I used artist acrylic paints I had a who bowling ball bag filled with paints from my college art classes. This was fine up until last month. I was curious and purchased some Vallejo paints, just eight, enough to paint my Han Solo and Rebel Saboteurs minis for Star Wars Imperial Assault. I’ve been converted. The quality of the paint, ease of application and the minimal waste due to the dropper bottles was all steps above my artist paint. Let me also focus on that, artist paints, I just wanted to note that I did not use craft paints, I painted with the more expensive artist grade paints for years. Even those higher end paints would still have colors within the same brand that had course grit pigments that would leave an undesirably thick layer that would quickly cover up all the fine details of the miniature. Continue reading Laser-Cut: A Miniatures Paint Storage Solution→
I Have An Organization Monkey On My Back. He Is Not To Be Ignored
I’ve recently come across a board game called Suburbia. I must own it! So now I do and there goes my board game budget for the month. I always loved the Sim City games while I was growing up, physically not mentally, that’s still an ongoing thing. I purchased Machi Koro a short while ago. It’s a great game, simple to teach, great art work and a generally bright and cheerful game. Unless you bought the Harbor Expansion and you’re not the one who owns two Tuna Boat cards. Then you hate the game, that horrible evil game in a cute little bow. If you like Machi Koro but want something a bit more advanced in a similar theme them Suburbia is the way to go. I compare it to being Pandemic compared to forbidden Island. Continue reading Laser-Cut: Suburbia Insert→
After ditching the standard cardboard card holders and upgrading to a wood box from Hobby Lobby for my EDH Magic the Gathering cards I realized I was using a lot of box real estate on my basic mana cards.
I had just purchased some Danish Oil and I wanted to see what a more natural raw looked like since up to this point I had just been staining or spray painting all the wood projects like my Cards Against Humanity box.
I dimensioned the box to hold cards in sleeves and I figured about 150 of each mana type plus about 150 non basic lands should be the length I need. I got a design I liked and let the laser cutter do its work. To prep the box for assembly I pre-sanded the surfaces with a 220 grit paper being sure to sand with the grain. I wanted keep the laser cut burnt ends look so I didn’t sand the edges but instead just wiped them down with a damp rag to get the soot off to assure the glue would make a solid bond. Continue reading Laser-Cut: MTG Mana Station Box→