In early March I blogged about a 4th Edition marking solution using soda rings, that I ran across at a local game-day. It was cheap and unique, though not without flaws. Well there was so much interest in that post, and 4E marking solutions, that Trask asked me to share my personal method of marks. I use and love, the magnetic markers from Alea Tools.
I first saw Alea Tool’s product at their first Gen Con convention several years ago. That same convention, people would keep showing up to tables, with these new magnetic markers. To be honest, I liked the idea and almost bought some, but disliked the 1st generation magnetic marker in play. Mainly because when the piece got too close together, they would either push each other away, or grab each other and snap together, as magnets tend to do. And markers will often need to come base-to-base in D&D on the 1” grid. However, after checking out their 2nd generation magnet at a local game-day, I was sold.
The new Alea marker is still a 1” round plastic disk with a magnet inside. However, they now use Neodymium magnets. These magnets, while just as strong as their previous counterparts, are 1/5th the size. So, when centered in the middle of the plastic disk, the attraction while stacking them is just as good; however, the magnetic field is reduced preventing the push/pull problem.
Another reason that I like the magnetic markers from Alea Tools, is because they now have 2” disks as well. Perfect for your large creatures!
Also, they sell 1” sticker disks that can stick to the bottom of the D&D mini’s. This allows the miniature to stick to the magnets. The don’t work GREAT with D&D mini’s due to the lip around the edge of the mini. But it is good enough to be effective.
For my game I placed a piece of sheet metal down under the maps. This allows the magnets to stick to the table. Some like it, because everything stays in place. Others dislike it, because it sticks too much. But to each their own… the Alea Tool’s magnetics work great in both situations.
The only negative comment I can make about Alea Tools is that I wish that they sold their Game Master packs in another configuration. To fill you in, their game master packs are 100 1” magnetic marks in a variety of colors. And they come in a really nice hard-shell carrying case.
Interlude from Trask: I have the Game Master Pack and here is a shot of the contents. We now return to our regularly scheduled Haaldaar.
The problem for me is that there are 15 red markers and then 5 each of 17 other colors. This is too may for my tastes. I would rather have more markers of fewer colors. Especially, since I am color blind and can’t tell the difference between the light, medium, and dark shades of the same color. So for my personal set, I bought my markers individually in packs of 10. Which is great, but it would be nice to have a customizable option for people to still get the hard-shell case and the discount. Or worst case, sell the case separately so it is still an option.
But all in all, it is a great product that works very well for many marking solutions. You can use them as miniatures in a pinch, action points, or pretty much anything that you would normally use coins, chips, or beads for. And you can write on them with wet or dry erase markers.
So thank you Alea Tools, for making a product that earned a place at my gaming table.
Full Disclosure: These markers were purchased with my own cold hard cash. Livingdice.com does have an advertising relationship with Alea Tools.