How do you store your games?

When I was a student, I remember getting together with a bunch of other students to play Talisman.  A friend of mine used to play it a lot as a child and reckoned we’d all enjoy it.  I’d never played it before, so was curious to try it, but never again!  It turned out to be a long, draw-out affair with copious amounts of randomness.  I did badly.  Not that I’m bitter or anything…

My reason for bringing this up though, is that our host had more games than I’d ever seen in my life.  In fact, he had an entire shelf of games.  They were piled haphazardly (this was before box sizes became relatively standardised) and he must have had nigh on twenty games.  Twenty!  Boy, was I jealous.

Of course, my perspective has changed rather these days, but at the time I think I had three or four games.  I couldn’t imagine having twenty games in my wildest dreams.  I remember mentally totting up how much it would cost to buy all of those games.  It was hundreds of pounds!  On games!

I’m getting side-tracked again though.  What I really want to talk about today is storage.  The last time I counted (which was a few years ago), I had over a hundred games.  I dread to think how many I have now.  I keep meaning to sell some of them, but I’m a compulsive hoarder.  So last weekend my thoughts turned to storage.  How do you store your games?


Pot-Luck Adventuring in a Box

My original solution for storing games, once I reached around ten or so, was to pile them on top of a cupboard.  This worked relatively well until I had about twenty.  I remember looking at them one day and thinking that my collection rivalled my university friend’s shelf.  “Wow!” I thought, “I’ve made it!”

Except that I kept buying more.  Also, getting one of the games down was decidedly tricky.  Particularly if there were other games on top of it.  Fortunately (or otherwise, depending on your perspective), the cupboard broke, after a fashion.

Let me explain.  The contents of the cupboard were primarily clothes.  It had one shelf near the top and under that was a wooden rail for hanging clothes, which my wife did with great alacrity.  As my boardgame collection grew, so did her collection of clothes.  Without anywhere else to store them, she just kept squeezing them (on hangers) onto that rail, until one day it collapsed!

She wasn’t entirely disappointed by this turn of events as it gave her an excuse to invest in a more substantial form of clothes storage, but we were left with a cupboard that didn’t really have a use anymore.  So as soon as her clothes were removed, I transferred my games collection into the cupboard.

Petronas Towers

The Petronas Towers

To begin with, this was fine.  Some of the games went on the shelf at the top and the rest (typically the heavier ones) just went on the floor of the cupboard.  I arranged these into three distinct stacks.  It made it much easier to retrieve games and it also provided room for expansion.  Each new game would simply be plonked on top of one of the stacks.

However, in time these stacks grew in size and precariousness.  They would lean on each other for support.  I even tried to use particularly wide games to straddle the towers half way up to provide stability, like the walkway between the Petronas Towers in Malaysia.

Another deficiency of my leaning towers of Pisa was that the games on the bottom had a habit of being crushed!  They tended to be the ones that got played the least, so I put off finding a more practical solution for far too long.  Poor games.

Now if you ask any modern gamer what the best storage solution for boardgames is, they all reply with one word: Kallax.  I don’t frequent Ikea very often (the nearest store is quite a long way from my house), but their Kallax range of shelving seems to have become ubiquitous in the gaming world.



So I took the plunge and popped down last weekend.  I picked up a surprisingly lightweight box, brought it back and began the apprehensive task of assembling it.  Now I consider myself something of an expert when it comes to assembling flat-pack furniture, having taken on a wide variety of projects over the years, but it never ceases to amaze me how easy it can be to make mistakes (of which I have made many!).

So I can say with great authority, that the Kallax shelving range is the easiest to assemble flat-pack furniture I have ever encountered.  The instructions were clear (despite being language independent), most of the pieces were symmetrical so you couldn’t attach it the wrong way round and it was light.

Despite being lightweight, it is sturdy, but the best bit (as any Kallax owner will you) is that the width of the spaces seems to have been purpose designed for storing boardgames.  Even the particularly wide games with big boxes (like Pathfinder Adventure Card Game) fit lengthways very nicely.

I have become a Kallax convert.  It is reasonably priced, comes in a variety of colours and is absolutely perfect for storing boardgames.  I just wish I had invested in a Kallax unit years ago.  How do you store your boardgames?  Have you discovered the ergonomic beauty of Kallax yet?

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Jonathan Hicks

Jonathan is the director of Maven Games. He blogs and records podcast episodes several times a week. Whenever he isn't doing anything else, he designs games.

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