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Generic plastic/wood game pieces you can buy for prototypes

Generic plastic/wood game pieces you
can buy for prototypes
(or for full production?)

Many game designers need 3D pieces to use in their prototypes, and some game publishers may want to make games with 3D pieces yet are not prepared to create custom components.

I don’t know whether EAI makes their own stuff, but one way or another, if the pieces can be bought by individuals at these prices, they must be available for much less at very large order prices.

I get most pieces from EAIEducation.com. They are a school supplies seller. I’m looking at their latest “Spring 2014 Math” catalog (they also sell online, of course). I use quotation marks around the names EAI uses. I have listed their largest quantities, many are available at smaller quantities though higher cost per item.

“Stacking counters”. p. 15. These are excellent, and I’ve already seen them being used in published games. 2,500 in a tub (10 colors, .75") $49.95. So 2 cents each.

Plastic 1 “centimeter cubes”. p.22. (10 colors). 5,000 for $79.95. So 1.6 cents each. (Cost more in a tub.)
They also have “interlocking centimeter cubes”, same page, more expensive.

You can also order single-color sets of blue, yellow, orange plastic cubes on p. 34, 1,000 for $19.79.

1 inch square “plastic color tiles” p. 21 (large enough to write numbers on) in four colors.
4mm thick, 2,000 in a tub $64.50. I use these a lot for prototypes instead of cardboard counters.
2mm thin slightly translucent, 400 for $10.95
They also list transparent, 48 for $3.95. I haven’t tried these.
You can also get 4mm foam versions(“quietshape color tiles”), haven’t tried them.

“Two-color counters” p. 77 (red on one side, yellow on the other), 3/4" 1,000 in a jar for $22.25. I use them for sites that must be explored, writing on the yellow side, sitting red side up.
You can also get 1" magnetic ones, and transparent ones (single color, I think).

“Double-sided black and red counters”, 1", p. 121, 200 for $5.95.

“Black and red counters”, 3/4", not double-sided, two separate colors. 480 for $8.95.

‘Plastic, 1", four color transparent counters’ packed in a sturdy plastic container. 5,000 for $73.95 (missed it in the catalog, http://www.eaieducation.com/Product/531176/Transparent_Counters_-_Set_of... online)

“Game pawns”. P. 15. 300 in a jar for $8.95 (colors may vary, 5 shown). These are classic fat-bottom skinny-top game pawns. So 3 cents each.

“Blank playing cards”, decks of 54, $1.55 each of 36 decks for $39.95. P. 77 2.25" by 3.5"
Also transparent and colossal and normal cards available.

‘1" wood color cubes’510 in a tub, $45.95 p. 3

“Hardwood cubes in six colors” 2 cm, (blue, green, orange, white, yellow and red). Packed in a tub. 510 for $43.95 or 102 for $8.95. Also missed in the catalog, http://www.eaieducation.com/Product/530639/Wooden_Cubes_2cm_Color_-_Set_...

Another way to provide 3D pieces is to use wooden blocks with stickers. You can buy blocks individually from Columbia Games. A more economical source is GMT, who often sell big bags of blocks very reasonably priced at conventions (such as PrezCon, WBC). The blocks above can be used the same way typical wargame blocks are used, though they’re twice as thick as wargame blocks.

They have spinners, sand timers, plastic coins, dice (polyhedra), blank dice (http://www.eaieducation.com/search.aspx?Keyword=blank+dice&category=-1) and so forth as well.

EAI doesn’t sell chips. I get small ones from Rolco games, who make their plastic stuff themselves but sell direct to the public. http://www.rolcogames.com/category/pokerbingo+chips/7
Rolco even sells blank game boards and boxes: http://www.rolcogames.com/category/board+game+accessories/12.
You can also get bulk rocket ships, tanks, and lots of other small pieces.

You get bulk pricing on orders of 5,000 or more.

Eric Hanuise (Flatlined Games) also says for Europeans, “make sure to also check plastic for games ( http://www.p4g.co.uk/us/us_prod_directory.asp ) and spielmaterial ( http://www.spielematerial.de/en/ )

Using their bits for prototype design has the added advantage that they are mostly the same bits that manufacturers use for finished products :) “

***
courses.pulsiphergames.com
YouTube Game Design channel: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHWWViIuBsOrSm2HXeBj2kA
@lewpuls

Comments

Blank Cards for CHEAP

As of right now, their blank cards are on sale for $0.99 for a deck of 54. VERY affordable!

I also picked up:

Soft square tiles, pack of 2000 for $36.95 (these appear to be made from craft foam sheets. If they suck, I will be sure to share the news)
Set of 144 blank d6 dice (multiple colors) and labels for $24.95
Sampler set of 105 polyhedra dice for $19.49

Thanks for the tip, lewpuls! :D

The cards are very nice:

The cards are very nice: "bridge" sized cards (just a bit thinner than poker-size cards) with a slick plastic coating on them. You will need quality markers for long-lasting writing on them however. BIC Sharpwriters wiped right off - even on the tabletop while shuffling - and if you rub hard on Sharpie marker writing it will eventually smear and blur. If you're in a pinch, use a ball-point pen and put them in sleeves.

Same thing goes for the stickers for custom d6. Use anything other than Sharpies at your own peril. The blank d6s are either white, green, or red, and take stickers easily. You can also simply write on the dice themselves if you want, and Sharpie ink stays.

The foam squares are very nice. Over a quarter of an inch thick, and they take Sharpies well. I use them for activities for folks that oftentimes have hand-eye coordination issues, and these squares are easy to pick up, wash and dry well, and can put up with a lot of abuse. They're lightweight and can handle pretty much anything we throw at them.

The big load of dice are just awesome. I don't know if I'll ever need to use that many d20s, but they're there just in case... All the polyhedra have the same colour: all d20s are red, all d8s are white, all d6s are yellow, etc.

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blog | by Dr. Radut