Friday, September 30

Gaming inserts - my new supergeek hobby

At the gaming convention there were a couple of sellers that were focused on inserts/organization/player mats/gaming accessories.   Some of them used lasercut thin wood or plastic/acrylic, but some of the inserts were foam-core.  I am not about to spend twenty, thirty, or forty dollars on something I can make with less than $5 in supplies.  I mean, yes, my time, but I think it's fun to make things.  To be honest, to have something so tangible after only 2 or 3 hours of work is kind of nice after stitching and not having a finished piece for many, many more hours

I liked the idea of having inserts that kept the bits organized (vs the gazillonty little baggies that make up so many games), and I also liked the idea of all of the time it would save to break down and set up games once they're organized (never mind the fact that many of these can be stored vertically without becoming disorganized).

I watched a few videos, read a few forum threads, and went through a giant list of inserts on BoardGameGeek and decided to take the plunge.

I started with Codenames because it was a pretty small box and it didn't need an insert, but I wouldn't be ruining anything, either.    I even have a whole side of extra space for expansions (yes, Target has an "adult" Codenames version, but it also uses gender slurs and I won't support that).   It might work for Codenames Pictures if I decide I need it.

I accidentally got thicker foamcore, and had to use some of the stiff cardboard as a divider because my dimensions were off...

I decided to do Rattus next, and this also holds the Pied Piper expansion.  That means I can toss out that extra box, too, so bonus on saving space!    Rattus has more expansions, but I seriously doubt I'll get any of them.   It was my first try with a removable tray, too.  And this game isn't big enough that anyone had already posted pictures. Winging it worked!

ignore the white not-set glue ;)
 I then decided to try Augustus, which comes in a way oversized box.   It takes up 3 or 4 times the space the components actually need, so I made this insert for Augustus using the Rattus: Pied Piper box.

There's a lid that snugs down over the legionnaire pieces 
And then I decided to try my hand at my biggest/most complicated insert yet, which is for Suburbia and all of its expansions.   This game literally just has individual baggies for everything, so it takes forever to set up/break down/sort through.   The money/player piece tray has a snug lid, which is pretty freakin' awesome.   I used instructions that are posted on BGG, and I am so super happy with this.  I've had two friends ask me to make this insert for them.

The empty slot/section is for the expansion we don't have yet.
And this is my last insert (so far).  It's for Speicherstadt, which is another game that isn't popular enough to have people posting about.   Since there is plenty of dead space in the box, I decided to keep the center as a support for the board (that goes on top).  I like having the pieces and money individually sitting there, and keeping the 5 phases of cards separate is nice for set up/break down.  I have them canted at an angle because they're too tall to keep straight up, and they all fit in perfectly.

After looking at this picture I realized I was missing a blue meeple - he was safely recovered from underneath all of the bits of foamcore left on the table.
And finally my last project was to take some box art from BGG, resize it, and print it on label sheets so that my new Augustus box looks like Augustus.  I think it's nicer than the masking tape/sharpie option.

The new (smaller) box is on the left and the original box is on the right.  So much space saved!

I'm far more proud of this than I should be.
I have plenty more games that I'd like to get organized (and get rid of expansion boxes!), but I'll try to pace myself so I can still get some good stitching time in.   I think I'll save the insert making for when I have a certain window of time.   I'd hate to leave a big mess of glue and cut foamcore on the dining table, and it's definitely easier to stitch for long stretches  (I hunch over the table for inserts and the shoulders/back get annoyed) or very short time frames.

My partner seems to be buying into the inserts, too, because he pointed out more games that can use inserts or smaller boxes ;)


  1. Wow, that is awesome! I'm always impressed hoe professional all of your DIY-projects look.

    1. Thank you for the compliment! I have to admit to being a little bit anal retentive about some things. I think it's the cross stitcher inside ;)

  2. That is really cool! I need to mention this to my board gaming friends. They have a ton of games and expansions and she likes to do craft things, so this might be exactly what she would be interested in. Your inserts look fantastic! And amazing work on the Augustus box.


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