Five Regular Items We’ve Used as Last-Minute Replacement Game Pieces | Rollacrit

One of the most frustrating shared experiences amongst tabletop gamers is the disappearance of certain game pieces. We’re not sure if its’ a Toy Story type of situation where the pieces just gain sentience and walk off in an attempt to have adventures of their own, or if the Roomba gets extra hungry at night, but for some reason, one or two pieces ends up going missing.

Nowadays, we have a lot of options to combat missing pieces (like 3D printing or ordering replacement parts), but if you discover pieces missing right before you want to play, there’s not much you can do within a few minutes. That’s when things get creative.

Here are five everyday objects we’ve used as makeshift substitute game pieces.


Game Pieces from Other Games

There’s a little bit of shame in admitting the dog from Monopoly has appeared in quite a few of our games as a placeholder character. But hey, game pieces from other games can work in a pinch, and as an added bonus, you can make the standout game piece part of the campaign. In our latest D&D game, we were transformed into a dog by a witch at the beginning of the game. Plot matters.



Coins are useful not just as main game pieces, but as a replacement for in-game currency of battle/damage token. And even if you think you don’t have any around the house, you can usually find some in the hidden depths of your couch or the dryer. Also, most tokens are roughly the size of dimes or pennies so it’s pretty helpful to have a handful of change on game night just in case.



If you’re more creatively inclined, you can try your luck at making origami figures to replace your missing game pieces. This one is probably one of the more time-consuming options, as there is a talent factor involved. The only real drawback to this option is answering the question “Wait. What is that supposed to be again?” for the eighteenth time.


Vinyl Figures

This option can actually be cool, assuming you have a decently sized game board. There are tons of vinyl figures out there that could substitute for character pieces, so you can probably find something that doesn’t stand out too much from the game aesthetic. Plus, it’s an excuse to show off your vinyl figure collection.


Sauce Packets

Okay, so… this is the last option that you should only consider when there are no other options. We’re talking about a “this or cancel game night” situation. Because they’re small, sauce packets can be great temporary game pieces, but there’s a cost—you will be judged. Savagely. Just make sure you’re ready to pay the price if you choose this option.


So, there you go. The next time you’re missing game pieces, you don’t have to cancel game night. Just pick one of these options and prepare for the other players to judge you accordingly. Good luck!


About the Author:

Michael Baker is the main content writer at Rollacrit with a flair for haiku. He previously wrote for ThinkGeek (and a bunch of other places). In his spare time, he enjoys playing tabletop games, writing about comics and pop culture, and cultivating his dog’s Instagram presence.


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