Sometimes, board games come in boxes with inserts that suit them just fine. Some publishers even include little plastic baggies in their game boxes to make it easier to sort tokens and other small pieces. (This is great, because I used to have to raid the kitchen for sandwich bags.)
But if you've invested in an epic-size board game like Mage Knight, Robinson Crusoe, or Eldritch Horror, plastic baggies are quickly going to become a burden. You could spend an extra $20+ on a custom insert from Broken Token (and there is no denying those inserts are both functional and attractive), or you could do what I do: Raid the tackle box section of Wal-Mart. I usually end up with Plano boxes, which cost $2–4 apiece. The larger boxes I have purchased are in the 3600 size range.
At first it felt a little bit wrong to throw away the original inserts. Robinson Crusoe had a fun one that looked like the inside of a treasure chest. But I tossed it in favor of easy setup and well-organized game tokens. I don't even remember what the insert for Mage Knight looked like, which either means that it was unremarkable or that I have gotten over the guilt of tossing out things like that. Mage Knight was one of my bigger organization projects because it's such a heavy game that comes with so. much. stuff. But I'm satisfied with how it turned out! My current setup includes both the main game and a couple of the expansions.
Organizing my game tokens is not just about organization. When I get a new game and have to figure everything out for the first time, it can be a little bit overwhelming. I find that creating my own way of storing the game helps me work through the rules and to understand the game a bit better in general—you have to know a little bit about what you're doing if you want to organize something well. It's also a bit therapeutic, as the many of you who like to punch cardboard know already.
Organizing games according to my own system also makes it easier for me to set them up later, because I already "know my way around" and there is a logical place for everything. I also like being able to make room for expansions within the original boxes to the greatest extent possible. (Although my Sentinels of the Multiverse box has become absurdly heavy because of this tendency.)
If you love to play board games but you sometimes feel frustrated and disorganized, trust me, there are ways to handle this problem. Tackle boxes are great because they not only keep your pieces organized, but they can just be set alongside the game board and used throughout the game—no need to empty and then refill a bunch of plastic baggies to create token banks.
What board game organization schemes have you guys come up with? Leave me a comment—I'd be very interested to hear about how you make game setup and storage more efficient.