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_5000_in_Tub.aspx 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_of_102.aspx
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.
YouTube Game Design channel: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHWWViIuBsOrSm2HXeBj2kA