A few years back when inserts first hit the market, I scoffed. The money an insert cost could be better spent on another new game! This was until we’d played Caverna a few times and set up/pack down took us as long as the gameplay. So, I went to Broken Token website and had a cheeky ‘glance’ at what the insert cost. Well, the insert itself was a good price, however, shipping from the US made it unrealistic! Fast forward a bit and I am at BGG Con 2015, standing at the Broken Token stall, about to hand over $200. Oops!
So, why buy inserts? In my mind there are two main reasons.
1: Set up/Pack down
As I mentioned above, Caverna is the perfect example of this! Even though we have many pots for game pieces, taking them all out of baggies and making sure they go back into the right baggies is a pain. Having a tray with everything already organised is a blessing and can easily knock half an hour off set up/pack down times, plus it makes it easier in game to see how many is left of a specific resource (especially important in a game where resources are limited!)
Any game with a lot of pieces makes buying an insert an easy choice!
2: Shelf Space
I’m constantly battling to find space for games. I’d like to say I do ‘one in, one out’ but that’s just not the case. Despite having multiple Kallax in multiple rooms, we usually have a pile of ‘overspill’ game on the floor in the front room. Quite a few inserts now give you room for base game and expansions in one box, meaning room for more games on the shelf, hooray!
The best example of this has to be the 7 Wonders insert that fits base game, Leaders, Cities and Babel all in the one box. OK, I could buy a new game for the cost of the insert but that particular insert just gave me room for two new games on my shelf!
There are, of course, other reason to add inserts. Some of our games are stored on their side and these games end up with all the pieces slid to the bottom. Solution? Get an insert! You might just want your game to look super awesome, in which case, there are plenty of other options!
Various stores do some awesome upgrade packages, everything from meeples to food stuffs included. You can buy complete upgrade kits for big games like Scythe or individual meeples just because they are cute. You can upgrade those boring cubes to smiling little people or realistic resource tokens. This is usually pure ‘pimpage’ at it’s finest with no practical reason, but boy does it look good!
Another practical upgrade is money. Paper notes and cardboard coins are fine, but if a game gets significant plays, wear and tear will start to show. Also, I’m sure we all have that one friend that keeps their pile of money is a complete mess so no one can tell just how much they’ve got. Poker chips are a firm favourite, we actually own this beautiful, linen finish money called The Treasury from Know Chance games. There are also numerous metal coin upgrades available, either generic coins or for specific games. You can spend up to hundreds of pounds on beautiful coins if you want to!
All in all, you can easily spend two, three times the cost of a game just on accessories for it. Is it worth it? You can decide for yourself by visiting some of these sites!