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When I built this one I started by taking measurements of the major components. I knew I wanted all of the player pieces stores together and I wanted the sector tiles in the center at the top. Don’t know why, just liked the idea. Then I went to SketchUp and did a rough “sketch up” of the player box and top layer.
Originally I was going to angle the cards so you could draw them from the box but thinking about how the game would play out it didn’t make as much sense. I landed on the height of the box based on being able to add more to house future expansions. Anyway, once I had the basic dimensions, I built one and started trying out different component configurations in that box. That led to figuring I could raise different sections to make the components easier to get to and create some extra storage.
Same basic stuff for the top layer. I knew how deep the top layer would need to be based on the combined thickness of the sector tiles. So I built one of the surround boxes and started fitting stuff in the best I could, coming up with the raised storage to make it more accessible and make better use of space.
So, short answer. I took measurements and got rough dimensions from SketchUp. Then mocked up a box and started seeing how it all fit together.
I feel fortunate that everything went as well as it did the first time. I’m sure there will be some inserts that just need to be laid out first. But Forbidden Stars really benefitted from using SketchUp. I feel like I got a lot out of the available space.
I’m very interested to see what you came up with. Your inserts are always well done.