Like I said in the previous Storage Solutions article, storage solutions tend to evolve. Players start with just a small collection of boxes and cards, but as time goes on (and more money is poured into this hobby) you will need more advanced storage solutions. With me moving house last month, I got a perfect opportunity to rethink my storage solutions and find a better place for all my stuff. Not a lot has changed in terms of hardware, so a couple of paragraphs might be ported over from the initial article.
Since last time, I got another set of sleeves, rounding my total up to 14 different colours.
Many people have asked to see the rainbow of sleeves, so I will be including a picture on that in this article as well. The decks remain sleeved in the same Ultra Pro sleeves, allowing me to have 14 50/51 card decks at the same time. Obviously, this brings some problems when deckbuilding, as I only have so many staples in my collection. But 8-10 decks tend to be pretty good, with the final few being a mashup of mostly obscure archetypes or mono-sphere builds. These allow me to circumvent the classic cards and allow me to pay for the slightly more expansive cards more easily. The decks aren’t great, but they can work well in a multiplayer environment.
The heroes are double sleeved with an Ultimate Guard tight sleeve and a sleeve from
Fantasy Flight Games. They make a couple of custom sleeves for LOTR LCG, while they are more expensive than sleeves from larger brands, I only use them for my heroes, so I don’t need as many than if I were to use it for a standard deck. For some of the heroes, I use the limited edition card backs from the Digital card game, made by Emily Dillhunt. I got these at Con of the Rings, and they might appear as official sleeves in the future.
Player decks used to be stored in the Core Set box or kept together using a rubber band (heresy, I know). I then switched to an Ultimate Guard ArkHive 400+ which stored 10 decks and the 4 threat trackers. This worked fine, but I had a couple of decks that didn’t fit in there anymore. These days I own a massive SuperHive 550+ that keeps all 13 decks in one place, together with 4 threat trackers, a first player token, 2/3 player mats, and enough dice to support a 3 player game. The box also holds a small booklet and a pen to note my thoughts on decks and to write down my games.
I will no longer be listing the exact decks I am playing, as they tend to change quickly. With the new Dale, Woodman, and Beorning synergy, I am finding myself making more of those decks lately, though I do also stick to the classics.
If my player cards aren’t being used, they sit in a binder. I have 5 Ultra Pro 9 pocket binders in 5 colours, 1 for each sphere and 1 black one. The black binder has alt art heroes on its first page, followed by the remaining heroes organised on Sphere (Lea, Tac, Spi, Lor, Neu) and then on threat cost and release date. Any heroes that were part of the Saga expansions are the last ones on the release list. I use basic paper sheets as placeholders in case I use one of the heroes, this makes it a bit more organised (can you tell I have OCD already?). After the heroes, I have 2 pages for the Campaign cards, followed by 2 pages with the Baggins and Fellowship heroes and player cards. These take up very little space, and I prefer them in a binder instead of with the other saga quests. This will mean I have to bring the binder if I want to play a pickup game with a Saga quest (which isn’t very often). The rest of the black binder is filled with the Neutral cards. They are organised by their type (Ally, Event, Attachment, Side-quest), Cost, and serial number (expansion number, again saga is always last). I have enough room in the binder to store most cards in each row. Having 3 copies of most cards makes a 3 lane binder ideal, as you get to see how many cards you already have in your decks at that time. Again I use the paper placeholders to keep track of it if I have all 3 copies in player decks.
For the other binders, I use the same strategy for storage. I store everything according to type, cost, and release date. Making the placeholders took a while, but it lets you look at some of your least used cards.
For a link to how my binders now look with all the cards up to The Withered Heath, check out this link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/x5w95fux8wlyo0o/20180921_221146_1.mp4?dl=0
Where I don’t sleeve all player cards I own, I do sleeve all of my encounter cards. This can be a lot of work, as there are a lot, and I mean a lot, of encounter cards. I use Ultimate Guard Standard Tight sleeves. These are not the best, as they are meant for inner sleeves, but they are very thin. This will be important when we get to the deck boxes. They are also quite cheap, which is another important factor as you will be buying a lot of these sleeves. All encounter cards are sleeved once and then organised with their respective encounter set. I use a little piece of paper to contain the encounter sets and write their name on it. This makes them easier to find when scanning through the collection. I have experimented with a lot of different ways to mark what cards belong to what encounter set, but this is my favourite at the moment. I am aware that there are some excellent looking dividers out there for the game made by GeckoTH, so give them a look. I do not have a good printer in the area, so I opted for this approach.
Quest cards and a couple of encounter cards that do not get shuffled in the encounter deck (such as objectives, additional rules, and cards that start out of play) get different sleeves. I use Ultra Pro clear standard sleeves for these. This makes them easier to find when setting up a game.
Another thing that has changed since the last time, is that I now am slowly getting Nightmare packs. These encounter cards are ever so slightly bigger, so they require the same Ultra Pro Clear sleeves as the quest cards. In terms of storage, I can keep the Nightmare scenarios in the same flip n tray box as the regular scenarios but I fear that I will have to get a completely new box for the Nightmare scenarios if I get a complete cycle of them. I can fit up to 3 scenarios of Nightmare cards into the same box as the Normal cycle, but that is about it. Perhaps another ArkHive can solve this problem in the future.
Keeping all of these cards separate isn’t going to work though, so here is how I solve the issue of carrying loose cards around in my backpack:
The answer is obviously deck boxes: There are a lot of different boxes out there, but I really like those from Ultimate Guard. I use the Ultimate Guard Flip n Tray 200+ for my standard cycles. These are perfect for me as they can contain all encounter cards and quest cards of an entire cycle in one convenient box. Since I do not own Nightmare decks, these are not added. Consider using an additional box for those. I have 7 different coloured deck boxes for the different cycles, each colour kind of represents the colour of that cycle. They are: Shadows of Mirkwood (Green, forest, duh), Dwarrowdelf (Black, long dark of Moria), Against the Shadow (White, White tree of Gondor), Ringmaker (Purple, box art on Voice of Isengard is purple, and I couldn’t find anything else), Angmar Awakened (Red, the rust of the Iron kingdom), Dream-chaser (Petrol, I liked it better than blue to represent the water), Haradrim (Sand, come on, this was easy), Ered Mithrin (Grey, because Grey Mountains).
In the pictures, you can see how each box is organised. I use the left tray for quest cards, encounter sets and Deluxe scenario’s. The middle tray is used for either tokens or the first adventure pack. The right tray is used to store the other 5 adventure packs worth of encounter cards. Everything is ordered in chronological order, of course. Having these separate deck boxes makes it really light and easy to bring to a pickup game. Just bring one cycle and play a couple of scenarios out of the box. Everything you need is stored in one container unit. Be careful when using sleeves with this option, regular sleeves on your encounter cards will make them too thick to fit in the deck box. Inner sleeves are thinner and will make it fit like a glove.
Saga expansions had to be tackled in a different way, as they have too many cards for one box. I, therefore, bought 4 Dragonshield transparent plastic boxes, which have 4 compartments each to hold the cards. Two of these hold the Lord of the Rings Saga, including one of the POD scenarios that were added later. I do not yet have The Old Forest, and will have to make adjustments if I want to fit that one in there as well. The other box holds the Hobbit Saga, including the Nightmare versions I picked up for free. It is a tight fit, but the entire story fits in one box, including Treasures and Baggins sphere cards. The final box is where I keep my POD scenarios. Since I cannot fit the entire box with cards, I keep the back compartment free for additional sleeves and dividers.
As a part of the Gen Con swag from Cardboard of the Rings, I received a b-e-a-utiful wooden deckbox which slides open to reveal a gorgeous panel piece made by Owen Weber. The panel is spread along the back of 3 cardboard deck boxes, which each can hold a deck of their own. I do not actually use this one for my normal decks, but I just have the deckbox open so that I can admire the art. Who knows, maybe I will bring the deckbox to a Fellowship event some day.
I don’t throw away these rulesheets in favour of any electronic database because these sheets still have a lot of flavour text on them. I store these rulesheets in a folder with built-in sleeves to store the A4 rule sheets. It is nice flipping through these sheets every once in a while. For more rule questions, I tend to use the LOTR Quest Companion if I have a mobile device near me. I actually had to get a second binder for these when I ran out of space after the Dream-chaser cycle, so I now have 2 booklets for all the rulesheets.
Dice and tokens
Can’t have a game without dice, right? I have a lot of dice, so I usually use them as counters. I have red d6 dice for damage, purple for resources, and green for progress tokens. Time counters are blue dice, and I have a couple of other dice in reserve to count different things. This is useful for keeping track of the number of Dwarves you have, which Silvan ally entered play this round (boosts of Celeborn and Galadriel). I do not really use anything to keep track of threat in the staging area or willpower committed to the quest. Bit of math goes a long way.
Some of my more notable dice include gemstone dice and even some heavy, metal dice which are great to get as a gift! Others include my odd shaped dice, like an 11 or 60 sided die. While I generally don’t use these for my games, they are fun to throw on the table every now and then, and are also useful for other games. I store all my dice in a leather pouch, or in the trays that come with the Mat Case and the Superhive, so that I don’t have to bring the pouch everywhere.
I recently got a free set of zombie tokens along with some other nice little wooden tokens
when I bought a set of metal dice. I came to quite like these tokens for depicting my reanimated dead from the Dread Realm scenario. But since I don’t play that quest a lot, I had to find another use for it. I tend to use tokens to keep track of some abilities that can only be used once per round (Arwen, Bifur). Just put the token on the card and take it off during the refresh phase. This is also handy for depicting which characters can’t ready until the end of the round due to some stupid treachery/shadow effect. It allows you to keep track of trigger much better. On top of these, I also got my own Vision of the Palantir tokens and the tokens that were part of the Con of the Rings 2018 swag. All these tokens reside in a special token bank by The Broken Token that was also part of the swag at the Con of the Rings event. Also in this box are metal coins and realistic resources for Scythe, that sometimes find their way into games of LOTR LCG, but not often.
The official LOTR LCG tokens I no longer use, so I keep them in a spare box on my shelves. While they do offer some thematic role, it is difficult to read the cards with a lot of progress or damage tokens stacked onto them. The newer Con of the Rings tokens are far nicer and have different values on their other sides.
While there are a couple of LOTR LCG mats out there, but those might be hard to get if you do not go to Gen Con or the Fellowship events. Companies do sell their own playmats that can serve your gaming purposes as well. I own a standard Space mat from Ultimate Guard alongside my 4 Fellowship mats (2015 to 2018) and my Cardboard of the Rings Exclusive player mat that was part of their Gen Con swag during Gen Con 2017. This mat was special as it marked the end of the First Age of the podcast and depicts a cool scene of Journey Along the Anduin. I used to keep my playmats in a separate Ultimate Guard Mat Case alongside a couple of dice in the accompanied dice tray. But with the new SuperHive, I am able to store the mats and dice together with my player decks in one box. The Mat Case is now being used again after I picked up the 2016 and 2018 mat at Con of the Rings. The SuperHive is great, but it can’t store 5 mats at once.
Since the last time I wrote about storage solutions, FFG has announced that you can now buy some great playmats off of their site and via some game stores. They feature art from the game and are a great way for people who can’t attend conventions to get a thematic mat. There is also a two-player mat for those looking to redecorate their table. These mats are identical in size to the Fellowship mats, but do not have the big border on the bottom, making the art stand out even more. For those of you looking to buy other mats, there is a wide variety of companies that offer you the chance to make a play mat with your own selection of art, so you can try that too!
Though I have no intent to sell my collection in the foreseeable future, I do still keep my original packaging around just in case. Now, these are a lot of boxes, and it got harder to store them when they switched from cardboard to plastic shell casings for the Adventure packs. However, when I moved to my own place, I suddenly had a lot of room to spare. This meant that I could now properly display the boxes in my guest/game room. I got an IKEA Kallax display case (which is pretty common among boardgamers) and decided to stack the Deluxe and Saga boxes on top. Since there are about the same number of them, I could stack them nicely on top of each other, while keeping the art on full display. For stability, I turned the boxes a little, so that the top row can stand on 2 boxes. The APs I tried to show on the shelves as well, but when I decided to also keep my other board games on the same shelves, I had to put the APs in one of the cupboards.
I am really glad about how the art on the Deluxe/Saga boxes is displayed now, and it is certainly an eye catcher to anyone who enters the guestroom. However, I am not keeping my cards in there. I have a separate bookcase in my study now that holds not only the cards and card boxes of the game but also all of my Tolkien books. Since I came short a few books, I decided to use my Arkenstone as a bookstand, which ties the whole thing together.
Storage on the Road
Having all these storage solutions is great, but pointless if you are going to travel to a convention or your FLGS for a game or two. For that, it is important that you use a sturdy deckbox to keep your cards in and a spacious backpack to keep the box in. I personally use my Superhive when travelling, but that tends to be quite heavy. So also make sure that your backpack is comfortable on the straps when travelling with a lot of cards. A trolley would be a better solution, as you don’t have to carry your cards on your back, and you have a hard case to sit on during travelling with public transport.
Hopefully, I have given you enough information about my storage solutions and has it helped you a little. I will again say that no storage solution is perfect, but this can serve as an inspiration to you. If I ever get major updates to the storage systems again, I will make this into a trilogy. Smaller changes will be added to this article. Feel free to share your storage solutions below, for more inspiration for new players who’s Core Set Box is about to overflow.
If you want more detailed pictures of certain deck boxes, feel free to ask.