Beyond the Box – Top 10 Board Game Accessories

It’s no secret that I love board game accessories. They can enhance your gaming experience and can even make a game easier to play. There are a lot to choose from, so I’ve whittled it down to my top ten to share with you all.

Card Holders: These are great for people with smaller hands, like your kids, or short people, like me! They’re very useful for card-heavy games where you want to see all your cards at once, such as Ticket to Ride or Concordia. I have the ones made by Uberstax, which is a modular system so I can build my card holder based on the needs of the game.

Dice Tray & Dice Towers: These are useful so your dice don’t go everywhere or bang into other pieces on your board. I’ll admit, you can just as easily use the game box cover. But dice trays and towers are just fun. Dice trays in particular are very easy to make yourself. I’ve made one using a cheap picture frame and some felt!

Acrylic Overlays & Custom Player Boards: Overlays and custom player boards hold your bits and chits in place. It’s the worst when someone accidentally knocks into your table and your meticulous tracking is ruined. I personally find custom player boards necessary for certain games (thinking of you Terraforming Mars).

Board Game Table & Mat: Board game tables are just cool. They’re tables specifically designed to play board games! A lot of them also come with toppers so your board game table can double as a dining table. You can also leave a game set up and come back to it later, which is very useful if you’re in the middle of a legacy campaign or have children or pets who might accidentally knock things over. However, if you don’t want to spend a thousand plus dollars on a board game table, board game mats are good choice. You can buy specific mats made for board games or you can do what I did, buy an extra-wide yoga mat. Mats are great for several reasons: (1) picking up cards or tiles is easier on a mat as compared to wood or glass; (2) reduces the noise if you’re playing a game with a lot of dice; and (3) they provide an even playing surface.

Card Sleeves: When I first really got into gaming, I sleeved everything. But that’s not really necessary. Now, I only sleeve cards for games that I either play a lot or I tend to play in environments that I know can get messy. For example, a few of my go to games for parties are The Resistance and Coup. Both games don’t have very many cards but are constantly being handled by people eating or drinking. For my own peace of mind, I’ve sleeved all their cards! I’ve found Fantasy Flight and Ultra Pro to have really great, heavy-duty sleeves.

Upgraded Components: These are great for games that you play a lot; for your favorite game. Why not bling it out totally? Upgraded components can include painted character meeples, wooden resources actually shaped like the resource they represent, 3D tiles, and more.

Bowls & Storage for Bits: When you’re playing a game that has a lot of resources, instead of scattering them everywhere on your table space, I instead use bowls or silicone baking cups. They keep the resource tokens and chits organized. The silicon cups are especially handy for throwing into your game bag so you don’t have to worry about them breaking. If you want to organize your game box, I swear by these mini plastic containers or plastic baggies. I also LOVE Zen Bins 2-1 Token Trays, especially if you need to spend a few more dollars to meet that free shipping threshold.

Player Aids: These guides help simplify the game for new players and experienced players alike. Their purpose is to help your game session run more smoothly and quickly by giving you all the info you need to play at your fingertips.  The Esoteric Order of Gamers has some fantastic player aids: easy to follow and great shortcuts to the symbology. I also enjoy making my own.

Box Inserts: There are multiple uses to box inserts. For one, they organize games that have a lot of expansions or that come with terrible inserts originally. But more importantly, the best inserts help you play your games more. Meaning, the inserts speeds up the set up and tear down process. I’ve heard a lot of people complain that they don’t play some of their piece-heavy games because set up can take up to 20-30 minutes, but with inserts, the set-up process can be radically reduced. That way you’re doing what you want to do, playing your games!

Currency Upgrades: You can read how much I rave about them in my last article. But honestly, currency upgrades add a luxurious feel to your game for a relatively low cost. They’re my absolute favorite board game accessory!

What’s your favorite board game accessory?