On March 17 2010, Gale Force Nine (GF9) issued a news release announcing that they have been licensed to produce official gaming accessories for Dungeons & Dragons. GF9 already produces excellent terrain pieces and templates to determine range and area of effect for blast and burst effects, in addition to various products for other games. Being impressed with the quality and usefulness of their other products, I was very excited to see what GF9 would come up with under this new license. Two days later they unveiled their first new product.

The Dungeon Master’s Token Set – $29.99

What You Get

The set includes a very nice wooden box with compartments to separate the tokens and a felt-lined box top that would be ideal for dice rolling. There are 50 tokens included. Most of these are “dragonscale-shaped” designed to “wrap around all your models’ bases, maximizing space on the battlefield”. Others are scroll-shaped and intended for you to write on them with wet erase markers to track character status and ongoing damage.

A Huge Disappointment

As with GF9’s other products, this is a high quality set. The box, the tokens, even the packaging looks great. But after seeing this product I have to wonder if anyone at GF9 has ever played Dungeons & Dragons.

Look closely at the picture of the miniature’s base. The miniature, as most miniatures, takes up almost all of the 1″x1″ square. The tokens, about 1″ long themselves, extend out in all directions around the miniature. That means that any adjacent miniatures will have to stand on each other’s tokens.

When a miniature needs to be moved, all the tokens need to be moved as well. Since adjacent miniatures are having to share space with each other’s tokens, this looks like it will be quite an ordeal.

There are two or three tokens representing each of various conditions (stunned, slowed, dazed, etc). I could envision needing up to twice that number on a regular basis.

As stated earlier, the set comes with a very nice wooden box with compartments to separate tokens. The lid is felt-lined and ideal for rolling dice. It appears to be very high quality. However, this high quality box must certainly have been responsible for a sizable chunk of the $29.99 price tag. Most gamers that I have talked with already have an ample supply of storage containers and surfaces for rolling dice. That makes the box an expensive unneeded addition. Especially if DMs are required to buy two sets in order to get an adequate number of tokens.

Alternatives

Check out Alea Tools. They have stackable magnetic tokens, in various colors, that work great with miniatures. Also they carry plain magnetic disks that are perfect for creating your own character/monster tokens. You could even glue a plain magnetic disk to the bottom of your minis so that they will grab the other magnetic tokens as well.

For an even simpler solution, you can purchase a bag of thin wooden 1″ disks at any craft store. Run a colored marker around the edge, using a different color for each condition, and place them under the miniatures as needed. They will serve the same purpose, be much easier to manage, and cost about a tenth as much for the same number. Many craft stores also have wooden boxes and felt if you really need some storage for the tokens.