Folded Space Inserts Review
Folded Space then – what’s that all about? Those of you who have ever opened the box of a game like Jamaica or PARKS will know the irrational level of happiness that a good box insert can trigger. On the one hand, it’s just a matter of aesthetics. It looks nice in the box. A place for everything, and everything in its place.
More importantly, however, is the value-added benefit that busy people like me appreciate. A good box insert can help you organise, store, and setup a game in a lot less time. It can make packing the game away afterwards quicker too. “Do those few minutes really matter?”, you might be asking yourself. The answer to that question is a resounding “Yes”. So much Yes, in fact, that I wrote a whole article about the importance of good organisation.
Out of sorts
What then, if your box doesn’t come with a good insert? What if it comes with no insert at all? There are three options: One, do nothing and just sift through baggie hell each time. Two, make your own insert. I’ve done this, with foamcore, dressmakers pins, PVA glue, and hours of my life I’ll never get back. The third – and by far most sensible option – is to buy a third party insert.
There are loads available, made of materials like plastics and wood, but they can be very expensive. In the interest of being a cheapskate, my preferred option is the foamboard offerings from Folded Space, which better suit my wallet.
I’ve bought my own before, and was very pleased with the results. When they offered to send me a few more to try, I jumped at the chance, especially as they were for games I love, but have no insert for. Games like The Lost Ruins of Arnak, Root, and Hallertau. The latter especially, has an absolute heck-ton of pieces, so I was excited to see what difference an insert could make.
A sticky situation
Folded Space inserts come as sheets of pre-cut foamboard, with instructions for assembly on a sheet. The only things you need that don’t come in the box are PVA glue and patience. I found the instructions really easy to follow, and there are videos on their website if you really get stuck (no pun intended). Pop the pieces out, make sure you can fit them together, then add a small layer of PVA on the edges and stick everything in place.
Unfortunately, my cutting-and-sticking skills peaked when I was five years old. Good grief, can I make a mess with PVA glue? Luckily for me, it dries transparent, so the hours I spent looking like a sticky gorilla were not in vain. All joking aside, the folded space inserts are really easy to put together. The only time you might run into trouble is when you have small pieces to stick, and it can be a little awkward to get them to sit in-place while you wait for the glue to go off.
They do take a while to put together. It’s one of those tasks best suited for when the kids have gone to bed. Stick something on the telly, have a glass of wine, and make some little boxes. At first it’s very exciting, but by the time you’re onto your umpteenth box, it becomes a nearly mindless job, like peeling Brussels sprouts the night before Christmas.
The big question that remains, I guess, is “Are they any good?”. As it happens, yes, they’re very good. You can tell that a LOT of thought has been put into the layout and storage choices. Take the Hallertau insert, for example. There are so many different wooden resources you need for the game, and the insert now means I have little organiser trays that I can lift straight out of the box, play with, then drop back in afterwards. No baggies, no fuss.
The Lost Ruins of Arnak is another example of clever planning. The trays you build are stacked three-high in some places, but in one corner of the box there’s a huge spacer, just sat there, blocking out space. The note on the instructions informs me that it’s space for the (almost inevitable) expansions. Nice.
But maybe the best, most wonderful thing that the Folded Space inserts do is something that my home-made Maracaibo insert didn’t. They sit flush to the lid of the box. This means you can put everything away, then store them vertically on your shelves! Hoorah! I know there’s a whole sub-culture of people who will only ever store games horizontally on Ikea’s Kallax units, but for those of us in the real world, it’s a fantastic thing to be able to slide a box out like a book, open it, and find everything where you left it.
Folded Space’s inserts are great. They won’t break the bank, coming in at the £15-25 range, and although they’re not the most beautiful of inserts, they’re extremely practical. Sturdy, hard-wearing, precision cut, and readily available. Being made of a kind of foamboard, they’re also extremely light, which is great news for your shelves, and the handles of any bags you use to transport your games.
If, like me, you have great big strangler’s hands, you might need a child to help you with the gluing, as it can be fiddly. Folded Space sent me a few to try, and to tell you about, but in all honesty, they’re great. I’ll continue to buy them for games I play a lot that really need an insert, because they’re cheap, well-made, and do what they’re meant to.
Review samples kindly sent by Folded Space. Thoughts and opinions are my own.