17 July 2011

Starter Kit Storage

ASL players are renowned for their ingenuity when it comes to storing their ASL gear or kit. Admittedly, this is less of an issue for ASL Starter Kit (ASLSK) players. However, at some point, those of you who own (or aspire to own) all of the Starter Kits may want to consider storing your kit in something other than the boxes in which it came. This is especially true of counters, or “chits.” Granted a few diehards insist on consigning their ASL counters to a large tub or plastic bag. However, there are more efficient ways to store your cardboard soldiers. Not only will a good storage system save time when setting up a game, but it will also help you keep track of what you do, or do not have. (This is particularly important if you lend kit out at a gaming event. An empty compartment or sleeve will help remind you that something is missing.) Finally, a sound storage system also will help protect your ASL investment from unnecessary wear and damage.
You can also go a step further and organize your mapboards, scenario cards, and so forth. Each player will invariably settle upon his or her own storage system. What follows is but one way of storing your ASLSK kit. It is my hope that it will inspire new players to create a system that works best for them.
A couple of years ago I decided to splurge on a new storage system (Raaco) for my ASL counters. I was left with perhaps 60 Plano Model 3500 boxes and half a dozen carry boxes. For those not familiar with Plano, it is the brand name of a plastics manufacturer, in a town of the same name, in the state of Illinois (USA). Plano produces a range of storage equipment. The plastic Plano boxes that I am referring to were intended primarily for organizing fishing tackle and other small items. Each box can be divided into small compartments suitable for storing ASL counters. Many players in North America use a particular model of Plano, Model 3701. While I had some of these, I preferred to store most of my counters in the smaller Model 3500. 
An example of a Plano 3500 organized for your Amis.
Whereas a 3701 has a maximum of 34 compartments, the 3500 has only 15. Interestingly, the 3500 is the same depth as the 3701 (1¼” or 35 mm). More interesting is the fact that three 3500s have the same “footprint” as one 3701. This gave me 45 compartments in the same space, or 11 compartments more than the 3701. A 3500 is about 5” (125 mm) wide by about 9¼” (230 mm) long. The other thing that I liked about the 3500s was that I could fit a minimum of five of them in a compact Plano carry case. As you can see in the photograph below, I modified these carry cases (Model 1354) slightly in order to accommodate a sixth 3500.

How to modify the top of the carry case.

When I gave my nephew a complete set of ASL Starter Kit (ASLSK) about two years ago, I suddenly had another use for my 3500s. Well, not me personally, as my ASLSK counters are stored with the rest of my ASL counters. Rather it occurred to me that ASLSK players might be interested in utilizing such a system to store their counters. (This system may also have some utility for those who wish to keep their ASLSK separate from the rest of their ASL collection.) Given that the ASLSK counter mix is not large, I calculated that my nephew would be able to store the counters from all three Starter Kits in just six 3500s. These six boxes could in turn be stored inside a handy carry case. So I gave him a carry case with six 3500s and suggested that he sort his counters as shown in the photograph below.  
Carry case organized by nationality (GRAACO). Option: store system counters in separate Plano with dice, LOS string, etc., and use last 3500 for Axis/Allied Minors.
Originally I had the Allied Minors bunked with the Italians. But for some reason they never got on well together. Even taking into account the Axis Minor counters that come with the new ASLSK Expansion Pack (ASLSK EP1), I think that players will find that there is enough room to store their entire ASLSK counter set in just one carry case.

Some ideas for the Commonwealth and Allied Minors.

If you are as keen as I am when it comes to organizing, you may want to slip your ASLSK mapboards inside heavy-weight page protectors that can, in turn, be stored inside a binder. A one-inch binder will store all eleven ASLSK mapboards (p-z). Each board can be removed without removing the page protector from the binder. This will leave an empty page protector as a reminder that a board is missing. The binder and page protectors will also help protect the boards from excessive wear and/or damage.

I recommend heavy-weight page protectors for maps.
On the subject of binders, I decided to put my latest rule booklet (from ASLSK EP1) in a binder, together with my scenario cards, and Quick Reference Data Charts (QRDC). I recommend using heavy-weight page protectors, especially for the QRDC. Although the larger rule booklets are a bit snug, each will fit inside a page protector. Alternatively, you can do as I have done and cut the booklet into separate pages. This will allow you to place each page in its own page protector. I prefer this method because it allows me view any page without having to remove the booklet from the binder. The binder is also a handy place to store any player aids that you may have.

My proposed ASLSK storage system requires one carry case and two binders: one binder for mapboards, one for the rules, scenarios and QRDC. I hope that this short post has given you some ideas for organizing and storing your ASLSK kit. There is no right or wrong way to organize your stuff. So take some liberties and enjoy yourself.


Keith said...

Nice, but you should Dazzle us with shots of your Racco setup. Now THAT is a kit!

10-3 Leader said...

I'll have to consider 3500s. Good tip on getting the 6th box in the carrier.

kylania said...

Little late to the party here, but if the reviews on Amazon are anything to go by these 3500s aren't as good as they used to be. In 2015 reviews started popping up saying they only came with 8 dividers instead of the 10 required for 15 compartments. Then in 2016 the latest reviews are claiming it only comes with 4 dividers!

Chris Doary said...

I have about five or six of the carry cases, and roughy sixty (60) 3500s that I no longer use. (I use Raaco now.)

It was a mission ten years ago to source the missing dividers. Although I never went this route, some have contacted Plano direct and requested extra dividers. No idea how receptive the company still is to such requests, but it wouldn't hurt to ask.

Good hunting!