Foam Coring

Foam Coring a Board Game

UPDATE:

I've uploaded a video showing the finished product. You can check it out in the player at the bottom of this post!

I began a new hobby, foam coring. I needed something that was different than my usual screen staring, movie and TV watching self. Something that would challenge me, utilize my OCD and extreme attention to detail and perfectionism, something that would frustrate me in a different way, and something that would pay off in the long run. I chose foam coring for all those reasons, and of course, because I love board games and want them to be kept nice for a long time, as well as make them easier to setup and start playing.


I have since completed only 2 games, mostly because, if you read my first post, you’ll know that I have other commitments like work, wife, two kids, and a bunch of other things that take priority over this, but in the free time, I can work on foam coring a box. Here is Puerto Rico, both completed and played with. I’m hoping to take videos of the unveilings as well, but we’ll see.

TOOLS
Tools are by far the most important thing to this type of project. Unfortunately for me, I did not know that in the beginning. I sat down my first time with a (dull) utility knife, a plastic and wooden ruler (which had a metal edge), a long metal yard stick, and card board as my cutting surface. All of those were a bad idea to start. I also used headless pins (no yellow quilting pins) and EZ500 glue. Again, bad choices.


Upon completing my first few cuts and gluing them together, I realized I had a real problem: terrible edges and everything was uneven and making a mess.

I went ahead and kept the full size box that I made, but definitely had to remake the smaller box you see above.


I then got some gifts for my birthday (after a strong urging request). Below you’ll see yellow headed quilting pins, a metal ruler with millimeters and a cork backing for stick, a precision knife (off-brand Exacto), and a blue cutting matt. Also, I got a set of new utility knife blades, a huge metal t-square that’s about 3” wide (for my hand to rest), and basic Elmer’s School glue. This made a world of a difference.

Here’s pictures of the original small box next to the new small box:

(box for the buildings)

(box for the buildings)

PROCESS
For this game, my first game, I decided to copy a template I found online. By template I mean copying pictures of another user’s box I found on BoardGameGeek.com. I had no idea where to start, so started at the top of his blog post, and worked my way through it.


The small box was where he started, which I found interesting because it was one of the hardest boxes to make. I start all my boxes with the bottom piece, and then measure my wall height, cut, glue those, and then make the insides by sliding them in and pinning together. Then, if there are more small walls, I continue smaller and smaller until I have what I need. You can see that with the pictures above and then the ones below.

(box for the buildings)

(box for the buildings)

(box for the buildings)

I then moved onto additional boxes that were needed by measuring remaining space, and using that to build other components. Here are some other boxes.

(box for the buildings and barrels)

(box for the buildings and barrels)

(box for the buildings and barrels)

(box for the resources)

(box for the resources)

There is one box missing that is the same length and width as the first box, and that holds the money, victory points, and the trader and colonist cards.

SWEEPS
Sweeps are a cool addition to the boxes which allow you to get pieces out easily. Basically you cut a piece of black cardstock to the width of the slot, and then slide it in, get the curve you want, and you have yourself a sweep. However, there might be a better practice for this, but it worked for me. I just found that I need more or less curve depending on the depth of the box and the pieces being pulled out of it

(box for the barrels)

RESULTS
Here are a couple pictures of the finished product, again, missing the final box which holds the money and other items.

LESSONS

  1. Get the proper tools before you start. This is the most important thing to foam coring. Without, you will never get a good result.
  2. Practice. It takes 3 to 5 cuts to get through the foam core. The first cuts the top layer of paper/cardboard, the second and third cut the foam, and the fourth cuts through the bottom layer of cardboard. This takes practice and I’m still figuring it out.
  3. Don’t copy someone’s template. It’s not needed, and in my next review, you’ll see why.
  4. Consider playability with your boxes. I was fortunate to copy someone’s template but there are a few things I would have changed if I considered the game a bit more.
  5. Your first game shouldn’t be your favorite, because you won’t love your first box. I am very proud of this box, but every time I see it, there are things I want to change and cuts I wish I made better. I have learned so much since, and want to redo this whole game, but I’d rather move onto another.
  6. Gluing smaller pieces inside of boxes is easier if you put the game components in the box to glue around. I didn’t know this first, and so glued off measurements, but even as precise as I could be, didn’t work out.

There are a few other things too, but I’ll save that for any Q&A time. Happy Gaming

Entertainment Earth