Beyond the Box – One Accessory to Rule Them All

Board gaming is a luxury hobby. You need to have money to buy games and time to play them (though that’s a topic for another day). Once you peek behind the curtain, you can easily go down the rabbit hole of board game accessories with specialty inserts, upgraded components, board game tables, and more.

But one relatively inexpensive accessory rules them all – upgraded money components like metal coins and poker chips.

Every time I’m getting ready for a game night, I make sure to pack a set of metal coins and my semi-recent indulgence, Roxley’s Iron Clays. Why do I do this? They feel good. There’s something about the weight, the heft, and the clank – it all comes together into a luxurious gaming experience for a relatively low cost.

Out of the many board gaming accessories (and trust me, there are many) metal coins are inexpensive, particularly measured against other accessories. It’s easy enough to pick up a nice set for under $20 if you search online. It’s also a simple component to substitute in place of cardboard or paper money. Compared to cardboard, metal coins add extra oomph and pizzazz to any game!

I have a few metal coin sets that I switch between depending on the game I’m playing. The key is to purchase generic looking coins so you can easily use them with any game that needs currency. Also, make sure you purchase enough coins so you can use them for your higher volume currency games.

Some games come with metal coins included and there’s no rule saying you can’t use them for other games! Raiders of the North Sea includes a great set of 32 silver coins that I always use when playing games that don’t need as many coins, like Castes of Burgundy or Jórvík. Save money and upgrade your games? Win-win!

I often use metal coins when playing Concordia, Scythe, Dinosaur Island and 7 Wonders. I’ll let you in on a little secret; some websites actually create specialty coin sets that match the artwork to specific games. A friend of mine has the set of coins made for 7 Wonders and they are fabulous. But do you need individual coin sets for each game? No! (I will admit that I did spring for Dinosaur Island’s neon yellow and purple coins because I really enjoy the retro-80’s color palette.)

The first metal coin set I ever purchased was the Scythe metal coins set. It is a wonderful set of 80 coins. I love them because each denomination is in a different color or size, which makes paying out and giving change easy to do. This is especially useful in a game where money is constantly exchanging hands. While the artwork doesn’t necessarily match other games, I have no problem making it my go-to set. But if that does bother you, poker chips to the rescue!

Poker chips are often used in board gaming as currency substitutes. I’ve heard they’re very popular among the 18XX crowd. I first experienced using poker chips when I played Brass Birmingham, the Kickstarter edition. Afterwards I had to have Roxley’s Iron Clays because they are easy to stack and count compared to metal coins. And really good poker chips have a weight to them as well.  

(Quick tip, if you’re looking to buy metal coins, I highly recommend getting a lockable bead organizer, so your coins are already separated out by denomination and you can throw it in your game bag without worrying it’s going to spill everywhere.)

What’s the board game accessory that you can’t live without?