Most board games contain a variety of pieces. Some board game pieces have obvious names and well-known designs, such as a pair of D6 dice, while others may look unfamiliar and have names that you’re nor familiar with.
If you’re creating a board game, knowing what these pieces are and how they’re produced can give you a much stronger understanding of the board game manufacturing process, letting you create your own game with a more concrete plan.
Even if you’re not interested in creating a board game, understanding the many pieces found in a typical game can enhance your gaming experience and help you avoid confusion.
Board game pieces are occasionally also referred to as components, or simply by the name of each piece. For this guide, we’ve used “pieces” and “components” interchangeably.
Below, we’ve listed the numerous pieces we produce that you can use in board games, as well as the function each piece serves, how it’s made, and what you should know before considering this piece as part of your game.
Board Game Boxes
A board game box is exactly what it sounds like — the box your game will come in. A good box will protect your game, make sure the game pieces are nicely organized inside, and make use of its cover art to let potential players know what the game is actually about.
Board game boxes are typically made of cardboard and, like game boards, come in a variety of thickness and density levels. Common game box designs include tuck boxes, two-piece boxes, and magnetic flip boxes. These are available in a range of different sizes to suit most games.
Our guide to board game boxes goes into greater detail about box designs, materials, and other information you should know about this important component of your game.
Map Tiles & Tokens
Tiles are hexagonal or square pieces that are either placed directly on top of your game board, or pieced together to make a board. Many games are built around piecing tiles together, while others use tiles to denote which resources are available in specific parts of the board.
The term “token” usually refers to a smaller tile that’s used to denote game resources, such as coins, raw materials, items, or gold. These are sometimes called “chits,” and they’re often used in board games to add numbers, categories, or other variables to the gameplay.
Tokens are typically printed onto a single sheet of paper, which is then glued to cardboard and cut into smaller tiles, tokens or chits.
Our guide to board game tokens covers more about this process, as well as how we can make the ideal tokens for your game.
We’re all familiar with playing cards — small cards cut from card stock and can include anything related to your game.
For board games, cards are typically rectangular or square in shape. We offer seven card sizes, from classic poker cards to tiny mini-sized cards in a square or rectangular shape. We can also make cards from three materials: white core, blue core, and black core paper.
Your cards will generally play a major role in your game and players will likely touch them often, making it important to get their design, material and shape right before you start manufacturing your game.
Our guide to playing cards for board games goes into more detail about effective card design, manufacturing materials, and more.
Most games contain wood pieces — small pieces that are used to represent characters on the board or other items in your game. You’ve probably heard of these wood pieces referred to as “meeples.”
Meeples are tiny game pieces shaped like humans. They’re used to represent players on top of the game board. In some board games, you might only control a single meeple, while in others, players might deploy a team of meeples strategically to fight, compete, or gather resources.
We can produce meeples and other wood pieces in a range of shapes, sizes, and colors to match the visual identity of your board game. Other wood pieces can include pawns, which are cheap and simple to make as part of your game.
Miniatures are small, highly detailed models that players will use as part of your game. They’re sized to fit your game board, giving it an incredible amount of detail and making its setting feel as if it’s truly real.
Most miniatures are made using injection-molded plastic. This is an expensive process, which means that miniatures are only used sparingly in most games. However, some games revolve entirely around collecting, painting, and using miniatures as part of gameplay.
Our guide to the manufacturing process of a board game discusses how miniatures are made, as well as why these game pieces tend to be more expensive to produce than others.
The vast majority of board games have dice, usually as a way to add randomness. While most players are familiar with standard D6 dice (six-sided dice), dice come in a large variety of types, with the number after “D” corresponding with the number of faces.
These include D4, D8, D10, D12, and D20 dice — the large, multi-sided dice that are employed in games like Dungeons & Dragons.
We can manufacture dice out of a variety of materials, including acrylic, resin, wood, metal zinc alloy, and polymer plastic. Dice can be finished with custom printing, classic pips or numerals to match the aesthetic style of your game.
Our guide to custom dice for board games goes into more detail about types of dice, materials, finishes and other information you’ll need to make dice for your game.