Homemade Arkham Utensil

I have a confession to make: I’m one of those people who got *really* into board games during the pandemic. Like, spend way too much cash on games like Root and Scythe, supercomplicated games you ideally have to have four players to play, which is ironic, because there’s only two people who can read in my household and we weren’t supposed to have people over.

Suddenly, our house was littered with cardboard boxes containing meeples and coins and dices and oh my god these games are absolutely terrible to set up, aren’t they?!

Thank God we had a second lockdown. One in which I decided that maybe I should get into woodworking. Because as it turns out: these two hobbies are pretty compatible!

So it was obvious that one of my first projects was going to be something to clean up the table on our weekly Arkham Horror nights. Arkham is one of those games I pimped up the wazoo with custom-made tokens, arrow markers, session cards, etc. And I made it my mission to have them neatly stored on the side of the table so they don’t interfere with the game – and look cool doing so.

This is how it started – with a few scraps of wood

It had to hold eight kinds of tokens, and three sets of cards, two of these horizontally (the so-called act and agenda decks, which advance the game) and one vertically (the scenario overview, which tells you what the game’s symbols – essentially its dice rolls – mean in this scenario). The cards have to be visible at all times, the tokens have to be easily reachable so you don’t have to look for the right one. As an added bonus, I wanted to include the “mythos deck” in this utensil – the deck you pull a card from at the start of every turn, but I quickly dropped it because there was no way to do it elegantly.

In essence, I made a box with five compartments. Originally, I wanted to divide one of these compartments into three more, and prepared all the pieces too – but that didn’t work because of how I did the lid. I gotta say: I love the lid. It doubles as a lectern that holds the cards and makes this box look hella unique.

So I made some measurements and took them to class (I made this utensil in a workshop). There, the teacher handed me some leftover wood and essentially threw all the measurements out of the window. The rest was really quite unspectacular: we cut the wood to size, partially by table saw, partially by hand. Then I routed out the compartments and the lid, chiseled the sides to fit said lid, and grinded for what felt like ages before gluing everything together.

After what felt like hours of careful chiseling, the lid fit.

In the end, I slathered wax on it, which I will never do again because it was a smelly mess and it kind of cheapens the whole deal. But hey, at least I learned something.

It’s not perfect by any means – I made some chiseling mistakes and the routing was off by a millimeter, creating a crooked look for the compartments if you look at it from above, but god damn it’s my first project and there’s nothing in this world that looks like this and I love it like a widdle baby.

It works! It woooorks!