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Subject: I'm switching to poker chips rss

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Brass is currently one of my favourite games, but the money is really crappy (tiddlywinks) so I replaced them with poker chips. Also I bought Power Grid around March 2005 and it’s seen a lot of play so the money is getting skanky like old banknotes do. After testing the water today with Imperial and PG I’ve decided to roll out a standard set of poker chip, replacing paper money in all my games, where appropriate.

I actually bought a lot of chips (over 1000) a couple of years ago during the hold’em fad sales. I had the intention to use them in board games, but that never happened.

Chips are easier to handle than paper money or card coins, you can put them into piles of what you’re going to spend, see how much money is in a pile, clink them etc.

I got about 375 glossy high-ish quality ‘suited’ chips which are commonly sold. I thought I liked them and was going to use them, but decided they were too heavy to be worth carrying around (I live about 15 mins uphill cycle from game soc). Also they are smooth so don’t grip each other. When you stack them up they’re easy to knock over which could disrupt the board.

I also got a set of 200 fairly low quality (but functional) chips. They stack better but weigh about the same and don’t look especially good.

I also bought 200 really crappy ones that don’t even stack properly and they just look sh*t.

And I also got 160 cheap thin chips and 100 more from a different set that are very similar. They are lightweight but still look okay and they stack well. I am going to combine these to form my standard set. I’m putting it together in a super geeky box with other miscellaneous gaming accessories.
Currently I have
50 white (1s)
25 red (5s)
25 blue (10s)
40 red (will probably get dropped – too many)
40 dark blue (will probably get dropped – too confusing in bad café light)
40 yellow (2s or 20s?)
40 black (100s or 20s?)

It’s probably better to have 2 or 3 denominations in play at once rather than 8 or 10, and different games use money on different scales – some games you get an income of 1 or 2 per turn, in Power Grid you often get over 100.

I was going to go with a simple 1,5,20 system, but found that 10s are a really useful denomination to have for building Power Grid houses. The mental arithmetic is easier, but they make the 5s and 20s less useful.

I will probably end up with a 1,5,10,(20?/25?/30?) configuration. I think 50+ is too much as you’d be constantly making change - even in Power Grid - as nothing costs that much. Well Plant #50 does I guess…

I’ll fine-tune over the next few weeks to reduce redundancy.
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Chris Dieckmann
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http://www.boardgameswithscott.com/?p=32

You might find this video helpful it's all about using chips for board games
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J C Lawrence
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paulclarke339 wrote:
Brass is currently one of my favourite games, but the money is really crappy (tiddlywinks) so I replaced them with poker chips. Also I bought Power Grid around March 2005 and it’s seen a lot of play so the money is getting skanky like old banknotes do. After testing the water today with Imperial and PG I’ve decided to roll out a standard set of poker chip, replacing paper money in all my games, where appropriate.


I've gone a little further. I never use the original money that comes with games, no matter how good or bad it is. I use poker chips.

I've found that the following quite small poker chip distribution handles almost every German/Euro game I've tried it with (Imperial, Ra, Medieval Merchant, Clippers, Age of Steam, Intrige, Industria etc). We also often use them as scoring tokens in games with paper scoring or no score track, such as Die Sieben Siegal, David & Goliath, Wizard and the like.

40 white $1
30 red $5
25 green $25
5 black $100

Combined with a lidded plastic tray as pictured below (100 11gram chips fit perfectly in one tray) this fits conveniently in my game tote. That small 100-count chipset case is now a permanent fixture in my game tote. In fact it is so popular I now carry two such sets as so many other game tables want to borrow my chips.

 


A faintly similar chip distribution in a lidded plastic chip tray is readily available for retail sale (or is at least at Endgame Oakland) for around $6.

I have two such 100 chip sets, one standard 11 gram suited suited chips, and the other denominated "IVORY Gold Rush Era Poker Chips" (basically solid colour chips with vinyl stickers):

http://pjccmall.com/cgi-bin/shop/index.cgi?DEPT=32050207&SPD...

I have a partial discussion of these specific chips here:

http://boardgamegeek.com/article/1668605#1668605
http://boardgamegeek.com/article/1670385#1670385
http://boardgamegeek.com/article/1685125#1685125

For the larger games which don't fit within that small 100 chip set, such as Wabash Cannonball that I've been getting to the table so often lately, and for the 18XX I use a larger chip distribution. I mostly use a 320 chip 7 colour chip set for 18XX:

75 of value 1 (white)
75 of value 5 (red)
50 of value 25 (green)
50 of value 100 (blue)
25 of value 500 (black)
25 of value 2,500 (purple)
20 of value 10,000 (gray)

I have yet to ever use more than half of the white $1 or red $5 chips. The green 25 chips however have often gotten close to running out (but never have actually run out). After that there's always been plenty of room. All that (320) fits in a nice metal case intended for 300 chips BTW.

I then have a sheet of paper in the chip case detailing the total value of the bank using the above values. Thus:

Up to the end of the whites is $75
Reds: $450
Greens: $1,250
Blue: $6,700
Black: $19,200
Purple: $81,700
Gray: $281,700

That makes adjusting the bank size for any given game trivial. For instance 1825 Unit 1's $6K bank just means: "Remove 7 blue chips, and then play up to there". (Caveat: We never actually bother with the bank sizes in chips as we play up to the end game with poker chips or computer, and then always use a computer or paper spreadsheet for the end game -- much faster!)

For historical reasons I don't have $2, $3 or $10 chips. I may yet repurpose the 20 gray chips as $10 chips. I haven't seen the value in $2 or $3 chips for the games we play (yes I've tried them as a friend's set has both $2 and $10 chips) and I've come to dislike chips which don't fit the multiple-of-five model.

Using the above 320 chip chipset we've played 1824, 1825, 1829, 1830, 1835, 1841, 1844, 1860, 1860, 1856, 1870 and even almost made it through 18C2C without any problems. My larger 500+ chipset (same colours and denominations, counts just scaled up) swam through 18C2C.

Related threads:

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/83186
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/88455
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/157148
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/196120

Quote:
I got about 375 glossy high-ish quality ‘suited’ chips which are commonly sold. I thought I liked them and was going to use them, but decided they were too heavy to be worth carrying around (I live about 15 mins uphill cycle from game soc).


I carry exactly such a 320 count chipset (described above) around as part of my game tote for larger games (eg several of the Winsome Games titles and the 18XX of course don't fit within the 100 chip set)..

Quote:
Also they are smooth so don’t grip each other. When you stack them up they’re easy to knock over which could disrupt the board.


Scott complained about that in his video. I've not had that problem even with standard 11 gram suited chips except in very specific weathers.

Quote:
I will probably end up with a 1,5,10,(20?/25?/30?) configuration. I think 50+ is too much as you’d be constantly making change - even in Power Grid - as nothing costs that much. Well Plant #50 does I guess…


Having grown up in the Commonwealth my favourite distribution is 1/5/20/100/500/2,000/10,000/etc, but I find that 1/5/25/100/500/etc works more easily with US audiences.
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Doc Bullseye
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I keep a jar of coins nearby for all games that use money. Just regular American coins. The cheapest ones can be had for one cent apiece (admittedly the more expensive "25" pieces are four for a dollar).

The nicest thing about them is that no one ever has any trouble counting them -- in fact, usually with a glance they can tell how much money they have left.

And in a pinch, you can tip the pizza guy with them!
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Paul M
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paulclarke339 wrote:
...I got about 375 glossy high-ish quality ‘suited’ chips which are commonly sold. I thought I liked them and was going to use them, but decided they were too heavy to be worth carrying around (I live about 15 mins uphill cycle from game soc). Also they are smooth so don’t grip each other. When you stack them up they’re easy to knock over which could disrupt the board...

You have seen the light! Which is great. The less of these "suited" chips that people buy, the better. They are the bottom of the barrel of poker chips. They are cheap, slippery, slugged, low-grade, plastic, rubbish. There is nothing official about 11.5g. And they aren't made of clay!

paulclarke339 wrote:
...And I also got 160 cheap thin chips and 100 more from a different set that are very similar. They are lightweight but still look okay and they stack well. I am going to combine these to form my standard set...

You have chips you like better, which is good. If you are ever in the market, however, for a cheap, functional chip, the 6-Stripe Sopranos like the ones at http://discountcasinogear.com/store/product1441.html are good. Do not get super diamonds. Super diamonds do not weigh enough and have quality issues.

paulclarke339 wrote:
...It’s probably better to have 2 or 3 denominations in play at once rather than 8 or 10...

This is smart. For Power Grid, if you had 1-5-20 or 1-5-25 as your three denominations, with plenty of chips for each, that would work just fine.

paulclarke339 wrote:
...I will probably end up with a 1,5,10,(20?/25?/30?) configuration. I think 50+ is too much as you’d be constantly making change - even in Power Grid - as nothing costs that much. Well Plant #50 does I guess...

For the games you've mentioned, if you go 1-5-10-25, I think you are fine. I think 1-5-10-20 has too much redundancy. I would add 100s to the set, because some games like Indonesia use them. And if you plan on playing Serenissima, Acquire, Auf Achse, Silverton, 18xx, or any other game with denominations over 100, you'll need 500s, 1000s, and 5000s, giving you a 1-5-10-20/25-100-500-1000-5000. I find 2000s or 2500s to be awkward, but if that's ok for you, then a 1-5-10-20/25-100-500-2000-10000 setup like the one mentioned previously would be sweet.
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David Whitehouse
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I use poker chips for Brass as well and have never looked back. I already had a set from my poker days and they worked great. I now use them for alot of games.

Clearclaw's and Paul M's replies were great and have given me food for thought (like maybe I don't need to drag my whole 300 chip set every time).

Also, there's something about poker chips that gets everyone a bit more excited about the game (whatever it is). That's my experience anyway.

Here's what I use: http://discountcasinogear.com/store/product1443.html

They're a bit heavier at 14g so I don't recommend them for everybody, but they stack well and look great! (imo)

Cheers,

David
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J C Lawrence
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ipgyst wrote:
You have seen the light! Which is great. The less of these "suited" chips that people buy, the better. They are the bottom of the barrel of poker chips. They are cheap, slippery, slugged, low-grade, plastic, rubbish.


They function as replacement money well, they communicate their colour demoninations clearly (something I can't say for many vaunted better clay chips) and they handle well enough for many people to use without complaint -- what is so bad about them?

Quote:
There is nothing official about 11.5g. And they aren't made of clay!


Why is that important?
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Sounds like a very decent idea. My only problem as an immersion-gamer is that I find poker chips look dull. I'd love to be able to use old (worthless) coins. Like, if I could find some old French franc (the real old ones).
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clearclaw wrote:
ipgyst wrote:
There is nothing official about 11.5g. And they aren't made of clay!


Why is that important?


Decent clay chips weigh 8-9g each. That can be important if you're lugging around a lot of chips.

I have some really nice Desert Palms "Pure Clay" chips, purchased from www.thechiproom.com.

The reasons I got the Desert Palms:

1. The denominations kinda follow the greedy algorithm (1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100) with 25 replacing the 20. The greedy algorithm means less chips per transaction, which speeds things up and gives folk less chips to manage. I find having "2" chips around a big saver.

2. They are made of some kind of clay composite, so they feel almost as good as a true clay poker chips, don't slip too easily and weigh only 9.5g each.

3. They look awesome and engage folk in the game.

4. Denominations on the chips really help some folk, especially early in the game.

I keep my chips (600 surprise shake of the blighters) in 6 plastic containers, each of which held firmly shut by four rubber bands. Having separate plastic containers allows me to divide my chips for certain game situations and keeps the weight and encumberance down. Also, plastic containers are so much more portable than those horrid aluminium cases that force you to carry your entire chip collection everywhere.
 
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Michelle Zentis
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I never saw the point of replacing money with poker chips -- until I actually spent a week using them at a game retreat. Then I ran out, ordered a zillion samples, and got myself a huge set of these: http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?type=4&cam.... I skipped the 50s but got all the rest.

Now I even use poker chips to replace paper scoring for games like Poison and Qwirkle.

Definitely get samples before you get a set, because the first two sets I was ready to buy turned out to have disappointing chip quality. Even though you can return sets, the postage usually costs almost as much as the chips, so you don't want to do that!

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mudhoney wrote:
Also, plastic containers are so much more portable than those horrid aluminium cases that force you to carry your entire chip collection everywhere.


The case for my full set is gigantic, so I actually bought a smaller case (empty) to haul around to game events. It works very well! I shove small ziplocks in the slots for the cards so I always have those on hand as well.
 
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Russ Williams
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I am ignorant about poker chips. What does "suited" mean? As far as I can tell (looking at some chip sellers' pages) it just means that the 4 card suits (or occasionally 6 dice face symbols) are printed around the border of the chip. Does that serve any purpose, or is it just pointless ornamentation?
 
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Paul M
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russ wrote:
I am ignorant about poker chips. What does "suited" mean? As far as I can tell (looking at some chip sellers' pages) it just means that the 4 card suits (or occasionally 6 dice face symbols) are printed around the border of the chip. Does that serve any purpose, or is it just pointless ornamentation?

"Suited" is latin for "I am a piece of crap." Being serious now, suited chips and dice chips refer to the various designs which you can find on the same 11.5 gram, slugged, ubiquitous, plastic POS poker chips you can find almost anywhere:



yuk Avoid these! yuk

We've all been duped by these chips. I too was a victim. Educate the masses and make sure the factory in China which produces these must make something else instead.

If you really want a poker chip education, visit me and some of my friends at chiptalk.net - I am ipgyst over there as well.
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What do people do about games with hidden money?

(especially where the money provided with the game is in a single-sided format, making it easy to keep your money on the table without giving away the values)
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I use these for ALL my paper money board games:

http://www.unclesgames.com/product_info.php/products_id/7570

With 300 chips in four colors I can assign values as needed depending on the game, and I always have enough. For Power Grid and most others I use black=1, red=5, blue=10, and green=25.

The chips are 7/8" diameter, made of slightly rubbery plastic, and they stack pretty well. I replaced the mediocre cards with a set of KEM 100% plastics that can act as a random turn order generator, and the dealer button doubles as a first or active player marker.

And the best part is that it travels easily. Not to mention you can always bust it out to play some poker wherever you are.

(See photo below)
 
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I would be remiss to not point out my handy-dandy mini-poker chip set:



http://www.unclesgames.com/product_info.php/products_id/7570

It's only $20, it takes up the same amount of space as a Kosmos 2-player game, and it's a full 300-chip set. Plus, I was able to pack Friday the 13th into the cardbox in the middle.

EDIT: Two minutes! Dag.
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http://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/314528

I bought a set from a seller on Ebay which I'm very pleased with.
 
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sigtaulefty wrote:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/314528

I bought a set from a seller on Ebay which I'm very pleased with.

Those are NOT CLAY! They are metal slugs with plastic injection-molded around them. Anybody who says different is misinformed or lying.

On the bright side, they have the denominations printed on them, which is a must if you are going to replace money with poker chips.
 
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Snooze_uk wrote:
What do people do about games with hidden money?

Craft stores sell small opaque wooden boxes for about $2 each.

You could give each player a screen.

I think those are the best two options.

For people who enjoy pr0n, here's some:



Those are genuine Paulson clay-composite casino chips from a casino which tried to obtain a gaming license but failed, and thus never opened, but they got their chips made! Those chips have never seen play. It doesn't get much better than that. (Paulson makes the best clay-composite chips, bar none, and quit selling to the home market years ago)
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Russ Williams
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I guess I am a poker chip philistine or something, but all of these expensive fancy chips look ugly/distracting/confusing to me with all the different spots of several various other random colors around the edges and other distracting busy random art on their faces. Am I just totally low-brow in thinking that chips with a single solid color seem more useful and pleasing looking? Or is there some actual purpose served by the random additional color spots on their edges which I am not grokking?
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James Ludlow
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Snooze_uk wrote:
What do people do about games with hidden money?


If it can be tracked, which covers basically every game we play, we simply don't hide it.

In games where money is just a scoreboard and not used for transactions, like Stephenson's Rocket, paper-and-pen is faster than chips and much faster than the paper money in the game.

 
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James Ludlow
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russ wrote:
I guess I am a poker chip philistine or something, but all of these expensive fancy chips look ugly/distracting/confusing to me with all the different spots of several various other random colors around the edges and other distracting busy random art on their faces. Am I just totally low-brow in thinking that chips with a single solid color seem more useful and pleasing looking? Or is there some actual purpose served by the random additional color spots on their edges which I am not grokking?


The spots on the edges are there to make it easier to see two chips on top of each other from a distance.

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What about European stores that sell these?

Any good ones?
 
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ipgyst wrote:
sigtaulefty wrote:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/314528

I bought a set from a seller on Ebay which I'm very pleased with.

Those are NOT CLAY! They are metal slugs with plastic injection-molded around them. Anybody who says different is misinformed or lying.

On the bright side, they have the denominations printed on them, which is a must if you are going to replace money with poker chips.


I couldn't tell the difference betweeen clay chips and concrete chips. I wanted chips with the denominations on them and these were the most affordable I could find.

I'd LOVE a travel set of these chips to take to places like WBC.
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While I agree with J C (clearclaw) in just about everything he said, I did opt for a slightly different denomination sequence that has worked quite well for me:

I use 1, 2, 5 repeating (that is 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, ...).

I also made sure denominations were stamped on both sides of the chip.

I also have some extra colors that are not stamped for times when an oddball denomination is called for (like a 3).

As others mentioned, while I have a good size chip bank and case I also have a smaller aluminum case to carry the right bank manifest for a particular game as that makes startup and clean up faster. I've gotten into the habit of adding a bank manifest note into my games to facilitate prep. The 18xx series in particular as the starting bank size is very specific.
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