Packing Miniatures for Shipping

A while back I’ve moved and ended up relocating on the other side of the globe. I had quite a bit of trepidation moving all my miniatures. I use a fast and loose way of storing my figures in plastic boxes, layered on bubble wrap sheets. Good enough to keep the paint job protected but only if the box is kept upright. If I dump it on its side, the figures are going to shift around. Throw in a bunch of jostling of the box and you can expect figures to be clanking against each other (and on the inner sides of the container). I totally expected that my shipped stuff would be tossed around like a beach ball, and stacked sideways or upside down in a shipping container that would make any Tetris player proud.

So I had to try to work out a solution and stuck with bubble wrap. Cutting small sheets, I rolled each figure in wrap with a bit of tape to keep it in place. The key is to make sure it’s lightly snug and not wrapped too tightly. For plastic figures especially, you can inadvertently bend or snap off fragile parts like rifle barrels so don’t wrap too tight. Some figures can even be wrapped two to a sheet, particularly prone figures by having the bottom of their bases facing each other. I dumped them in hard plastic containers, sealed the tops in packaging tape, and was good to go.

It did take some time. Don’t expect to do this in a night. Set time aside to do it. At a leisurely pace, I was able to get about 300 figures completed in a week. I cranked out a lot of figures just watching TV an hour or so a night. You certainly want to get this on your to do list for early packing though. Vehicles and tanks were done similarly, but I made sure to remove turrets and wrap them separately.

How did they ship? Just fine. Granted you have to be prepared to snip tape and unwrap a ton of models (more things to do while watching movies). But I can say my figures, both metal and plastic, made it across the world in one piece.

So if you have the time, consider this a solution for packing your miniatures. While you can buy expensive cases that can keep your figures snugly packed individually in foam it can be costly. For a budget (and a ton of models), wrapping minis in bubble wrap is a cheaper workaround.

Game Nite – Board games in Saint Louis

I’ve gotten some more opportunities to check out the options of board game stores in Saint Louis. Another popular haunt, especially for wargamers, is Game Nite. They carry quite a large selection of board games and miniatures. GW is pretty popular as well as Infinity. But other games like those from Privateer Press are carried also, in addition to paints and modelling supplies.

They have an expansive collection of board games and card games. Interestingly they also offer shelf space for used games. I imagine it’s more of a consignment system, but they allow for folks to unload older games. It seems worth giving them a gander too, as most of the offerings are near mint or lightly played. A great way to pick up on stuff that wanes in light of the ever-changing BGG hotness of the month.

There are also a fair number of tables for in store gaming. Not only are tables set up for miniature wargaming, but there are several tables for card and board games too. Both the weekends and weeknights look to be popular times to visit. I do believe that priority is given to people wanting to run organized events, so plan ahead accordingly if wanting to run a game for just your friends.

They also have a decent sized game library. Combined with ample table space, you’ve got plenty of opportunities to try new games out. Or potentially consider trying a game out before buying it. Pretty nice aspect of the store.

Game Nite is a good place to visit for board and card games (even for the miniature wargamer too), and certainly worth checking out their calendar of events to see if anything tickles your fancy.

Saturday Gaming Spark: Lakeside castle

The fortified castle serves as a hub for river traffic. Its thick walls a refuge for the marauding goblins that sweep down from a nearby mountain. The pittance of dwarves in the river community pine for the days where their clans called the mountain home. But most common folk know the mines are only warrens now, lost to the kobolds and goblins forever. Link.

Return to Night of the Zealot: Go7 Box Insert

Mentioned a while back, FFG has released Return to Night of the Zealot which is a mini-expansion of sorts for the campaign in the original core set. I still haven’t had a chance to play through it. So no impressions yet on how the campaign is. However I do appreciate FFG looking at ways to stretch the first campaign out some.

It appears that this might be a popular direction for expansions as they’ve announced a similar product for some of the earlier campaigns. You get a decent size box and one thing I immediately thought was to whip up an insert for it. Fortunately Go7 Gaming has you covered as they offer a MDF insert of their own design.

It assembles pretty easily. The divider sleeves have a clever design with a higher edge tab being off center. This way you can alternate the dividers giving support to cards in the box and eek a little more organization into the layout (as you could write on the dividers if you wanted). I’ll admit I now have a little buyers remorse as the new design sports more dividers and tabs (now 14 compared to my box which has an early design of 7). Looks like they realized the variety of encounter cards required more slots and spacers.

The cards are well supported and you have enough dividers to break up cards so that you can take a few out and still support others upright in the box. The insert and dividers also work with the card dividers provided in the expansion. Overall a nice little product worth picking up to squeeze some more functionality out of the expansion packaging.

Terraforming Mars Mat Overlays

Terraforming Mars is a pretty fun game. Still need to noodle through it more to offer a decent review. While the card art is a little bleah, I love the tactile feel of all the resource bits the game has. The downside though is that they are fiddly. It’s so easy to jostle your play mat, scrambling your resources and status markers for everything.

Fortunately other folks have found solutions to this. Of some third party products, I went ahead and picked up clear acrylic overlay trays from Board Game Boost. These fit directly over the player mats.

They are quite nice. The cubes fit snugly and don’t move around. And it’s easy to pick them up and place them in other slots. Additionally there are slots to keep track of higher values if you happen to go over the initial printed tracks. And a nod to the designer, the extra slots can also hold a 5 value (silver cube), so it’s possible to indicate both 10s and 20s on the resource track if needed.

The person also offers another design with a back board, so that you can seal the entire player mat. However I opted to go with just the simple overlay. Something worth looking at if you wanted a functional way to bling out your Terraforming Mars game. One bit I’d mention, the vendor has an instructional video on how to peel off the paper backing and pop out some of the tabs. I would highly recommend watching it before you go to town with the inserts.

Miniature Market – Board games in Saint Louis

It’s a new year and big changes for me as I’ve transplanted myself from Korea back to the US. Gaming has been on the back burner for a few months but now that I’ve gotten settled some I’ve been peeking a bit on local gaming haunts. Miniature Market was high up on my list as it’s got a pretty big footprint as an online store. I was able to swing by the shop finally and have to admit I’m pretty impressed.

They have a large selection of board games and also cater to the miniature wargamer too. Aside from a lot of GW, Malifaux, Infinity, a smattering of Bolt Action, a wide selection of Reaper Miniatures among other stuff can be found on the shelves. In addition to paints and supplies, they also carry quite a bit of terrain. Well worth checking out if gaming with miniatures is your bag.

They carry a wide selection of board games and card games. Not to mention a well stocked bookcase of RPGs. I’d say most of the physical store delves more in the new hotness on BBG. But you can find some older gems, and I understand it’s always worth asking the staff about a particular game as it might be in the warehouse (or check their online store). The staff always seems helpful and engaging. I quite liked them being proactive asking if I needed assistance instead of being holed away behind the register as I wandered around the store.

The store also has quite a large dedicated space for gaming with several open tables that is well lit. They also seem to have a pretty active schedule running events every weekend and weeknights. I’m impressed with the amount of space available for in store gaming. Keep in mind they try to cater to folks running organized events. You could likely get some space to meet with mates and play a game for the afternoon, but understand that priority will be given to people registering on their calendar of events.

It’s a well stocked store, with lots of opportunity to get a chance to meet people and play. If running through the Saint Louis area, Miniature Market is certainly a place to visit.