It’s safe to say that I was taken by surprise by this game. I entered in April 2014 and after a year of dabbling in the game, I realized that I wanted to get everything, NOW! I very quickly outgrew my old core set box, the staple of game storage from the the onset. This lead to a few logistical concerns, not the least of which was how I was going to store the game and keep it organized.
The hardest part for me were not the player cards. Those are in binders organized by sphere, then by Hero, Ally, Attachment, and Event. As the player card pool expands, it’s easy enough to get more nine-pocket sheets and expand the notebooks with ease. The hardest part was the encounter cards. Trying to keep them organized so that I could easily get the encounter deck put together and on the table proved insanely difficult for me.
My first attempt at encounter card storage came, as I gather happens with most players, with clear plastic bags. The hobby stores sell these in bulk and are cheap. I ended up using snack size bags from the grocery store to achieve the same purpose. I then threw all my encounter sets into a plastic shoe box. As I expanded quickly, it soon became two plastic shoe boxes. The problem I found is that I couldn’t easily grab the encounter sets because they were all mixed up. And do you know how many funny hill-looking encounter set icons the game has that all look alike?! Yikes! Let’s not even talk about the goblin-face icons.
So enter the vertical 1600 card storage box. This box is holding me over until I get all the cycle boxes that have made the rounds on Facebook and Discord. Two boxes fit all the encounter cards that I have, which is everything but nightmare for the Heirs of Numenor box and beyond. The dividers are 3×5 plain white index cards. I printed out all the encounter set symbols that were available at the time, cut them out and taped them using packing tape to the index card. This is the file of encounter card symbols. It has done me well and I love how easy it is to flip through and find the right encounter set for the scenario I’m playing. Also, as a bonus, LOTR LCG cards are thinner than sports cards, so I found that the boxes held more than the 1600 cards it said. I used the extra space in the card boxes to store sleeves, player decks, some pre-built encounter scenarios and my tokens and dice. The extra space was great!
The happy accident that happened because of this system is that I needed a way to get a hold of a scenario quickly in a way that I could recognize which scenario is which. So, I
made a 2″ binder with all the rules inserts AND the quest cards for the non-saga expansions and a 1.5″ binder for the saga expansions. I found larger page tabs to label the cycles and smaller tabs to identify the difficulty of each quest. The rules inserts were taken apart if they were multiple pages and each page was placed in a plastic, 3-ring page protector. With the quest cards in the same place as the rules, it helps when there are special mechanics in a quest that I need to remind myself of. I typically grab the quest cards and look over the rules insert for the scenario before I start playing.
The down side to this, and I’m not sure if it’s enough of a down side to get me to stop doing it, is that the quest cards aren’t with the encounter cards. That means that when I am toting my cards around the countryside, every once in a while I find myself with encounter cards and no quest cards or vice-versa. And that’s a bummer. Another down side for those who love to sleeve EVERYTHING, is that I don’t sleeve my quest cards and the 9 pocket plastic sheet doesn’t really lend itself to storing sleeved cards.
Since I have stepped up my LOTR LCG game and I find myself collecting the game more and more (like buying alt art cards and playmats), the 1600-card storage box just isn’t glamorous. Trust me, it’s very utilitarian and I can fit both boxes in one multi-use grocery bag, but it’s just not sexy. Enter the internet. I found that someone posted beautiful, custom card boxes for each scenario. They graciously shared their art with me and now I have an almost one of a kind storage box for my encounter cards that makes the game even more amazing. So, here’s how to get your hands on these boxes for most of the game. The art for each cycle and for the sagas is stored here. Download which ever art you are interested in. Then, go on over the BoardGamesMaker.com and look up the custom 500 count deck box, or just use this link. Choose what kind of finish you want (I chose matte, linen) and then upload the art file. In a week or so, you’ll have your storage box. I wish I could take any credit for these boxes, but credit goes to GeckoTH for their original design. The community has expanded the art and the only thing I have done is consolidated it into one place with the hopes of keeping it up-to-date.
One thing that I wanted to make sure of it that the box fit all the regular and nightmare cards of the cycle, sleeved with penny sleeves. And, they do. It turns out that the Dwarrowdelf cycle had a few more encounter cards and it’s a tight fit, but it fits none the less. The penny sleeves I use are these. The dividers are interesting because I needed dividers that folded down on the cards so the box closes. So I found these dividers. And I like them. I don’t love them, but they work. I’ve also decided that I have no need to label the dividers because I put the sets in order of the set icons on the side of the box. If I need a certain encounter set, I can find it pretty easily with this system. Additional art for the dividers can be found here if you are looking to upgrade your divider system.
At this point, I have a pretty great way of organizing and storing my cards. But I have to say that the last piece of the puzzle is the deck box swag that Cardboard of the Rings gave away last year. The box has three removable smaller boxes which will hold a deck of 60 cards, sleeved with these sleeves. The other bonus is that they store about 110 cards unsleeved. That means when I am in my deck construction mode, before I finalize my deck, I can put two decks in a box. It’s great.
As you see, my storage solution for this game has gone through some growing pains. I think that now I have a solution that is elegant and will grow as the game grows. Also, if you have any questions about this, please send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
(Images by Dave Walsh and Johnny McRae)