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THE CREATIVE GAMER - Making mini-'Troyes' (OR, my impatience overshadows the potential for the reprint)

-matt s.
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Eugene
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Last year just after Essen, Lorna brought back a bunch of games she'd purchased (as she always does) and invited a few people over to play (as she always does). I got to try out some the previous year (after Essen 2009) and enjoyed the experience and didn't want to miss out this year as well. I had a couple of games I really wanted to try including The Great Fire of London 1666, Norenberc, Key Market, Porto Carthago, Sun, Sea & Sand, and Troyes (among others).

Of those, I still haven't played Norenberc or Porto Carthago. Lorna traded away Norenberc after a couple of plays and I didn't even get a chance to try it I'm hoping to get to play it eventually (even if she didn't like it), as well as Porto Carthago. The Great Fire was good but not quite what I was expecting. After a 2nd play earlier this year I enjoyed it a bit more than the first and would still eventually like to get a copy as I love the theme.

PLAYING TROYES FOR THE FIRST TIME
Troyes had some of the best buzz coming out of Essen so I was really looking forward to it. And, I think it ended up being the first game I got to try out of the bunch. The first round took well over an hour as the mechanics were so different, the iconography was puzzling, and the rules were a bit of trouble to get through.

Eventually we struggled through it enough to complete a game. I REALLY enjoyed it. I loved the interesting usage of dice and all the things you could do with them. The idea of competing for which color dice you get, the different benefits of each type, plus being able to improve upon/change bad rolls was all very interesting and exciting.

FAILED ACQUISITION OF TROYES
I decided I wanted a copy for myself. So, I went looking for one but it was almost no where to be found (or at least not for a very reasonable price). They had pretty much sold off all their stock at Essen and only a few remained for retail purchase. I found a couple of copies on the BGG Marketplace but they were all in Europe with high price tags and just as high shipping. And, there were murmurs of Z-Man publishing it in the future. I decided to wait although I knew it likely would be a longish wait. Could I wait? Hmmmm, well yes.

THE SEEDS OF DESIRE ARE SOWN
At first I DID entertain the thought of making my own copy. I know some people frown on this but generally I only would consider it if it was out-of-print and hard-to-get or just not available at all. Really, all of this was true and murmurs of re-prints can often take months or years, if ever. Although, I was pretty sure this game would get a new printing and probably not too horribly far off either to meet the demand that Essen had generated.

So, I waited. For a while. Well, ok, it ended up being only a couple of weeks. I originally played it for the first time on October 25th. I had a mostly usable copy made by November 11th and it was pretty much completed by November 17th.

Now, in my defense, I REALLY WASN'T planning on making a copy. Anyone who knows me knows that I'll do things the hard/long way because if I'm going to make the effort to re-create a game I'm not going to do it half-way. And, because of this, I knew it would be a lot of work. So, I decided against it and figured I would just wait.

But THEN one evening I remembered I had some miniature dice (100 to be exact) that I'd purchased for $1 from some online deal earlier in the year. Hmmm, I wondered if it had the correct distribution of dice....? I checked. It did! Well, except there weren't enough WHITE dice if you can believe that. And not enough BLACK dice. BUT, it had enough yellow and red dice. I found I DID have enough green dice to maybe use in place of the white dice. And, there were enough purple dice to replace the black. Those seemed like reasonable trade-offs. Although, I was concerned the yellow and green might get confused. And I knew I'd have to deal with the fact that the white building and spaces would now have green dice associated with them. But ah well, I was excited to possibly have found a use for some of these dice that had been sitting around for months!

But did I really want to make this game? Did I have the rest of the components to put it all together? Did I really want to spend the time doing this project?

(Read more....)

(Warning - this will take you to a really long post with a lot of pictures! If you don't feel like reading everything just jump down to the sections that look interesting and look at the pics, especially near the end although the ones in the middle are cool, too. I thought about breaking it up but thought I'd just make you, poor reader, suffer instead. You're welcome.)
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Thu Apr 21, 2011 11:40 am
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THE CREATIVE GAMER - Game Bit Storage Obsession (aka Are You OCD Like Me?) - Part 3/3

-matt s.
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Eugene
Oregon
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(This is the final installment in my 3-part posting of my Game Bit Storage Obsession)

Still sticking it out with me?! There are some really interesting boxes and ideas here, so don't leave now!

SMALL CARDBOARD CRAFT / JEWELRY BOXES
Acquired from: Michael's craft box section
Not only have I found a variety of interesting plastic boxes at Michael's, I also found some nice cardboard boxes as well.
First, when I was looking to pimp out Twilight Struggle, I ran across some cardboard jewelry boxes. I bought them hoping they would fit in the box and they did! Well, they ALMOST fit. Length-wise they fit fine, but they were a little too tall. The lid itself was actually small enough but not the bottom. So, I set about cutting the box base down.

Then, I needed a way to separate the components so I cut some extra pieces of thin cardboard I had (actually, I think it was the backing from a pad of paper) and glued them into the boxes as dividers.

Here is the final result:

From gallery of tasajara

Plain white jewelry boxes used to hold Twilight Struggle counters.

From gallery of tasajara

A look inside.

Eventually I will decorate the outside of the boxes with a printout of some sort. I'm thinking a player's aid inside the box lid might also be a neat idea. Yet another project to complete!

PHOTO BOXES and TRIVIAL PURSUIT BOXES
Acquired from: Michael's craft section (photo boxes), Goodwill (Trivial Pursuit boxes)

Back in November 2010 I decided I was tired of having to all haul all of the Dominion boxes around. I had read that Dominion cards fit perfectly into Trivial Pursuit trivia card boxes. So, I went to the local Goodwill (GW) and picked up a nice looking copy of Trivial Pursuit: Genus Edition + Expansion cards box (which gave me a total of 4 trivia card boxes).

I then took all of the cards out of the card boxes and moved all the cards into the boxes and they fit very nicely! I then started looking at how to possibly arrange the boxes within the Dominon box by itself. They sorta fit in there ok, but obviously they were too tall for the box. I thought about maybe putting some foam rubber in the top of the lid to protect the tops of the cards but it just looked silly hovering above the bottom box section and it was difficult to haul around as it wasn't very stable.

So, I was a bit bummed. I loved that they fit into the TP card boxes and saw that this would save a ton of space, but I just couldn't figure out how to put it all together.

In the mean time I put together a file for dividers for all the cards borrowing bits and pieces from different graphics and files on Board Game Geek. Then, I printed them out, laminated and started cutting them out. Believe me there is a LOT of dividers that you need to make.

Then one day I was looking at our book shelves and realized the photo boxes we we stored our 'old' photo prints in were pretty tall. So, I grabbed one, and tried out the TP boxes with Dominion cards and dividers inside - and it fit perfectly! I immediately went to Michael's and bought a beige photo box and a black one.

Here's the one I ended up using:

From gallery of tasajara

Photo box from Michael's

Board Game: Dominion

All of the cards and components in the photo box.

Yes, I have the following crammed in to this box: Dominion, Intrigue, Seaside, Alchemy, Prosperity, all the promo cards, all the extra treasure and VP cards (in the back), all the tokens and all the player boards (on the right and in the back)

Read more (see closeups of the dividers, plus storage solutions for Fresco, Age of Steam and others)
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Mon Feb 28, 2011 4:00 pm
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THE CREATIVE GAMER - Game Bit Storage Obsession (aka Are You OCD Like Me?) - Part 2/3

-matt s.
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Eugene
Oregon
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(This is the 2nd installment in my 3-part posting of my Game Bit Storage Obsession)

Ok, I'm back. And I'm still obsessed. Are you ready for some more? Good!

CARD STOCK CARD BOXES
Acquired from: www.amazon.com (card stock), printed from www.boardgamegeek.com, www.createforless.com (paper punches), Michael's paper craft section (scissors)
Another game I made card stock boxes for is the Catan Card Game. This game has a variety of expansions and they all fit in one box but sometimes it's difficult to tell the difference between the decks when you just use Hugo's Amazing tape to hold each deck separate.

There are several files on BGG (here is one example) that you can print out to card stock, cut out, fold, and glue together to make nice custom-sized card boxes. If you take your time to ensure clean cuts, score the lines and fold carefully, they come out very nice. I even used a 1/2" paper punch to cut a clean half-circle finger hold to make opening to box easier. It actually looks fairly professional when complete!

From gallery of tasajara

All card boxes and components in the box.

From gallery of tasajara

A total of 9 boxes are needed for all of the expansions.

I will say cutting out the boxes can be a bit tedious. If you try it, I suggest you invest in a nice set of SHARP scissors that are designed to cut paper. I found a nice set that has a large pair of scissors for doing the bigger cuts and a small pair for doing the smaller detailed cuts. Ultimately, it was well worth the time. BTW, be sure to let the glue dry COMPLETELY before inserting the cards into the boxes if you make them.

JEWELRY MAKING / BEAD STORAGE SYSTEMS
Acquired from: Michael's bead section, www.wargamedepot.com (counter trays)
Many of the boxes I'm showing in this thread have come from the bead section of Michael's where I've found all sorts of interesting storage options. Between the 40% and 50% coupons that are often available and the sale prices that frequently come through, you can usually get pretty good deals on them, too.

Here's another type of storage box I found:

From gallery of tasajara

Plastic storage box with 24 separate round bead boxes inside.

Each small box has a screw-on lid. When I bought this I wasn't sure what I might use it for, but I had a coupon AND it was on sale, so I figured I'd pick up a couple. If anything, I could use it for an art project of some sort.

Well, for Christmas I signed up for the Secret Santa gift exchange. My Santa was PARTICULARLY awesome in that he sent me both Civilization in UNPUNCHED condition similar to one I had in my youth (and which I still haven't had the heart to punch yet) and a used copy of Samurai (an older Avalon Hill war game) which I knew nothing about.

Samurai was used and had a ton of chits all mixed together. I sorted them out into baggies and labelled the baggies. I know there are also war game counter trays but I didn't have any at the time. Later, I remembered I had this box and decided to try it out. It seemed a little strange, but why not?

Here's the filled container inside the box:

From gallery of tasajara

Bead containers holding Samurai chits.

Read more....

(3 part series will include Plano boxes, hand-made boxes, thrifted boxes and more!)
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Fri Feb 25, 2011 4:30 pm
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THE CREATIVE GAMER - Game Bit Storage Obsession (aka Are You OCD Like Me?) - Part 1/3

-matt s.
United States
Eugene
Oregon
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In the last year I've been having fun pimping out games, upgrading them and looking for better storage solutions depending on the needs. In the course of doing this I've actively been seeking out a variety of game bit storage solutions, in particular small boxes of different varieties, plastic and otherwise.

I should back up a BIT and say that I'm OCD about game bit storage. As soon as I get a game and punch it I always have to bag each player's pieces separately, then bag all of the various chits, cubes, meeples, etc, separately as appropriate.

And, I'm one of those people that has to come to the rescue of a friend who comes over with a game and doesn't have it 'properly' bagged. I will pull out my box of baggies (yes, I have a special box just for baggies) and my Hugo's Amazing Tape (for keeping cards together) and get them all set up. Ahhhhhhhhhhh! Nicely organized!

From gallery of tasajara

The box of baggies!

What irks me more than anything is doing a trade or purchase of a used game, have it shipped to me, and have bits and cards all mixed together and floating around in the box! Don't any of you other gamers care about your bits like I do?!

<breathe in, breath out, breath in, breath out....phewww>

Alright, I'm ok now. So, let me show you how far I go to get my games organized.

BAGGIES
Acquired from: www.boardsandbits.com
First, here we have the standard array of baggies that I'm sure you already know quite well (and if you don't, well, look CLOSELY, this is important):

From gallery of tasajara

Common sized baggies + Hugo's Amazing tape

The key is having a variety of baggies for different sizes and amounts of components. You can never have too many sizes. In the picture above, in front from left to right we have: 2"x3", 3"x3", 3"x4", 4"x4", and 4"x6". I find these sizes are usually sufficient for a majority of bagging needs. Also, you can see two rolls of Hugo's Amazing Tape (1") - one in blue and one in purple - that I use mostly for holding decks of cards together. Hmmm, I'm getting low, I better buy some more!

Baggies in use:

From gallery of tasajara

Stone Age components, each in appropriate sized baggies.

Games like Stone Age are really good to use baggies in - there are a good number of components but not too many of each. Setup and cleanup are pretty easy with baggies for this game.

SMALL PLASTIC CONTAINERS
Acquired from: Dollar Store (via friend)
So, baggies got me by for a long time. However, one day my 'friend', Chris, gave me about 30 nice, clear, plastic containers that he found at his local Dollar Store - 10 for $1. Rectangle boxes! And round boxes! With nice snap-on lids! I was hooked! Or rather, I soon would be. (Yes I blame him for my game bit storage obsession, although I probably would have stumbled into on my own anyhow. It's always nice to have a scapegoat...)

From gallery of tasajara

Round and rectangle bits containers.


Read more...
(3 part series will include Plano boxes, hand-made boxes, thrifted boxes and more!)
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Wed Feb 23, 2011 4:04 pm
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