If you host a regular games night, you probably know the feeling of getting everything ready in time before everyone arrives. Set up the games table, make sure the drinks are chilled, glasses and coasters are put out, crisps and other snacks put in bowls and the games is set up – and this is often the crux. Some games take a long time to set up and sometimes even longer to put away again. It can feel like the setting up and putting away takes longer than playing the game. It’s such a chore.
If you have a little spare cache and play a game regularly, it might be worth investing in a good insert. These, usually wooden, containers help keep everything in place and fit neatly into the game box. You no longer need baggies and nothing flies around inside the box. Your minis are stored safely, so nothing breaks off or gets bent. That in itself is great, but the better inserts also make setup really easy – and putting everything away is also often quicker.
There are a number of insert suppliers that you can choose from. If you search for “board game inserts” on the internet, you will find a number of companies that will probably have an insert suitable for your game. If you are interested in inserts that allow a quick game setup, you probably want to look for wooden inserts – not the foam inserts. Foam inserts are great for protecting your minis or other figures, but usually don’t speed up setup.
Of course, these wooden inserts are great, but they can be relatively expensive. I wouldn’t say they are overpriced, because they do offer a solution that perfectly fits into the game box and stores all game components neatly, while at the same time offering quick game setup – and they do look great on the games table as well. However, for some of us the costs can be prohibitive. So making your own solution is also an option of course.
You may have to look for a while, but there are PDFs of inserts that you can use to cut your out your own solution from balsa wood or thick cardboard even. Alternatively you can of course design your own version completely from scratch. Just start with the box dimensions and think about how you can help with the game setup and how the game components are used during the game. I found that splitting up all resources into two equal sets allows everyone to have a resource pool nearby, avoiding the need for a “banker” to hand out resources.
If you have made your own inserts, please post your links to photos or videos in the comments below. If you have thoughts or suggestions on the topic of inserts, please also comment below. It would be good to know your experiences with inserts and how they can help during game play, as well as game setup and putting everything away.