The Frustrating Flipside of Board Games

As much as I’m loving my new hobby I have begun to notice several different aspects of playing board games that are starting to irk me. I’m sure some of these things might be personal quirks but others seem to be common amongst every single game I play.


When I refer to the box I don’t mean the outside but rather what is inside. The one thing that I can’t seem to understand is why almost every box comes with some kind of cardboard insert that renders a huge portion of free space absolutely WORTHLESS. This issues especially pisses me off when you can already barely fit the game components into the box. I’ve already made plans to replace the interior of several of my boxes with custom foamcore interiors that will not only accommodate everything but make organizing and setup so much faster, which can be a big deal since…


…some games seem to take up SO MUCH real estate. I’ve touched on this one briefly before when talking about Mage Knight. This point is obviously only a problem for some people, those who have limited space. I’m starting to think that I might need to set up both of my tables next to each other just so I can fit everything. One of the biggest problems I face is leaving games set up so I can come back to them later since…


…some of these games take several hours per session. Honestly this doesn’t bother me so much as it does Keen. Still, that directly effects me since he is pretty much the only person I could convince to play with me. Even if all of my games have solitaire play it’s always more enjoyable to have somebody to play with and talk to. Some games are naturally just long but play time can be drastically increased…


…if you don’t fully understand the rules. Some of these rulebooks and other resources don’t seem to explain certain elements all that well and sometimes the language can be very confusing. I am not very good at teaching myself something through reading which has been demonstrated several times over when I need to hit youtube to learn how to play a game. So of course some of it is on my end but there are several instances where it seems many players can’t seem to agree on the interpretation of a rule. Fortunately most of the time these things get addressed in online FAQs or errata or even by the game creator themself, which is always nice. Still, I think one of my biggest pet peeves is seeing an example laid out in a manual that runs you through a scenario with outcome A but doesn’t fill you in on what happens with outcome B, which seems to be what I always need to know. This whole issue is probably Keen’s least favorite aspect of playing board games. Any time I need to double check something or consult the manual I can see a little piece of his soul breaking off. It seems to be an extension of pausing a fighting game to check out your character’s moveset, which is apparently one of the worst sins you can commit around him.


Those are really my biggest complains, at least that I can think of off the top of my head. Mostly it’s just nitpicky stuff but it does feel good to vent. Thanks for listening to complain for several paragraphs. Here’s a bonus picture of a Cthulhu miniature I’m working on since according to Keen I “can’t get away with making an entire blog post just one picture.”

Claythulhu demands your worship and love!
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  • Careful if you ever get Arkham Horror. That’s a monster and you will be lost in both Space and Time. 4-5 hour sessions are common, made all the “better” when you lose. ๐Ÿ˜›

    As for the Cardboard inserts, yeah you can ditch them. I go to the el cheapo shops to look for bait and tackle or misc hardware boxes made out of plastic to keep all the components in. Works pretty well if you find the correct size for your game. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • You have to keep in mind that in many cases the inserts that seem useless are designed to function almost as packing material to prevent things from bouncing around during the shipping process. You open the box and often times all the tokens, chips or markers are on those large boards that fit perfectly on top of some piece of cardboard that has just a few slots for the cards, which are also wrapped in plastic. Then under that insert are usually a few poly bags of minis or other items that take up the remaining space. They could sell the games with all the stuff already punched out and design special inserts but that would just be way to expensive.

    You are still newish to the hobby… once you get really obsessive about it you will start to create your own inserts and in some cases even custom boxes to put the games in…. not that I have done that or anything!

    I saw one enthusiast on board game geek that had one of best Arkham Horror setups ever. They took an old 1950s style suitcase and inside it everything had special slots and containers. It was beyond cool.

  • Am loving your ramblings about your new hobby, keep them coming, even the venting.

    Personally I’m kinda bored of the MMO scene at the moment, now if only I could get the other half interested in board games.

  • The rules always bug me in RPG board games as well. Especially the movement rules. Attacking or defending is usually just a dice to roll and a number to compare it to, but movement can get beyond tedious. Encumbered? Next to one guy? Two guys? Flanked? Small creature or large? Disengaging? What type of terrain? Spell effects? Some people love all that stuff, but I just start to think, “Why don’t we just play D&D?”

  • Box: Yes, inserts are nearly universally worthless, especially in Fantasy Flight Games-produced stuff. Toss ’em ASAP, invest in some hair bands and Plano boxes, and don’t look back.

    Space: Yup. Mage Knight. I hear you. Eldritch Horror has quite the footprint as well. If you’re looking for well-themed games that take up little space and can play solo, might I recommend Space Hulk: Death Angel? It’s my go-to game for hotel rooms when I travel for work.

    Time: As long as you’re getting your entertainment value’s worth from spent, don’t sweat it. One of the things you’ll learn as you go deeper into the hobby is that life’s too short to spend playing games that aren’t delivering a reasonable fun/time ratio.

    Rules: Pretty much a crapshoot, though check Universal Head’s uniformly awesome cheat sheet/play aids/foamcore plans/everything for a LOT of the games. Can be found on BGG or at his site:

    Welcome to the fold!

  • Death Angel has been on my radar for a long time. I keep almost pulling the trigger on it but then I end up springing for something more expensive like Eldritch or Robinson Crusoe. I still really want it, though.