There’s something really special about coins. You can use chips, cubes or even paper money (I’m looking at you Power Grid!) to track a particular commodity in a game, but I love it when a game provides coins. Board games like Caylus, Hansa, Lords of Waterdeep, and Tokaido all provide really nice cardboard coins.
Shiver me timbers!
Nice cardboard coins certainly aren't exclusive to pirate games, but I do notice that they tend to include them. It just goes with the theme. Every September, I like to have a pirate party to celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day, and one of the games I like to play is Jamaica. Now this is a gorgeous game all around, but I especially love the beautiful cardboard coins.
Seriously, I could go all Scrooge McDuck and take a treasure bath in these guys. They are thick, round, and chunky, just the way I like my cardboard coins. My buddy John said recently, “There is nothing I like better than punching out a couple of flats of cardboard coins. It feels like I have a pile of actual money.“ I too love holding a big handful of gaming coins, which is odd because the thought of holding a handful of pennies and nickels grosses me out. Do people still say gross me out?
The pirate game, Pieces of Eight is worth mentioning since the game is played exclusively with coins. The coins are metal and are really beautiful.
Each player has a set of unique coins which are treated like a hand of cards. You hold them in a stack and use each coin’s special ability to try and defeat your opponent. It’s a neat little game, but you have to keep a rule sheet in front of you since there’s no room for text on the coin, which makes it a little clunky.
Over the past few years, I’ve started collecting metal gaming coins. I have two sets of coins with denominations to keep track of points or money. One set has a science fiction theme I like to use for space type games. I got those from a Kickstarter project. I also have a set of coins featuring the Tabletop logo that I got from Campaign Coins, which is a great place to start if you are looking to add some real metal coins to your gaming collection.
Some board games like Scythe and Lords of Waterdeep have sets of metal coins that you can purchase to replace the cardboard coins that come with the base game. Other games like Tokaido have special editions that feature metal coins. It’s usually fairly expensive, but if you have a game that you really love, it’s a nice way to pimp out your game. I just recently ordered a small set of metal replacement coins for my copy of 7 Wonders Duel that I recently upgraded with an insert from the Broken Token.
I also like to use metal coins as props when I’m playing role playing games. It’s fun to give players actual bags of treasure, and the coins are also useful as inspiration tokens or FATE points. Honestly, I don’t use them that often in RPGs. I just think they are really cool. If people can collect those weird plastic figures with giant heads, then I can collect metal fantasy themed coins.
Getting started with gaming coins
If you are interested, I would recommend checking out Campaign Coins or The Broken Token, and find a set of coins that you can use in one of your favorite board games. Also, keep an eye out on Kickstarter for projects that feature gaming coins. You can get a lot of extras in a good Kickstarter campaign. If you have any other recommendations, please mention them in a a comment below.
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