What it is?
FFG's deck boxes can hold around 100 sleeved cards and each comes with a detachable bit compartment that can hold tokens (wound markers, resources/progress tokens). The compartment attaches at the bottom of the deck box. Each deck box has a plastic see through surface at the front that comes off and can be used to display a card (piece of paper etc.) that identifies what is in the box.
What do you have and how you use it?
6 boxes (white, blue, red, green, 2x black). I use 4 boxes to keep player cards from each sphere (white holds leadership) and use one black box for core encounter cards. The sixth box gets the most use - it holds current quest (encounter cards + quest cards) I am playing and current deck I using against. As for the bit compartments I keep them separately from the boxes (two are empty, 3 hold tokens form the game and one holds first player marker and 3xd10 as an emergency threat/round counters). "On the go" I take one black box and 3 (or sometimes 4) bit compartments with the tokens.
How long do you use it?
How are their production values?
Boxes and compartments are made from a very sturdy plastic and protect cards/tokens extremely well. The hinges on the lids of boxes seem to be the weakest but I had no problems so far (and even if one of the snaps a box lid should still snap in and out of place). At first some of the lids were very hard to open but as I've used them more they started to work fine. Bit compartments attach well to the boxes and should stay in place even when rattled in your backpack. As for display plastic it works ok but you need to play with the card sitting under it a bit before it snaps well and stops detaching. The FFG's card fits perfectly under it.
Any functional drawbacks from LOTR:LCG player perspective?
I've found two:
- 100 sleeved cards seems like a lot (especially if you divide them by sphere) but in fact it is not enough. Now with expansions in (2x core, SoM cycle, KD) there is not much space left in "sphere" boxes I think I will be able to fit next cycle and few more cards but that is it. In the long run you need to get another set of boxes (but to be hones if game goes for a few more years you would run into the same problem after some time even if boxes would be larger). For now I was able to fit any quest together with a 50 player deck in my "travel box" but with Flight from Moria it is a very tight fit.
- Single box compartment will not hold all of game tokens (it will not close) so you have to spread them among at least two and preferably 3.
So what is your final opinion?
It is a great product but ultimately it fails on the price. It costs twice or three times more than other deck boxes and additional functionality (bit compartments) while great in theory does not make it up. I understand that it wins on durability against cheaper competition but again with this price difference it is hard to justify.
This leads me to a final conclusion - I only recommend this product if you want to spend a lot of money on protecting/storing your LOTR collection. If you do not travel with your game I think cheaper solution will be sufficiently satisfying for most. If you do travel with LOTR a lot and do not plan to deck build on the go one or two FFG's deck boxes should keep your game very safe and it might be worthed (you will need to get additional container for the tokens if you buy only one).
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I've been using these myself, almost in the exact same fashion as you have (red for Tactics, blue for Spirit, etc). I found the same core issue: If you have all the current sets, you find yourself needing extra boxes (assuming you are sleeving your cards). So what I have done now is kind of a compromise: My free-peoples cards are kept in a standard white card-game box with the tokens (still use the FFG token compartments, as they keep everything tidy), and use the colored FFG boxes to hold specific decks that I have built to keep them from getting mixed in with my card pool.
I still do use the black FFG boxes for the encounter decks. Everything except the expansions/sagas, which have just a few too many cards to fit (again if sleeved). But the black boxes are the perfect size to fit the cycles of 6 APs. 3 APs will fit in each box nicely, so I have both the Mirkwood and Dwarrodelf cycles in 2 boxes each (first three AP's of each in a box together, then the second grouped together). The Core set will also just fit into a single black box (even sleeved). I have the KD expansion and Hobbit saga in separate game boxes (from the old Decipher game) that keep it looking quite theme appropriate)…
I actually do like he FFG boxes, even for what they cost. The tolkien compartments (see what I did there??) are very useful. And while the boxes are now not large enough to carry each Sphere in a single box, that was bound to happen over time anyways. So using them for the encounter decks and built decks works just nicely. They do run a bit spendy if buying a lot of them, but getting them from a non-FFG source can help bring the cost down (I found mine for 7.99 USD per box, which I believe is a couple dollars below FFG's listed price)….
The ability to color code your decks/cards is handy, and the window on the front of the box is handy, as you can put a spare card in it to remind you what kind of card/deck is inside.
Edit: I will also attest to their sturdiness. I have an 8-month old who has been crawling around actively and found my games, and loves to get into "daddy's stuff"… I was curios to see what kind of handling the boxes would be able to deal with, and he had fun with them… with no damage done to the boxes or my cards!
“I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”
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