Descent Journeys in the Dark – Jam Packed

Descent Journeys in the Dark board game

Descent + Expansion + Conversion Kit + Lieutenant Pack in one box!

I finished a project this week that was a lot of fun for me. Since it involved foamcore cutting and gluing it seemed like a kid’s school project (which we’ve done plenty of getting 4 kids through elementary school years).

But the beauty of this project was that it was all mine. Nothing to be graded as a class assignment or judged in a science fair. In fact it will hardly be seen at all – most likely by just my boys and I – since it now resides inside a board game box.

It’s a way to organize all our Descent Journeys in the Dark 2nd edition board game components into 1 game box!

Descent Journeys in the Dark board game

All these components can now fit in one box!

For many people that will sound like a ridiculous thing to spend hours working on. But for me, it was a lot of fun. Not only do we now have a way to store all our Descent components into one game box, but I also got to do some crafty stuff with a purpose. And even if it’s a small purpose, it always feels great to accomplish a project – especially when that project takes a bit of creative thinking.

Since we have over 300 board games, shelf space is always at a premium. So consolidating board games and card games and their expansions is always a positive thing for us. Even if you don’t have a copy of Descent, this might give you some ideas of ways to either consolidate your own games or organize components so they stop rolling around in their game boxes.

(A video showing it all get packed is below.)


Descent Journeys in the Dark board game

Simple tools to organize game components in one game box.

Finding and Altering the Plans

A number of months ago, I came across some plans to use foamcore to organize Descent 2nd edition game components on The Esoteric Order of Gamers website. I’ve visited the site a number of times for some great board game rules reference sheets.

So I was familiar with the quality efforts they put into board game stuff. So I watched the foamcore tutorial videos and printed out the very helpful Descent plans.

With those plans in hand, I hit the craft store to buy some inexpensive foamcore and a long metal ruler and start my project.

Descent Journeys in the Dark board game

Start with the depth sizing.

But once I started, I realized that I wanted to do more than what the plans called for.

The plans were made to organize the Descent Journeys in the Dark 2nd edition base game components in their game box. But I wanted to do more.

Since the boys and I have enjoyed playing Descent so much, last year we bought the Descent 2nd ed. Conversion Kit as well as the Merick Farrow Lieutenant Pack and one of the expansions – Labyrinth of Ruin.

And I wanted to see if I could fit ALL of those into one box.

Descent Journeys in the Dark board game

Marking the optimal width of the next part of the top tray.

We also store our game boxes upright on our game shelves, so I wanted a way to make that possible. The Descent plans from The Esoteric Order of Gamers website was a fantastic start, but I needed to make some adjustments.


The Project

The first part of the project I tackled was determining how tall I needed to make the base area that would store the dungeon tiles and the large monster miniatures while still leaving enough room for the top components tray.

So I gathered all the components and grouped and stacked them in different ways to find out which way would work best.

Descent Journeys in the Dark board game

Divided sections for all the cards and tokens.

The largest monsters are the dragons. So laying them on their side gave me the best height for the bottom section. Using that, I figured how much room I’d have for the top tray.

Measuring the height of the card stacks showed me that I had just enough room to fit the tray above the dragons and stacked dungeon tiles.

So then I was off to the races figuring out how many and the size of the different section dividers. It just so happened that the height of all the hero cards plus the campaign notepad was about the same height at the huge stack of monster cards.

Descent Journeys in the Dark board game

Easy to take the card stacks out.

The other full size cards also fit nicely at that height if we grouped them together. Since we end up separating them into piles when we dive into a quest or campaign anyway, grouping them in combined stacks isn’t a problem.

We could also put all the heart and fatigue tokens in the top tray and simply pull from the tray when the tokens are needed rather than spreading piles of tokens all over the table while we play. So this top tray is going to be great.

The last thing to mention about the top tray are the small notches between the card stacks. It’s a tip from The Esoteric Order of Gamers when doing these foamcore organizers. And that is to notch between the card sections so you can fit a finger in between for easy card removal.

Descent Journeys in the Dark board game

Top tray out to reveal the minis in their small tray and bottom area.

The next step was creating one additional small tray for the rest of the monster miniatures, the dice, and the stands for the doors.

For that I simply notched out part of the bottom walls and created a mini tray that would go above some of the longer dungeon tiles and still sit beneath the top tray.

Since we stack most of our games upright on our game shelves, we know that minis can tumble around a bit. We also haven’t painted our minis and don’t need them to stay standing all the time, so we’re okay tossing in the smaller minis to fill spaces in the monster sections of our box.

Descent Journeys in the Dark board game

Small tray sits above more of the dungeon tiles.

When we play Descent we’re also placing a number of large and small minis in the dungeon, so we have to pull out a bunch of minis in the process anyway. All that’s to say that the minis can mingle amongst themselves while on the shelf.

The last thing that goes in the box are the two largest tiles that came with the Labyrinth of Ruin expansion. Since they were too wide and/or long to fit in the bottom of the box and still create areas for the minis, we just set those over the top tray before closing up the box.

Descent Journeys in the Dark board game

Nicely placed on the game shelf surround by other great board games.

The only thing that then remains are the rule books and quest guides. Since they’re thicker than you’d anticipate (so many quests!), we’re just going to place them on the shelf next to our single Descent box.


More expansions?

I love organizing things. Whether it’s to-do lists, work projects, home projects, scouts, packing the car for a trip, or board games, I enjoy feeling organized.

So for me, working on this project has been a way to relax. And figuring out how to get all these components in one box feels great.

Descent Journeys in the Dark board game

It all fits!

The only catch now is – what if we get another Descent expansion? Because we know Fantasy Flight Games will keep pumping out more Descent expansions and components.

The great news is that we don’t have to worry about that any time soon. With as many quests and adventures we now how packed in this box, we’ll be set for many moons to come.

If you’d like to see how it all fits in the box, check out the video where we show how it all packs up.

Dominion card game

Cards are very easy to consolidate.

Consolidating is Great

Although it’s the first we’ve used foamcore with, Descent isn’t the first game that we’ve consolidated into one box.

Perhaps the biggest consolidation is Dominion. Dominion and its many expansions come in large boxes. For being just a bunch of cards (though a ton of cards at that), the boxes are much larger than necessary. So organizing our Dominion expansions is rather simple.

Even with only our few Dominion expansions, it still makes for quite the heave box.

Other board game and card game expansions that we’ve consolidated into one base box include:

But now that I have some experience using foamcore, there’s a number of other game boxes that could use a bit of component organizing. Hmmmm…what project to work on next?


Comments: 2

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Thank you for this enjoyable post (as usual). My latest organization project has been going through and sleeving all my cards. Of course, most box inserts are too small to hold the cards in the sleeves, so then I’ve been making tuck boxes for the sleeved cards. So far I’ve been okay with the cards in tuck-boxes loose in the box, but soon I’ll probably move on to custom inserts.




    Andrew – Before we put this Descent organization together we had all the cards in tuck boxes as well. I’ve also made tuck boxes to hold our Memoir ’44 cards.




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