I love playing board games and want to have the best board game accessories and upgrades for them all!
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I’ve rounded up my favourite board game accessories and upgrades in this post to inspire you to level-up your game!
Most games come with cardboard coins because they are pretty cheap to make. But cardboard coins don’t make a satisfying clink when you hold them! Metal coins are an awesome upgrade for your games.
You could buy just a generic set of metal coins, or get some designed for a specific game and then use them across your other games. That’s what I did.
I have the metal set of coins from Scythe. They are created by Stonemaier Games, the creators of the game, so they fit it perfectly and are really high quality.
I like these coins because they have the denominations printed on them so they are easy to use across any game with currency. Scythe metal coins are hugely popular as the Amazon reviews show.
If metal coins aren’t your thing, the other way you can upgrade your game currency is to use chips. The ones made from clay feel particularly nice to use. Clay chips are a little more expensive than the plastic chips but they don’t make that harsh clacking noise when you knock them together.
You can get lots of different kind of chips in different styles and colours. I prefer the ones with numbers printed on them so I don’t need to remember what value each colour chip represents.
I like this chip set on Amazon because it doesn’t have dice and cards printed on the chips so that it can be used with different game themes. It also includes the 10 chip which is not included in all sets and everything can be stored away in a fancy metal case.
3. Gems and other resource tokens
A lot of games don’t use money as a currency, but use other resources instead like gems in Splendor and energy in King of Tokyo.
We recently upgraded our Splendor gem chips to small plastic gems. They are really inexpensive to buy but look and feel so much better to play with. We’ve been using some gold ones to represent Aember in Keyforge and use some blue ones for the keys.
You can get token upgrades for a lot of games now. I really like these little green lightning bolts on Amazon to represent energy in King of Tokyo.
4. Animeeples and veggiemeeples
Want something more tangible than cards to trade in Catan? Getting confused by the cubes in Agricola? Then get some wooden Eurogame resource tokens.
This 279 piece Eurotoken set by Mayday Games on Amazon contains farmer meeples including wives and children. There are also animals like sheep, pigs and cows and
The great thing about this set is that you can buy just this one set and use it across all your Eurogames. It works out much cheaper than getting specific resource sets for each game like Stone Age, Kingsburg, Le Havre etc.
5. Printed meeples
Give your meeples some instant personality by replacing your stock little wooden ones with printed meeples. Meeple Source sells custom upgrades for loads of games. They look a lot cooler than the pawns that come with the base game.
You’ll actually feel like you’re all playing individual characters with different roles, rather than just another player during the game.
Meeple Source is definitely a site worth checking out if you want to upgrade meeples in your other games.
6. Extra meeples
Love Carcassonne but your favourite colour is purple? Then treat yourself to some purple meeples!
This 100 meeple set on Amazon includes 10 meeples in 10 different colours. If you can’t find your favourite colour in there, then take a look online, there are plenty of meeple options around.
I have a plain wooden meeple set. The meeples have been varnished but not painted which makes them a bit unusual. I like that they feel different to the painted meeples.
You know the feeling, you unbox your new game and it looks beautiful, all neatly packaged with everything in its place. You push out all the tokens, unwrap the cards and play.
Then when you come to put it away, nothing fits quite right and the next time you open the box it’s a jumbled mess. What a way to squash your excitement for playing. Now you need to tidy up before you can play.
Here comes the Insert board game accessory to save the day!
Custom made inserts
The insert which has made the biggest difference to us is the one we bought for Gloomhaven. It is so much faster to set up a scenario now and I love not dreading putting the game away afterwards!
Our Gloomhaven organizer is made by Meeple Realty. However, it’s not perfect. The lids can sometimes be difficult to remove and knock the pieces out of the trays when you take them off.
If we were buying the insert again, I’d get this Gloomhaven organizer by The Broken Token because it doesn’t have lids on the token trays and has great reviews.
8. Dice towers
Dice towers are a super fun board game accessory. They will stop you from looking suspiciously at that person in your group who doesn’t seem to roll properly and gets just a few too many high rolls…
Dice towers come in all different shapes and sizes with the classic castle tower being the most common. The clatter of dice falling down is a noise I associate with expectation and excitement.
I like this steampunk inspired dice tower on Etsy because you can fold the top of the tower down so it becomes a cube when it’s not in use. The design on the sides make sure it looks cool on your shelf whether it’s standing up or in cube form. I like the dice drawer underneath for dice storage too.
9. Dice trays
Tired of rolling dice and having them bash into your standees or roll off the table? Well, you can solve that with a dice tray!
You can get trays which always have their sides popped
I am a huge fan of this dice tray on Etsy. It is handmade in the colour of leather you choose and they will print a custom design on the tray base to make it unique to you. I would like one of these for RPG sessions. When it’s rolled up it looks like a scroll!
10. Game mat
Game mats are a cool way to provide a more tactile playing surface for your games. You could get individual player mats for each person or a mat for a particular game.
Some play mats have a design specific to a particular game with areas printed on it for organizing your playing pieces. Or you can get game mats with awesome
The game mat in the photo was sold to coincide with the release of the collectable card and dice game Star Wars: Destiny. You can buy the Star Wars: Destiny game mat on Amazon.
The two big game mat manufacturers are Ultimate Guard and Inked Gaming. For me, game mats need to be easy to roll up and not have rounded corners when unfurled and they need to be machine washable. Inked Gaming mats can be machine washed so in my opinion, they are the place to go for a game mat.
Wherever you buy from, manufacturers have a wide variety of designs and you can upload your own designs too. For example, this werewolf mat on Inked Gaming looks really cool.
11. Table cover
We have tried using felt, baize, waterproof tablecloths and a vinyl wargaming on our gaming table, each with different results. The vinyl wargaming mat is the best one we’ve found because it’s waterproof. You can find vinyl wargaming mats like this concrete style mat on Etsy.
It’s tricky finding a decent playing surface to cover your gaming table.
For me, a gaming table cover needs to be nice to play on, look good, and be easy to store and clean. Not an easy list to meet.
What I really want is a neoprene gaming mat in a huge size!
The wargaming mats from Inked Gaming are available in sizes up to 48”x48” (121x121cm.) and they are spill resistant. You’ll have enough time to mop up a spill and get the gaming mat off the table before the liquid seeps through it.
Gaming mats make everything feel so nice to play on. The rubber backing and the fabric surface make the dice roll with a satisying thud rather than a clatter, cards are easier to pick up and the printed designs looks awesome.
I like that the ones from Inked Gaming are machine washable so I don’t worry about getting any food mess off of them. Inked Gaming wargaming mats also have storage bags.
12. Sound boards
For a bit of fun, add some silly sounds to your games!
A friend bought us a pirate soundboard from Amazon as a gift. It is a lot of fun to use during Munchkin Booty and other pirate-themed games.
It makes noises like a parrot squawking ‘Pieces of eight’, swords clinking together and a gravelly pirate voice says, ‘Walk the plank!’
Sound boards are also pretty common on the app store. We use a horror one whenever we play Mysterium.
13. Glass domes (cabochons)
Glass domes (also called cabochons) are little glass tokens with a rounded top side and a flattened bottom edge. They are transparent so you can still see the board underneath, they are inexpensive and feel nice in your hands.
I think they feel nicer than cheaper plastic or cardboard tokens that you get in games.
I use them as counters in Magic: The Gathering but they work equally well as power tokens in Villainous or A
You can get stylized ones which have a printed design, but I like to have plain glass ones so they match any game theme.
They come in a variety of sizes. I think the ones that are 8-10mm are the right size for most games.
You can get them from pretty much any craft shop but Amazon also sells glass domes.
14. Card sleeves
Perhaps the most common card upgrade – the card sleeve. These little guys are such a cost-effective way to protect your cards from greasy fingers.
They come with a transparent front and either a transparent, coloured or illustrated back. They are available in many different sizes to fit different sizes of card. Make sure you order the right size for the cards you want to protect!
The thickness of the plastic varies too. I’d recommend not going for the thinnest because it feels cheap in your hands and tears easily.
Ultra Pro is the brand that you’ll find in most places. They have a Fine Art sleeve series with illustrations on the back from famous artists. Like card sleeves featuring the Great Wave off Kanagawa on Amazon.
Ultra Pro make official Magic: The Gathering sleeves which we have. The red Magic card sleeves in my photo are available on Amazon.
Baggies seem like such a boring board game accessory, but honestly, they have made a huge difference to my game storing experience!
Reusable, resealable and available in a wide variety of sizes, they are the best way to keep your game components organized. Especially if you store your board games on their sides and all the pieces fall out of the inserts!
Grab a box of assorted sized baggies like these on Amazon. You will wonder what you ever did without them!
Expansions are a great way to level up your board games. They are often one of the first things I buy because our core gaming group is 6 players and many games only come with support for 4 players with the base game.
I’d definitely recommend an expansion for a board game that you play a lot especially if the expansion adds new mechanics to the base game.
For example, the King of Tokyo: Power Up! expansion adds a new character, Pandakai. But it does more than that. It adds a new evolution mechanic to all the characters in the base game, which makes the game a lot more interesting. See what people are saying about Power Up! on Amazon.
Expansions are often launched without much of a press release so it’s worth checking every now and then if your favourite game has a new expansion. While writing this article I had a quick look at Carcassonne. There are so many expansions out that I can’t keep up!
17. New editions
It’s debatable whether a new board game edition is an upgrade or a downgrade. If you ask me, the new edition of King of Tokyo which you can find on Amazon, is not as good as the one that I have. I much prefer the artwork on the original version and I really like the Kraken which isn’t in the new edition.
If you are a collector, then you may want to buy the new edition for your collection. For me, a new edition needs to be a big upgrade for me to buy it.
The new edition of Arkham Horror looks interesting because it takes up so much less space on the table! That does appeal to me. I need to check it out and do a comparison. In the meantime, you can see Arkham Horror 3rd Edition on Amazon.
If you decide to upgrade to the latest edition, you may want to donate your old version. Check out my post on 16 Places You Can Donate Old, Used Board Games for ideas on where to donate it.
18. Player dashboard
Sometimes called a player board, dashboard or organizer – dashboards area an awesome board game accessory that creates a really neat playing area for each player.
I have the organizer pictured above from Etsy for Gloomhaven to help with card management during the game and to take up less table space.
It is pretty handy being able to have all my cards in a tidy tray instead of scattered all over the table. I like the little space across the top to put the modifier tokens like stun, strengthen and muddled. Modifiers are easy to forget during a turn but their little area makes them easier to remember.
19. Rubber bands
Such a cheap thing to buy, but rubber bands make a massive difference to game storage!
I use rubber bands to hold the box lids on and make sure things don’t get lost. Inside the boxes, rubber bands are great for holding cards together. Just don’t over tighten them otherwise you’ll cause your cards to bend permanently!
I prefer to buy my rubber bands in a ball because they don’t scatter all over my stationery drawer. Seeing all the different coloured bands in a ball looks cool!
20. Board game overlays
Scrabble 3D was the first board game I ever saw use a board game overlay. Since then, board game overlays are being custom made for other games too. Especially for games with tiles.
Azul is a perfect example of a board game which benefits from an overlay. Whenever someone bumps the table or is slightly clumsy in placing their tile, it doesn’t knock the tiles everywhere.
You can buy a custom made overlay for Azul on Etsy.
21. Standee stands
The bases for standees usually work ok. But for some games, it can be helpful to upgrade the standard stands.
I really want these upgraded stands on Etsy for Gloomhaven standees. The stands come in packs of 40 and have spaces for health point dice, effect modifiers and they only take up one hex space.
22. Token trays or dishes
Instead of dumping all the tokens into little piles on the table, you can put them into little token trays or dishes. It keeps them all neatly separated, makes them easier to pick up, and stops them from spreading out over the table as you play.
You can buy token trays specific for each of your games, or you could just use a general one across all games. Little dessert dishes or tealight holders can work well.
These small token trays on Etsy are great. The best bit is their pouring spout for easily tipping the components back into baggies or inserts at the end of the game.
23. Snack dishes
Snacks are a huge part of any games I host. Because of that, I have dishes in lots of different sizes for snacks.
I have wide and deep bowls for popcorn, small snack dishes for olives, and even a nacho and dip tray (although that’s a bit risky to put near the games!).
I prefer small individual dishes that can be moved around the table to slot in nicely wherever there is space around the game. These dishes on Amazon look really well made, are an ideal size and their bright colours are so cheerful.
And whenever you’re not using the dishes for snacks, you can use them for game tokens!
For ideas on game night snacks that won’t wreck your games check out my post, 33 No Grease, No Mess Snacks For Board Game Night.
24. Non-slip liner
Usually used in drawers, on shelves, or under rugs to stop things from moving around, non-slip liners are a great board game accessory for tile placement games like Carcassonne.
They stop the tiles from shifting around when a player places another tile on the board or if the tiles are clumsily knocked.
While you can pick up non-slip liners from pretty much anywhere don’t buy the cheapest. Some of the cheaper non-slip liners can flake and leave little pieces all over your table and components.
Gorilla Grip is a good brand which offers the liner in several different colour options on Amazon. Find one which works for your decor. I recommend a neutral colour so that the game stands out.
Board games are branching into the realms of auditory experience now.
For example, Mysterium includes a link to a soundtrack you can play while playing the game. I had a listen to it and it sounds like spooky atmospheric ambient music. I am happy that Libellud, the publisher added an extra level of experience to the gameplay.
However, for me, the spooky soundtrack clashes with my experience of playing Mysterium. My group spends a lot of time laughing at each other’s strange logic about why they chose particular cards!
Creating your own soundtrack to a game can be a fun way to upgrade your gameplay experience. You know your group and how a game usually plays out with them so you are best placed to create a playlist that matches that.
26. Colour changing LED bulbs
My favourite board game accessory is my colour changing
Before we start a game, I change the light to a different colour that matches the theme.
For example, the underwater blue mode moves through different shades of blue and works brilliantly for Captain Sonar. We actually feel as though we are underwater in a submarine like in the game.
For Disney Villainous I usually change it to red to make the atmosphere feel dark because we are all playing as bad guys from Disney.
Colour-changing LED bulbs are pretty inexpensive and usually come with a remote control to change the colour easily. This colour-changing LED bulb on Amazon looks very similar to the one I have.
27. Board game backpack or cajon bag
Even though I host 90% of game nights, occasionally I want to take games to a friend’s house to play. And because my friends live nearby, I tend to walk there.
Carrying board games in a large shopping bag is one way to transport them, but a backpack designed for carrying board games is much better.
Board game backpacks are square and deeper than a normal backpack so you can stack a few board games on top of each other. I have a smallish backpack which can fit a few games in it.
An alternative is to carry board games in a bag designed for transporting a Cajon (a square-shaped box used as drum percussion). These bags are ideal because they are square and deep so can store a lot of games. They can also carry a
Cajon bags are so popular as board game bags that this cajon bag came up in search results on Amazon when I typed in ‘board game backpack’.
If you’re looking for new gaming groups to take your games to, check out this ideas post I put together – 13 Places, Apps and Sites to Find Board Gamers Near You.
28. Custom made board game
The ultimate board game upgrade! A completely custom, hand-made version of your favourite board game.
There are some very talented crafters lovingly making wooden versions of Catan on Etsy. If you are absolutely crazy about a particular game and play it a lot, then a custom game set would definitely be worth getting.
This wooden set of Catan on Etsy is amazing. It looks beautiful and would last a lifetime. I could see this set being the type of thing that gets passed down through the family.
Board game accessories and
There are some really cool board game accessories and upgrades out there. But there’s no reason to stop with the games.
I’m currently redesigning my games room and looking into lighting, storage and custom tables. I love playing board games and want me and my guests to have the best experience ever while playing them!
In the meantime, I’m going to treat my friends to board game accessories and upgrades for their birthdays. Maybe I’ll treat myself too!