Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Boxes for Boardgames

I love boardgames.

I especially love boardgames that come with well designed box inserts, to keep all the little game bits and pieces organized so that it's quicker to set up an already lengthy game.
Lords of Waterdeep

This kind of attention to detail can make a huge difference in player experience, and I'd gladly pay an extra $10 if it meant these hundreds of tiny bits had snug little spots to nestle into.

"Lords of Waterdeep" is a perfect example of a game which not only has a beautifully designed exterior box (coupled with the expansion it looks like a treasure chest), but also a fantastically designed insert.

Being spoiled by the package designers for "Lords of Waterdeep", "Smallword Underground", and "Forbidden Island",  I was more than disappointed when I got my long awaited copy of "Elder Sign" - I felt ripped off. 

Ugh, how will I fit all this back into the box?

Someone dropped the ball to save a few bucks.  A few bucks I'd have gladly spent for the immediate satisfaction of an organized insert.  Sure, I could just keep the pieces in the little plastic baggies they came in... but trying to jam a bunch of tiny bits into plastic baggies with small openings isn't very enjoyable to me.

And lengthy game set-up (or take-down) does not lend to the enjoyment of a boardgame.  In fact, for me, it is a huge deterrent and I'm more often going to make the choice not to play the game.  But I like playing "Elder Sign" and wanted to play it.  So, I made my own insert.

Before making the insert, I played the game several times - so I understood how and when players use the components, and where components needed to be in relation to players and the board.

I started with some research in box construction - how to stabilize the structure and how to cover it with nice paper without too many visible "seams".

Measure twice, cut once.

With this in mind, I measured the inside of the actual box, measured my cards and the amount of space my components would need, and how many spaces I'd need.  In my design, I included extra spaces to account for an expected game expansion.

I knew I needed two separate inserts - one large and one small.  The larger one would store cards and components that are typically out of the box during game play.  The smaller insert would hold all the little pieces we needed access to while playing, and would be easily removed from the box and of such a shape and size that it could sit near the board during game play. 

Removable, moveable, magical, organized!

There are a couple little "walls" that teeter more than I'd like.  But for a first game box insert, I'm quite pleased and feel rather organized.  Game set-up and take-down is breezy now, and my energy can go into game play, or popcorn preparation (I do like popcorn when I'm playing games).

Best of all, I learned how to make something new!  And I'll undoubtedly be using these skills in the near future to create inserts for "Eldrich Horror", and "Once Upon a Time".

Looky what I made!

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