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,
In anticipation for the new Kaladesh release of Magic the Gathering I created a three layer D20 level counter die holder to keep track of how much Energy you gain and lose over the course of a game. I’ve been looking for a simple small project to test out multi layer designs and I found I was a rather happy with what I came up with to the point where I decided I might was well offer some DIY paint and assemble kits for any fellow MTG players that might want to have their own Energy Counter painted how they wanted.
I might also add some painted finished counters like the ones shown in the images to the Etsy store but since it takes a rather long for me to hand paint, glue up and seal during a time when I’m also trying to get my full line of inserts up on Etsy for the 2016 year, so it might be a very limited release if at all since I’m also working on finalizing a new board game insert for Scythe which I’m finishing for reveal this week.
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:
Introducing a new storage solution for your Hive game. This box holds all current standard sized tiles for Hive (Hive tiles not included). This is available as a self assembly kit that would require some basic assembly, glue, and finishing if you really want to get a beautiful look from it. A felt interior can be added (included) so your game pieces slide in smooth and quiet. The angled tile guide walls assure the tiles seat upright when placed in each row. The Hive logo consists of 10 hand painted sections of black and a golden-yellow color matched to the official Hive logo. This is one of my favorite designs I’ve done so far and I think any Hive enthusiast will enjoy the look and feel of this in their game collection.
First, Thank you to all the gamers that added in their two cents to helped me improve this insert to a level I’m really proud of. If anyone thought the Star Wars Imperial Assault insert was complex then you should take a look at a game that’s basically all miniatures of different sizes and try to get them to all fit together in a clean and efficient manner. On top of that it’s a rather large insert to fit its rather large Cthulhu Wars core game box home.
I’m so happy to have this insert in use. Cthulhu Wars was my worst enemy in my battle against the little plastic baggies that would require me to pour miniatures onto a table and organize in prep for and game. I tried using plastic bins for tokens but they added a lot of bulk to the box and caused the lid of the already too large box to float up which looks odd and takes up home space that other games where trying to live. Continue reading Laser-Cut: Cthuhlu Wars→
I’ve heard great things about the strategy worker placement game Dominant Species and I knew even before I got it from images from Board Game Geek (best board game site ever) that it would be in great need for an insert.
Here’s how it stood shortly after one of my little joys in life of unboxing a new board game:
I could already foresee a little wood bit tumbling out of its pile during game play and falling victim to either the vacuum or a curious dogs digestive track.
Sideways storage safe and passes a medium shake test.
Individual player faction bits trays.
Room for everything to fit even after that MAMMOTH sized board is placed in the box.
Bits box trays designed so my fingers could actually remove bits without feeling like I’m playing a drunkin game of Operation.
It didn’t take much time to find I absolutely loved Imperial Settlers and can’t wait for all the future expansions it has to offer. Of course it also didn’t take long to quickly tire from the little plastic baggies all the bits came with. One of the little baggies even started to tear up a corner of a few of my cards that caught on the zipper ridge of the baggy when I was sliding them out in prep to setup a game. Sorry baggies, game over man, it was time for an 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→
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→