Five years ago, I wrote about a Kickstarter campaign for PennyGems, which are hands-down my favorite tabletop gaming accessory. They’re all-purpose tokens with just the right weight, they’re easy to pick up, they stack easily, and they don’t slide around when you bump the table. I even had custom PennyGems made for my own Emperor’s New Clothes Kickstarter because I liked them so much. Sadly, I’m writing today because Improbable Objects is discontinuing them, so it’s your last chance to order some.
I saw Dave Howell, the creator of PennyGems, at GameStorm last week, where he told me that a combination of poor sales and upcoming supply chain issues make it impossible for him to keep producing them, so he’s selling his remaining stock at his Shopify store. Aside from the basic sets in primary and secondary colors, there are also gems designed for Netrunner, Magic: The Gathering, and a fancy Sudoku set. You can even get the blank white gems I originally commissioned.
The PennyGems are a clear polyurethane dome on top of a metallic sticker, and you apply them on either side of a penny. The polyurethane doesn’t feel sticky, but is grippy enough that you can stick them to each other—many people ask if they’re magnetic. Because they’re domed on both sides, you never have trouble picking one off the board or table, but there’s enough of a flat surface that they also don’t roll around.
PennyGems don’t come cheap, so my guess is that people who haven’t seen them in person don’t understand why they’d be worth buying, but in the five years I’ve had my PennyGems I still haven’t come across a gaming token that comes close. If you’re looking for some good, all-purpose tokens to have on hand for your gaming table, you really can’t go wrong with these. I just wish these objects weren’t quite so improbable—it would have been nice to see them reach a wider audience.