Organizing Arkham Hot

ubaroseubarose   February 18, 2011  
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Fantasy Flight has announced yet another expansion for Arkham Horror. Some of you Arkham Horror completist are probably thinking, “Now how am going to store 450 additional cards?” So I thought this would be a good time for me to share with you how I organize my Arkham Horror set.

ArkhamLaidOut

My needs for organizing Arkham Horror may be a bit more particular than the needs of other Arkham owners. I often transport my set to conventions where I teach the game to other players. Prior to putting together my current Arkham Kit, I had the base game and all the expansions squeezed into two boxes - the base game box, and one of the big box expansions. This made the game portable, and it didn’t take up much shelf space. It seemed to be working fine until I experienced a particularly long and difficult set up at a convention.

I had a perfectly sized table on which for us to play Arkham Horror, however, it was too small for setting up Arkham. At a certain point in set up, the perfectly sized table can’t accommodate the game plus the boxes I’m unpacking out of, and the box lids. Typically I would put my boxes and their lids on an adjacent table, but in this case all the adjacent tables were being used. My only option was to put the boxes on chairs. This of course led to my repeatedly having to call out, “Don’t sit down!” And sort of shoo players away from the tight space as I maneuvered around the chairs and table and bodies to set up.

After a rather arduous and overlong set up, I could finally close up one box, and invite the players to take their seats. However, I still had the problem of needing to keep one box open, and keep it’s lid from being crushed while investigator cards, stand ups and personal story cards were distributed, and then the leftovers finally packed away. Although awkward, it was finally accomplished, and the game could begin.

It was after this experience that I decided I needed a better solution for organizing Arkham. I set myself a list of priorities:

  • Portability
  • Organized to facilitate set up and clean up
  • The ability to pull out only what was needed to play my version of the base game, which includes parts of some expansions (I often teach just the base game).
  • Character and GOO sheets separate from everything else (so I don’t need to stand around with a big open box of stuff waiting to collect up sheets we aren’t going to use, while players hem and haw over what character they want to play).
  • The ability to easily pass around and collect stand-ups and story cards.

Here’s my solution.

One rolling craft case. These are typically sold in large craft stores. Although expensive, they often go on sale. I got a good deal at $30 with a 40% off coupon. I can roll this baby through a venue with one hand.

arkhambagclosed

Two Small Parts Organizers. These are $9.99 each at Harbor Freight, but frequently go on sale for $7.99 each.

arkhamsmallpartsorganizer

One holds most everything needed for my version of the base game.

ArkhamOrganizerBaseGame

The other holds the expansions. If we aren’t playing with an expansion, I don’t even need to pull this one out.

ArkhamOrganizerExpansions

The sections in the organizers are actually removable square cups. I simply pull out an entire cup of tokens and set it on the table and have an instant token bank.

ArkhamCups

Cups of story and relationship cards, stand-ups and stands are also easily removed from the box and placed on the table to be passed around later.

ArkhamSmallCardCup

The case can then be closed and set on it’s edge next to my chair. The grid in the lid keeps remaining cups from shifting even when several cups have been removed. The case can be quickly opened in my lap one last time to return the cups of unused items. Then closed up and put away.

Three Small Fastener Boxes. These cases are sold full of small screws or fasteners at the dollar store. I now own more screws and picture hanging hooks than I need. I use two of these cases as banks placed on either side of the table, and one for the various unique tokens that may be needed during the game. Just pull them out and plop them on the table. No fuss no muss.

ArkhamBanks

One Leftover Holiday Card Box.

ArkhamSheetBoxClosed

Yes I know it looks a little silly, but this extremely sturdy box is exactly the right size to hold the investigator, GOO and herald sheets. Plus it was free.

ArkhamSheetBoxOpen

One Monster Bag. Made this myself out of a couple dollars of fabric and some ribbon.

ArkhamMonsterBag

Pimping Out Arkham

Unrelated to storage and organization, I’ve added a couple additional items to my set.

Ten Monster Stands. They are the minis from “Bag of Cthulhu” by FFG. I just hot glued them onto some stands. I pull out a number of these equal to the Arkham Monster limit, which reduces monster counting and book keeping during the game. Bag of Cthulhu about $10. Stands free (leftovers from some game).

ArkhamMomsterStands

ArkhamMonsterStandsWithTile

Three Business Card Holders. These comfortably hold all the location cards from the base game plus one big box expansion, plus all the lesser used small cards (blessings, retainers, disabilities, etc.). We put items, spells unique items and allies on the location where you can get them. These stands can additionally hold all the location cards from a second big box expansion, but less comfortably (you have to squish and combine the little cards). These don't actually fit in my Arkham case, as we use them for several other games. $8.00 each at Staples (got mine on sale for $5 each)

arkahmbusinesscardholder

And here’s how it all fits together.

ArkhamBagOpen

Craft Case: $30. Small Parts Organizers: $16. Screw Boxes: $3. Holiday Card Box: $0. Monster Bag: $3. Time and Aggravation Saved: Priceless.

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