15 Jul Organizing your Game’s Components
Have you ever opened a game and been disappointed with the insert? You know, the plastic thing inside the box that is supposed to organize all the components. Sometimes there is just a bent piece of cardboard provided to separate components. While these inserts do help in providing safety to the components in transit, they often do not help with organization. If you are anything like me, you probably have tons of bags on hand, just in case, when you open that new game. Luckily, it is becoming more of an industry standard to provide bags, but sometimes more is needed.
As the industry grows, we are seeing more and more components utilized in each game. On top of that, the current market tends to have less time than they did 20 years ago to set everything up. Bags are great for separating and managing components but opening 15-20 bags to play a game takes time. Putting all the components back in the bag takes even more time. For games with long set up and break down times, it can be difficult to ever get them to the table especially considering these games usually take longer to play than games with fewer components.
When I realized I was having a difficult time getting a game I really enjoyed to the table due to the setup time (Terraforming Mars), I began looking for a new option. This is when I found The Broken Token and their wonderful insert for the base game. Given that I had never purchased a custom insert, I had no idea what to expect price wise. When I saw the price tag ($52.99 USD), I definitely hesitated. Was this insert worth the price of another big box game I could put on my shelf? Ultimately, I determined that I would rather have a better experience playing a game I knew I liked a lot than buying a game that I had not yet played and bought the insert.
Let me tell you, this was a great decision! The 30-minute setup time was reduced to a 5-minute setup time. All of a sudden, I was able to play Terraforming Mars more and more. This was a couple years ago, and the insert is still serving me well. In the years since, I have purchased a few more inserts. My criteria are generally threefold: do I play the game a lot, does it take a long time to set up, would I get it to the table more if I had an insert? If the answer is yes to these criteria, I always consider a storage solution.
I have exclusively used The Broken Token thus far, but there are plenty of options out there. If you have a 3D Printer or know someone who does, you can also print your own inserts for games. Plans are available online for many games. Others order or make their own foam inserts. This is a much lighter option for custom inserts. Lastly, some companies, like GameTrayz, make custom plastic inserts with lids for a plethora of games. There are plenty of options out there, some more affordable than others.
If this option is something that interests you, be sure to check the measurements of your box prior to ordering anything. Sometimes publishers will change the dimensions of their boxes when they do additional print runs. I recent ordered the Zombicide: Green Horde insert and did not do my due diligence. Apparently, the box was released with a 4.4” height that was later reduced to 4.1”. I am still able to make it work, but this was definitely a rookie mistake. Otherwise, finding custom inserts and building them has been as easy as watching a video and following some easy-to-follow instructions. If you have any games that seem to never hit the table because of the setup and break down required, I would look into a storage solution that makes set up time quicker.
Thanks for reading and keep on gaming,