Gloomhaven became a quick hit for me and my SO but the organizational aspect of it left a lot to be desired. Our main focus was decreasing set-up and tear down time so we could make getting the game to the table easier as well as take up less space while playing.
I’ve had success in the past with organizers, whether from The Broken Token (Terraforming Mars) or not (Twilight Struggle, Twilight Imperium IV) and I was able to purchase an insert for discount at a convention. So let’s look at the Gloomhaven Organizer.
Assembly wasn’t bad. It was similar to completing other inserts with the main difference being that the location tile tray needed to have tape applied to the bottom to add stability. This is needed as I cannot see this tray surviving without the additional support due to its length. Besides that, a rubber mallet, wood glue, and space for items to dry are all that’s needed. I didn’t find the assembly to be anymore bothersome than any other insert I’ve done…minus the amount of space needed to put together the thing.
There are three small terrain trays that hold the double-sided scenery for the game. The storage areas will be packed to the brim so it’s imperative that players are careful taking these trays in and out of the box. While these trays are nice, since the components themselves are double-sided, you will need to know what you’re looking for on the chance that the crypt tile is actually on the underside of the tile staring you in the face. We don’t play frequently enough to know what’s on the inverse of each tile so this does become somewhat of a pain. I will say that they do have little openings on the bottom of each section that makes picking the tiles out easy.
The bottom trays hold the affliction and status markers as well as miscellaneous chits, such as money, damage, and elemental changes. The affliction/status tray is incredibly shallow and light. It’s not uncommon for this piece to flip over or have contents spill just from moving around the table. I kind of hate it.
The large tray holds the map pieces and a diagram is included on how the tiles are supposed to be laid so everything can lay as flat as possible. This goes on top of the box and does raise the lid ever so slightly. While we’ve never had any issue with the storage solution, I hate it. It’s time consuming and difficult to remember the order that everything is placed and when setting-up, everything needs to be removed for players to create their scenario. It just doesn’t seem to fit the motif of the rest of the insert where everything else is calibrated and deliberate and this tray is just…there.
The large and small card trays fit all cards included in the game and provide ample room for sleeved cards if you choose to go that route. The slots are adjustable to create space and this is a great way to keep everything organized. I have no complaints with these.
The insert also includes player trays that are designed to hold your individual character cards, character sheet, and additional tokens. These trays are great as they allow players to pause and pack up their game when the time comes. It’s the closest to a “save” feature that I’ve seen in board gaming. This was a contributing factor to my purchase of the insert as it filled that need to be able to pack and play quicker. Do be aware however that the four trays need to be completely filled for everything to fit back in the box. So if you’re playing three-players or less, you will have character figures that do not fit in the Broken Token insert.
The main selling point of the insert though is the custom tuck boxes for the individual monster standees. The tuck boxes are large enough to hold the standees for the monsters as well as the combat cards for those unique beings. It’s convenient, organized, and a great way to speed up some aspects of the bookkeeping of Gloomhaven.
The last important aspect to be aware of is the price. Currently the Organizer can be found on the Broken Token website for $83.99. On Amazon, you can purchase the physical game of Gloomhaven for $96.00. Not only is Gloomhaven a hefty investment, but so is the insert. It’s a large financial investment where you could easily use that money to get several new games to play instead of just adding an insert to an existing game. The question it all boils down to is whether or not the insert adds enough value to make it worth it?
I say no.
I hate the insert. It does what it’s intended to do and some aspects of it are great (the enemy tuckboxes and card trays) but I can’t say that it really decreased our set-up and clean-up time anymore than if we had designed our own system with bags and a file folder. The tray for putting the map tiles back is cumbersome and a pain to arrange correctly and the tray that holds the character figures does not hold all of them. I thought this insert would be more along the lines of the Terraforming Mars insert where it combined organization with functionality and I just don’t think it does that. I am still having to sort through the different areas to find the piece(s) I need. Is it an improvement over the straight out of the box organization? Of course. I don’t know that it provides much more assistance than just neatly sorting the items though.
The insert itself also makes Gloomhaven a hefty game to bring to the table. Without the insert, the game weighs in at 17 pounds (pre-punched was closer to 20). With the insert, Gloomhaven is now a robust 23.6 pounds.
I don’t know if this insert is right for you and I can’t rightfully compare it to other inserts (as why would I buy more than one if I only have one copy?) but hopefully you were able to get a sense of whether or not this insert is something you’re interested in. If I had the opportunity, I would definitely compare inserts more thoughtfully or create my own storage method as this one is clearly not for me, which is a shame as it’s the first “bust” I’ve purchased from The Broken Token.