Friday Night Shots – My Take on Game Storage Solutions

(Edit: 4/15/23) – I completely forgot one of my big annoyances regarding storage solutions: never being sure if the game’s going to get an expansion that makes the solution obsolete! Right now, my Dune Imperium box has a hodgepodge of baggies and stuff in it from both expansions. So far, however, the Folded Space insert appears to be only made for the first expansion. If I had bought that before Immortality came out, my storage solution would be out of date. Thankfully, wargames don’t generally get many expansions, so the Cube4Me ones don’t really have this problem, at least not as much

Now back to the original post)

I’ve done a few posts on game storage solutions and I’m a big fan of them.

I’ve even created a couple of sets for Cube4Me.

The Folded Space inserts that I’ve bought have also made setting up those games so much easier.

I’ve even bought and used a few inserts from Insert Here, a great site which makes each insert by hand and then ships them to you, already put together!

Finally, I did invest in some GMT counter trays in their last P500 customer sale. Just for those games that need function but don’t really need beauty.

The full function of a game insert that makes a gamer’s life easier is just so great.

But looking at some of the newer offerings out there on the various sites made me stop and think a moment.

Does every game need an insert?

What type of games do I think need one, and which ones don’t?

Keep in mind, of course, that this is just my opinion. This isn’t an attack on anybody who wants to buy these inserts, or even on the sellers for creating them.

It’s just my take.

The first thing I look at when I am deciding whether or not I want to buy an insert (or hope that one gets made, anyway), is how many baggies do I already have in this game?

Are there too many to count?

When I’m setting up the game, is there going to be this ever-growing mound of plastic bags on the bench beside me, or returned to the game box? Am I going to have trouble remembering which baggie holds what when the game is over?

“No, that bag’s too small for all of the silver pieces. It must hold the wooden gold nuggets instead. Gah, I can’t remember which one holds the cards!”

Before I bought the Folded Space Clank in Space insert, I had so many baggies in the box (especially with three expansions!) that I had to label them or it would take me forever to put the game away.

And it was already taking too much time to set up!

That insert was a godsend, and I definitely want to get this to the table again to make use of it.

Then there are those games that either would have a ton of baggies or you would be sorting through these huge stacks of counters to separate them and get them in the right place. Some of them wouldn’t be used at all, so you’d have to figure out which ones you needed.

Or you’d have to baggie them all separately, meaning you have tons of bags.

The Last Hundred Yards is a tactical squad-level wargame where you will have companies and platoons of squads in the game, but you’ll only be using some of them. You may be using one platoon of Baker company, and you’d have to separate out that platoon’s counters.

Again, either dumping out an entire baggie and then separating the counters, or putting each company into its own baggie.

These types of games make for good inserts.

But what about a game where there are just a few counters that you have to separate into two piles, and then a bunch of cards?

Or a game where there are a ton of cards and then a few bits and bobs to have on the table?

What is my baggie limit before I want to start looking for an insert?

This post was kind of prompted by me browsing the Cube4Me site for new storage kits.

I happened upon the 1960: The Making of a President insert.

After looking at the picture of the tray that contains all of the bits, I started to wonder about these thresholds and what games need an insert for my tastes.

And this just doesn’t need one.

Sure, it’s nice to have each region of the country’s vote tokens separated, but how long does this game take to set up?

In my copy of the game, I have all of those in one bag, the cubes separated by player in two other bags (I’m assuming in the Cube4Me insert, these cubes are left in the black cube bag since there’s no picture of them in a tray), the Momentum and the Endorsement tokens in a third bag and the cards separated into two bags.

How much time would this insert save me in setting up the game?

Maybe a couple of minutes at most.

Another one, Charioteer, has a few pieces and a shit-ton of cards (I’m going to use that word so often that it finally gets into the dictionary!).

The Cube4Me set has twelve small card trays dedicated to cards and tokens. It looks like six of these twelve trays are for separating the players’ pieces, one is for damage cubes, while the other five are for the cards themselves (one deck of skill cards and then the other four trays for the cards used during play).

For my copy, each player gets their own little baggie with their pieces. There’s a baggie for the cubes, and then so many cards that they are in three bags of their own (plus another bag for the skills deck).

Yes, it doesn’t look as nice in the box as all of those card trays.

But to me, this insert would not really help much with setup time.

The major piece of setup time is actually shuffling all of those stinking cards, which an insert can’t help with!

Again, I want to reiterate that this isn’t any kind of criticism for either the tray designers or sellers. Some people love doing this kind of thing! They love blinging out their games!

I have to admit I like a good-looking insert.

It’s just not for me if aesthetics are all that the insert gives me.

I want good, needed organization and help with setup.

Which is why the Garphill Games collector’s edition boxes for the West Kingdom games are wonderful storage solutions but terrible inserts for the games themselves.

Having to dig out pieces from deep plastic recesses just makes setup time worse, not better. And having to put them back almost Tetris-like makes putting the game away more difficult as well.

I will still keep buying inserts for the games I think need them. In fact, I will probably be buying the Inferno one and the Skies Above Britain one from Cube4Me because those games desperately need some organization and setup help.

But for me (and maybe me alone! I’m happy to concede that), it would be a waste of money if the insert doesn’t help with setup time, or at least make it easier.

I realize that this whole post might seem self-indulgent and privileged to some people, but hell, it’s Friday night.

What else is a Friday night for?

Boozing it up and partying?

What are your thoughts on game inserts?

Let me know in the comments.

11 Comments on “Friday Night Shots – My Take on Game Storage Solutions

  1. Interesting question!
    For me, it depends: For games with many small and distinct components (say, a wargame with an intricate OOB), a storage solution helps. Otherwise, I’m a baggie person… if only because I kinda know which kind of bag I need for which set of components! (Having a not-so-huge collection helps with that.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Never really have, because we wouldn’t have any use for it other than inserts and I don’t need them *that* badly LOL But now that you’ve put the bug in my mind, maybe…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Haha yeah I’ve thought of buying one purely for inserts. Given even the basic inserts cost 30-ish dollars. It kind of makes sense…

        But then there’s the learning curve of how to 3d print stuff. And cost of resin.

        Needs analysis!


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