Changing the way I use tokens

Posted on September 22, 2017 by


I’ve been looking at how I run my games lately. I’ve been thinking about minis, paper minis, and tokens, and what I want for my game and my table. Tomb of Annihilation has a SHIT LOAD of possible random encounters. It is a hex crawl after all…a damn good one, but a hex crawl nonetheless with lots of possible fighting in that jungle. There’s no way that I’m going to get a mini for every specific encounter. And paper minis? Do I really want to cut up and print 12-15 minis for a bunch of apes, a whole goblin tribe or cannibal band? No thanks.

So I’m going to be trying something new:  Color-coded numbered tokens.

Photo Sep 22, 7 50 23 AM

First, I create 1″ colored numbered tokens in Pixelmator (a mac Photoshop-type app).

Then I create a monster token with the same color outline. Like say, albino dwarves and a baboon.

Photo Sep 22, 9 07 47 AM

Now I suddenly have 10 albino dwarves and 5 baboon tokens! Instead of printing up 10 dwarves, I only had to print three. I wish I’d done this 10 years ago when I wrote this. 

I laminate them with poor man’s laminate (read: tape), and voila. Instant army.

Since those numbers are going to be seeing use A LOT, it’s worth laminating them. Keeps the pizza grease off the cardstock.

On the other side I’ll write who they are and it makes searching for them easier once I’m looking through the ziplock bag that’ll house them.

So… Print numbered color coded tokens. Print one of each monster in those colors, and you have an instant shitload of tokens to use.

The older I get and the more I game the lazier and lazier I get. I’m not going full theater of the mind yet because I doubt I could run it well, but if I could I would.

“But what about immersion!?”, you’ll ask… and yes, this provides very little. But for me? I’ve realized that my players don’t care all that much.

This will make my game faster. Players are facing a Flaming Fist patrol?

Pick the baggie with the random encounter already sorted, and go!

TIP: Go through the random encounters and pre-sort your tokens. Keep them in a baggie, then put the monster stat blocks for each encounter on a sheet of paper and keep them in your DM Binder. be ready to go seamlessly in the event of an encounter. Don’t stop to find minis or tokens and don’t flip back and forth on a book for stat blocks.

Photo Sep 22, 7 39 15 AM

If you would like to support, perhaps you’d consider visiting for your next rpg related purchase. Check out the following products:

D&D Tomb of Annihilation Dice

Dungeon Master’s Screen Reincarnated

Tales from the Yawning Portal

D&D: Tomb of Annihilation

Posted in: 5e D&D, DM Tools, Gaming