Board Game Inserts and Organisers
A preview by
Normally I review and preview board and card games. Today is different. Boardgames are not cheap these days they often come in between £50-£100 or even more. So not insignificant amounts and as a board-gamer I have often despaired at the standard inserts and trays that come in modern board games. Yes they may look pretty but unless the game is staying flat on the shelf and only ever being moved back to the table. They tend to be as much use as a chocolate fireguard (calm down at the back there yes I know some are good). If you have a number of games then a common practice is to store them sideways on, book like on shelves. This lead to the contents moving and potentially getting damaged.
Once you have been in the hobby for a while you will start to encounter various solutions to this. Realistically there are 4 mainstream options currently available all of which have their negative points.
- Use zip-lock/resealable bags (baggies) to hold the contents in a sorted if somewhat untidy fashion. Whiles this is a very cheap solution. Bags still move around in the box and the potential for damage is still present,
- Use foam-core art and craft board to fashion an organiser that fits the box better and holds everything in place. Cheap to use. Can be very time consuming, messy and frustrating trying to create a suitable solution.
- Purchase a wooden after-market organiser. While they are usually very good designs with a lot of thought into layout. They are usually very expensive often costing almost as much as the original cost of the game again.
- 3D printed storage. A newer entry to the market as hobby 3D printing becomes more popular. If you are lucky enough to be able to afford a 3D printer the actual production of an insert is not that expensive (the printers are not cheap though). So unless you already own a printer you are relying on purchasing someone else’s design. This is normally a slightly expensive route as you are also paying them for their time on-top of the materials required
So as you can see, while all these options do provide a possible solution to the problem of improved storage and protection of your games. They also have their negatives be that in cost, Time, protection offered or skill required to construct. If only there was a way to incorporate the best of all worlds……..
Enter Folded Space. Currently live on Kickstarter. Here is a company that is just entering the field of inserts and organisers with a new approach. What they have attempted to offer is a Precut designed insert die cut (a similar process as the punch-boards for in-game tokens) for accuracy (whereas the wooden inserts are usually laser plot/cut which is a much more expensive machine process). Using EVA foam board coated for strength This is different to the normal foam-core craft material. It has more similarities to the foam in yoga mats so is more forgiving of knocks and bumps. At a much reduced cost (enter bags and 3D printing). That requires the minimal amount of effort to construct and only has a need for a little PVA (craft/wood) glue. How have they faired/ Well lets find out. Folded Space were kind enough to send me a prototype copy of their Voyages of Marco Polo insert to evaluate and preview.
So what we have in essence is a foam-core style board that is in sheet form and die cut for accuracy. What they have not done I am please to say is just make random boxes. They have looked at each game from a selection that they currently offer (see list below). And designed the insert specifically for that game. Looking at storage and gameplay suitability. They wanted to create an insert you can pretty much just lift out of the box and then play the game. Making set-up and tear-down a doddle.
Details dammit details.
The package I received was four sheets with all the component pieces pre-cut. Also included was an assembly instruction sheet. Looking at the instruction sheet I immediately was reminded of a cross between Lego and Ikea style of instruction. Language independence has been a consideration here with clear and easy to understand graphical images. Here is where my one (yes it is my only one) issue was Trying to decide which sheet was which when there were several similar shaped pieces was a bit of a pain. A simple A/B/C/D or 1/2/3/4 identification for the sheets would have been a perfect solution.
On separating the relevant pieces from the sheet they came away cleanly. These previews were not die-cut but still machine cut so straight and clean. The finished products will be cut to a higher standard than the sample I received so this just bodes well overall. After separating several of the pieces I started to “test” assemble. All the pieces fitted together cleanly and more importantly straight. The fit of the connections was smooth and clean but not too loose or tight. I found that they held together reasonably well even without glue (you will need to glue them for game use) I was genuinely impressed at the quality I saw especially as a preview piece. Once glued and fully assembled I think these inserts will last quite well to the use they are intended for.
Currently on offer on the Kickstarter are the following game inserts.
- Agricola Family Edition.
- Dead of Winter.
- Eclipse Expansions.
- Eldritch Horror.
- Forbidden Stars.
- King of Tokyo.
- Living Card Game (LCG) generic design.
- Russian Railroads.
- Terraforming Mars.
- Voyages of Marco Polo.
- Folded Space Dice Tower.
Where possible they have tried to design the inserts to accommodate game expansions as well. Example of this being Istanbul which will accommodate the base game and the “Mocha & Baksheesh” and “Letters and Seals” expansions.
So My opinion on Folded Space inserts is that they are a worthy and affordable option to the board-game insert and organisation after market. I strongly suggest that you give their Kickstarter page a look and see what you think of their range. After all anything that protects my games but still leaves me extra money to buy more is onto a winner in my book.
I am a backer of this Kickstarter project, having backed for the Istanbul insert. The insert received for preview was for Voyages for Marco Polo. I have now passed this insert to another member of BGE for their appraisal of it. None of these factors have any bearing on my opinions. They are stated here for openness and clarity.