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Why does the US print pennies?

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Redcap
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So I am prototyping a game where I need about 100 circles tiles with graphics on them. Well, doing my research I found a slick way of how to do this in the how to section of BGDF; however, it was labor intensive. I needed a quick, cheap, way to make good quality tiles but how...

Well I was in my car picking up some cardstock when I looked down on my car's seat (not to be confused with a car seat) and I saw a penny lieing there. I laughed because who would care about a single penny, then I realized that is the exact size I want my counters to be... and the exact size... and a perfect weight!. So I swung to my nearby crafts store, picked up a circular punch the same size as a penny and a $.99 glue stick.

I rushed home, punched out to circles (not even on card stock) and glued them to both sides of my penny. Miraclulously I had transformed what I once thought to be useless currency into a game token. And for roughly the cost $.015.

So being the nerd I am I did the math. Pennies width is 1.55 mm, 110 lb cardstock is .25 mm, so in order to make a token as thick as a penny I would have to roughly use 7 pieces of cardstock glued ontop of one another. So for 100 tokens I can produce it with cardstock for $1.39 or with the pennies $2.10. So the pennies are more pricy; however, the quality and ease more than make up for it in my mind.

So if you are finding yourself in a bind for tokens here is a nifty little trick! Who'd of thought that all those pennies you have been saving could be used in boardgames?

P.S. How does one submit a "how-to" idea to the "HOW-TO" section of this website. I really love this trick and think others might find it useful, and though a few will read this post before it sinks into the depths of the forums abyss I would like a way to try and submit it to the HOW-TO section for future reference... I might just be vain but I thought it was a good idea :)

Howitzer_120mm
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Another Way

I use full page label sheets and I put them on chipboard. It gives a nice thickness, and doesn't require gluing at all. Fast and efficient. It costs me less than 50 cents per sheet (not including ink). Circle counters are tough to cut out by hand using this method. I stick with square counters and a rotary cutter. Zips right through them.

MatthewF
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Pennies are a good idea, and

Pennies are a good idea, and for their nice weight and heft, just about impossible to beat.

However, at least in terms of pricing, think chipboard or matboard instead of tons of sheets of cardstock, as it's cheap and thick already.

I use a Sizzix craft die cutter to cut out my circle tokens. They're perfect, as it were, but a lot of work, and the die has limited sizes (nothing as small as I'd like for some projects).

The Game Crafter
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Brilliant!

I've used the same technique with just pennies as counters, without actually pasting any paper on either side. I hadn't actually considered using pennies with "covers". Great!

Redcap
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Check out

Check out http://www.cricut.com/default.aspx
$100 and you may be able to cut chipboard. Check out their forums. It is expensive but if you prototype alot it may be worth it.

MatthewF
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The Cricut can cut chipboard,

The Cricut can cut chipboard, or so it's said around the net, but with the caveat that (a) it takes multiple passes, having to cut many times over the same area to make it through the chipboard, (b) I have heard of alignment problems, where you have to take great pains to ensure that everything stays lined up from cut to cut, which is said to be difficult, and (c) because it's making so many cuts, the blade wears out comparatively quickly.
 
All that being true, I've still considered getting one. I believe you have to buy extra stuff (software, connection kit or something?) to attach it to a PC, rather than buying the (surprisingly expensive) cartridges and living with whatever they've pre-programmed.

Redcap
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I am thinking of getting one

I am thinking of getting one as well. I live in Utah and I know quite a few board members do as well. If they want to pay maybe a small fee, I could cut out custom pieces ect for them to help offset the cost.

I have always toyed with this idea, and maybe an idea of all the board members going into a 3d printer, in which it would stay at one members house (not mine) and we could pay for materials and some money for time to get 3d models printed off as well, but for a fraction of the price retail 3d printers are asking for.

Again this simple statement is wrought with complexities, but it might be possible some time with 3d printers getting cheaper and cheaper.

Hedge-o-Matic
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Coins also have significant

Coins also have significant downsides.

First, they are heavy. Any game using more than forty or so will have you lugging a relatively heavy package around.

Second, they are dense. This can become a problem if you've got other components the pennies interact with. They "ding" cardboard components very easily, and their edges can scratch and dent anything but plastic.

Third, the images on pennies make them wear through labels surprisingly quickly.

Lastly, they are poor stackers. If you need o keep your tokens stacked, chipboard or plastic tokens are the way to go.

That said, coins are effective quicky prototypers, being uniform and plentiful. But keep in mind you may not love them as much, once the game begins.

Redcap
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Having made a prototype with

Having made a prototype with about 200 pennies and having play tested and traveled with the game I just want to let you know how they hold up...

Are they heavy? About .25 lbs I mean if you are shipping based on weight you might save 10-20 cents, maybe. My playtesters even said they like the feel of the coins.

Do they damage other components. Not yet and we have been doing some serious traveling and playing.

Do the images of Abe wear through the paper. Not yet and I have used normal printing paper, if you are worried about that cardstock would wear even better.

Finally, do they stack well, yes. I didn't even design a game where you were suppose to stack the tokens and I noticed that players naturally stacked the tokens for orginization. They stack great.

So hypothetically those are all the problems with pennies, I think if you give it a shot you will be surprised (as was I) to how well they hold up and how good they mimic the look and feel of game tokens.

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