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:
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→
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 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→
I thought I’d give my endless Magic the Gathering habit a break and see what Dice Masters had to offer. I like the simple nature of it. Not having 1,000+ cards released each year can really make deck building a quick and enjoyable process. The biggest problem I ran into quickly is storage. I tried using little plastic storage bins bit those were a real pain to try to pick my dice out of. I wanted something that would fit on my game shelf in a clean manner that would hold a multiple sets in one container. My cousin got the official dice masters Avengers Vs. X-men storage box which looks great but that means I need one for each set which means I need to have 2,3,4+ boxes spread over my tables as I go through them trying to build my deck of epic-ness. “Well that solution to game organization are we going to try tonight Brain?” “The same game organization solution I try every time, TRY TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD!, wait, no… a box, I’m going to make a box”. This would be no simple box. It needs trays to hold dice which need to hold dice in a manner I can easily remove and organize. The box needs to be small enough to fit on my game shelf. I typically use one of my larger game boxes that fit cleanly on my game shelf as a upper size limit, Pathfinder: Adventure Card Game. It will also need to fit enough cards to hold 4 full sets of cards, a dice mat, instructions, handmade dice bag, and a doughnut. I say that because I could really go for a doughnut right now. Continue reading Laser-Cut: DiceMasters Dice & Card Storage Box→
I like hex tiles. They’re like squares but with so much more gaming potential. One would think that with such a elegant simple strategy game there would be an equally elegant and simple storage solution that came with said game. Not so much. While I do think the little portable plastic zip bag that the game box could be a neat thing to bring on trips or whatnot I’m just bothered by the fact that the box which contains such well fitting components contains 60% air. Its like a Yahtzee game box. A game that contains 5 Continue reading Laser-Cut: Hive Box Improvement→
One of the first boxes I thought I’d try was to make a Cards Against Humanity box that would fit all the cards of the core game and all the current and a few future expansions. I recently got access to a laser-cutter and combines with SolidWorks I started to experiment with a design that would meet my requirements of storage needs and have dimensions that wouldmesh well with existing board games so I could reduce clutter while still fitting in cleanly with my current collection.
Laser Cutting: The Learning Curve
Laser cutting can be tricky at first. You really need to play with the machine for a while trying to future out what small variations in settings can do. A bit too slow and you’ll end up making edges that are closer to a charcoal pencil then a clean Continue reading Laser-cut: Cards Against Humanity Box→