Product Review – Things from the Basement Faction Boxes

By Joseph Forster

Things from the Basement has some great Blood & Plunder support products on their website (and I think have been involved in the design of the Ports of Plunder line of buildings) and today we’re going to look at their storage boxes. They have a full line of 7 “Faction Boxes,” each bearing the Firelock symbol for each of the 7 Nations found in No Peace Beyond the Line. These are simple square boxes with a latch at the affordable price point of $10.50.  In addition to these custom boxes, they offer a larger “Blood & Plunder Box” with a tray that is great for organizing your ship cards, unit cards, fortune tokens, etc.  Chris C from the B&P Facebook page turned me on to these boxes with his great paint jobs. I bought the whole line of boxes and I’ve been happy with them!

I’ve mad it a personal goal to get each nation box set up with dice, cards, special fortune points, sailing gauge and measuring tape so I can just grab that box when I’m setting up to play a game. It’s a slightly ridiculous goal, but I’ve had fun with it and I’m almost there! I’ll share some photos of the boxes, share how I painted them, and then share how I’ve set up the contents.

First, Let’s look at the bigger storage box with the tray.

This box is much taller than the nation boxes and has a tray with 4 sections in it. The tray also makes two other useful sections that can be used to store items or a deck of activation cards on either end of the box.

I should mention there are three different possible lid engraving options, one with the skull and bones, one with the Blood & Plunder logo, and the one pictured here.

I’m using this box primarily to store ship cards, unit cards, and some extra activation decks. I also have some extra fortune points in there.

I used a dark wood stain on this box, then painted in the letters and design with a gold paint.

I shamelessly copied this basic aesthetic from Bernhard R from the B&P Facebook page.

At $29.50, this box is more of an investment, but it’s very attractive and functional. If you play one or two nations, you can fit pretty much all your accessories in this box. There are two large slots you can store ship cards and the nation/faction cards you get in the starter box. Then there are two central sections you can store dice, fortune tokens, and even a full deck of units cards. Then on the ends, outside of the tray, there’s room for two activation decks.

Now let’s look at the nation boxes. These are pretty simple so I’m really just sharing fun pictures at this point. 🙂

Here’s the Spanish box. They come in light, unstained wood. I used a basic deck stain on all of these. In retrospect, I kind of wish I had used the dark color on all of them. I stained these, let them dry for a couple days, then painted the flags/coat of arms, then sprayed the painted area with Testors varnish to protect the paint a little.

I’m trying to include a full kit in each box. I haven’t completely finished but I’d like to include:

  • Activation Deck
  • Ship movement templates
  • 12 dice plus one non matching die (for commander pistol etc)
  • Nation’s unit cards
  • 4-5 custom Fortune tokens
  • Tape Measurer
  • 6x each of Fatigue and Reload markers, 4 critical hits markers, and at least 2 ship movement markers

Right now I’m a little short on Fatigue and Reload markers (I keep losing them…)

I like using these big 8 or 4 Reale historical coins for my Spanish Fortune tokens, but I keep some Spanish copper cob coins in the box and put these more valuable silver coins in a display case most of the time. I’m a long term coin nerd and collecting these has been really fun for me!

The Spain box is complete!

Next we have England!

I have a full set of the original English unit cards in this box in addition to dice, markers, activation deck, measuring tape and ship movement template. This template is a great little product from Laser Dream Works. It’s double sided (which is way nicer than using the two single sided templates from the Firelock set), it’s crisp and easy to read and it only costs $7.50! You can find it on their website here.

For Fortune Points  i have a couple silver shillings, one with Queen Anne’s likeness and a couple with King William’s likeness, plus a cool, large copper coin with T B stamped into it, which, according to my limited research and my wishful thinking, stands for Tobago (unlikely but it might be true).

Next we have the French and their box is fully setup as I’ve been using it a lot for playtesting Fire on the Frontier. I don’t particularly love the Yellow French dice so I have a set of the Blood Dice in there as well.

French money of the era is weird. The copper coins are nice and they have some definition, but the silver coins are almost as thin as paper and most of the detail has been worn off any coin that was cheap enough for me to buy on eBay. The silver feels debased as well… They don’t have the fine ring when dropped like the English and Spanish coins. Filthy French…

I used the white and gold for the fleur de lies on the lid.

My Dutch box is a little bare right now since I haven’t been playing a lot with them.

Dutch coins from the late 17th and early 18th century are pretty cheap and easy to come by. You can get a West India Trading Company copper coin for a mere $7 or so on eBay. The Dutch silver coins I found are between the size of a dime and nickle and they have prominently featured dates and classic Dutch coat of arms on the other side.

You can see the 1712 date under the Hollandia text on the coin below.

Next comes the Natives. It was different painting this one. I just tried to match the green from the activation card backs.

Instead of using historical coins for Fortune tokens, I collected some trade beads.

It was hard to find any genuine beads all the way back to the 17th century, but I found some attractive 18th century yellow Dutch beads.

As I studied the Indians in the Northeast North American continent, it inspired me to pick up some wampum beads.

These were painstakingly made by tribes to use as a medium of exchange, often woven into belts or headbands. These are a little smaller than I hoped, but I find it fun to have a thematic item to use for Fortune for the Natives.

I still need to get another ship movement template for this box.

Next comes the generic European box. I used some Spanish and Dutch copper coins for Fortune here. I still need to get another set of NPBTL unit cards to finish out this box.

This design was one of the more difficult designs to pick out. Painting on rough wood like this is actually very difficult. The paint just soaks in and doesn’t spread at all over the rough surface. This was hard!

Last come the scurvy Pirates. I was slightly dissapointed with this box, just because the flag engraving is significantly smaller than what is on the other boxes. But it was easy to paint!

I got my original pirate dice in there. I got a couple treasure chests in there, just so I’ll have some silly piratey terrain to put on the board whenever I play pirates.

That’s it! Seven boxes, ready to go for whatever nation I want to play. These are a luxury item and a Ziploc bag could serve the same essential function of keeping all your accessories in once place, but looks and the aesthetic are a large portion of the gaming experience for many of us and these enhance that! The boxes are simple and very functional with a simple metal latch on the front and two hinges in the back. They come in a light, unstained wood, but with a little effort, they look really good! If you search the Blood & Plunder Facebook group for “Things from the Basement,” you can see pictures of how other players have stained and paint these boxes. Some players have even cut foam to fit and use these boxes for mini storage.

I’ve probably spent more than I should have collecting dice and fun Fortune tokens for these boxes, but I find joy in collecting! Those historic coins are a tangible link to the past and I’ve always been fascinated by that and it’s been fun to combine my old hobby of coin collecting into this hobby. These coins could have been held by actual pirates! Some of them sat on the bottom of the sea in a Spanish wreck for more than 300 years. Some of them were held by filthy Frenchmen! That physical link to the people of the past is so cool!

if you like what you see here, go over to the Things from the Basement website and pick up a couple of these boxes. They will enhance your gaming experience and help you keep all your accessories together. While you’re at that website, check out their New England Houses They make great terrain for the New England theater that will be featured in Fire on the Frontier!

Thanks for reading!

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