TI-3 Storage

Twilight Imperium III is a favorite board game with our family.  Readers of this site have probably already figured that out.  We play with the Shattered Empire expansion as an integral part of the game.  And we have “tweaked” our components a little bit by adding extra colored dice sets.

Recently there was some discussion about how gamers store their copies of TI-3 and if they put the expansion pieces in the same box.  We do, and I realized that it would probably be helpful to provide some photographs of how I organize everything.  I also want to explain some of what I think are helpful ideas that we have incorporated into the storage strategy.  This helps with ease in setup.  Some hobbyists organize everything when a game ends to better prepare setup for the next game.  I’m one of those individuals.

Here we go.  Everything is inside the original box.

A look inside.  Obviously the original box insert has to be discarded to make this work.

The first thing you will notice is that there are Plano-style plastic organizers.  Notice that all the System Tiles, the large hexes, are stored on-edge alongside the larger storage organizers in front.  The instruction manuals for the base game and expansion fit easily off to one side.  I also store some self-printed materials, such as rules for a 2-player game variant, underneath the instructions.

With the instructions removed you can see that all the smaller cards are stored in the original holder from the base game.  Now you might reasonably be asking how that is possible since the expansion adds a substantial number of cards.  Where are all the extra cards?  More on that in a moment.

When the player Race Sheets, Wormhole Nexus tile, cards box and scoring track are removed, another storage box is revealed.


The storage box is obviously a smaller one and rotated crosswise in the box.  You might ask what the plastic bags are doing in there.

These are wooden cubes.  They are not part of the base game, of course.  When we play the 2-player variant (instructions can be found here), the pink and black wooden cubes are used to count “votes”.  These cubes came from an original Risk board game.

Here the box with just the 3 storage organizers and System Tiles is shown.

There are actually 2 of the larger storage organizers stacked on top of each other, on the left.  Here’s how I use the first one.

There are some interesting details here to learn about.  In this box there are 4 of the plastics color sets (green, orange, blue and red).  With each color set we added 4 sets of D10 dice.  We had some fun picking out cool dice colors that match the 8 fleet colors.  You can’t see the dice too well in the picture.  Here they are.

There are 4 of each color.  32 dice in total.  The black dice are from the original board game and we store those with the black plastic ship pieces.  The next set are a kind-of blueish-violet, for the blue fleet.  The red dice are for the red fleet.  The silver and brown marbled dice are for the gray fleet.  Green dice for the green fleet, yellow for yellow.  The marbleized purple is for the purple fleet, and the orange dice are for the orange plastic fleet.  Obviously you don’t need any extra dice, and certainly not so many colors.  But we love this game and having these cool dice just adds to the fun of playing the game.

Some of the extra cardboard chits are stored in 2 extra bins in this first tray.  Let’s look at the second large organizer and then discuss a little bit about how and why we have the game organized this way.

Four more plastic fleet sets are stored in here.  Grey, black, purple and yellow.

Remember that when playing TI-3 the player color is unrelated to the chosen Race colors and flags.  However, there is a technology deck for each of the 8 fleet colors.  For this reason we just store the technology decks within the same compartment as the related plastic fleet pieces.  There’s plenty of room for the fleet, dice and cards within each bin.  In some cases the cards are underneath the plastic, so not always easily visible.

There are 14 races available for play in TI-3, if you include the Shattered Empire expansion.  We use the remaining 14 smaller compartments to store these.  For each of the 14 smaller compartments we store the specialized chits, Home World Planet card(s), Trade Agreements and (if you have the expansion) the Race Specific Technology card.

Using this storage technique allows each player to easily find the pieces and cards they need for whatever color they have chosen, as well as all the Race specific components.  At least for this part of game setup, it’s relatively quicker.

Here is the third organizer.

The Trade Goods and extra Fighter and Land Force counters are stored in compartments as shown.  We put the Space Mines and Shock Troop chits in the same bin.  The Strategy tiles are stored in another bin.  Lastly, the Bonus Markers, Speaker Token, and 1 clear Glass Bead are stored in a bin.  We use the Glass Bead to count off game turns when playing the Age of Empires official variant from the rules.  Age of Empires variant is a house favorite and I think lends to more strategic planning by the players.  I recommend you give it a try if you are not familiar with this optional rule.

Everything fits in the original box.  It sits just a little bit higher when the lid is on.

Okay, if you’re a fan of the game, I hope this article gives you some good ideas if you are considering storage options for your own copy of Twilight Imperium III.

Have fun playing.