Take a look in any board game store, online store or eBay and you'll find a whole host of board game organisers. Made up of different materials, designs and varying levels of complexity to build them. And that of course means there's a whole different range of designers and producers of organisers. But which one is best? Well as most of the companies I could show have sent me the odd organiser or two, request that you never feature their products with any other organiser. So, here is a picture of the games I have organisers for. Ranging from folded space to a number of different wooden, foam, 3D printed and homemade organisers.
The homemade organiser is definitely 100% the worst I own. But that wouldn't be difficult! And I probably would never make my own again. But the others? Well, that's a real mixture. Probably closely followed by the Blood Rage organiser, just look at that box lid! Although it does hold all the miniatures, nicely, it's frustratingly means the box takes up most of an entire shelf.
The cheapest I own was a £12 folded space organiser that I bought for Pulsar2849, which holds everything perfectly, in fact there's even space for more! Who knows maybe one day we'll get a pulsar 2849 expansion. To the mighty Ark Nova organiser that'll set you back £170! Again functional, and holds sleeved cards, which is a big win. But it doesn’t hold the expansion content, so is that now a redundant organiser?
But in terms of durability? Every wooden organiser I own, has in some way, shape or form, got some form of damage during general transit, from a splintered corner to a crack in the wood. That pricey Ark Nova organiser, damaged in multiple places and unlikely to ever see a replacement part.
Whilst my folded space organisers, are going strong. Although they do need the occasional bit of glue, they've never had any permanent damage to date. Considering that every wooden organiser has been double the cost of the folded space equivalent, its had to justify it from a durability perspective.
However, on the design front the wooden organisers have always for me been one step ahead. With normally detailed designs, that add to the organisers. And bring a touch of quality. The plain grey of folded space has always for me been a negative, however, the increase of the printed designs onto organisers by Folded Space is a huge plus. And for me makes them just that much better, its hard not to love them, take the Revive or Undaunted Stalingrad organiser, with designs throughout and helpful reminders where stuff goes in each tray, its a huge step forward from plain grey trays.
Then there's the topic of physical weight! One of the wooden organisers weighs as much as all the folded space organisers put together, making the game some what of a hefty beast to carry. And as a board gamer who often carries a bag with more than one game in, adding an organiser than adds a kilogram to the weight, means I then carry less games.
Although my pet peeve with pretty much every organiser is that games have to be stacked upright, as soon as you move boxes to sideways stacking. That's pretty much the end of any organising as disaster looms for your board game pieces!
So then again, are a few baggies better? For me this tends to be my go to solution, but it's very much game dependent.
It's hard not to love Folded Space organisers. Although I don't think every game needs an organiser, for example Undaunted Stalingrad has a fairly robust organiser included. And it's more about picking and choosing which games get that upgrade. I definitely regret some of my purchases for upgrades, noting the foam organiser for Blood Rage is one of the worst, while the organiser for five tribes is just a little bit too snug! However, the Folded Space Organiser for Gloomhaven is a game changer and massively speeds up setup and tear down, so is a huge plus for me, its also a game that only ever gets carried by itself, so it's not at real risk of being turned onto its side.
How do I rate organisers on a scale of
Wait for sale
It's really a "it depends on the game!" You can definitely go without and stick to baggies, but for some games that added touch of organisation is a blessing.
Disclaimer: I've been sent a number of organisers over the years ranging from folded space to a mixture of wooden organisers. I have also bought many too!