You come back from your local game store with a brand new game. In the box is a world of new adventure as you gently remove all the chits from their cardboard housing, the plastic from the decks of cards and from all the tokens. You finally get to play it for the first time! But, when it is all over, you are left with one final question. How am I going to get it all back in the box?
As gamers, we have all been plagued by this question at one time or another. While we love the tactile feeling that we get from all the bits in a board game, we then have to figure out how we are going to store it. Sometimes, we are tempted to go with the approach of just throwing it all back in the box. That makes for a quick solution, but the next time you play your game that has 150 tokens, 200 cards, 90 tiles, 30 dice and 40 meeples, it’ll take you forever just to sort out everything. So, what is the solution? What I try to do with each game is figure out exactly what I need to make it as efficient as possible when it comes to pulling it all out of the box.
Thankfully, there are a few games out there that provide a solution and do it well. Take Defenders Of The Realm for example. As you can see in the above picture, it came with a cardboard spacer that had a place for everything to go. All that needed to be done to make setup even faster was to bag up the different tokens and minis together
Another great example of a game that has its own storage system already in place is Claustrophobia. It has a tray that can hold all the pre-painted minis in place, three slots to hold all the tiles and player boards along with the trays and, under the tiles, it has a place to put dice and other tokens. But what about games that don’t have this already set up?
Ah, Eclipse. With over 300 each of wooden parts and tiles, 7 boards, 84 minis, 18 dice and more, this game is one that is in need of storage. If you were to throw all the parts back in the box haphazardly, It would take an hour alone for setup! The game does have a white and a black cloth bag, both of which are designated for the technology and victory point tiles. It also has some baggies that you could put everything else in, but it does make setup take longer if you do that.
Here is what we do for storing Eclipse. All the upgrade tiles, ancient ones, first player marker, damage tokens and dice are placed into compartmentalized storage boxes to make for easier setup. We also have all the space tiles and player order cards hair-banded together to keep them steady and keep from potentially damaging them. All the player tokens, wooden cubes and minis are bagged so that we can distribute them between all players. And the player mats and technology mat fit conveniently in the bottom of the box. This is a system that works well for us with board games, but what about miniature gaming?
One solution: Battlefoam! It works great for games that have a lot of miniatures, like Super Dungeon Explore. Each mini that we painted now fits into its own slot, and it protects them from getting chipped or broken. The tiles fit in the bottom of the box, and all the tokens fit in along with the bigger creatures.
Here is a solution we used for the Star Wars: X-wing miniatures game. We used a Plano tackle box to hold everything.
As shown in the above picture, the top of the box has places to hold all the miniatures, maneuver templates, range rulers and bases. We took black felt and added a layer to the bottom of each compartment to help protect the minis and, when we close the box, we put on another layer of black felt to protect them even more.
The bottom of the Plano box that we are using has two separate storage containers, conveniently held on to the box by a rubber strap. In those containers, we have places to hold all that pegs, tokens, dice, cards and base cards. By doing this, we cut the setup time for Star Wars: X-wing down, we can get the game to the table more often and transport it easily from place to place.
There are a myriad of different ways to store your games. Thanks to companies like Battlefoam and Plano, they can help to make this even easier. But what is good is that you don’t have to go with just those as your solution. When we first started gaming, we used ziplock bags to hold all the components in a game. But, for now, I will always default to clear boxes and hair-bands.