One of the best parts of summer is finding reasons to travel and play more games. Unfortunately, most games and game boxes aren’t built for travel, but rather sitting comfortably & beautifully on a shelf. Their cardboard boxes are light and easy to ship to the store and bring home, but both because of resiliency and a lack of space efficiency, the practical aspect of traveling with games comes to a head. Here are some ways you can hack your games so that they are as ready for travel as you are.
Replace the Cardboard Box
Cardboard boxes are consistently rolling at disadvantage against the perils of travel, including crush forces, water, fire, and biting. Cardboard boxes also often have a lot of space inside to protect the game contents from said perils, meaning that there’s often more space inside the box, making them space inefficient. Beyond that, there’s also a secondary reason for boxes to be larger than needed to hold and protect the contents: Prominence on the shelf at the FLGS is as much a factor for publishers making the box as actually protecting and storing the contents inside.
So ditch the box and instead find a container that can better and more comfortably hold the contents, as well as one that is more resilient than really thick paper. For card-based games, I have a particular soft spot for clear polycarbonate cardboxes. Machi Koro, a game we love here at Geek & Sundry, is one game that works particularly well in a 200 card polycarbonate card box, which cost me all of three dollars. Within the cardbox that is box smaller than the core box you’ll find all the expansions and the core set complete with components.
X-Wing is another game whose box isn’t great for transportation. I was able to fit the 2 starter sets, as well as several additional expansions into this customizible bead organizer (also similar to tackle boxes). Not only is it space efficient, protective of the game components and easy to use with the smaller components sorted, but it’s cheap – this solution cost a total of five dollars. Throw the game cards into some beautiful custom art sleeves and in a cardbox, and you have a pretty nifty transportation and storage solution.
Download The Rulebooks
When reducing the size of your box, often times the one component that is as big as the box is the rulebook. Instead of using the paper rulebook (which are flimsy, prone to being lost, and are easily damaged) download them to your phone instead. Most publishers make their rulebooks available for download on their websites so keep a PDF on your phone and refer to it when needed.
Downsize the Game’s Components
Machi Koro comes with standard size dice, which don’t fit very well in the box that everything else fits in. So I replaced them with smaller dice to make the game more travel friendly. Generic components can always be replaced for smaller sized versions, so if you need the space, do so.
Condense Expansions Into the Core Box Using Inserts
There are so many great ways to create or purchase inserts into a box. Paul Mason, past G&S Vlogger did a tutorial on how to make a box insert that can hold the core and expansions for Smallworld, and there are many other such tutorials available online for various games. You can also purchase rigid laser-cut box inserts from companies like Broken Token. They’re more expensive than DIY solutions, but the rigid wood within the box actually provides more structural support to the cardboard exterior making what was paper substantially more travel worthy than it was previously.
Sleeve Your Cards
Card sleeves are quite inexpensive but highly protective. If you have a game where cards are heavily handled, or may be abused, sleeves are simply an extra level of protection to help cards that escape from their box. If you get art sleeves, it also gives you the opportunity to organize your cards visually as well.
How have you hacked your game? Let us know in the comments below!
Featured Image & Image Credits: Teri Litorco