I’ve been gaming (board games, card games, RPGs) for a quite a while. Once I hit mid-school in 1979, Dungeons and Dragons was a big deal among my friends. I was also introduced to a place called Wargames West on Central in Albuquerque: this was the first Friendly Local Game Store I knew of, and it was the early 1980s! That was a very special and rare thing.
Wargames West was very popular, as every Friday night, the would have open gaming where one side of the store was open for games, and the other side stayed open to sell games. I heard they stopped open gaming at some point because there was too much shoplifting, but I don’t know if that story is true. In those days, Starfleet Battles, Gamma World, and Steve Jackson games were very popular with my friends.
I took some time off in grad school (I lived in the lab and had no time), but I continued gaming most of my life. So, suffice to say, I have SOME experience with components that could be helpful to a gamer.
Number 5. Plastic Baggies and Sharpies
It’s weird how some games have tons of plastic bags (most of which you don’t use), and some games have no plastic bags (when you need them). I have accumulated tons of bags from different games and placed them in my drawers. See below. I also a supply of sandwich bags and smaller bags from Ziploc on hand. See above.
At the end of the day, there are some games that really need some plastic bags to help pack them back up. I refer you to Disney Sidekicks (the cooperative game) from last week where we needed some small plastic bags to hold the tiny tiny tokens. It’s just always nice to have extra bags.
It’s also nice to have Sharpies to write on those bags (see above). I didn’t include Sharpies as a separate item because I pretty much only use them only with my plastic bags. My CO2 game (a cooperative game we looked at here) has so many components in so many plastic bags, it’s nice to have all the bags marked .. with a sharpie.
Number 4. Rubber Bands
Some people don’t like rubber bands. I think it’s because they use them wrong! A lot of people use rubber bands to “bind” the cards together as tight as possible, double wrapping with the rubber bands. This “tight binding” can ruin the cards (by bending edges or ruining card sleeves). I put to you that they way to use Rubber Bands is as a “Zen” binding: find the rubber band that holds the cards together, but not bind them. Usually, you just want the rubber bands to (1) keep like cards together (2) separate from other cards. There’s no requirement to pack them tightly!!! If you have LOTS of different kinds of rubber bands (see above), it’s easy to find the rubber bands that are “tight but not too tight”. I actually am very careful with my games: I try really hard to keep them in good shape, and as long as you use the “Zen touch” with your rubber bands, they work great.
As an aside, I don’t like using plastic bags for cards. I strongly prefer rubber bands over plastic bags! Why? Because larger plastic bags encourage cards to “roam” in the bag, which can lead to bending as cards don’t line up. Smaller plastic bags are too tight of a fit, and you can tear the cards as you “force” them in. I’ve never had a good experience putting cards in bags.
Number 3. Kallax Shelves
We did a full review of putting together some Kallax shelves here. Suffice to say, Kallax shelves are fairly inexpensive and a very nice way to store your games. Can you use other shelves? Sure. The price point and usefulness of the Kallax shelves makes them a gaming favorite.
Number 2. A Copier/Printer
The printer is, of course, obvious, because you frequently need to print something from online for your games.
“But?” You might be asking? “A Copier?” That’s right! There have a been a number of times when we wanted to copy something for our game groups, and we needed them quickly! Some examples:
- Player Sheets: Forgotten Waters (see our review here) has some great player sheets (and you can print them out), but sometimes its quicker to just copy what you already have in the game. And not all games have PDFs of player sheets online. A copier can save your game night! “Oh no, my friends will be here soon and I don’t have any extra sheets!” You do if you have a copier …
- Roll-and-Write Sheets: Escape: Roll and Write (the cooperative dice game) (which we’ll review soon we hope) has lots of little sheets. I hope you don’t run out of sheets, or you can’t play anymore! Or you could copy them. EDIT: these sheets can be pretty colorful and will drain your color ink, so it’s usually best to save these copies for an emergency
- Note Sheets: The game Detective:City of Angels (which we love), has some specialized sheets for taking notes in the game. You pretty much need these to play. No reason to use the originals if you can make a copy. EDIT: these sheets are pretty much black and white and simple enough that you can use copies without having to worry about draining your color/bw ink wells in your printer.
- “Different Perspective”: Sometimes you want to have multiple copies of a card, part of the board, rule, etc to share with multiple people around the table. We were recently playing The Initiative, and needed to make a copy of the card so we could look at it to solve something on the card (not too many spoilers). Because of the perspective on the puzzle on the card, it made a lot of sense to copy the card and essentially have two copies of the card. It made that puzzle much more fun to solve.
I have found that in life, in general, it’s good to have a copier nearby. You’d be surprised how often you need it.
Number 1. Knee-High Tables for Drinks
Most of the stuff on my list, I am sure you have or have seen on other lists. This one? I have never seen anyone else talk about these, and they are the most important piece in my gameroom! (Well, except the games. And the people).
Over the years, I have collected lots of little tables for my friends to put their drinks on. Knee-high tables are the ultimate game room accessory! Why? You can have a drink, have it close by in a very reachable space, but with no chance of spillage ON THE GAME TABLE! By having the drink tables decoupled from the gaming table, you can avoid any spillage accidents.
If you knock over your drink (and we’ve all done it), at least you do not have the drink spilling anywhere near your game. It’s amazing the peace of mind the little tables can you give you too: “Drink, be Merry my friends, for I have Knee-High Drink Tables!”
I have seen some of these little tables pretty cheap when they on sale ($10?) or they are still pretty cheap at Costco ($20?). Never worry about spilling drinks on the table again: equip your gameroom with knee-high drink tables.
What did I miss any components you depend on? Feel free to comment!
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