I first came across PennyGems three years ago at GameStorm, where Dave Howell was shooting reaction videos for his Kickstarter video. (You can see me at about a minute in.) I was immediately impressed with the way they looked and felt, wrote about and backed the Kickstarter, and still use them whenever I need some extra counters for anything. I even commissioned some special “invisible” gems for Emperor’s New Clothes to go with the theme.
In case you haven’t seen them before, PennyGems are metallic stickers with a polyurethane dome. You take two and attach them to either side of a penny, and you wind up with a gorgeous token. The polyurethane is nicely rounded and somewhat grippy, so you can stack them easily and they stick to each other a little, and don’t slide around on a board. The penny inside provides a nice heft and makes them feel a bit like those glass gems, but they’re easier to pick up. And, since the sticker inside is printed, Howell has created a huge variety of gems. There are jumbo gems that stick onto quarters, special counters designed for Magic: The Gathering, glow-in-the-dark brains, and more.
Howell also just announced a new product: the GemRack (pictured at top). If you’re using various gems to stand in for something in a game, it may be helpful to have a handy reference to remember what each gem represents. The GemRack holds eight gems at a slight angle, and you can slide a piece of paper inside to show what each gem is for (or just write on the surface with a transparency marker). It’s currently on sale for $5.95.
You can find the GemRack at the Improbable Objects Etsy store, along with PennyGems and various other fun stickers that Howell creates. Howell announced recently that the price of the PennyGem sheets will be going up in a few months, so now’s a great time to pick up a few sheets!