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Subject: Crushing vs. Warping -- Game Storage rss

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Tom Rosen
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About a week ago there was a thread (Janiv, http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/107875) about "playing boardgame-tetris" (i.e., rearranging your collection to fit all your games on your shelves), and I posted a photo of my newly-rearranged collection, in which I'd recently shifted most of the games to lie on their sides rather than stacking them. One user (Jeff, paratrewpr) kindly pointed out that this new storage method might cause the boards to warp, and I replied to see if anyone else could confirm this result. Since no one responded in that thread I thought I'd create a separate thread to ask about the risks of warping and crushing, to see what advice people might have. I have perused the vast collection of game closet photographs available at http://rck2.com/zp/ and noticed that many people store their games flat but many others store their games on their side. I posted two photos below, the Before picture is of my collection with many of the games stored flat, but I was worried about the ones toward the bottom getting crushed. The After picture is a more recent photo of my collection with more of the games stored on their sides because I thought this would alleviate the problem of crushing, and did not consider the alternative problem of warping. So what do people suggest? I've only had my collection stored sideways for a little while so I can't tell if it's having any adverse effect, but I don't exactly want to wait to find out the hard way. Should I go back to storing them flat and risk crushing some or leave them stored sideways and risk warping the boards? Thanks for your thoughts and advice.

BEFORE - Stored flat, crushing?


AFTER - Stored sideways, warping?

 
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Laura Appelbaum
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Okay, admittedly my collection is not all that large, but for my entire life (I just celebrated my second twenty-first birthday last October ) I've always stored all my games horizontally one on top of the other. To stack them on end never occurred to me. My niece is still playing some of those same games and they've all held up quite well, thankyouverymuch. So I think so long as you don't do anything like putting Railroad Tycoon on the top of a stack, you're fine.
 
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Jay Little
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I prefer Crushing to Warping. It evokes a greater feeling of helplessness from my games.

Oh, you weren't asking for our preferred means of mangling?
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Mario Lanza
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I spoke on this a little in a rather lengthy post of mine:

http://boardgamerspastime.com/?p=33

I believe games were designed to lay flat. I have tried storing some on their sides. This results in lots of bit mixing and spillage and warpage to boards. Others may have varying experiences but I do not recommend storing games on their sides. Obviously, there are certain games that will work okay that way, but why be inconsistent?

For best results, stack games traditionally in stacks of like-sized boxes with the heaviest being on the bottom, no stacks too deep.
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Greg Case
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Store games without boards (settlers, carc etc.)on their sides (no warping problems). Stack games with boards, in not too deep stacks
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Daniel Freeman
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Nice collection! You have good taste in games.

Regarding your question: Both of these are long term problems. If you are going to put a bunch of games in a storage shed for years, then this issue becomes pertinent. If you play these games regularly then I don't think you really need to worry. Store your games in the manner which is most convenient for you. I personally prefer to stack them. You desperatly need a bigger shelf though.
 
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Tom Rosen
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Thanks for all the advice everyone, I really appreciate it.

Laura - Stacking them on end didn't occur to me recently, not until I had so many games stacked on top of each other that I was worried the bottom ones would explode from the weight. I'll make sure not to put anything too heavy on top of anything else, but the only disproportionately heavy game I noticed in rearranging was Ra, and that's relatively puny compared to Railroad Tycoon.

Jason - Thanks Jason, if I ever need to mangle my games and make them feel helpless I'll be sure to crush them, or send them to you for crushing purposes. Glad the Geekway went well

Mario - Thanks for the link Mario, that was a really interesting post. I don't really have a big problem with bits mixing or spillage since I've started bagging everything. I transport my games to my club a lot so I had to start bagging every little thing, or else once I got home they would be a disaster. So I'm not so worried about that, but I am worried baout warping, so I'm thinking I should switch back to storing them flat. I like to match up like-sized boxes anyway for appearances and OCD, heh, so that shouldn't be a problem. Although avoiding stacks being too deep may be a problem with my current shelving situation, so I may need to split up the collection into two areas or even rooms, aigh! Noooo

Greg - Thanks, it's funny that currently I'm doing the exact opposite, unintentionaly, having Settlers and Carcassonne flat and almost everything else sideways, oops. I'm going to rearrange soon, and upload an updated photo when I get a chance.

Daniel - Thanks Daniel! The Geek has good taste in games, hehe, because I get all my recommendations from here. I play them pretty regularly so I don't think it'll be a big problem, and storing them sideways is actually a bit more convenient for removing one game to play, but in the long-term I'd rather the boxes get squished a little than the boards warp at all, I already have enough trouble when boards won't lie flat. Lastly, you're definitely right about my need for a bigger shelf, and when I move apartments in a bit I'll definitely try to work out a better and more permanent storing plan, but for now this is what I'm working with, unless I split it up, and I already split off all the non-euro games to a separate area... banished is more accurate laugh

JR - Last but certainly not least, thanks so much for your suggestions and feedback. I think the consensus wins and I'll switch back to stacking my games flat as soon as I have a chance. I'll try to match up identically sized boxes, although I think I'll have to go a bit more than 3 high, although try to avoid going 7 or so high like I did before. You're right that more shelves would be ideal (and that climate-controlled vault wouldn't be bad either, hehe), but with what I'm working with for now I'll try to rearrange to minimize both the warping from the current setup and the crushing that might result from stacking too high and having different-sized boxes together (and I just thought that looked bad, didn't think it also was bad).

Thanks again everyon for your advice, I really appreciate it! meeple
 
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Tom Rosen
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UPDATE:

Per the general advice I received here, I have rearranged my collection. I am curious if people think the new configuration is generally better than the previous arrangement or not. Thanks!

As of May 9th:

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Charles Hasegawa
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Well, now your Alea/Rio Grande games don't look anywhere near as cool



and you still have the shrink on AoS
 
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Tom Rosen
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Hey Charles,

Yeah, agreed, my Alea games look much less cool now. Although I can't say it didn't bother me a little having the 4, 6, and 7 showing, and not having the rest.

In addition, it's definitely a little harder to access certain games, like Santiago and Reef Encounter for example, which is why I'd switched it to storing sideways, but I really don't want the boards to warp.

Lastly, I'm totally going to tear the shrinkwrap off Age of Steam as soon as May 25th rolls around, I swear! And I'll upload a new photo to prove it laugh
 
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Rick Keuler
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So, after I read this thread the other day, my toddler asked me to "play" the "camel game." caravan It hasn't seen the light of day since we moved here over two years ago, so I pull it down for us to play. I've been storing vertically for the four or five years.

You guessed it - warpage! Not horrible, but enough to freak me out. As the toddler pushed the candy camels around, I frantically pulled games off the shelf to check them - warped. Warped. Warped. Wrapped (been meaning to open that game). Warped. Ach! surprise

SOOOoooo, the rest of the afternoon, my toddler and I rearranged the gameroom and everything is now stored horizontally. The room doesn't look as cool as it did before, but it's still decent. Now, here's hoping the forces that caused this mess can work to reverse the damage. Onward!
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Tom Rosen
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Thanks for the lesson Richard. I'm sorry to hear about your boards being warped, but it's certainly useful for me (and the rest of your fellow Geeks) to know. After rearranging to stack my games horizontally tonight, I didn't really like the way it looked or the way it made certain games less accessible, and I contemplated immediately changing it back, but decided to give it some time to see if it would grow on me (and what people on here had to say about it). Your post has definitely helped convince me to leave it the way it is, even if it does mean some of the game boxes might get a little crushed and are harder to get out. It's hard enough to get the boards to lie flat (especially Through the Desert) without having them warp from being stored sideways.

By the way, that joke about the game being "wrapped" had me laughing out loud, glad to know I'm not the only one, hehe. Hope you enjoyed the game of Through the Desert, and the new arrangement fixes things a bit.

 
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Charles Hasegawa
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I want you all to know that I'm particularly unhappy about the fact that I need to go re-arrange my games. I really like the look of my games all layed out like books on a shelf. Not only that, but now I need to find a new place to put them, because if I go vertical with them, I won't be able to reach them.

BTW, from the looks of your current configuration, I'm guessing that your Lowenherz boards are warped. laugh
 
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Eli Smith
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Well I guess I know what I'm doing tonight.. about half my collection is stored vertically (but only for the past few months).

Another rearrange is in order.. it's going ot be quite the tetris battle as I've just picked up my third Fantasy Flight Game in the "Epic" sized box.
 
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shumyum
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The reason I like vertical storage is that it makes it (slightly) easier to take the game in and out of the shelf. I've never noticed warping, but I've never looked for it.
 
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Chapel
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I don't follow one rule or the other. I like to mix it up!:

 
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HMS Iron Duke
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This is a problem that I really don't suffer from much. I am firmly entrenched in the wargamer camp and the vast majority of my boards are printed on a)thick card or b)paper. Either of these and a sheet of plexiglass and SHAZAM! (rumble of thunder and a lightning bolt) no warp. So, for the time being, my bookcase games shall stay like books. I guess it is all a matter of what you have in the collection.
 
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Chris
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I think the best change from your "before" to "after" photos is that the Monopoly: Lord of the Rings game is gone.
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Tom Rosen
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Charles Hasegawa wrote:
I want you all to know that I'm particularly unhappy about the fact that I need to go re-arrange my games. I really like the look of my games all layed out like books on a shelf. Not only that, but now I need to find a new place to put them, because if I go vertical with them, I won't be able to reach them.
BTW, from the looks of your current configuration, I'm guessing that your Lowenherz boards are warped. laugh


Sorry about that Charles, I know that's a pain, but think of it like a giant tetris or blokus game, and maybe it'll actually be fun rearranging your games, plus you have the joy of knowing your choosing crushing over warping, which as ynnen said is just more fun.

Yup, the Lowenherz boards are crazy warped, I think they're hopeless, luckily it's one of my least favorite euros.

Eli Smith wrote:
Well I guess I know what I'm doing tonight.. about half my collection is stored vertically (but only for the past few months).

Another rearrange is in order.. it's going ot be quite the tetris battle as I've just picked up my third Fantasy Flight Game in the "Epic" sized box.


Hope the rearranging "battle" went well Eli, glad to know my thread has helped some people out in realizing that it might be best to rearrange now before the consequences start to manifest themselves. Yeah, mine were a little easier to arrange at least since I don't have any of the epic TI3-esque boxes, good luck with that.

Justin Green wrote:
The reason I like vertical storage is that it makes it (slightly) easier to take the game in and out of the shelf. I've never noticed warping, but I've never looked for it.


Yeah, I totally know what you mean Justin, it was really nice having my games arranged sideways so that I could easily slide one out without disturbing the rest, that's why I switched to storing them sideways in the first place since the tall stacks make it annoying to get something from the bottom out. It does make it tempting to switch back, but for now I think I'll try this new configuration for a bit.

Michael Chapel wrote:
I don't follow one rule or the other. I like to mix it up!


Perhaps that's the best approach. The best (or is it the worst) of both worlds. I did put Acquire on its side to make it fit, I don't think the plastic board is likely to warp. And as Greg said earlier, games without boards could go sideways without any risk of warping.

Mike Sisson wrote:
This is a problem that I really don't suffer from much. I am firmly entrenched in the wargamer camp and the vast majority of my boards are printed on a)thick card or b)paper. Either of these and a sheet of plexiglass and SHAZAM! (rumble of thunder and a lightning bolt) no warp. So, for the time being, my bookcase games shall stay like books. I guess it is all a matter of what you have in the collection.


Yeah, that's a good point Mike. Not sure how a sheet of plexiglass would work with Euphrat & Tigris, Caylus, or Through the Desert, but maybe, hehe.

gamer - stu wrote:
I think the best change from your "before" to "after" photos is that the Monopoly: Lord of the Rings game is gone.


Good one! laugh

Yeah, as Daniel said earlier, I desperately need a new shelf. Rather than split up the collection, I decided to relegate the non-euro games (like Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, and Scene It) to another area. It's ironic because it means those games will probably be in the nicest shape, whereas my prized collection will get crushed and warped and all the rest as I try to keep it together. As soon as the El Grande, Goa, Taj Mahal, and Die Macher reprints are all released, which I pre-ordered, I'm going to have some serious trouble.

Ah well, thanks for everyone's comments, I appreciate it.

 
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\m/ Stoner Rock \m/ (Joe)
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I think the majority of games have the writing on the side of the box oriented so that it is readable when the box is lying horizontal. So why is it that owners/collectors always want to store them vertically? Apart from the convenience of being able to slide a game out without moving any other boxes, I wonder if it might be because most FLGSs store their game boxes vertically. You see that at the store and want to recreate it at home.

However, I think the benefits of vertical storage a store often does not translate to benefits for an owner/collector:

1. Convenient access - As previously mentioned, it is much easier to slide one game in/out of a collection of games that are vertically stacked beside one another. Customers will want to look at the front and back of the boxes before making a purchase, so this is very important.

2. Attractive display of products - It is much more attractive to have boxes standing on end with the large front image displaying.

3. Unpunched components - Any loose components are probably in plastic baggies, any cards also sealed in plastic, and any tiles/counters unpunched in their sheets. The unpunched sheets also generally help fill any empty space in the box and press the board firmly against the box top.

3. Shelf life - Most games probably won't sit on the shelf of a game store for 2 or three years straight (I'm sure there are exceptions to this). Unfortunately, too many a game will sit in an owners collection for years without being played.

For owners/collectors, generally only the first benefit applies. Most games are not left unpunched, and storage space is (to some extent) a more important consideration than attractive display.

Years spent with loose components pressing against a board that is not held firmly in place against the box top will lead to the board becoming warped.

cry
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Betty Egan
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One thing I noticed about your storage unit that I don't think anyone else mentioned is that it should have more shelves in it. In the center section you have 8-9 games stacked on each other. If you have more shelves you only have to stack about 3 games and that way there is less weight on the games at the bottom of the pile and it is easier to get the games off the shelf when you want to.
 
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Marc B.
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dedbob wrote:
I think the majority of games have the writing on the side of the box oriented so that it is readable when the box is lying horizontal. So why is it that owners/collectors always want to store them vertically?


It's also how books, movies (vhs and dvd), cds, video game boxes, pc game boxes and pretty much any other media thing that comes in thin sided shape is printed. We generally store them all vertically. That's why I think games stored vertically feels visually more natural. It's how all those other things are normally stored and viewed. The only thing I can think of printed to be read while vertical is food boxes, in most cases.
To the eye, vertically storing things shaped that way means it's an accessible thing we use often. Horizontally tells us visually it's stored there (as in packed away) and not really to be used. Which gives you a more "hey I wanna go browse and look for something to enjoy" feeling; the aisles of a library or video store, or aisles of a storage building full of stacked boxes?

As for warping when stored vertically, I think the atmosphere has a lot to do with it as well as packing practices. All my games are (and have been for years) stored vertically. Never found anything warped. But they're all stored in my home office which has an air conditioner in it due to all the computers in it for my work. humidity is always very low in here. Also, I don't pitch all the "stuff" in the box when I punch out games. If there are sheets of counters to punch out, you'll usually notice they occupy space that keeps the board and things in place. Once punched I generally place them under the tray that's in most game boxes nowadays so that there isn't any open space for the board to "droop" into. It's usually as tight as before it was opened and punched. I bag all parts and either bag or make paper bands for cards. Nothing moves around.


(edited for spelling)
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Guy Riessen
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It's quite obvious that what you all need to do is simply convert to wargames--store them on their side and all is good. Paper maps, you see, none of this warpable silliness known as mounted "boards." devil
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A Morris
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I'm thinking we need to say these games should be stacked all on their edges just to force yet another reorganization of Tom's game shelf. I bet we could make him reload them at least three more times... devil
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Leonard Scott
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Then the next storage question is: right-side up, or upside down.

Knucklebones magazine suggested storing games upside down so that any crushing is limited to the bottom of the box and therefore less noticeable.
 
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