Alternatives to Minis

Sarah Darkmagic - Posted on 14 October 2009

I understand the allure of minis. If you have an extensive collection, it really helps the players to visualize the scene. But what can one do if they are just starting out and/or don't have a lot of money to invest in them?

Option 1: Create your own tokens

Example TokensExample Tokens

NewbieDM has a great post on his website on how to create your own monster tokens. His article has information on where you can get all of these items.

The requirements for his process are:

  1. A copy of image editing software such as PhotoShop or Gimp.
  2. A copy of the TokenTool software, a free token making utility.
  3. A printer, preferably color.
  4. 1-inch metal washers. 2-inch for larger creatures.
  5. 1-inch hole punch. 2-inch for larger creatures.
  6. Extra Strength Glue Stick.
  7. Option 2: Glass beads

    Glass Beads as MonstersGlass Beads as Monsters
    I have a number of different colored glass beads to use as monster stand ins, particularly for minions. Mine happen to be from Chessex.

    Option 3: Bananagrams

    Bananagrams as MonstersBananagrams as Monsters
    I saw the Bananagrams game at my local variety store and was instantly reminded of the letters used to indicate the positions of monsters on maps. They are somewhat easier than the glass beads since there are many more options (26 letters versus however many shades of beads you can find) and it's a little easier to remember what the letters mean.

    What do you like to use?


Alea tools (the people who make those magnetic disks) have a 1 and 2" hole punch that works with the magnetic disks. Which make them easy to work with the status markers. I keep thinking about doing that with some magic cards to represent the persistent spells.

I did the washer thing for all of Keep on the Shadowfell.. it was a bit of work, but end up working nicely for that whole quest.

HOWEVER, it isnt a very good long-term solution, as we're finding that quite a few of them are falling apart - the pictures sliding off the washers. We are constantly having to re-glue them, and for the most part, have just started using the blank washers themselves.

What type of glue are you using? A lot of glue's do not stick to metal. Try cardstock and a gluegun perhapses.

Didnt know about that token utility nice to know thanks.

Personnally I use stands with my monster tokens. I have 2 models.

One is very basic using washers and paperclips. I bend the paper clip and glue it to the washer. If u do it right, un can insert a paper token in the clip and there u go.

The other one I use are acrilic stands I bought from Litko aero systems.

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