I spend a good deal of time in resell shops. One of my favorites is Goodwill. At first I was against going to used good stores as I thought the items were poorly maintained and people were just looking for a way to get rid of their junk. There is a lot of things you will consider junk there, but if you are not looking for anything in particular, you can find a gem of a deal.
I shop these stores and think “how can I use this in a game?” I can often find terrain that will spice up an encounter or something that may help me in a mundane way, like folders or clip boards for paper management. Sometimes I find steals and just wonder if the person putting the item out has no idea what it is. I found a color PDA for $3.00. It was an older model, but I was able to charge it up and it worked perfectly. I found a free die roller for the PDA on-line and was able to use the PDA at the game (I have since abandoned the PDA as I roll horribly with electronic die rollers).
The story of my most recent find starts on December 26th, our first game after Christmas. A couple of us gamers pitched in to buy the octagonal dice tray pictured here. We purchased the tray so our game master would not have to use the box lid from one of his board games to roll dice. We all got a laugh out of the “10′ wood” that was written on the box and the tray turned out to be a hit at the game as everyone tested its functionality.
A few days later, I found myself in Goodwill again and stumbled across a dice tray for sale. I did not think the dice tray was as nice as the one we purchased, but I really liked the idea of having my own tray and this one had an intriguing set of numbers across the top. I racked my brain to determine what the what the numbers were used for, then I thought “Well, how can I use this in a game”? The numbers counted from one to nine and I though; Initiative Round Tracker, Wound Level Tracker, Sustained Spell Counter, Bullet Counter, …
I couldn’t beat the price, so I purchased and brought the tray home. I was writing this article when the origin of the tray hit me… it belongs to a game called “Close the Box”. The game that is played with two people trying to eliminate numbers from one to nine. I believe this tray is half of a two tray set. I actually own a version of this game called Boc-tin, but the counters are completely different, they range from one to twelve, and uses a single area to roll dice. The other tray most likely suffered some mishap and a single tray is not very useful. So now I have found a decent dice tray with a nice counter function for whatever I may need it for. Total price for this item: 99 cents plus tax.