So, you bought Gloomhaven, you are enjoying it but then rapidly discovered in horror that putting everything back and then finding it again requires more time than actually playing the game.
We have all been there: the amount of tokens, cards and accessories in the game is insanely high and if you don’t keep track of everything you have discovered in a smart way, you will soon get lost. At your rescue there is a plethora of inserts of different shapes and types that can help you organize all your accessories.
Luckily, you can get Gloomhaven inserts and organizers.
An organizer is exactly what the name suggests: an item made of different materials that helps you to separate the different objects of your game and organize them in the most efficient way to find them only when you need them. As opposite you know, of dropping everything on the table and split all objects before playing.
Before going into details of some of the most well-known products a quick note: most organizers are easier to be found in US than in Europe, so despite your personal preference after viewing this guide, it may be more convenient to choose another model as you avoid customs fees and other extra costs.
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What makes good an organizer or Gloomhaven insert?
Before delving deep in the different brands and materials a note on which things to look at in an organizer or when browsing Gloomhaven inserts:
- Don’t try to find a solution to the map tiles within the organizer. Many will claim a nice way to organize them geometrically. Truth is, you need them sorted alphabetically. Buy an expanding file folder and store them that way. Or just drop them at the top of the insert and go through them each game. There’s not many of them and every letter corresponds to a geometric shape.
- Consider if there is enough space for sleeved cards. Many organizers will provide you with two figures mentioning if they support sleeved cards or not and how many. You will want to protect the cards that you shuffle the most (attack modifiers, monster cards, character cards, etc.) but it’s good practice to sleeve them all to protect them also from dust or accidents. And that way is also convenient to upgrade the character cards by sticking the enhancements on top of the sleeve. To sleeve Gloomhaven you will need the mini sleeves (sometimes called EU sleeves) and the normal sized sleeves.
- You may or may not enjoy Gloomhaven enough to buy the Forgotten Circle expansion for Gloomhaven. Either way, the difference between an insert that natively supports the extra components required for the expansion and buying them separately is significative enough (especially in space) to consider the upgrade immediately before deciding if you want the expansion or not. Not all organizers support the expansion.
- Some cards, like the Event decks or the Items, need not only to be stored but also to be separated by which you have unlocked, which are available and which you have already discarded. It is important to have good separators and to ensure they are sturdy enough so that when you are storing everything an accident would not mean they get all shuffled together.
- Monsters components include standees, action cards and statistic sheet. When you are requested to use some monsters in a scenario, you may want to be able to have everything ready at hand before the game. This needs to be quick and intuitive. Personally, I use the Gloomhaven Helper app that spares me from keeping track of the health of monsters and from using action and statistic cards. But if you prefer to do everything the manual way, keep an eye on this as many inserts don’t have a good solution to contain all you need for each monster type.
- Character trays help to quickly set up the game. You will need the miniature, character sheets, ability cards selected and items collected, all in one place to easily start a game. It can become complicated if you have more than one party going on at the same time as character trays then would be a hindrance to you. But if you have always the same party, then you will need something to quickly set everything up. Consider how you are going to play the game and if character trays are for you or not.
Materials of good Gloomhaven inserts
A special mention goes to the materials used to make the inserts. Gloomhaven inserts are mostly either wood or foam based. Jaws of the Lion, the pre-sequel of Gloomhaven, contains a plastic organizer that mostly does the job.
However, Gloomhaven does not have any plastic to help you. The main difference between wood and foam-based inserts is the type of glue you should be using. Both require a minimum of DIY skills and some time to assemble everything plus more time to wait for the glue to dry.
Other than that, foam is usually lighter than wood, but wood organizers are more common than foam and allow for all sort of customization like painting over it, printing symbols, etc.
Plastic on the other side, does not require glue and is easy to set up at the cost of less customization available.
You could potentially create your own organizer using bolt and nuts container boxes or plastic cups. If you have creativity that could be an interesting project and cheaper solution.
The different Gloomhaven Inserts and Organizers
The following is a selection of the most used organizers. There could be many more, especially in the US market, but the following ones should give you an idea of what to look for when you compare two organizers.
Folded Space – £40
Folded Space is available on Amazon (about £40) in most countries and is probably the cheapest solution to organize everything. It does provide a space for every token and card: they are just not distinguished. All status tokens are in a generic slot and the monsters are pushed in their sockets but is difficult to see where a monster is and because of their shape it is often not possible to order them alphabetically.
This was my first solution and it helped for a while but we soon discovered we were not saving that much time.
If you need something cheap and easy this could be a solution for you but doesn’t solve the problem of increasing game speed very mcuh.
e-Raptor – £50
E-Raptor is another inexpensive organizer in wood, available from Amazon at a reasonable price.
It works for most things, but it does not divide clearly the cards (remember you need to keep track what was unlocked, what has been discarded and what is still locked) and while dividing all monster actions with their own separator, there are no labels so you still need to fiddle around to find the ones you need.
Some tokens are distributed across different boxes forcing you to keep all of them available next to you while you play or remove components to put back later on even when you don’t need them.
It does not seem to have a space dedicated to active characters, so you need to rely on the original tuck boxes.
Overall is a cheap solution but may not work well for some players.
Knl Design – £55
This organizer from UK is available in MDF, painted or Veneer on Etsy.
It looks elegant and has nice dividers for all monster abilities, but it does not seem to support sleeved cards, or cards in general as they are all held together by rubber bands, with some components stored in plastic bags.
It doesn’t have character trays either. In general, not a good solution as a Gloomhaven insert.
Basically Wooden -£60
Another UK manufacturer available from Etsy, it comes as DIY kit or pre-assembled.
This organizer is a good solution with some drawbacks. The monster standees are stored in slotted trays where it is not immediately easy to understand which one is which.
It seems to support sleeved cards but is not expressly mentioned, also it does not seem to mention Forgotten Circles.
There are card dividers and the card boxes are two for the big cards and three for the small ones allowing to organize better. If you prefer having everything on one side however this may be a deal-breaker for you.
Meeple Realty – 65$
This one seems to be out of stock also on his own website. It mentions support for only 4 sleeved character ability cards and two big dividers for all unsleeved cards meaning that you would need to change sleeves every time you change characters.
There are also no character trays meaning that every time you need to put the character sheet and the miniature in their own original box and then reassemble everything each time.
The monster and tiles slots are labelled on the top of the container so that you can refer back to it, however the token slots seem to be a bit flimsy when storing them.
TowerRex – £65
In Europe this one can easily be found on Etsy, although be careful to check if there are custom fees. It seems is out of stock on many retailers, it may just be temporarily.
It is relatively cheaper than other options and seems to have labelling on most slots, although not all on the same side forcing you to turn around each tray. It does have dividers for cards, but it doesn’t have character trays, that you will need to buy separately.
Overall this is a better option half way between a cheaper solutions and more comprehensive (but expensive) solutions.
The Dicetroyers – £75
It has nice dividers for all cards for the events or items, it groups alphabetically monster cards and stores everything neatly.
It has the same drawbacks of some other organizers where it is not possible to see the back of the overlay tiles without picking them up individually to flip and check, and there is no character tray meaning every time you need to put the miniatures in their boxes and the different decks in the proper character boxes with the risk of mixing the selected cards from the non-selected ones.
Overall a good quality product if this is what you are looking for.
Tinkering Paws – £80
This organizer is the only one in plastic that we have in this roundup. You would have expected a lower price for plastic but in exchange, this German brand is able to print in different colours, support sleeved and non-sleeved cards and even provide sleeves in the same order (Etsy).
It is a nice solution that allows to separate all items neatly and even the monsters are easily visible. It seems to cater more for playing rather than storage as it looks like that some items may move within the box.
The overlay tiles are all grouped together and is hard to distinguish where is the one that you need but it occupies less space than other organizers.
It doesn’t support Forgotten Circle or character trays, so you will need to store everything back in the original tuck boxes.
Broken Token – £80
Broken Token is the one most used by Cephalofair Games and sold also in the Frosthaven Kickstarter campaign. In UK it can be found on other retailer sites like Board Game Extras, but in US is also sold on Amazon.
Of all organizers this is my favourite, mainly because it’s compact, collects everything that I need quickly and provides a good solution for both player characters and monster components.
Monster boxes are clearly labelled and can be sorted alphabetically. They contain standees and action cards and are super easy and quick to draw. The monster sheets are stored separately.
The different tokens are all separate and easy to find.
One of the disadvantages of this box is the fact that it supports only 13 tuck boxes and 4 player components. Meaning that if you are playing less than 4 characters, you still need to open 4 boxes and fill the character mats and store the boxes separately. If you have different parties playing at the same time with different characters, then this is not the ideal solution for you as you will need to spend time to reorganize everything.
Another thing to consider is that the overlay tiles are placed in their own sockets but without labels it is difficult to see what’s on the other side forcing you to remove them to check each side.
Also, how do you feel about paying about the same amount on money on the game as you do on an insert? This is one expensive item…
Go7Gaming – 100$
This one presents an elegant solution to many problems: it has labelled slots that cover each side of the overlay tokens, good ways to divide the cards (except monster cards that are just ordered alphabetically) and an easy way to store all characters independently from which are active.
The downside is that you need to open all tuck boxes, included those unlocked, to store them in the new boxes. This means that either you will see some spoilers, or you would need to ask a friend to do it for you. These boxes are also not labelled when put in the main box so you would either need to remember where the characters you need are stored, or attach some labels on the side of the box to distinguish them easier.
Overall, this is a good box, especially if you are in US and if you have multiple active groups at one time.
Smonex – £100
Smonex seems to be a recent addition to the Gloomhaven organizers family, now available also on Amazon.
It ticks different boxes: for example, nice character boards able to contain the current 4 active players, labelled monster sections, transparent covers for most boxes to avoid mixing components and labelled dividers for most cards.
Again, if you have multiple parties with different characters you would need to fiddle a bit, but all original tuck boxes fit.
I haven’t personally tried it but from the reviews and videos, this would be one of my favourites. The only thing I would notice is that monster cards and standees are separate, but this is minor.
Summing up Gloomhaven Inserts
Gloomhaven, without its expansion, is a game with 18 miniatures, 236 monster standees, 700+ cards, 900+ small cards and around 300 tokens.
There are different ways to play the game: 2, 3 or 4 active characters, with the same group of friends or with different groups.
Sadly, the perfect organizer does not exist.
Which one to use will strongly depend on your budget, what you want from it and of course the availability in your region. I want to say that the cheap ones are just as good as the more expensive options, but that is really not the case. I tried to cheap out on spending to much money on my Gloomhaven insert with the Foldes Space version, but the game is still a mess to set up and especially getting stored away again. My suggestion would be to go with the proven Broken Token or the deluxe Smonex version. I know I wish I had done that!
Hopefully, this guide helped you to have a clearer idea and feel free to get in touch for any other recommendation you might ave!
Other great resources:
- Gloomhaven: how to start campaign
- Jawz of the Lion Review
- List of good Legacy Board Games
- Gloomhaven Review
- Gloomhaven PC Review