Who loves games? All hands in the air! I love my board game collection. It is carefully curated and every box in there has earned its place and offers significant fun to me. When I play a game, I am taking a bit of time for me to enjoy my hobby. I guess it is a version of self-care for me. I spend money on games to treat myself. For me, over the past few years, playing games has replaced my going out for the evening. Out of necessity originally, but I’m not mad about it. I relish the time to flex my strategic prowess and try to eke out a win over my opponents.
What I am now looking for in my purchases is games I absolutely love and desperately want to own, and accessories for the absolute bangers that I already have in my collection.
Dice Baby, I'm Talking About Dice Baby
That is a Salt-N-Pepa lyrical title to kick things off *takes bow*. Dice are probably the most varied board game accessory. Dice make up a huge part of many of my favourite games, and nothing is worse than throwing a bad dice. You can get yourself a few standard d6 dice to replace some of those rotten wooden dice in your family games. I have a few games with Zatu branded additions now. If you are into RPG games, then of course you need an excellent set of dice. And why not make them beautiful like this set? Treat yourself!
Something that is absolutely essential to me is a dice tray. I got one of these in a mystery subscription box and I think it might be the most used thing in that box. I love dice trays. They take away the danger of violent throws resulting in scrabbling about on the floor for your runaway die. They also remove some of the banging sound when dice thud down onto a wooden table. One of my friends is super anti that dice rolling sound and so this has made dice games suitable for her now. I have tried out the rectangular and the small hexagonal Zatu tray and for me I would say the hexagonal shape is far superior. Huge fan. There are a bunch of different dice options available and you can find all the stuff in the dice section here.
Always Wear Protection
Cards make up a large part of almost all the games that I own. Cards are great, but they do have a small issue with wear and tear. Of course, if people are eating and drinking near your games, you run the risk of causing catastrophic damage to cards. They aren’t built for underwater work! I am a fastidious gamer-looker-afterer and yet even with my expert care, cards that are shuffled frequently do eventually start to show wear and tear. It starts with a few white marks on the edge and then before you know it they are nicked randomly all along the edges. A couple have picked up a stain here and there and they start to look “well-loved” ahead of their time. However, protecting your cards with sleeves can prevent the ravages of time and careless shufflers.
I use card sleeves very sparingly currently, however, I can see that there are a few shuffle heavy games where I might want to sleeve to allow for safer shuffling. I am thinking that my deck builders like Hero Realms and Star Realms where the game play is very short and the shuffling is often are next to be sleeved.
Important things about sleeves include; your sheaths must fit correctly to offer protection and always choose the ones you like best. Firstly for size selection, usually this is shown somewhere in the rules or on the box, but the information is also readily available on the BoardGameGeek website too. Always get the right size or you will be sorely disappointed.
When it comes to choosing the design, there are clear ones, coloured backs, or patterned backs. For clear ones, you can choose between matte or shiny versions, I much prefer the feel and the slightly less slippery matte versions. These come in a vast number of sizes and a few different brands such as Dragon Shield (a personal favourite), Mayday and Gamegenic amongst others. There are also solid coloured backed ones, I think these are super useful if the card backs are not overly exciting or are damaged. I generally love the art though so I steer away from making all my games yellow backed. Even though I do really love yellow.
Patterned backs are game specific and give some artwork that is very “on-brand” for a particular game. These also benefit from the fact that they are designed specifically for the game so will definitely fit, and will have the right number of sleeves for the cards more often than not. Examples for these are these Hogwarts Battle crest emblazoned ones, or these Mew Pokemon card sleeves here.
Struggle To Pick Up Cards From The Table?
We all know the issue, you have cut (or bitten) your nails that little it too much and suddenly picking cards up seems impossible. You are forever sweeping things off the table to pick them up which in something like a deck builder can get very tiresome. Well, I have the answer to that - playmats! These neoprene mats that can either cover the whole table or just be used for your individual player area mean that picking up cards is much easier. You will not know yourself the first time you use one as it is so much easier. I also enjoy the added benefit that they even out any lumps and bumps on your table and provide a clean and safe surface for your precious board to sit on that will not mark or stain in any way.
In terms of my suggestions for what kinds of game mats to get, I guess it depends on what kind of aesthetic you like. Traditionally game mats always used to be used for wargaming, things such as Warhammer, however, there has been a huge uptake in the use of playmats for modern board games too. You can get the traditional terrain mats, with desert, fields or sea patterns on them.
You can get game-specific neoprene ones like this Root one, or this one for 1-4 player Marvel Champions. These are large mats that everyone plays on, and in some cases, these replace the board in a game or they may help you organise a card game clearly. An alternative is to personalise the mats and get a mat for each player with their specific likes on it like an Iron Man, Shadows of Kilforth or Lord of the Rings mat. I have been looking for a Marvel themed one to pimp out my Marvel Champions solo gaming although I am yet to settle on which character I want most.
I am talking here about neoprene mats, but it should be noted that you can get books of dry erase mats that can be used for D&D, Pathfinder generic battle mats for tabletop RPGs. Also, I am all for reusable mats for games, and like to laminate one of the score sheets for new games to ensure that the scorepad never runs out.
I am a big arts and crafts type person, I have always loved painting. Mind when I say that, I do mean big strokes and expressive art rather than highly detailed work. However, I do like turning my hand at painting minis. I have a few games that have minis in them, Clank Legacy, Kings and Assassins and Unmatched amongst others. The important thing that I have learnt during this time is that slow and steady is a great way to paint. Always use your favourite brushes as it will annoy you if you use a sub-par one. I would really recommend starting off with the Army Painter set until you find your groove.
A key thing for painting is of course the paint, but I would also like to recommend getting a good primer. These can be spray can or painted on, I don’t have a favourite of these, I think see which works best for you. As if you are painting a full army or something then you want everything perfect. I have also got a lot of time for shade oils. These cover up all the mistakes in a poorly painted mini, something I have a plethora of. They really make the colours pop out and give your minis life, so I can thoroughly recommend using those.
What are your favourite board game accessories? Is there anything that I have missed out? I look forward to steadily blinging up my board game collection to make it as epic as possible.