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35 years after the first publication of OGRE, we're coming back with a massive new edition, and YOU can make it better.
35 years after the first publication of OGRE, we're coming back with a massive new edition, and YOU can make it better.
5,512 backers pledged $923,680 to help bring this project to life.

3,685 Shipped And Strengthening Your Base Tray

Posted by Steve Jackson Games (Creator)

As of last night 3,685 shipments have left Austin, including an assortment of APO orders that had managed to hide. (I suspect those orders were hiding behind one of the Ogre Designer's Edition boxes. I wouldn't be surprised if my car was hiding inside the canvas bag right now.) That leaves 1,374 to go!

At the current rate Eric is predicting that all games will be shipped by the end of next week. Awesome news! Thank you to Eric, Carl, and Stacy for devoting so many hours to packing and shipping games and swag. I owe you guys pizza!!!

Want A Stronger Base Tray?

When I was in China way back in 2012 I asked the engineers a question that has continued to eat at the back of my mind. It was during an involved discussion about the vac trays and how to safely pack and ship the game when I had an idea. In my experience, vac trays are sometimes more brittle than I like so in an attempt to improve the trays I asked:

"Can the reverse side of the trays be filled with spray foam at the factory?"

"No," was the response after some translation time and continued chat. But while the "no" answer was the best I could get from the factory, I managed to get a "yes" answer when I asked Richard the exact same question yesterday.

Our test subject, a damaged base tray. Left: The patient tray. Upper Right: A shattered corner. Lower Right: A corner taped to hold together a hairline fracture.
Our test subject, a damaged base tray. Left: The patient tray. Upper Right: A shattered corner. Lower Right: A corner taped to hold together a hairline fracture.

We selected a damaged base tray for the experiment. Why? To see if spray foam can not only protect the tray but also make a damaged tray perfectly useful. Once the foam-filled tray is dropped back inside the box any damage like you see in the above photos will no longer be a problem.

NOTE: Foam is being sprayed into the reverse side of the base tray. Not the side where game components are stored. This is important.

Richard (wearing gloves!) using minimum expanding foam first, to fill in all of the really tiny spaces.
Richard (wearing gloves!) using minimum expanding foam first, to fill in all of the really tiny spaces.

Two cans of spray foam were used for the test. Richard and I went to his workshop (well ventilated!) and he first used minimum expanding foam to fill in all of the smaller spaces. The minimum expanding foam was selected in an attempt to keep the foam from causing problems; pinholes or hairline fractures might tear as the standard spray foam expands. We wanted to be as careful as possible so we went with the cautious approach to start.

Left: Standard foam sprayed over the tray. Right: Sheets of plexiglass pressed against the tray in an attempt to guide the expanding foam to the edges.
Left: Standard foam sprayed over the tray. Right: Sheets of plexiglass pressed against the tray in an attempt to guide the expanding foam to the edges.

After all of the narrow spaces were filled, Richard switched over to the standard spray foam and started spraying the rest of the reverse side of the base tray. After our experiment yesterday I'm going to recommend that anyone looking to completely fill the reverse side of the tray with foam grab two cans. Just be careful so that there's not too much trim work after your foam has finished expanding.

A significantly tougher base tray.
A significantly tougher base tray.

After a few hours we removed the plexiglass to get a close look at the tray. Even without completely filling the base tray with spray foam the result is a tray that is far stronger than it was before we started. The sides of the tray -- as well as the sides of the various cavities -- are all fairly rigid and the tray feels like it will better withstand the stress of travel.

Thank you, Richard, for running with my insane idea and testing how spray foam works with the base tray. I can now sleep happy knowing that the idea worked wonderfully, and now all of you DIY fans out there see how it's possible to strengthen your base tray using a few cans of spray foam.

If any of you try this at home please note the gloves and ventilation. Safety first! Oh, and don't forget to show us photos of your foam-filled trays!

- Phil Reed

Jim B., Mike, and 6 more people like this update.


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    1. Wolf on

      As an odd question, is there a 3D model/CAD drawing of the base tray in existance anywhere?

      If so, could it be posted for those of us with access to machinery (CNC or otherwise) to be able to craft bases out of other materials instead of worrying about the foaming option?

    2. Michael Kennedy

      A corner of my box was slightly dented, and a tray/map corner was cracked.

      I tried something different instead of spray foam... I "painted" the bottom of the tray with clear silicone sealer (like you use in an aquarium, or to seal the edges of your bathtub). I used a foam brush, and two caulk gun tubes of silicone (cheaper than buying a couple of the smaller squeeze tubes).

      It worked pretty well! It won't fill in all the air-space, but does somewhat reinforce the tray, and since the silicone is flexible, it will flex with the tray without cracking/peeling off. It was a bit of a pain to do, but I think it will help keep the tray from cracking over time.

    3. Phillip M.

      GREAT NEWS! My OGRE is heading to Maryland! Bad News.. It arrives when I'm at Board Game Geek Con in Dallas. At least Thanksgiving/Hannukah will have lots of OGRE!

    4. Jonathan Woodward

      I asked on my LJ (, and two separate archivists (i.e., experts in preserving paper) thought the foaming could be destructive in the long term. So, I decided not to risk it.

    5. Missing avatar

      Jeff Kapustka

      My tray seems to be intact (haven't actually taken it out of the box), but I have noticed that the top maps aren't quite supported by the tray - there's a little bit of vertical wiggle room. Probably not a big deal, but it got me to thinking....

      The box is BIG. Huge, in fact. And the stuff inside is heavy. I don't see it lasting as long as, say, my tiny little Ogre box (v2, maybe) from way back when. And it's definitely not very portable, which also got me to thinking....

      Has anybody had any luck with alternative boxes/containers for Ogre? I'm thinking maybe a plastic tub, or a suitcase with wheels, or something like that, so that all the trays would stack vertically. The bottom tray won't work in that configuration, so there would have to be another tray, which could hold the two main map boards, plus the middle-bottom pieces. I would definitely shell out more cash for a durable, portable container, branded container for my belovedOgre!

    6. Dysan on

      Got mine yesterday! Slight damage to the box (no more then what I expect I will do to it eventually). Though I know that somewhere out there someone is missing Fencer base. As I an extra one stuck between two sheets.

    7. Muzzlehead on

      I will use some foamit this afternoon and post a link to my blog with either a vid or pics of the process.

      Foam it is much better than the big box store can spray!=Serie/c1122/index.html

    8. Missing avatar


      Just saw my notification email from FedEX for OGRE and swag, shipped out 15-Oct-2013 and expected to arrive 19-Oct-2012 in Gurnee IL. I expect I'll know it arrived by the seismic tremor I'll feel :)

    9. Richard Kerr on

      Of course 'Great Stuff' was packaged in a chipped stone can back in those days...

    10. Richard Kerr on

      chemical *reaction*, not expansion, sorry

    11. Richard Kerr on

      Saran wrap and any firm flat surface will work. Be careful of confining the expanding foam too tightly, as it will explode anything it can't seep out of. As for the chem expansion, I used a similar method to make a carrying case for a painted white metal chess set something like 30 years ago, formed inside a Task Force Games Game box. Neither the figures or the box show any kind of degredation.

    12. Missing avatar

      Hugh G Rection

      I'm going to have to do this, since my tray arrived cracked in three different places (two corners and a middle).

    13. Steve Jackson Games 21-time creator on

      I wonder if you could get the same smoothing effect, with no removal issues, but putting Saran (tm!) wrap over the foam and then a board on top of THAT.

      Thank you, Thomas, for raising the solvent issue. Yes, a good point, and worth investigating.

      - Steve J.

    14. Jonathan Woodward

      @Thomas raises a good point. We should ask around among our chemist friends.

    15. Thomas Wayne Diener

      I truly would _not_ do this:
      I guarantee the various solvents and aethers are not stable,
      and over time the chemical fumes will damage the cardboard components and box,
      I mean: we switched to acid-free boards to protect Comics, and that was just acidic -paper-.

      I'm willing to be proven wrong by a Chemist,
      but if anyone loses their game in 5-20 years to solvent fume damage?
      You was Warned, bucko.
      Seriously: don't do this.

    16. Stefan Jones on

      If SJ Games had gone with my idea of shipping OGRE in a giant ziploc bag, like in the olden days, we wouldn't have to be doing all this fancy foam-spraying stuff.


    17. Leila Ross on

      @ AstralWanderer
      Actually at the thicknesses and volume involved, the spray foam is a sturdier and more resilient material than concrete (and easier on the box).

      Busy assembling 3d units in Canada.

    18. Glenn Copeland

      I second RobearGWJ's comment.
      I helped a fellow backer at the launch party punch out some stuff and found that I could even punch at least 4 sheets at the same time, making nice stacks and greatly reducing punch time.

    19. Jon Sharp

      @Raja: Where in the midwest are you? I'm in Chicago, and haven't seen a tracking number yet.

    20. Mike Browne on

      Checking in from LV, I got mine Monday and Box looks like a beaut and I will have to apply this field expedient fix to my Ogre.

    21. Hans Peter Bak

      Yesterday I received my package. Squeeeee! :-D
      I spent nearly three hours unpunching models and collecting them before I had to go to bed. Today I spent two hours on it before it was done.

      I Love The Designers Edition! It is everything I could want in a boardgame!
      Thank you Steve Jackson! :-)

    22. Missing avatar

      AstralWanderer on

      Pouring on concrete would make the tray stronger still. :)

    23. John Ansari on

      Hurrah, my box has arrived in Yorkshire UK and it's huge!

    24. John H. on

      "how much weight does it add?"

      Please. The box weighs nearly 30 pounds.

      30 pounds!

      A couple cans worth of spray foam isn't going to make any significant difference in lugging the thing around.

    25. Missing avatar

      Raja Thiagarajan on

      Speaking from the (hated ;-) midwest, I wanted to say that I just got my tracking number, huzzah! The email came from "" , and not from -- I guess I misunderstood what to look for in my email. Hope this helps others.

    26. James Diss on

      Polyurethane expanding foam tends to require a little moisture as well as air, and be warned that it sticks to _everything_ and is almost impossible to get off things, so be very careful.

      I just dropped by to say that I'd received my box and you guys deserve full marks for a high quality kickstarter and I'm over the moon. Now who's leg do I have to hump to get a new version of Illuminati?

    27. Sean Lambert (sum1els)

      Good timing, I just discovered that despite the outer boxes both looking great, one of the lower tray corners was broken from the _inside_ (dun, dun, daaaaaaah) by the huge maps. This looks like the perfect solution! Too bad I decided to put all of the flat counters in last night...

    28. Richard Kerr on

      The plexiglass sheets I was using still had the protective film on them (which will peel off), so no. The foam actually didn't set completely until after we took the sheets off; the foam requires open air drying to set completely.

    29. Missing avatar

      Richard Norton on

      Do you have to do anything to keep the foam from adhering to the plexiglas, leaving you with a REALLY strengthened base?

    30. Missing avatar

      Bryan Peterson on

      Strengthening your base tray?? You guys are fanatics... and I love it!! :)

    31. John Turner on

      You guys could probably sent a tray over to Battlefoam and have them produce one too. They've done inserts for Zombicide and Super Dungeon Explorer.

    32. Philip Reed Collaborator

      @Todd W. Olson - Be careful if you remove it. Please. But yes, it is a vac tray and those plastic vac trays can be brittle.

    33. Missing avatar

      Greg Lahti on

      @Allen F. Schell - Every one please read this warning! This is a very common attack vector for the Cryptolocker malware that is going around. Several new versions have popped up especially in Europe this week. Be very careful, you DO. NOT. WANT. Remember FedEx will never, ever, send you an attachment.

    34. Todd W. Olson

      But, but, at the Gen Con unboxing we were repeatedly warned never to take the tray out of the box...

    35. Missing avatar

      Frank Ney on

      Haven't even taken the shrink wrap off yet. Will do this after the weekend and I have my tower back up and running. Fortunately my firehouse has a workbench and PLYMOVENT, though I may get some strange looks while doing this...

    36. Missing avatar

      John S. Fetzik on

      There are also a number of two part foams out there that are liquid and then foam up. These could give an even better fill and appearance. It is often used for making cosplay costumes and props. Still pretty messy stuff though.

    37. Eric Kramp on

      Gloves, Ventilation, and *glasses*, please. Great stuff in the eyes isn't. That said, this sounds like a great idea. One can of the window stuff and one can of the normal expansion stuff sounds like a small amount of effort to protect for the investment already made.

    38. Patrick Daily on

      Hmmm, I might have to do this.

    39. RobearGWJ on

      I received my copy yesterday. The box had been penetrated by a finger-sized object, but the styrofoam spacing kept it from being able to actually hit anything inside. Also, one end of the styrofoam was crushed completely due to what looks like a drop impact, but the box was merely wrinkled slightly on a corner, a visual defect only. NO structural damage at all in spite of what was obviously a rough ride. So, kudos to the box designers and manufacturers.

      The components are of extremely high quality, especially the die-cutting. I've punched a quarter of the pieces and have had no paper detritus and absolutely no issues with thin pieces being bent, paper stripping off or any of the other common issues found in punching counters. I am truly impressed; in 43 years of board-gaming this is the best set of components I've ever seen. Fantastic job, guys, be sure to reward the folks in China because their attention to detail is incredible.

    40. Philip Reed Collaborator

      @Paul Rebeles - As Ken Mencher said (thanks, Ken!) there is an Ogre bag. And it is giant. Any extra bags will be offered at once we have finished shipping games.

    41. Philip Reed Collaborator

      @Jonathan Woodward - Visit your local hardware store and you'll find several options. I know Dow "Great Stuff" is very easy to find.

    42. Allen F. Schell on

      SPAM Alert --> I just received an email w/a subject line of "Package" and a bogus looking attachment regarding information containing my "FedEx DELIVERY INFORMATION". The sender is 'FedEx (yes the apostrophe is intentional) with a reply to fedexcourierpost .at. careco .dot. com.

      Since the only FedEx shipment I have been tracking are my Ogres, it looks like somebody is phishing somewhere.

      Just a heads up if anyone else sees something funny too.

      Oh, and I did NOT open the attachment :)

    43. Jonathan Woodward

      Can you recommend a brand name for the foam?

    44. Philip Reed Collaborator

      @Bill Mazerat - An updated map will be along later. Brandon doesn't work quite the same number of hours that I usually do.

    45. Ken Mencher

      Paul, at higher levels ($150+), there is a canvas bag...and it's big enough to carry my toddler in...

    46. Paul Rebeles on

      Now that most of the copies have shipped i was thinking about a nice addition to the Ogre set. How about a Ogre themed carry bag since the box is so big? I am sure most of your backers would buy one.

    47. Missing avatar

      Bill Mazerat on

      Interesting stuff but I would like an updated map. Sorry but I'm getting anxious with no tracking number.

    48. Scott Bender

      This is a great idea! Note, if you do not have a sheet of plexiglass or similar to place on the bottom, the excess foam can be very easily trimmed with a large kitchen knife. It's messy as heck, though. (We recently had our basement completely remodeled and they re-insulated with spray foam insulation. The contractors had these big knives that they used to trim any blobs that came above the surface of the studs.)

    49. Jim B.


    50. Keith Carter on

      @sgbeal - There is a discussion in the SJG OGRE forums about that titled "Loose pieces during travel." I think the problem is the gap between the OGRE map and the GEV maps allows the GEV maps to shift away from the black tray letting pieces slip out. Make sure you keep your manuals and reference sheets in the center, it cuts the gap in the center in half. I cut 3/16" sheets of foam illustrator board the size of the folded GEV maps. One such sheet stacked on the top of each GEV map narrows the gap to 1/2 of what it was at the corners of the box and to almost nothing in the center where the rules are stored. This greatly reduces pieces falling out of the black tray. Two such pieces of cut illustration board stacked on top of each GEV map compartment and two stacked pieces cut to fit the remainder of the space where the rules go eliminated all pieces slipping out of the trays. Though it means the rules have to go somewhere else (on top of the OGRE garage or in my case the 12"x 10" tray/box I keep my classic 1" counters in). There will always be some jumbling of pieces in the OGRE garage but those all stay in their compartments.