Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Making a Box for Dominion

Dominion is pretty much my favorite game. With the release of Prosperity I began to store all the cards in one box. Then came Hinterlands and, most recently the seventh expansion, Dark Ages. With the series winding down (only one expansion to go?), this was the time to build a new, more durable box. The following is a tutorial for building your own version.

Your first challenge will no doubt be to secure some decent cardboard. I'm fortunate to have a good deal of coverstock (ordered in bulk from Gane Brothers) left over from my Revolution! self-assembly days. I suppose some other material might work, so feel free to experiment. You will also need a sharp blade, scissors, a good ruler, strong tape and a pencil.

Here are my quickly-sketched plans. I had to make a few slight alterations to some of the measurements, but I've tried to underscore these below. The basic idea is to build two card trays and another small tray for rules and papers. All of these will fit inside a gigantic box. This reinforced design should be able to handle the crushing weight of eight to nine Dominion sets.

 Step 1: Cut the squares for the two card trays. These should measure 16 3/4" each.

Step 2: Draw lines exactly 2 3/4" from each side. This will be the height of the trays.

Step 3: Cut away the corners.

Step 4: Carefully score the cardboard along the pencil lines. Turn the board over and fold the sides up away from the cut. Tape each corner together.

Step 5: Cut four divider strips measuring 11 3/16" x 2 3/4" each. You might decide to give or take 1/16" as you see how they fit in the trays. 

Step 6: Install the dividers. In the picture below, the dividers are just sitting in there, held in place by the cards. For this box, I wanted the dividers to be stationary. Place small marks at intervals of 3 3/4" along the top of two sides. Tape the dividers using these marks to guide you. I also taped the middle of the dividers to the bottom of the tray. One almost crowded my cards too much, so be as exact as possible.

As you can see, the cards fit nicely--a little more snugly than in the regular box above. I use simple card stock tabs for organizing the cards themselves. Many other pre-fab options can be found on BGG. With a tray height of 2 3/4" these tabs will not get crushed.

Step 7: Cut another large square (13 1/4") for the top tray. Draw lines 1" from the sides.

Follow the same procedures above for assembling the small tray, cutting out corners, scoring and folding/taping the sides.

Step 8: Cut a gigantic square for the box bottom. It should measure 24 7/16" per side. Full disclosure: I accidentally cut this one an inch too small the first time. Doh! 

Draw lines 6 1/2" from each line and assemble the box as before.

Now for the moment of truth. If all has gone well, the two card trays and the small rules tray will fit nicely into the large box bottom. I had planned for the box bottom to match the height of the combined trays, but as you can see in the picture, the top tray sticks out some. This turns out to be great--now you can remove the top tray more easily.

The first card tray should also be easy to remove. If you've made your box too tight, this could be a problem. The bottom tray should just be left in the box. I suppose you could just leave the bottom tray completely out and install dividers directly to the bottom of the large box, but I wanted the extra support. Those cards are heavy!

Step 9: Cut another large square measuring 25 1/8" per side. Draw lines 6 3/4" away from the sides. Assemble as before. Place the box top over the box bottom. Hope it fits!

Step 10: The fun part has arrived! Sort all your cards into their new home. I put all the kingdom cards in the lower section and the other cards/components in the top tray. The rules go in the top. There's a little room left for future cards. You may want to make some spacers from the scraps.

All that remains is to decorate the outside of the box. My wife suggested I try to decoupage some Dominion-related pictures and/or steamed-off cover images onto the box. I'll post a picture of the decorated box when I figure all that out.

So that's it! What a big project! I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial. Thanks to DXV for making such an amazing game.

Update: See how I decorated the box using my old Dominion boxes in the next post.

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