Friday, October 24, 2014

A Dr. Wictz List: 10 Uses for Pennies in Board Game Prototypes

After prototyping countless games I am going to let you in on a little secret on my favorite cheap material I use for board game components in my prototypes, the penny.  I know some places may scoff at my list (Canada) because they no longer have access to lots of low cost pennies for you to take from the convenience store cashier (as change, I am not advocating robbing the party store to get your board game components).  But for those of us who still have access to this low cost, versatile, board game component, here is a list of ways you can use it to build your board game prototypes.
Pennies used as movement pieces in
Underground Street Racing.

1.  Pennies as movement pieces.

2.  Pennies as mental coins for currency.

3.  Pennies represent a resource in a game, like copper.

4.  Pennies used as wound markers.

5.  Pennies as weights to prevent movement prices from being blown away.
Penny used as base to
prevent Post Position
horse from blowing over.

6.  Pennies track victory points.

7.  Pennies flipped as a way to determine start player.

8.  Pennies used as a way to denote ownership of a territory.

9.  Pennies thrown as a means to distract other players from making rational decisions.

10.  Many, many pennies used to bribe board game publishers to publish my game.

Are there other uses for pennies that I missed? Because I sure can’t use them to buy anything. So help me out and leave your suggestions in the comment section.


  1. I vaguely remember playing a kind of table-top dexterity hockey game as a kid using three pennies in which you had to "flick" a penny between the two other pennies in order to keep going until you scored a goal. If hit one of the other pennies or missed altogether, it became the other player's turn. This is how we killed time in ninth grade homeroom when there was absolutely nothing else to do for 20 minutes. (Apparently people have started making and selling boards for this game.)

    Like you, I'm a big fan of pennies in prototypes. (You already know I use them for currency in "East India Company.") I don't know of any other component so versatile that's available by the hundred for just a buck.

    1. And honestly, I stole the idea of using pennies as currency from East India Company. (If I had a good picture of pennies being used within the game I was going to include it with the post).