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Any love for Foamcore?


At least it’s a very different process. When I’m building a box insert for 3d printing I usually try it out in thin test pieces first to make sure it’ll fit.


I’ve always loved making foam core inserts for my games, especially when new expansions come out that don’t fit in the original box otherwise. Sadly a few medical issues and getting older has led to me being increasingly unsteady with a cutting knife, so I’m not making them as often as I once would have due to repeated mistakes. I’ve found there’s not much in the way of accessibility craft products that allow those of us with increasing disabilities to make things the way we used to.


New year, new foamcore. At least I think that’s how the saying goes.

Orléans is one of my all-time favourite games. The Invasion expansion is one of my all-time favourite co-op games. I also love the little mini-expansions that change the game up in little subtle ways. I also decided to splash out on the “fan-kit” set of wooden meeples to replace the cardboard chips.

The trouble is, with all that expansion content, and a bajillion different ways of playing the game, it’s a real chore to get it played. Added to that, nothing screams “this game is way too complicated” more than seeing the person who owns the game swimming in little zip-loc baggies trying to determine which ones to add into the game and which to chuck back in the box, like a sort of crap Dr. Frankenstein.

So I set to work on making an insert. The challenge was to get everything in the one box. And I mean everything:

  • Base game
  • Invasion expansion
  • Trade & Intrigue expansion
  • the wooden bits from the “fan-kit”
  • all the mini-expansions that have come out so far (Neue Ortskarten 1-5, Promo Ortskarten 1 & 2)
  • plus a bit of extra room for any new mini-expansions

I gave up straight away on trying to get the boards in there, so they can live (along with the rulebooks) in the Trade and Intrigue box, even though the lid doesn’t come close to closing flush with the bottom of the box any more. At least it’s less bulk to carry than if they were in the Invasion box.

I call this one the “Tardis” insert. I had to squeeze every last millimetre out of this one to get everything to fit, which meant using 3mm foam core instead of 5mm (I hope that one day it will be possible to buy it in black!) and even 1.5mm poster-board in places.

Here’s a few shots of some of the individual bits:

And here’s how they all fit together:

Now who’s up for a game? :smiley:


That is a thing of beauty! I didn’t even know you could get 3mm core!



Yes, 3mm foam core is an absolute godsend for builds like this one.

Last year I did an insert for Keyper where I was largely following what someone on BGG had already done, and couldn’t work out why mine wouldn’t fit without a drastic redesign. Turns out it was those two millimetres that made all the difference.

Speaking of which… I never posted it here…

Got it to work, but only with some serious contortions compared to the build I was following.


A couple more that I’ve been working on recently, figuring that since I’ve got this supply of 3mm foam core, I may as well use it! First up, I also had a go at tidying up the chits in the Brass: Birmingham box, à la @Spoof.

More or less the same, except no fancy finger joints, just butt joints all round, and I figured there wasn’t much value in making trays for the score/income/turn markers.

Not a complicated build, just lots of tedious little bits. It’s also quite tricky to fit a foamcore build inside an existing plastic insert that isn’t all right angles and straight lines but I got there in the end!


Second item on the double bill this evening: Dinosaur Island. Now the Kickstarter copy finally arrived last week, together with the expansion, and I really wanted to get the whole lot in the one box.

No chance.

In the end, I couldn’t even get the 5th player stuff in there, which was a great shame. In the end, I managed to get a few expansion bits in there, particularly the stuff that wasn’t part of an actual new gameplay module. So there’s a few more (non-marine) dino recipes available to claim, all the extra dinosaur models, the extra plot twists and associated material.

Here we go:

Not the greatest fit, as the lid has a habit of getting pushed off in transit and all the bits flying about, but boy this one was tight. Think I’ve done just about the best I could, but if someone manages to get the fifth player stuff in there too, I’d be dead impressed!


This thread inspired my fiancée to try her hand at creating a foam core insert! She asked me which game of ours had the worst insert; we’re having friends over to play Galaxy Trucker this weekend, and that box is one crappy, crappy interior, so she took the challenge on with gusto.

This was done over the course of three days! The goods section has also been updated to have a sloping floor to make it easier to get the cubes out. That whole section comes out to be used as a “bank” during the game. I’m excited to see our friends’ reactions!


I made an insert for Dinosaur Island, too, and I managed to get everything in! Okay, that’s a lie. I got everything in aside from the dino meeples, which I have in a small plastic tub (my “tub o’ dinos”). But inside the box I get all five sets of player pieces, player mats, all of the expansion modules, coins, etc. And you’re right, it’s a ridiculously tight fit. Actually, this is my second attempt at this organizer… Originally everything was just too tight, and you really had to wiggle all the pieces and make sure they were lying as flat as could be, but then I found some slightly thinner 3mm foam core and made a second version which helped tremendously. So, two attempts, but this was my first ever organiser I built, so that’s not bad.


King of Tokyo, click on link for more photos


Only started over Xmas as wanted an insert for Space Hulk, click on link for more photos

Loving this thread…


Consider me impressed. Hadn’t thought of separating the dinos out. Good stuff!


What gets me is how creative making an insert can be! I really need to make one for Barenpark… maybe that’s this weekends job!


I picked up small pack a couple of weeks ago. My son and I are going to do a project to make one for King of Tokyo so we can (hopefully) fit everything in one box. I was also looking at one for Rum & Bones 2nd Tide because there are so many bits in that box!

Now we just need to find the time to get it done. You know, in between learning our new games, playing all of the games, learning to paint miniatures…I’m starting to feel I may have bitten off more than I can chew!!!


I’ve worked with Foamcore for 25 years. Not once did I ever think of using it to fix the constant problem of game organization. In my defence I used it for art projects, never structural designs, but I’m still feeling mighty uncreative for needing the prompt here!

These will be tedious projects and I cannot wait! (Not sarcasm. I like precise, dry work).


Nice paint job! What paint did you use? My only experience of painting foam core was bad - it left a horrible tackiness so all the components kept getting stuck to the sides. How did you get around that?


actually use kids paint but would use acrylic next time but then I also put a clear vanish on top of it to stop the paint doing any damage to the component…


Did you use spray paint? I’ve heard of that happening with both foam and some plastic minis made with cheaper plastics (even when using spray primers designed for minis) because of the gas propellant in most spray paints.


I did.

I’d heard about the problem of the foam core disintegrating if you hold the can too close, but nobody alerted me to the tackiness before I’d already used it.

Moral of the story: don’t spray paint.


I have no experience but I wonder if using a primer would help?

I was recently looking up info about finishing 3D print projects, as I was worried about interactions between spray paint and PLA… Still not sure if there is a concern there either but high-build primer is an obvious choice due to its ability to fill between the ridges