As the proverb goes…

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy

As much as I enjoy freelancing, I have other work projects going as well at the office, around the house, at the church, and with missions. That is a lot of work, but I also have a lot of fun. Gaming is a serious hobby of mine, and it tends to spawn side projects quite often. A new side project is customizing and enhancing my games. It is very easy to fall into the “cult of the new” with so many great games being released. I love the new games and will continue to buy ones that really interest my family and me, but I only have so much time to play games and so much room to store them. I need to focus more on games that I really enjoy and will play.  I have some wonderful games already in my collection that I wish I played more. My thought was that spending some time to freshen up games I already own will help me remember why I purchased them in the first place, increase their quality and playability, and encourage me to want to bring them to the table more often.

Recently, I have seen quite a few reviews of custom inserts and boxes made of wood and foamcore. I enjoy learning new crafts, especially those that draw on my engineering and Maker interests, so I thought I would try my hand at crafting my own custom box and insert. I knew instantly what my first game to customize would be.

Hull Breach is a game I fell in love with at Gen Con but haven’t gotten to the table as often as I like. Part of the reason for that is the game was spread across two boxes, with inserts that would not hold sleeved cards. Thus, I had cards in one box and game components bagged in another. It took a long time to unbox and set up the game, so it has been played very seldom since I purchased it. This is sad, because I really enjoy starship combat, and the game has space marines! I had an unused box from the Sentinels of the Multiverse: Rook City expansion (all my cards fit in the main game box for that game). I went to Hobby Lobby (greatest store ever for crafters, gamers, and Makers) to purchase some foamcore, paint, and cutters. Hobby Lobby didn’t have good foamcore cutters, so I bought a FoamWerks straight edge and rabbet cutter from Amazon. Jeff Gracia of GreenBrier Games was gracious enough to send me some high resolution images to use for my labeling also.

With all the tools and materials in place, it was time to get started.

I learned a lot with this project that I will take into the next one. I was a little too generous and casual with the glue and probably will switch to a quick drying tacky glue. I will be purchasing a large metric carpenter square for measuring and cutting the foamcore. A few items I might still do to enhance this project are using unique colored sleeves for each deck and spray sealing the box to protect the labels.

Do you customize or enhance your tabletop games? Any pointers on how I could have done this project better?

What game-related side projects have you done?

Side Project: Hull Breach Custom Box

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11 thoughts on “Side Project: Hull Breach Custom Box

  1. Having actually seen this beautiful insert in person, I have to comment on one trait that hugely impressed me: it passes the “shake test”! When the closed box is shaken around, the tokens, dice and cards don’t budge a bit! This is quite rare for a boxed game, I think. 🙂 Nice job!

    1. Yeah, I had to test that theory last night. Turned the box upside down and shook it hard. I was quite pleased that nothing shifted and all the glue joints held. Gives me confidence going into the next insert project.

  2. If you haven’t already, you might send pictures to the Hull Breach manufacturer. They might want to offer it as a dual set? Or as a special “upgrade” box without the cards etc. Then you could be paid for the prototype…?

    1. GreenBrier Games was the first people I emailed with the project link. Jeff Gracia (owner of GBG) was very helpful when I mentioned to him I wanted to work on this project. He sent me that beautiful image I used for the top cover of the box and pointed me to links for the other images. Custom inserts are becoming very popular with multiple websites selling wood and foamcore versions. I like building things myself, so I thought I would try my hand at this.

  3. Looks like someone has a great Kickstarter idea – “do it yourself general customization kit”. =)

    hmm, wonder what you could do for Mint Tin Mini Apocalypse! (I jest but it would be pretty awesome to have tiny dividers in it!)

    1. This custom work on my games is for the joy of the crafting and the enjoyment of playing my games. Not looking to create “kits.” 🙂 Now, as for helping you with Mint Tin Mini Apocalypse, I might be able to help you do some brainstorming. Some dividers using card stock might work.

  4. Very nice box set. I’m Dan Auxier and I’m the creator of HB. Could you send me a email or find the Hullbreach Operatative Network on facebook? It’s a closed development group, but, I’ll use my magic powers and let you in. I’ve been considering doing a 3 box all inclusive deluxe set after the release of In Defiance of Dictators (Jan2016). I would love to have your input on that project. Again, sweet box…and what would it take to convince you to make me one of those? I have moneyoids to pay you, or maybe I can send you some of our custom cards signed? Eitherway, super proud of that box and thanks for your support!

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