My Inexpensive #Wargame Storage Solution

WITH CORONATINE KEEPING US AT HOME FOR EXTENDED PERIODS OF TIME, many are turning to a hobby to keep themselves from going insane. This is especially true for myself as I generally eschew television. Fortunately, I have my wargame/boardgame hobby to keep me going. Between occasional games against the family and plenty of solo play I keep myself busy.

Boxed In

But there is another side of hobby gaming, and it involves organization. There are more than a few games with many components, be it bits or bobs or cards or Meeples or what. In the boardgame world this need to organize has created a whole pocket industry of insert organizers. I am not immune; I invested in Folded Space organizers for Terraforming Mars (Stronghold Games, 2016) and Scythe (Stonemaier Games, 2016).

 

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Folded Space insert for Scythe – Level 1. Second level compartments to side ready to fit in.

The wargaming world is usually simpler. Traditional hex & counter wargames usually come with flat paper components and cardboard chits (counters). Some games have so few counters that they can just be dropped in the box. In older days many games came with storage trays. These days a few still do (like the custom Game Trayz that Academy Games included in Conflict of Heroes: Storms of Steel, Kursk 1943 3rd Edition (Academy Games, 2019). Some publishers, like GMT Games, sell trays. Many wargame publishers usually include at least a few small plastic baggies in the box.

Plastic baggies work well for organizing wargames. I go a step further and buy resealable zip close bags from Michaels. Depending on the day, some of these bags even have an area for marking the content making figuring out what bits go back where that much easier after play.

For many gamers, a game tray or box for storage of counters becomes essential. Some folks, like the gents at 2HalfSquads, have very detailed solutions. Although I can identify with these hyper-organizing wargamers (and I was one of them myself in my Star Fleet Battles/Federation & Empire-playing days) I tend to shy away from those larger boxed solutions. That said, some games just beg for an organized solution. This is especially true when you have many different types of units or organizations.

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Courtesy 2HalfSquads

936D74EB-64C6-4D92-A6D2-BE31D855A40DWhenever possible, I like to see all components of a game stay within the box. This is a major reason baggies remain a staple of my collection. That said, I recently found some small boxes at my local Dollar Tree store. These boxes are 7.125″ x 4.875″ x 0.87″ and have 11 compartments (10 standard, 1x double-width). These small containers have rounded sections making it easier for clumsy, more arthritic fingers like mine to dig counters out. They also stack nicely. I have found I can stack these 2-deep in a 2-inch game box and still have room at the top for flat products. If the map is mounted getting the box to totally close is a challenge, but with unmounted games it works well.

 

The first game I organized using these boxes was The Dark Sands: War in North Africa, 1940-42 (GMT Games, 2018). The boxes worked out quite well as each I divided the counters into two boxes (British and Axis) with markers shared between. This arrangement really speeds game set up – just give the right box to each side and go!

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Notice the unused roll of baggies….

In practice I end up using a combination of trays and baggies. This weekend I organized my copy of Less Than 60 Miles (Thin Red Line Games, 2019). For the 1,176 counters, I used four (4) boxes for all the units (each formation in one compartment) and smaller-count markers. As it worked out, there is one box for all the NATO formations, two boxes for the Warsaw Pact, and one box of markers. I put all the Posture, Time, and Attrition Markers in three separate larger bags. The box for Less Than 60 Miles is a bit larger (European) sized box so I was able to fit four boxes (double stacked), cards, and markers with space left for the folded map, player aids, and rule books. There is just the slightest of lift on the lid.

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4x boxes in 2x stacks with cards to the side; larger bags (recycled from Scythe?) for large-count markers

I use a similar solution for Blue Water Navy: The War at Sea (Compass Games, 2019). Here the box is smaller (American) sized and I found if I used four storage trays then the cards could not fit. So I use three boxes (1x US, 1x Soviets, 1x NATO) and some additional baggies. Not as neat a solution but it works. The lid closes with the slightest of lift.

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The 2x decks of cards forced me to use only 3x boxes and more smaller bags for markers. Not as neat but it still works….

The Dollar Tree storage box also work very well for organizing smaller folio games. I use a single box for Poland Defiant, The German Invasion, September 1939  (Revolution Games, 2019). In this case the single box separates formations and markers. I can either lay this flat on a shelf or store upright with the game taking up less than 1″ of lateral shelf space.

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Most formations in own compartment with more numerous shared markers in double-width compartment

Of course, the best part aspect of these boxes is the price. Literally $1 per box. There is a Dollar Tree in my neighborhood and every time I go there I always check to see if there are a few in stock. With the larger games recently organized my “reserve” is down to two boxes – I like to have four on hand “just to be ready.”

What organizing solution do you use?

 

 

#Boardgame accessorizing Scythe (@stonemaiergames, 2016) with foldedspace.net inserts

I THINK 2020 WILL GO DOWN AS THE YEAR I TRULY BECAME A GEEKY BOARDGAMER.

I mean, I have many good hobby boardgames, and amongst the favorites at the RockyMountainNavy hacienda is Scythe (Stonemaier Games, 2016). We started playing it in 2017 and since then have acquired nearly all the expansions including Invaders from Afar (2017), The Wind Gambit (2018), Rise of Fenris (2018), and the Modular Board (2019). That’s alot of bits, and as organized as we tried to be it was hard getting all that into the box(es).

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Before – Base Scythe plus Invaders from Afar. Mechs & Characters are in original plastic containers below

This week I took a trip to our FLGS, Huzzah Hobbies in Loudon, VA. The main purpose of the trip was for RockyMountainNavy T to buy new paints for his models. RMN Jr. also wanted to look over the model shelves to see if there was something like a Zvezda 1/100-scale tank he could add to his collection. For myself, I was the driver.

That is, until I found the Folded Space Scythe Board Game Organizer.

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foldedspace.net

I have been eyeing an insert for my Scythe collection but, oh boy, is can get really expensive really fast. I realize this insert only organizes the base game and the Invaders from Afar expansion but it looks good and the price seemed reasonable. So I got it.

I am so glad I did.

Assembly took about 30 minutes after dinner using nothing more than white school glue. All the pieces punched out cleanly. By now the RMN Boys were interested so they helped me reorganize the box.

Heaven!

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Lower Level
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Upper Level
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With mapboard & Rule Book

The Folded Space inserts are logical and fit snuggly in the box. It will make set up and clean up so much easier! They also make for a more organized gaming table during play as the boxes can be used directly on the table too.

I see that Folded Space has a second Scythe organizer that puts The Wind Gambit and Rise of Fenris together in the Fenris box. That’s going on my Must Have wishlist!

For the longest time (ok, since forever), I was satisfied with baggies for organizing games. This usually works for wargames where most of the bits are chits but with the rise of hobby boardgames and more luxury components the baggies are not always suitable. I am glad to see excellent, affordable insert organizers available. Maybe it’s about time I organize my games this way.