Penguinised's Adventures in Foamcore
Ben Tinney
Australia
BROKEN HILL
New South Wales
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A list of the various foamcore inserts I have made for my board games.

My design philosophy for these inserts is pretty easy to follow:

1. Keep it simple stupid. Haha, yeah, not anymore blush
2. Don't use space in the box just for the sake of it. Empty space can be used for transporting other games.
3. Utilitarian is better than beautiful.
4. Don't be afraid to shamelessly plagiarise other designs.

I am now doing commissions! I’m happy to replicate any of the designs below (provided they don’t require actual game components) and could also work on other designs for games I own. Inserts for games not in my collection are challenging but not impossible. Send me a geekmail for quotes or to discuss special pieces.

Future projects:
Gloomhaven. Yes, really. Not even intimidated.
Flamme Rouge once I’ve finished collecting all the things.
Cosmic Encounter with literally all the expansions.
Sushi Go Party! (Actually a whole box replacement for this one. Stupid tins).
Attempt to fit Scythe and all the expansions into the base box (wish me luck).
Libertalia.
A completely new insert for Roll for the Galaxy now that Rivalry has landed. Don’t worry, the original will go to a good home.
Rome & Roll.
New Frontiers.

A few small box card games whose stock inserts don't allow sleeved cards.
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1. Board Game: 1830: Railways & Robber Barons [Average Rating:7.88 Overall Rank:189]
Board Game: 1830: Railways & Robber Barons
Ben Tinney
Australia
BROKEN HILL
New South Wales
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This is the one, the insert I can point to and definitively say: “here is where I went too far.” This is the 50th insert (surprise) that I’ve made and it contains the most intricate and time consuming elements that I’ve attempted. I don’t think I’ll be doing something like this ever again, but it was certainly an illuminating process conceiving, planning, cutting and building the damn thing.

Be aware that my second hand copy of the Mayfair edition came without paper money, so I haven’t left space for it in the box. This is no issue at all for me; I use my Iron Clays for in game currency anyway.

From gallery of Penguinised

The fully loaded box. 3 shallow card caddies sit on top of everything else which hold all the game cards. Two trays hold all the base game company stocks, minor companies and trains, while the third tray holds all the optional expansion cards.

From gallery of Penguinised

Underneath the card caddies sits the board, manuals and company boards.

From gallery of Penguinised

Under the boards sit the hex trays and two small boxes to hold tokens. The trays each have 28 compartments, enough to allow all the “classic” track pieces to be displayed, with enough left over to stack the expansion hexes face down.

From gallery of Penguinised

The two trays on the table showing the organisation of the hexes.

From gallery of Penguinised

An empty tray. Each tray is constructed from 100 individual pieces with the angles cut by hand. They aren’t perfect, but with the bracing pieces at the bottom of each compartment, they are quite sturdy and don’t require additional strengthening. The bracing pieces also double as risers which make retrieving the tiles much easier.

From gallery of Penguinised

Low angle view of one of the trays.

From gallery of Penguinised

The empty insert. All these components serve to keep the trays and boxes from moving around too much when storing or transporting the game. The box has been designed to take a custom priority action marker (once I finish making it). Both it and the angled pieces are glued and pinned to a sheet of thick card which sits inside the base of the box.

From gallery of Penguinised

The card caddies in use beside the main board.

From gallery of Penguinised

The small token boxes. The larger one holds all the “classic” game tokens, the other holds all the expansion specific tokens.
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2. Board Game: 7 Wonders Duel [Average Rating:8.10 Overall Rank:17]
Board Game: 7 Wonders Duel
Ben Tinney
Australia
BROKEN HILL
New South Wales
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I made this insert for myself to hold the base game and first expansion. Unfortunately I only had adhesive backed foam core and a pretty blunt Stanley knife but it works great and fits everything in. The manuals and included reference card fit on top.

From gallery of Penguinised

Full loaded with all the components and boards.

From gallery of Penguinised

Boards removed. Notice that, due to them being slightly longer, the Pantheon god cards slightly overlap the Age III cards.

From gallery of Penguinised

Pantheon god cards and money tray removed. The idea of the coin tray is that if I ever get the metal coins I can just throw the tray away and put the bag of coins in there instead. It will mean I'll have to add an extra divider to contain the science and military tokens and stick the Pantheon tokens in with the military tokens.
The stack underneath the Pantheon god cards is, from the bottom up: base game score pad, wonder cards (including the promos), expansion score pad.

From gallery of Penguinised

The Age I and Age II cards have risers underneath them to make them easier to retrieve. Although the Age III cards don't have risers in this picture (they didn't fit with the way the Pantheon cards overlap them) while I was taking the photos I realised I could swap the Age I and Age III cards and risers would then fit for all three card slots.

From gallery of Penguinised

The insert emptied of all components. Note that the coin/Pantheon token tray has curved cardboard glued inside to aid in retrieving the tokens from such a small tray.

From gallery of Penguinised

A low angle shot showing the notches for the boards and large cards.

For instructions on how to make the curved “slides” used in this insert, please have a look at this post on my geeklist.
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3. Board Game: Agricola (Revised Edition) [Average Rating:8.05 Overall Rank:70]
Board Game: Agricola (Revised Edition)
Ben Tinney
Australia
BROKEN HILL
New South Wales
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Agricola is one of my all time favourite games and so when I first heard of the Revised Edition I knew I’d be picking it up at some point. My old Z-Man copy of the original edition was a minefield of baggies and tackle boxes; I was determined to get it right this time.

My constraints: I wanted to sleeve all the cards, I wanted to leave room for both the Agricola: Artifex Deck and Agricola: Bubulcus Deck in the box, and I wanted the box to close flush. Sure...

From gallery of Penguinised

The fully loaded insert. All the boards and manuals fit on top, but only just. You’ll notice that two of the card slots are mostly empty. These will take the Agricola: Bubulcus Deck once it realeases.

From gallery of Penguinised

A close up of the resource tray emptied. Unfortunately, due to the constraints of space, I’ve had to combine resources into single tray compartments in ways that seem most logical. The compartments themselves are colour coded and have curved bases to help in getting the bits out.

From gallery of Penguinised

The main box with the resource and player trays removed. There is a little bit of room under here to fit the major improvement and round cards. At one end of the box are all the room/field tiles as well as the first player marker, begging tiles and recommended space markers.

From gallery of Penguinised

The empty insert. As space is at an absolute premium in this box, I had no room for risers to help get the cards out. Instead I’ve cut holes in the bottom layer of foamcore instead. It works so well that I’ll probably revisit my Viticulture insert and do the same there.

For instructions on how to make the curved “slides” used in this insert, please have a look at this post on my geeklist.
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4. Board Game: Agricola (Revised Edition) [Average Rating:8.05 Overall Rank:70]
Board Game: Agricola (Revised Edition)
Ben Tinney
Australia
BROKEN HILL
New South Wales
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It’s always the way. At least, for me it’s always the way. You make an insert for a game, you’re really happy with it, and then you go ahead and buy more content. My original Agricola insert could handle the base game, Artifex Deck and Bubulcus Deck. But then I bought the 5 and 6 player expansion. And the Corbarius Deck. And the Farmers of the Moor. I very briefly entertained the idea of splicing together two boxes to fit it all in a single package, but no matter how I tried I couldn’t get it to work. So instead...

From gallery of Penguinised

...I decided to split everything across three boxes. The base game and 5-6 player exp boxes are needed for a standard game, and I only need to go for the Moor box if we’re playing that expansion.

From gallery of Penguinised

The base game box contains all the cards, as well as the game tokens and tiles. The cards are divided by type (see below) into two compartments with plenty of space for the inevitable “D deck” (and maybe the E deck too if it eventuates). The tiles are stored in three stacks, two for the house/field tiles, and one for the multiple resource/begging tiles. The resources are split into two lined trays, with the food/late game building resources in one...

From gallery of Penguinised

...and the animal and early game building resources in the other.

From gallery of Penguinised

To separate the different card types I cut some cardboard to fit the same sized sleeves I use for the cards. They sit flush with the cards, but the colour makes them stand out enough to be easily identifiable. The board and Major Improvement cards currently sit in the small slot, the A, B, C, few D from the 5-6 player expansion, and the few L deck cards are in the large compartment, split between Occupations and Minor Improvements.

From gallery of Penguinised

The empty base game box.

From gallery of Penguinised

The 5-6 player box contains all the player pieces in shallow, lined trays...

From gallery of Penguinised

...and all the boards and manuals.

From gallery of Penguinised

The Moor box contains the manual on top and is divided into three main compartments. In the upper left is a space for the resource tray, below that is a space for the beds and player board extensions, and another holds the main board extensions and score pad.

From gallery of Penguinised

With the boards removed the card compartments are revealed, along with spaces for all the tiles.

From gallery of Penguinised

The empty Farmers of the Moor insert.

From gallery of Penguinised

The resource trays out for use during the game.

From gallery of Penguinised

A low angle photo of one of the resource trays showing its curved base.

For instructions on how to make the curved “slides” used in this insert, please have a look at this post on my geeklist.
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5. Board Game: Bärenpark [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:286]
Board Game: Bärenpark
Ben Tinney
Australia
BROKEN HILL
New South Wales
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Deciding how to fit everything neatly into this box was hard enough before the expansion, but with the addition of Bad News Bears it’s virtually impossible. I had great success generating extra space in my Century Trilogy insert by splicing two boxes together, so I thought I’d use that technique again here.

From gallery of Penguinised

The closed box. The expansion box lid provides a base for the insert while the base game serves as the lid.

From gallery of Penguinised

Lid removed. The board sits in a slightly recessed space on the top of the insert, the extra height allows space for the small enclosure tiles. I slightly underestimated the overall size of the insert which resulted in a loose fitting lid, so I added two strips of thick card to one end to make it snug; they can be seen at the top.

From gallery of Penguinised

Board removed. Here can be seen the top layer of the insert which contains three trays. One is for the small enclosure tiles, which are stored on their ends, one is for the player boards and goal tiles, and one is for all things monorail.

From gallery of Penguinised

The top two trays. The player board tray is a bit of a snug fit, but it works well enough. In the large compartment the square game boards are stored next to all the III goal tiles. In the upright compartment I store all the I and II tiles grouped together. I find this a much easier way of randomising the goals during setup rather than hunting through a big mess of tiles.
The large space is organised such that the park exit tiles sit neatly on top of the small dividers, and then the park entrance tiles provide a lid. One side of this box is slotted to help me get them all out.

From gallery of Penguinised

The top two trays empty.

From gallery of Penguinised

The monorail tray. Try as I might I just couldn’t come up with a neat and space efficient way to store the monorail carriage tiles, so in the end I just lumped them into a slot all together. This is the only thing in the whole insert that needs sorting on the table, and I’m pretty happy with that. This tray stays on the table during play to hold all the monorail towers neatly.

From gallery of Penguinised

The empty monorail tray.

From gallery of Penguinised

Back to the main box, with the trays removed. All the small green tiles have dedicated spaces along one side, as do the bear statues at the bottom. The large enclosure and grizzly tiles each have a space, but I didn’t want to require any more sorting that to just split them by type and dump them in the box. Seeing as the enclosures have to be sorted to be put on the board anyway, this doesn’t add any time to setup.

From gallery of Penguinised

The empty insert.
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6. Board Game: Broom Service [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:475]
Board Game: Broom Service
Ben Tinney
Australia
BROKEN HILL
New South Wales
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Oh Alea, why do you hate my shelves so? I understand that you’re devoted to a box size, but can we at least entertain the idea of a half height option? Case in point:

From gallery of Penguinised

The fully loaded insert with manual and board on top.

From gallery of Penguinised

The top layer of the insert showing the tray for potions and wands, the storm cloud bag (a much easier way to draw them in my opinion), the player aid (which acts as a sort of lid as you’ll see below), and what I like to call “the void”.

From gallery of Penguinised

The bottom layer of the insert showing the tray for player pieces and module tokens, as well as the cards (including the Mini Expansion).

From gallery of Penguinised

The empty insert showing the card risers.

Come on Ravensburger/Alea. This box is 40% empty. Respect our shelves and offer us a smaller option, please?
 
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7. Board Game: Carpe Diem [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:368]
Board Game: Carpe Diem
Ben Tinney
Australia
BROKEN HILL
New South Wales
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Nothing fancy with this one, just something to help cut down on the setup and get cards out of baggies.

From gallery of Penguinised

The fully loaded insert. The game board goes on top first, with the player boards on top of that.

From gallery of Penguinised

Boards removed.

From gallery of Penguinised

There are four removable trays. The card caddies sit one on top of the other on the middle of the box and are packed away as shown here to make drawing the A, B, C and D cards as easy as possible. The player tray holds the player pieces as well as 9 banderole tokens per compartment. The component tray holds coins and bread in one compartment and all the wooden resources in the other. I tend to just dump them all in a big pile while playing so I didn’t do anything fancy here.

From gallery of Penguinised

Once the objective cards have been dealt out I restack the trays into this configuration for play. This keeps all the point and fountain cards in easy reach.

From gallery of Penguinised

The frame pieces have risers underneath and can be easily retrieved.

From gallery of Penguinised

I sewed up some simple drawstring bags for the two types of tiles. I find this method MUCH easier than having to flip and wash shuffle tiles before every game.

From gallery of Penguinised

The empty insert. There is enough room under the frames for the first player marker to fit neatly between the risers.
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8. Board Game: The Castles of Burgundy [Average Rating:8.13 Overall Rank:14]
Board Game: The Castles of Burgundy
Ben Tinney
Australia
BROKEN HILL
New South Wales
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I wanted to keep this one very simple, as the addition of the truly excellent drawstring bags from the Geek Store has already massively reduced the setup overhead. This insert holds all the released expansions with the exception of the team play variant boards. There is a lot of empty space, which I mostly use to transport my copy of Oh My Goods! when heading to Game night or a con.

From gallery of Penguinised


The fully loaded insert, boards removed. There is enough room above for all of the boards and manuals to fit and the lid close flush.
The upper compartment holds all of the bags containing the board hexes. Each of the player trays holds the colour specific components, as well as starting silver, worker and castle hex. The black bag holds all the goods tiles, which I find makes randomising them much easier. The lower compartment contains the expansion rules cards and the trade route expansion cards.

From gallery of Penguinised


Beneath the player trays are two curved compartments; holding silverlings and worker tiles; and a space for the neutral die, bonus tiles and the cloisters from the expansion. I didn’t make trays for the silver and workers, opting instead just to scoop them out and dump them on the table, but there is so much empty space I certainly could have.
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9. Board Game: Celestia [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:678]
Board Game: Celestia
Ben Tinney
Australia
BROKEN HILL
New South Wales
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Pretty basic insert this one. Although it’s not pictured this one also has room for the card based A Little Help expansion.

From gallery of Penguinised

The fully loaded insert.

From gallery of Penguinised

The empty insert. Note the risers in both card compartments to aid in the retrieval of the cards.
 
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10. Board Game: Celestia [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:678]
Board Game: Celestia
Ben Tinney
Australia
BROKEN HILL
New South Wales
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A redux! With the release of the A Little Initiative expansion and the addition of sleeves, my old insert just couldn’t quite fit everything in neatly. I decided to go with a design built around two trays sitting straight in the box. It does the job quite nicely.

From gallery of Penguinised

The fully loaded insert. One tray holds the airship, lifeboat and old cardboard player tokens in a single large compartment, and the treasure cards in another. A slot is cut in one side of the treasure card compartment to make getting them out easier.
The other tray...

From gallery of Penguinised

Is removed from the box for play and serves as a duel sided card caddy. The location tiles and expansion rule leaflets sit on top of the cards and are removed for play. The central compartment holds the player pawns and dice and is lined with a curved base.

For instructions on how to make the curved “slides” used in this insert, please have a look at this post on my geeklist.
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11. Board Game: Concordia [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:18]
Board Game: Concordia
Ben Tinney
Australia
BROKEN HILL
New South Wales
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The creation of this insert presented a few unique challenges. First, as it needed to hold both the base game board and the Salsa expansion board, vertical space in the box was limited. Second, my foamcore supplies were running very low, so only partitions deemed absolutely necessary could be constructed.
These two constraints meant no removable trays and no separate partitions for each of the different resources and denominations of coins. Neither of these was a huge issue for me as big piles of tokens on the table are part of the joy (in my experience).
For a project with so many restrictions, it has turned out very well. So colourful!

From gallery of Penguinised

The fully loaded insert, all boards and manuals in place.
I normally wouldn't show these first two pictures, but it's pretty integral to the functioning of this insert to have the boards layered in this way.

From gallery of Penguinised

Top board and manuals removed. The forum board, as well as the 5 player boards, sit between the two main game boards. This allows the board to provide a nice flat surface to cap the insert and keep all the various cards, tiles and components in place.

From gallery of Penguinised

All boards removed. The top two compartments hold the forum tiles, separated by type (with enough room for the promotional expansion tiles).
The second row of compartments hold the player cards on one side and the purchasable personality cards on the other; the cardboard player aids sit beneath each stack of cards. Between them are the bonus tiles, separated by type.
The lower right-hand side of the box contains all the player pieces, separated by colour. Each of these trays also contains the starting resources and five sestertii for faster setup.
The lower left-hand side of the box contains all the resources and coins, as well as the city tiles, separated by letter.

From gallery of Penguinised

Detail of the bonus tile compartment. Each slot is colour coded for its resource type (because why the hell not).

From gallery of Penguinised

Detail of the player trays showing the curved base. This helps in retrieving the pieces for setup.

From gallery of Penguinised

Detail of the coin and resource trays showing the curved base. Again, this helps in getting all the pieces out of the box at the start of the game.

From gallery of Penguinised

Detail of one of the card compartments, showing the risers in action.

From gallery of Penguinised

The insert with all components removed.

For instructions on how to make the curved “slides” used in this insert, please have a look at this post on my geeklist.
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12. Board Game: Concordia [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:18]
Board Game: Concordia
Ben Tinney
Australia
BROKEN HILL
New South Wales
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I’m sure every gamer has at least one game for which they absolutely must have it all. All the expansions, promos, map packs, upgraded resources, metal coins, demo t-shirts and limited edition bobble heads. Well, for me, that game is Concordia. And because of that fact, my first insert is no longer cutting the mustard. With the release of Venus, and then the fish module that came with Balaerica/Cyprus, it’s no longer really feasible to fit everything needed for play into one box. So I’ve bitten the bullet and, much as I did with Orleans, dedicated one box to bits, and saved the other boxes for boards and books.

From gallery of Penguinised

The fully loaded insert. There are two trays which each hold three sets of player components and cards, as well as starting resources and coins. Next to those is a set of slots which hold the province tokens and city tiles, as well as the current player dobber.
In the centre is a slot which holds a card caddy for the market cards and player aid tiles, and another caddy for the forum tiles.
The bottom slot is dual layered, one tray for resources and one for coins.
Note that both of the bottom slots have spacers to occupy empty space and stop the trays and caddies from rattling around. Let’s just say that I want to leave room in case they decide to add yet more stuff.

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The insert with the top trays removed. Here can be seen the recess below the player component trays which holds the player boards. Also seen here is the coin tray.

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The empty insert.

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Closer detail of the token slots. Once again I decided to colour code them. Because, once again, why the hell not.

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A closeup of the resource trays and caddies. The trays have curved, colour coded bases as is becoming pretty standard in by builds.

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A closeup of one of the player trays. This design is one I first used for Great Western Trail, and I find it works really well. The cards form a lid for all the player specific bits, and when setting up I just remove the cards for the colour I need, hold the other two colours in place with my hand, and invert the whole thing to tip out the components onto the table.

For instructions on how to make the curved “slides” used in this insert, please have a look at this post on my geeklist.
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13. Board Game: The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:51]
Board Game: The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine
Ben Tinney
Australia
BROKEN HILL
New South Wales
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This insert holds a peculiar honour: the only one I’ve made for a game which I haven’t played. This box arrived on our door just as isolation got into full swing, so we really haven’t had a chance to play it yet. I am excited to try the two player variant, but really I’m holding out for that many player trick taking experience.

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The fully loaded insert. Two compartment for cards, one for the start player (which is stored disassembled) and satellite tokens, and one lined compartment for the communication and goal tiles. The insert is slightly recessed into the box to hold the manual neatly.

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The empty insert. The card slots have risers to aid in getting them out easily.
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14. Board Game: Dungeon Petz [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:204]
Board Game: Dungeon Petz
Ben Tinney
Australia
BROKEN HILL
New South Wales
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There was a real potential for this insert to wind up being very fiddly due to the number of different components in this game however, I'm very happy with the end result. The game holds enough complexity for me as it is so I didn't allow space for any expansions.

From gallery of Penguinised

The insert with all boards in place. Due to the many sizes of player boards, they sit in two layers. The large group on top contains the main board, manual, laminated player aids and home boards.

From gallery of Penguinised

The next layer contains the cage boards and the round tracker board. These sit below the layer of the larger boards and help to keep the cards and tiles in place.

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The fully loaded insert. The pets, player baggies (containing imps, minions and score tiles), show tiles and buyer tiles sit in in the only fixed section of the insert. All other tokens are in removable trays.

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The card tray with risers. The risers put the cards on a slight slant which makes them easier to draw and keeps them from spilling out of the tray.

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The "containment" tray. This holds the cages, cage upgrades and artefact tokens. When the game is in storage, the wooden markers also sit on top. The artefact tokens have a mid riser for easier retrieval.

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The "nasty" tray. This holds the mutation, suffering and poop tokens. As these components have no space on the main board, the openings in this tray were made larger to allow fingers to reach inside so the tray can sit on the table during play.

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The "nice" tray. This holds the gold and food tokens. As these components have specific places on the board this tray is small and narrow. The idea is that these are just tipped out onto the board once setup is completed.

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The full insert with all components removed.
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15. Board Game: Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of Ashardalon Board Game [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:704] [Average Rating:7.15 Unranked]
Board Game: Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of Ashardalon Board Game
Ben Tinney
Australia
BROKEN HILL
New South Wales
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This one was a real challenge: fit both Castle Ravenloft and Wrath of Ashardalon into a single box. It weighs a fair portion of a metric tonne but it all fits. You may notice that I didn't take a photo of the insert completely empty. There was no way I was going to pull out all of the minis just for a photo, but I'm sure you get the idea.

From gallery of Penguinised

The fully loaded insert. The square monster boards fit in a narrow slot in the side of the miniature compartment (hard to see in the photo as it's covered by minis).
The player tray holds all the PC minis, dice, shield tokens, coffin tokens, damage tokens, small treasure tokens, NPCs and miscellaneous small round tokens.
The HP tray has separate compartments for 1 HP and 5 HP tokens.

From gallery of Penguinised

Trays removed. The cards are separated by type (from bottom to top: miscellaneous, encounter, monster, treasure, player) and sit next to the condition tokens.
The healing surge and large square and rectangular tokens are stored below the HP tray.

From gallery of Penguinised

Cards, condition tokens and large monster and dungeon tiles removed. The monster tiles are stored below the condition tokens which act like a riser to aid in their retrieval from the narrow slot.
The dungeon tiles and player boards are evenly stacked in two piles.
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16. Board Game: Eclipse [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:46]
Board Game: Eclipse
Ben Tinney
Australia
BROKEN HILL
New South Wales
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To say that I was intimidated just thinking about making an insert for this game is quite the understatement. But I figured that now that I have both the Rise of the Ancients and Shadow of the Rift expansions, as well as all the promo hexes, it was a good time to have a crack. While I have close to zero interest in picking up Ship Pack One I’m pretty sure it would still fit with only minor adjustments (maybe).

From gallery of Penguinised

The fully loaded insert. Yep, it all fits and the lid closes flush. All the player boards, manuals, and promo reference tiles fit here. Where is the tech board? Read on...

From gallery of Penguinised

Boards and manuals removed. The bags fit around the hex tower (just) but when I get the chance I’ll probably sew up some smaller ones just to make it easier to pack. The bags included with Shadow of the Rift are comically huge and could easily be half the size.

From gallery of Penguinised

Bags removed. Here you can see that I allowed myself one baggie for the high player count tokens. The big pawns sit on top of the tower tray and the two tuckboxes also fit in this gap.

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The two tuckboxes holds third party plastic cube trays and all the player aid sized game tiles respectively. I wanted them to look suitably “spacey” so I found a nice star field image online and printed it onto my card stock before making them.

From gallery of Penguinised

This is the front of the hex tower. This was BY FAR the most time consuming, fiddly and intimidating tray component I’ve yet attempted. Cutting all those angles neatly, by hand, without an angle set blade shaved years off my life. However, the end result is something I’m really happy with, takes up very little room on the table, and can be easily drawn from during play.
The left hand side holds sector 1 with all the player home hexes on top. The right hand side holds sector 2 along with the galactic centre and the ancient home worlds. In between is a small, curved tray to hold the damage cubes.

From gallery of Penguinised

The back of the hex tower. This stack holds all of sector 3. Originally I had intended for all the hexes to be able to be drawn from the front of the tray. Doing it this way however really increased the strength of the whole unit and doesn’t impact play at all.

From gallery of Penguinised

The component tray, which sits on top of all the player piece trays in the other half of the box. I added ribbon handles to aid in passing the fully loaded thing around during the game. The purpose of the lid is two fold. One: it allows me to be sure I won’t open the box to find hundreds of loose tokens everywhere. And two:

From gallery of Penguinised

It’s actually the tech board! As it has a lip around the outside, this means that FINALLY I can move the tech board around during the game without the risk of spraying tiles all over the place. The star field underneath is where I keep all the rare tech and Developments.

From gallery of Penguinised

The component tray. The leftmost four columns are ship parts with destroyed planet markers, monolith/orbitals, Warp Gate/Science Death Star (or whatever it’s called) and discoveries in the middle.
The right of the tray holds dice, ancients, anomalies, alliance markers, developments, and the first player and round markers for storage.

From gallery of Penguinised

The player components are in three separate trays, three colours per tray. Each one is colour coded and has a curved base to help with retrieval.

From gallery of Penguinised

Somehow, it all fits. It was a labour of days, but it’s made setting up and playing this beast a much more palatable proposition. Mission accomplished!
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17. Board Game: Fabled Fruit [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:748]
Board Game: Fabled Fruit
Ben Tinney
Australia
BROKEN HILL
New South Wales
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A criminally overlooked game which deserves far more love than it gets in my humble opinion; also a game which can benefit from a better system of organisation. This insert includes the Limes expansion as well.

From gallery of Penguinised

The fully loaded insert. The lower two compartments hold all the location cards, minus the 24 currently being used (wherever you are up to), which sit in the central slot. The upper section holds the sleeved fruit cards (including the limes and double fruit cards), as well as a removable box which holds the miscellaneous cardboard game tokens.

From gallery of Penguinised

I also have a single, sleeved black card which I use to mark where I’m up to in terms of the sequence of location cards. This makes setting up the location deck at the start of each game much easier.

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Beneath the currently “active” location cards is a curved compartment to hold all the player pieces and tokens.

From gallery of Penguinised

The empty insert.
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Family: Game: Century (Plan B Games)
Ben Tinney
Australia
BROKEN HILL
New South Wales
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The whole mixy-matchy nature of this series really lends itself to a storage solution which allows all of them to be together in a single box. Unfortunately, there’s no way to neatly fit everything into one of the boxes. But what if we Frankensteined two boxes together? Wait, what?

From gallery of Penguinised

From gallery of Penguinised

Century: Eastern Spice! I have essentially taken two of the box lids and replaced the inner boxes with a single, double height foamcore box. I was able to size the foamcore box so that it fits just as snug as the original inner boxes. For the completionists out there this technique would be some kind of nightmare (I’ve now thrown away one whole box and two inners) but for me, where shelf space is at a premium, it works very well.

From gallery of Penguinised

Lid removed (oh, by the way, Spice Road is the lid. I figured that would be easiest to remember). The manuals and New World boards sit up here.

From gallery of Penguinised

Manuals out of the way, the top layer proper consists of three trays. One stores the cubes (all the cubes from Eastern Wonders and New World are included, the ones from Spice Road are subtly different), one stores all the player pieces, and one holds the tokens and coins. The tokens are separated by game and by their usage in the various combination games.

From gallery of Penguinised

The three trays out and about.

From gallery of Penguinised

With the trays removed, the player boards can be seen. This layer is notched to keep them in place while the trays still fit neatly.

From gallery of Penguinised

The bottom layer of the box holds all the cards, separated by type and by their use in the combo games, bowls (basically the cubes are dumped into these, one bowl of each colour at each end of the table) and the map hexes.

From gallery of Penguinised

The empty box.
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19. Board Game: Glass Road [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:258]
Board Game: Glass Road
Ben Tinney
Australia
BROKEN HILL
New South Wales
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No matter how you slice it, this box is a tight fit. Seeing as I’m normally complaining about boxes being way to big I’m certainly not going to whinge about snugness. Anyway, I always like a challenge so let’s see how we go.

From gallery of Penguinised

The fully loaded insert. The most challenging components to fit in the box are the boards and wheels due to their odd size. To solve the issue I made a large tray to hold the wheels and forest tiles...

From gallery of Penguinised

...and fit the boards beneath everything else. To gain a little more space, the bottom layer of the insert is card, as is the bottom of the large tray. Speaking of the large tray...

From gallery of Penguinised

...the space beneath the wheels is enough for separate compartments for each player colour. The cards provide a lid to keep the resource markers in place.

From gallery of Penguinised

When the cards are removed the markers can be seen below, in colour coded compartments.

From gallery of Penguinised

The other two smaller trays hold the three small types of terrain and the building tiles. Again, because space is so tight, I had to use card for the sides of the building tray.

From gallery of Penguinised

The empty insert. Notice the notches in one end to allow the player boards to fit.
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20. Board Game: Glen More II: Chronicles [Average Rating:8.04 Overall Rank:250]
Board Game: Glen More II: Chronicles
Ben Tinney
Australia
BROKEN HILL
New South Wales
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The GameTrayz tray which comes in the box with this excellent game is what I would describe as “good, not great”. While it does and excellent job at keeping the tiles, cards and chronicle boxes organised, it still requires a sea of baggies to keep all the resources and player bits separated. And let’s be honest, that’s just not the kind of thing I can abide.

From gallery of Penguinised

Pop the lid off my copy of the game and you’re immediately greeted by three trays: one for the victory point tokens, and two for the wooden resources. I lined them with colour coded card to keep things looking neat and tidy.

From gallery of Penguinised

Under the trays sit the two boards and the manual. I’d normally put these on top of trays, but doing it this way keeps the trays flush against the top of the box lid and stops the tokens escaping if the box is tilted or jostled around.

From gallery of Penguinised

I kept everything in the plastic tray more or less where you would expect it to go, the only difference is that I made four colour coded tuckboxes to keep the player pieces in. The cloth bag which holds the coins sits neatly beside them.
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21. Board Game: Great Western Trail [Average Rating:8.29 Overall Rank:10]
Board Game: Great Western Trail
Ben Tinney
Australia
BROKEN HILL
New South Wales
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Nothing overwhelmingly complex here, but for some decisions I made early on the design, space became a big consideration.

I recorded myself making this insert and used it to make a video series as a sort of “crash course in foam core”. Find all of them here.

From gallery of Penguinised

The fully loaded insert, showing the board sitting flush with the top of the box.

From gallery of Penguinised

Main board and manual removed. This insert is divided in half to accomodate the expansion board, expansion manual and player boards on a lower “tier”. The other half contains the player piece boxes which utilise the extra height.

From gallery of Penguinised

All boards and manuals removed. The lower part of the insert, capped by the expansion board, contains a coin tray, card caddy, slots for the board tokens and tiles, as well as the numbered tiles in the geek store bags, score pad, and player board extension tiles from the expansion.

From gallery of Penguinised

The player trays in more detail. The cards sit on top of two risers and effectively act as a lid to keep all the tokens, tiles and cubes inside. One side of these boxes are card as space was a bit too tight to use foam core (see video 3 for more info on that) but they work really well.

From gallery of Penguinised

The bags and coin tray removed. Here you can see the card caddy, as well as the score pad and player board extensions, which sit loose in the large space beneath the bags. The board tiles are separated by size into two slots, the neutral buildings also have a dedicated compartment.

From gallery of Penguinised

Closeup of the coin tray and card caddy. The base of the coin tray is thick card in order to gain me a bit of depth, and has also been lined with coloured card. The space in the centre of the card caddy has been lined with a curved base to make getting the draw/discard tokens (cannot for the life of me remember what they are actually called) much easier.

From gallery of Penguinised

The empty insert.
 
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22. Board Game: Le Havre [Average Rating:7.87 Overall Rank:45]
Board Game: Le Havre
Ben Tinney
Australia
BROKEN HILL
New South Wales
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This is another game which desperately needs a better storage solution than the “ocean of baggies” which come stock out of the box. The problem is further compounded with Le Havre however, due to the need for the box storage to also function as an “on the board” storage system as well. I originally used rectangular plastic containers with removable lids and just sat them straight on the board. I wasn’t happy with how much they obscured the board and cards and so, inexorably, I was drawn back to the cutting mat yet again.

From gallery of Penguinised

The fully loaded insert. The board, manuals, and excellent player aids by
Darrell Perrins
United Kingdom
Benson
Oxfordshire
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all fit on the top, flush with the top of the box.
The cards are split into Starting and Standard Buildings, Loans and Player Aid and Ships, Base game Special Buildings, and Expansion and Promo Special Buildings. There is actually quite a lot of room left in the card compartments (we can always hold out hope for another 60 or so special buildings to be released right?).
Note that the resource trays are all lined with curved bases and colour coded (because why not?).

From gallery of Penguinised

Top trays and cards removed. The L-shaped tray containing francs and fish doesn’t fit perfectly into it’s spot, and it also needs a mass of foam core blocks to stop all the coins from spilling out when the box is stored on its side. What’s up with that? This is my first insert (I think, I could be forgetting one) where I have built the trays to fit the board rather than fit the box. I had to include a few extra features in the insert to keep things from moving around too much during storage.
The harbour disks, all well as the food counters are also stored in slots on this layer.

From gallery of Penguinised

The empty insert. While it looks a little bit rough and ready in the box...

From gallery of Penguinised

I’m very happy with how it looks on the table. The low height of the trays (I’m fairly sure they are about as low as they can be and still be usable) means the building cards are clearly visible to all at the table which is exactly the point of making them in the first place.

For instructions on how to make the curved “slides” used in this insert, please have a look at this post on my geeklist.
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23. Board Game: Imperial Settlers [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:203] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
Board Game: Imperial Settlers
Ben Tinney
Australia
BROKEN HILL
New South Wales
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I’ve been reluctant to pull the trigger on this one, mostly due to the ongoing nature of expansion releases. I’m very happy with my final solution which leaves plenty of space for future factions and any tokens or boards they may include.

From gallery of Penguinised

The fully loaded insert. Note that the dividers between the different faction cards in the upper compartments are not currently fixed in place. I’ll likely glue them in once I’m satisfied that there will be no more cards coming.
The lower compartment contains four trays in two layers: a large card caddy for the common cards, a small try to hold all of the limited faction specific tokens and small game markers, a tray for all the commonly used game tokens, and another for holding the added effect tokens.

From gallery of Penguinised

The four trays removed. Note that there is plenty of space in the tray containing technology and blessing tokens for any addition tokens they decide to add to the game in the future. I love the artwork and funny messages on the original cardboard insert so much that I decided to incorporate them into the trays and the insert itself.

From gallery of Penguinised

The game token tray with colour coded slides and faction specific tray. The card caddy has minor spoilers (if you haven’t already I strongly recommend you take a close look at the cardboard insert in your copy of the game).

Spoiler (click to reveal)
From gallery of Penguinised

One side of the card caddy showing the stealthy ninjas. What I really like about them being in the card caddy is that they are slowly revealed as the game plays and cards are drawn


From gallery of Penguinised

The insert with trays removed. There is a recessed space beneath the trays and caddy for the score board and first player marker.

From gallery of Penguinised

The empty insert. Notice that half the insert has a foam core base and the other a cardboard base. This allows enough depth for sleeved cards and the player boards to stand upright, but also gives me another opportunity to preserve some of the wonderful artwork of the original insert.

For instructions on how to make the curved “slides” used in this insert, please have a look at this post on my geeklist.
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24. Board Game: La Isla [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:927]
Board Game: La Isla
Ben Tinney
Australia
BROKEN HILL
New South Wales
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Now THIS is the size of box that I like from Alea. Why all of their games don’t come in a footprint of this size is beyond me (see my Broom Service and Castles of Burgundy inserts for just how much wasted space the Alea Big Box games contain).

From gallery of Penguinised

The fully loaded insert. I decided to make a card caddy to help hold the sleeved cards on the table (they have a tendency to fall over without additional support), and stuck a ribbon over the top to hold them in nice and neatly.

From gallery of Penguinised

The caddy and token bag. For most games which require tokens to be randomised I find that storing them in a bag makes setup much easier. Certainly more so than having to dump them on the table, flip them over and give them a wash shuffle anyway.

From gallery of Penguinised

The insert with the caddy and bag removed. The “barely cardboard” envelopes sit underneath the caddy and the centre of the main board and first player marker sit on top of the smaller board tiles. The cubes and scoring markers are kept in curved based compartment and are simply removed and kept in a pile on the table. The player piece tray is removable for easy dumping as well.

From gallery of Penguinised

Almost everything removed. This shows the configuration of the board tile compartment. There is also a small slot to hold the double creature tokens which are randomised and handed to the players at the start of the game.

From gallery of Penguinised

The empty insert. Or is it..?

From gallery of Penguinised

Peek-a-boo! This small hidey-hole contains the spare creature tokens and is hinged with a couple of pins.

For instructions on how to make the curved “slides” used in this insert, please have a look at this post on my geeklist.
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25. Board Game: Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:191]
Board Game: Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King
Ben Tinney
Australia
BROKEN HILL
New South Wales
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Microbadge: I use Board Game Stats to log my gamesMicrobadge: Foamcore box insert crafterMicrobadge: The Geek Citizenship Recognition Program Rolls On!Microbadge: I play with orange!Microbadge: Parent of Two Boys
For a game such as this I normally hold off on making an insert until I’ve picked up all the expansions. For Isle of Skye however I’m perfectly content to just keep it at the base game. It fills a nice spot in my collection for quick playing, intro plus weight games that play up to five.

From gallery of Penguinised

The full loaded insert. Slightly less than half the volume of the box is a single compartment for the tile bag. The upper layer of the remaining portion holds a 4 slot coin tray. No liners on this one, though I might get to it in the future.

From gallery of Penguinised

Beneath the coin tray are three compartments. One holds the round scoring markers and first player marker, one holds all the player specific pieces and round marker, and the other holds the disassembled player screens.

From gallery of Penguinised

The supporting pieces for the player screens are arranged on the bottom as seen here. There is enough room in this compartment to be able to fit a finger for retrieving everything.

From gallery of Penguinised

The empty insert. Very simple, but much more effective than baggies.
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