I have just gotten a large collection of monster counters and am wondering how can I store them neatly and in an organized manner after I have punched them out? I am also thinking of ways to easily retrieve them for specific encounters during a session. Example, say I would need three goblins and three shamans for 1 encounter, and a dragon and something else for another encounter. How I can get them without looking through the whole collection?
You might like to ask over on Board&Card Games.SE, where almost everybody has a favourite way of storing counters. My three quick suggestions:
- Matchboxes. Glue a dozen (or however many) together, put a sticky label on the front of each drawer to indicate contents, and keep in the bag with your rulebooks.
- Go to your local hardware shop and ask about nail & screw storage. I was offered everything from a box six inches square with a dozen compartments to an expanding metal toolbox with over a hundred.
- Ziplock bags. Put a label (or a larger piece of cardboard with a description) inside each to save time finding the right one.
Bear in mind, however, that you won't actually save time with any of these; merely take less time getting counters out, and more time putting them away (presumably after the game). It is certainly worth putting counters you know you will need (like your three goblins and three shamans) in a box/bag of their own, so you can say "you're ambushed!" and put the counters on the map immediately; but I would think (without experience) that having every encounter ready to hand just to save a few seconds would make the players feel railroaded.
Flat-pack tackle boxes: Plano or other brand fishing tackle flat boxes are great, provided the counters are big enough. The boxes have up to dozens of wells, and often have clear lids as well, allowing you to instantly find what you're looking for.
Ziplocks - especially snack size - are another traditional method.
I've used both; I prefer tackle boxes. And they aren't expensive - and are available at Wal*mart
I used foam core to create slots in the original box. Works great. More details on the Reddit post here:
I own quite a few of Paizo's paper minis, and I use 9-pocket trading card organizers for 4-ring binders to great effect:
I use it for paper minis, but they'll fit tokens and cardboard pawns as well. Pockets are 6cm wide, so they'll fit Medium and Large-size creatures without a problem.
- Inexpensive and readily available in game shops
- Flat storage
- Compatible with ziplock bags, put bag in pocket
- Whole sheets can be sorted by adventure/module, and stored next to said printed adventures/modules
- Can become a real mess if the binder is stored upside-down in your backpack
- Not compatible with plastic/metal minis
For both pawns and plastic minis (and terrain tiles), my group uses ziploc bags for them labeled by type, and plastic containers for large minis/terrain pieces. Easy to label, and finding a goblin in the "humanoids" bag is fast enough. If you're real motivated you can pick and pre-bag encounters before a game session.
For large and larger minis we use small plastic tupperware-style containers, and then have one big ol' plastic container all the small ones and ziplocs go into for storage.
I got some custom mini cases recently with my Reaper Bones kickstarter order, but that's overkill - mainly got them because they were inexpensive for the quality.
I've used tackle boxes of various formats but things shift around too much in all the ones I've tried, and the density of box size ratio to storage capacity is too large; I'd fill a room if I tackle boxed all my minis. With counters/pawns it would be more dense but even so you'll have a lot of "that area there is just .5cm too small to fit those tiles into..."
I've seen small miniatures kept in briefcases filled with foam pillows. Holes in the foam (to contain the minatures) or ondulated foam (the miniatures go in the valleys, aligh upper lid and lower lid valleys) allow for safe transport without ruining the pieces.
Labels and a catalogue help in finding what you need without opening them all.
I'd use a similar solution for your tokens. Take a briefcase, cut a foam base that fits the briefcase as a base, cut a second piece with slots for small batches of tokens. Cardboard lids can be put in between the tokens to signal what's there without actually taking the tokens out.
I've always used zipper bags. One gallon sized to hold all of the counters, and a second one this is sandwich sized to hold any needed for my next game session. If I have 3 encounters planned for the next game session, it is much easier to rifle through 10-20 counters than the ginormous pile that would be the "big" bag.
For those particular tokens, I use a three-pronged approach, one method for each size of token (1", 2", and 3" circles).
2" tokens - Stored in two of the smaller compartments of that sorting tray, in alphabetical order.
3" tokens - Stored in a single cylindrical box, which goes, along with other odd bits and bobs, goes in the large compartment of the sorting tray.
I would say the best way to do so would be using a fishing tackle box. There are tackle boxes you can buy with variable size slotting ( you essentially put the divider where you want so you can fit something of any size into the slot you wish ) that are very nice for storing pretty much any kind of dice, miniatures, or anything of the sort.