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Jewel-like tokens for use with board games or anything else. A classy upgrade from plastic chips, wood cubes, glass beads, & such.
Jewel-like tokens for use with board games or anything else. A classy upgrade from plastic chips, wood cubes, glass beads, & such.
411 backers pledged $25,183 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$25,183

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Upgrade almost any board game by replacing the player markers or tokens that came in the box with PennyGems. They're dazzlingly shiny, feel solid yet sensual to the touch, are very easy to pick up off a table (because of their raised edges), are non-skid, stack surprisingly well, have a nice weight to them, and are incredibly durable. Each one has an icon on one side which ensures that people who are color-blind or visually impaired can still easily identify different kinds, and the symbols also establish a rank or order for the colors, should a game need that. 

If you haven't already spotted the sequencing code, I'll spill the beans. Just count the number of points on each shape. Oh, the football/cat's eye shape on the orange token is gonna get swapped out for a crescent moon in the final run, and the black seven-point spiral will be a little bit different as well. I'll also be making the green and blue tokens just a teensy bit darker. Sure, I could just make their shapes black, like the first four, but somebody might invent a clever use for the fact that the first four icons are black, and the last four are white. It seems a shame to mess up that little bit of symmetry.

Oh, wait, did I mention that they're kinda non-skid?

PennyGems are made by printing UV-resistant ink onto chrome mirror-like self-adhesive vinyl labels, then covering the label with a dome of space-age polyurethane. The polyurethane is non-yellowing, self-healing, extremely resistant to a wide range of chemicals, and very durable, while also being slightly flexible and very pleasing to the touch. Two of these labels are placed on a penny. The penny gives the PennyGem token a satisfying weight in the hand. 

When I say "UV-resistant," by the way, well, so, it's like this. A few years ago, I printed a decal for the side of my car. No polyurethane dome, no other kind of clear-coat or protective layer, just the ink on the vinyl. About two years later that car died and was hauled off to the wrecking yard. The decal on the side of the car didn't look any different than when I'd first applied it. However, the vinyl that I used was the 'outdoor-grade' stuff, which is used for putting graphics on buses and the like. For PennyGems, I'll be using the less expensive vinyl. According to the manufacturer, if you use their "cheap" vinyl on the side of a building or other outdoor location, they don't promise that it'll last for more than a month or so. So try to not leave them lying out on your sidewalk for more than a couple of weeks at a time, eh?

Now, the manufacturer's predictions do not include the polyurethane dome. I've tested the polyurethane in boiling water (unaffected), ethanol (unaffected), concentrated hydrochloric acid (two hours, unaffected), methylene chloride (two days, surface was somewhat softened), and lacquer thinner (a few days, surface was just starting to dissolve). It resists being scuffed by sandpaper and such things, isn't very easy to cut through with a knife unless it's really really sharp, and has a tendency to self-heal small scratches or cuts.

I took the still pictures that you see on this page just a day or two before launching the project, and the pictures show the same set of prototype PennyGems that you can see in the video. These tokens have been to three or four game night parties, were hauled all over GameStorm (and fondled by many more people than just the ones in the video), and generally been working pretty hard. My *previous* set of prototypes is almost three years old, and if I mix them in with the new ones, you cannot tell them apart if it weren't that they have different icons.

In fact, PennyGems would be a nearly-perfect game token, if not for one thing: the polyurethane is very expensive. Enough so that it really isn't feasible to sell them in retail stores. However, via Kickstarter, I can offer you these beautiful tokens at “direct from the factory” prices, so to speak, thus keeping the final cost low enough to make it work. 

PennyGems are made by me, more or less by hand, in the U.S.A. (A very special 'thank you' to PlastiCreations for their assistance and access to their equipment.) PennyGems are shipped “some assembly required,” you'll need to stick the labels on pennies yourself, and you supply the pennies. Canadian pennies are the same size as the U.S. version, so Canadian buyers can select the non-international options; just add an extra $5 to cover shipping. For Kickstarter patrons who'd like to have some PennyGems but can't go down to their local bank to get a roll of U.S. one-cent coins, the International rewards include rolls of pennies, as well as the labels and international shipping costs.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $6 or more About $6

    Sampler: Labels to make eight PennyGem tokens; one in each of the eight colors.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Super-sampler: Labels for sixteen PennyGems, two each of the eight colors

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    Pledge $18 or more About $18

    Quartet: Labels to make forty PennyGems; four colors (red, blue, yellow, green), ten tokens per color.

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    Pledge $18 or more About $18

    Prism: Labels to make forty PennyGems; eight colors (white, red, orange,yellow, green, blue, purple, black), five tokens per color. (Not avail. for international. Canadians, as with all rewards this level and above, add $5 for shipping. Thanks.)

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    Pledge $32 or more About $32

    Rainbow: Labels to make 80 PennyGems; eight colors, ten tokens per color.

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    Pledge $55 or more About $55

    Double Rainbow: Labels to make 160 PennyGems; eight colors, twenty tokens per color.

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    84 backers
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    Pledge $74 or more About $74

    International Double Rainbow: Labels to make 160 PennyGems; eight colors, twenty tokens per color, plus 200 U.S. pennies, and international shipping.

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    14 backers
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    Pledge $90 or more About $90

    Full Spectrum: Labels to make 320 PennyGems; eight colors, forty tokens per color.

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    20 backers
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    Pledge $111 or more About $111

    International Full Spectrum: Labels to make 320 PennyGems; eight colors, forty tokens per color, plus 400 U.S. one-cent coins, and international shipping.

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    6 backers
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    Pledge $140 or more About $140

    The Color Of Magic: Labels to make 540 PennyGems: NINE colors (including the special 'hologram' prismatic diffraction tokens), sixty tokens per color.

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    69 backers
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    Pledge $175 or more About $175

    International Color Of Magic: Labels to make 540 PennyGems: NINE colors (including the special 'hologram' prismatic diffraction tokens), sixty tokens per color, plus 700 U.S. one-cent coins, and international shipping. (Why so many extra pennies? Because some of them will be pretty dull and grimy.)

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Horse of a Different Color: Labels to make 800 PennyGems in up to eight colors _of your choosing!_ Pastels, your wedding colors, eight shades of nearly-black for Gothic Game Night, or whatever other colors a CMYK printer can create. For the "International" version, add $44. If you're feeling extra clever, you can even assign different colors to the front and back of each Gem, so what you really get is 16 groups of 100 labels. (Remember, it takes two labels to make a PennyGem.) Eight groups will be a single solid color. The other eight will have one of the eight standard icons, each on a solid color.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    Synthetic Diamonds: Labels for 800 PennyGems, in up to eight designs of your choosing. I'll use image files that you provide to make you a personalized set of PennyGems labels, printed on either chrome or white vinyl (you choose). Note that some images might be unreproduceable due to technical limitations or content. For the "International" version, add $44.

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    Pledge $550 or more About $550

    Breakfast At Tiffany's: An armload of gems to roll in! Labels to make 2,160 PennyGems, which is 240 Gems in each of nine colors. Add $75 for the International version (includes pennies and shipping).

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Queen of England: So many Gems you'll need to build a tower just to store them! Labels to make 4,320 PennyGems in nine colors, 480 tokens per color. Add $102 for the International version (includes pennies and shipping).

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    Pledge $4,000 or more About $4,000

    The Game's Afoot! Since it's hard to imagine what anybody would do with 8,640 PennyGems, we'll provide you with expert assistance. Not only will you receive nearly one thousand PennyGems in each of the nine colors, but game designer James Ernest will create a game based on your input for you to play with your new hoard. The game will be published with you receiving credit as the person who commissioned the game.

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Funding period

- (26 days)