Tabletop games have surged in popularity over the last few years, and game accessories are a great way to upgrade the gaming experience. dice
Each year, thousands of board games are published. We’re in the heyday of the board gaming hobby, and it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Whether you’re new to tabletop games or a seasoned veteran, the right board game accessories can take game nights to the next level.
Below you’ll find a collection of the best board game accessories. I’ve included easy storage solutions, board game upgrades, and general tabletop accessories.
Ready to find the best board game accessories for your next game night? Check out the list.
- 1 Accessories for Board Games
- 1.1 Card Sleeves
- 1.2 Board Game Organizer and Inserts
- 1.3 Plano Boxes
- 1.4 Plastic Baggies
- 1.5 Board Game Tables
- 1.6 Extra Meeples
- 1.7 Metal Coins
- 1.8 Poker Chips
- 1.9 Silicone Bands
- 1.10 Dice Towers
- 1.11 Dice Trays
- 1.12 Extra & Specialty Dice
- 1.13 Game Mats
- 1.14 Card Holders
- 1.15 Non-Slip Liner
- 1.16 Board Game Overlays
- 1.17 Board Game Backpacks
- 2 Other Game Night Tips
- 3 Board Game Accessories for Game Night: Last Thoughts
Accessories for Board Games
Not all of the gaming accessories on this list are must-have for every gamer, but I guarantee there will be at least a couple that will make the board game experience that much better.
This is one of the first upgrades gamers invest in for their board games. Card sleeves come in a variety of styles, sizes, and prices. They’re the most effective way to protect your cards from liquid, food, mold, greasy fingers, and more. Many gamers consider card sleeves to be essential.
Card sleeves come with a transparent front, while the back is either transparent, colored, or illustrated. Some are made of thicker plastic than others. Thicker plastic is more expensive, but it’s worth it to get card sleeves that can hold up to wear and tear. Some thin card sleeves feel cheap and won’t do much to protect your cards.
Card sleeves are available online and in gaming stores. They’re one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to protect your cards and keep your board games in tip-top shape. Be sure to measure the cards in your games to choose the right size of card sleeve.
Board Game Organizer and Inserts
Most board games have some type of organizer or insert, but these inserts aren’t always the most efficient or the best quality. Sometimes, they’re simply not large enough to hold all the game components. In such cases, it’s a good idea to purchase a separate organizer.
Board game organizers help streamline the game setup, saving time and frustration. They also make it easy to store the game when not in use. Game organizers can protect game pieces from damage during transport, and they also help you make sure everything is back in the box at the end of game night.
Inserts and organizers can be made from plastic, cardboard, wood, and even foam. You can DIY it, or you can find organizers online for purchase. Some brands, like Game Trayz, offer board game inserts designed for specific games.
These organizers range in quality and price, so you’ll have to decide what’s most important to you.
If you don’t like the idea of an insert, one alternative is to get a tackle box or a clear plastic craft storage box. These come in different sizes and styles. Some have adjustable dividers, so you can customize them to fit your game pieces. Even better, transparent boxes allow you to see what you have.
A game box is perfect for storing playing cards, extra dice, meeples, poker chips, metal coins, paper money, and other game bits.
Resealable plastic baggies might sound boring, but they’re a great way to keep game pieces organized. This is a low-cost, high-impact storage solution.
Plastic baggies come in different sizes, with an airtight seal to prevent tokens and pawns from falling out. You can even find some that are pierce-resistant, so they won’t be damaged by a pencil, for instance.
Plastic bags are the perfect solution for board games with a lot of small or unusually-shaped game components. You can keep all the pieces together without spending a fortune. I also like using plastic baggies for things like dry-erase markers, which can make a mess in a game box. Containing them in a bag means it won’t ruin the game board if the top pops off the marker.
Board Game Tables
Would any large table work for gaming sessions? Sure, but why use any old table when you can use your very own board gaming table?
Okay, board game tables are admittedly unnecessary, but they’re not uncommon for ardent gamers and game collectors. A board game table offers more than just a large playing surface. Many tables include built-in features that elevate the game experience, such as cup holders, drawers, dice trays, card holders, and more.
Many gaming tables are made of wood or metal and have a sunken playing surface that can contain game components. Some gaming tables even have matching chairs to give a coordinated look.
When it comes to board game accessories, a gaming table is the Cadillac of game accessories. It’s by far the most expensive item on the list, but for many gamers, it’s worth it.
Carcassonne introduced us to the meeple, the small human-shaped game token we’ve come to know and love. While we can’t thank the creators enough for this contribution to gaming, you might be ready to kick it up a notch.
Meeples come in as many styles and colors as you could imagine. Purple meeples? Done. Metallic-colored meeples? You betcha. Unpainted wooden meeples? Of course. Meeples in the shape of animals? Yes, but let’s call them animeeples.
If you take your board games on the go, you might lose meeples along the way. Having replacement meeples means you don’t have to stop traveling or playing. Since you have so many color choices to choose from, you can match your meeples to your personal style.
Many board games that use “money” include cardboard tokens or coins. Makes sense, after all. Cardboard is cheap and lightweight. But if you want a slick upgrade, you could get a set of metal coins.
Metal coins look and feel great, not to mention that delightful jangle they make.
You can buy a generic set of metal coins or get some that are specifically designed for a certain game. The official metal set of coins for the board game Scythe is extremely popular. The coins are made by Stonemaier Games, and they’re of superb quality.
Even better, the coins have the denominations printed on them, so you can use them with other games, as well. This particular set includes 80 coins in five denominations. You can swap out tokens or paper money for these coins to make your investment stretch even further.
Paper money is a thorn in the side of many gamers. It’s cheap, generally low in quality, and easy to mess up. One sneeze can send your money in every direction.
One common alternative is to use poker chips instead. Poker chips are readily available, color-coded, and durable. You can find poker chips in a variety of colors, styles, and materials. You can use them across different board games, so you don’t have to buy multiple sets. Many sets come in a convenient carrying case, so you can keep them organized in one place.
We used to store my kids’ board games vertically in a wooden crate box because we didn’t have the space to store them horizontally. This solution saved a ton of space, but it was frustrating because the boxes wouldn’t stay closed. Every time we pulled out a game, all the pieces would fall out!
Silicone bands were a lifesaver. You can use regular rubber bands, but H-shaped rubber bands (also known as X bands) are the best way to keep those board game boxes closed. The cross bands go around all four edges of your board game box, keeping it snug and completely shut.
X-bands come in an assortment of colors and stretch to 18 inches. The unique shape grips boxes at all four corners so the lid will stay put. The bands fit most board game boxes. Maybe not Gloomhaven, but who buys that game unless they already have a secure spot for it?
A dice tower is a fun board game upgrade that can add excitement and ease tension. You can buy one online or from a game store.
Dice towers come in all sorts of designs, materials, and price points. The most common design is the castle shape with a bottom drawer, but you can find one to your liking. If you’re a DIYer and have some extra time, you can make your own dice tower using everyday items.
Dice towers add some fun to the table space. You can use dice towers for all types of tabletop games, including war games, card games, or RPG sessions.
Plus, we all have that person who seems to get way more than their fair share of good rolls. A dice tower can put your mind at ease and ensure a fair dice roll.
I’m personally not a fan of the noisy sound the dice make in a dice tower, but that’s up to your personal preference. For some, it adds an element of exciting anticipation.
Do you have that friend who is always rolling dice off the table? It can be annoying, and it’s completely unnecessary. Luckily, you don’t have to live like that anymore.
Dice trays have raised sides that keep dice from flying off the table. You can find different shapes, but many are hexagon-shaped. Several roll up or fold flat when you’re not using them to roll dice. Some trays have a soft fabric lining that minimizes the sound of rolling dice.
You can choose a plastic tray or a more sophisticated leather tray. The leather trays are of higher quality, and some allow you to engrave a design or personalize them with your name. Obviously, those are more expensive than a simple plastic dice tray.
But if you have an eager beaver who throws the dice a little too strongly, a dice tray is the perfect solution.
Extra & Specialty Dice
It’s always a good idea to have extra dice on hand. While most games include the right number of dice, other games do not. Some games require multiple dice rolls, and having extra dice can save time. Each player can have their own set of dice, so you don’t have to pass a die from one player to another.
But why limit yourself to just extra dice? There are tons of specialty dice options. You can upgrade your dice to include themed dice that match the game. Grab glow-in-the-dark dice for an extra fun gaming experience.
Not sure which dice you need? Learn all about the different types of dice.
If you can’t afford to buy a gaming table, you can always get a game mat instead. Individual player mats allow each player to organize their player pieces.
A game mat provides a more tactile playing surface, and several gaming mats are specifically designed for a particular game. You can also find illustrated game mats that can be used for multiple games. Several are machine washable, so you don’t have to worry about those pretzel crumbs. Nice.
There are several retailers and online shops that sell play mats. The big things to look for are mats that are easy to clean and easy to roll up. You want the game mat to take up as little space as possible when not in use, but you want it to lay flat when unrolled. A rubber backing can help the mat grip the table and lay flat.
Card holders are great for several reasons. First, it helps children whose hands are too small to hold all their cards. It also helps those who might find it difficult to hold an entire hand of cards.
Secondly, a card holder can help protect your hand from wandering eyes. When another player says something funny, you can double down in laughter without showing everyone at the table all your cards.
A card holder also frees up your hands to move other gaming pieces, take notes, or (my personal favorite) eat snacks. Card holders come in all kinds of colors, materials, and sizes. You might prefer a standard wooden card holder, or you might opt for something a little funkier.
When you think of a non-slip liner, you probably think about the liners in kitchen shelves and drawers. These liners are used to prevent objects from sliding around or to keep drawers clean. But non-slip liners are also a great way to keep tiles, resource tokens, or playing pieces from moving.
Liners may not be necessary for some games, but they’re well-suited for tile placement games like Carcassonne and Isle of Skye. They stop the tiles from shifting around when other players place a tile on the board.
What’s more, a non-slip liner will keep the table clean. This is especially helpful if you play on a slick table or your dining table. It is important to invest in a quality liner. Cheaper liners won’t hold up well over time, and they can break down easily. It’s also a good idea to get a neutral or dark color that won’t make it difficult to see the game tiles.
If you can’t afford a board game table, a non-slip liner is an affordable alternative that will work well for tile placement games.
Board Game Overlays
3D games have gained popularity in recent years. Games like Upwords and Scrabble 3D require you to play tiles and build upward as well as outward. A board game overlay is perfect for games like these.
Azul is a good example of a game that works even better with a board game overlay. It’s easy to knock tiles over with the slightest bump against the table. It provides the perfect slot to play the tiles.
Board game overlays are now coming in customized designs geared toward specific game boards.
Board Game Backpacks
A board game backpack is perfect for storing and transporting board games. If you rotate who hosts game night, it’s a good idea to have a backpack to carry the board game to a friend’s house.
You can use a regular backpack, but board game bags are designed to accommodate game boxes snugly and efficiently. They have a square shape and a deeper interior than a normal backpack, so you can stack board games.
Several models are water-resistant, so you can take them outside. They come in a variety of sizes and styles. Some have outer pockets for other board game accessories, and others have a strap so you can carry it as a shoulder bag or wear it as a backpack.
If the idea of a backpack is unappealing, you could opt for a rolling case. A rolling case can accommodate more weight than the average backpack, and it’s easier on your back.
Other Game Night Tips
Part of the reason board games are so popular is the experience that goes with board gaming. Conversation, player interaction, cooperation or healthy conversation, these are all reasons people enjoy coming to the tabletop. If you want to make the most of game nights, the following tips are good to keep in mind:
It’s tough to have a proper game night without snacks. Having the right snacks not only keeps bellies full and players happy, but it also minimizes interruptions from players leaving the table to get something to eat. Snack bowls can hold pretzels, popcorn, nuts, and candy. Everyone can have their favorite snacks in reach as they play their favorite games.
Need some snack ideas for game nights? Find the best snacks for your next gaming session.
If you want to have a gaming session at night, good lighting is a must-have. You can use a desk lamp to provide better visibility, or you can use a color-changing LED bulb to set the right mood or to match the theme of the board game.
For a more immersive gaming experience, set up a music playlist that matches the board game theme. For instance, if you’re playing a dungeon crawler, you might choose a spooky or adventurous playlist.
Want to play a Star Wars game? Bust out your Star Wars playlist. This could work for any movie-themed board game. The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, you name it. The right music is a must-have for the best gaming experience. Some games have a free companion app that includes mood music with the app.
Most games include all the necessary items, but there are several games that require a writing utensil. Word games are known for including stubby pencils with no erasers in the box. Those are uncomfortable to write with, and they don’t last long. Having pens or sharpened pencils handy is a fantastic way to ensure everyone can take notes, jot down answers, or keep score. You might also want to include notepads with the writing utensils.
Board Game Accessories for Game Night: Last Thoughts
The best board game accessories can make your favorite games even better. Whether you go with something simple, like a couple of board game inserts or some upgraded components, or whether you go all in on a board game table, you can elevate game nights with the right gaming accessories.
Ready to use your gaming accessories? Learn more about how to host a game night.