Playing board games brings you joy in cold autumn or winter evenings? But setting everything up, sorting various cards and tokens takes too long and cuts the excitement in half? Or maybe you have a couple of your favorite game expansions and storage is a problem? Then look no further and let's make together an organizer for your favorite board game!
In this instructable I am going to cover how I made an insert for an original Android: Netrunner board game box to fit core game and 9 expansions I own in one single box.
Below are lists of tools and materials that were used to make this project.
- Ruler (preferably made out of metal)
- Cutter knife
- Foamboard / Cardboard
I decided to go with foam board mainly due to aesthetics - for me the edges of foam board look a lot cleaner than cardboard. These two materials are very similar and even in my native language foam board if translated directly is called "foam cardboard". Both cardboard and foam board have flat paper layers on the outside and the main difference is the layer in-between. Cardboard's middle layer is made out of fluted corrugated paper sheet, where in foam board it is replaced by foam. For thickness I went with the standard 5mm (3/16").
In the next step I am going to describe the chosen game and why it appeals so much to me. Intriguing cyberpunk reality, mega corporations and fearless hackers await next, but if you are here just for instructable feel free to skip to Step 2.
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Step 1: About Android: Netrunner
Android: Netrunner is a Living Card Game produced by Fantasy Flight Games. It is a two player game set in the dystopian future of the Android universe. The game is asymmetrical - each game is played as a battle between a mega corporation a.k.a. "The Corp" and a hacker, usually called "Runner". The Corp aims to complete its secret agendas before the Runner can hack in and steal data. The most interesting feature of the game is that each side has different abilities and uses completely different cards. The Corp is a defending side and uses data forts protected by ICE (acronym for Intrusion Countermeasures Electronics). While the Runner must use special programs of their own, called icebreakers, to break through and steal the hidden agendas. All this is paid for in the game by credits, which are earned and spent during the course of play.
Overall, the game is quite complex, you have to get your economy going, build servers or rigs and look out for any unexpected events as the game is full of bluffs, risks and secrets. While the game is strongly based on strategy, the element of uncertainty and luck also exists as cards are drawn from the faced-down deck. If you would like to know more about Android: Netrunner, here is 20 minutes video explaining the gameplay.
Step 2: Preparation and Planning
The most crucial stage of this project is preparation and planning. The core set has 252 cards which came in original cardboard insert. The main problem with most of board game factory inserts, that they are not great for organized storage. The main purpose of them is to give a great visual impression for the first time opening the sealed game. For example, original insert have places for two decks (one for runner and one for the corp) and place for coins and tokens in the middle. Seems reasonable, however when cards are sleeved (yes, we want to protect a game, especially this one), then the cards do not fit anymore in their located places. In this case it could be solved by flipping the insert. But what to do when you add 9 expansions each consisting of additional 60 cards? We need a storage for almost 800 cards, preferably sorted and separated into piles. It took a few hours to sleeve and sort the cards separating 7 factions and 2 piles of neutral runner and corp cards. When the cards were prepared and separated the calculations and planning began.
The size of cards in this particular game is 63,5 x 88 mm (2 1/2" x 3 1/2"). A couple of millimeters are added in both directions when cards are sleeved. To allow some room and not cramping everything up, the final storage dimensions were increased by 5 mm to 70 x 95 mm.
The inner dimensions of the box measured at 248 x 248 mm (9 3/4" x 9 3/4"). At this stage I planned to separate Runner and Corp cards in to two columns each of them taking 105 x 248 mm (105 = inner 95 mm + 2 x 5 mm for the sides). The remaining space (38 x 248 mm) will be used to store tokens. At this stage I was not sure if tokens will be stored in plastic bags or in dedicated tray. The main focus here was to measure and calculate the space needed for storing cards.
Then I measured the height of each faction's pile and decided on making individual tray for each faction as there were enough space. I will not go into much detail here and just add the final blueprint.
The last thing to decide on was the height of trays. As measured before, we need 70 mm for fitting in the cards, so I went with the height of 70 mm for front and rear panels. For sides I decided to lower them by 20 mm for easy access of cards.
Step 3: Cutting the Foam/Card Board
The size of mine foam board was 508 x 762 mm (20 x 30 inches). I cut a couple of strips for base of trays and for sides. For base the strip's width was 95 mm and 55 mm for sides. The front and rear panels will be glued onto the base, while the side panels will be glued from the sides making the final width of tray 105 mm.
Tips for making the cuts:
1. Use a metal ruler of you have one.
Wooden or plastic rulers also work but blade of the cutter may damage them. I had 500 mm heavy duty plastic ruler I used for making only long cuts and 150 mm metal one for making all other cuts.
2. Do not try to cut the material in one pass.
I have not tested this with cardboard but with foam board I found it really helpful. With the first pass I cut only through the paper board. Not much pressure needed to go through the outer layer and you can mainly focus on getting the perfect line. This is especially helpful if you are using non metal ruler. No ruler is then needed for the second pass because the blade already follows the previously made groove. For the second pass I use a lot of force and make the cut through the remaining layers.
3. Use a new blade and the smallest angle possible when making the second pass of the cut.
By the smallest angle I mean pushing out the blade all the way. New blade and small angle ensures clean cuts and straight edges. Do not hesitate to change blade if needed and save yourself from struggles, especially using foam board, which wears blades quite quickly.
4. Cut the larger pieces first.
If you made a bad cut while cutting larger piece (for example sides of the panel are not parallel), you could reuse the same material for cutting smaller pieces out of it.
Step 4: Gluing the Tray
I used universal glue for this. The chosen glue fully dries in one hour, so pieces can be adjusted within 5-10 minutes if needed. The particular gluing order I used:
- I glued the rear panel onto the base;
- then followed by gluing the front panel;
- and then finished off by gluing on side panels.
Then repeated this process for 8 more times, making 9 trays in total.
Step 5: Finishing Up
Trays were inserted into the box. The left column fitted perfectly, while there was a small gap in column on the right. Small spacer was cut and inserted for keeping trays in place. I decided not to make additional tray for tokens in the middle and just store them in separate plastic bags. With all inserts inside the box still closes fine despite smaller contact surface of the sides.
Participated in the
Cardboard Speed Challenge