Do you like cute things? Are you the type of person that likes your outfit to match your deck box? Are you dissatisfied with not-cute-at-all official and unofficial gaming products? Do you just want a change? Let’s face it, Dungeons and Dragons and Magic the Gathering tend not to be very cute or pretty, tending to skew towards the gritty, serious, and hardcore. This displeased me! So I made a guide with some tips on how to modify your games and pretty/cute them up! Even if you’re not into cute things these tips work for making your game more chic and classy looking, and personalizing your game in general.
Dungeons and Dragons
One warning, know your audience, tell them before hand what you want to do, feel them out. Or just do what you want if you’re draconian.
Customize your own tokens and pieces for NPCs and Monsters.
You can either get images you like or if you’re art minded you can draw your own. This is a link to a token spreadsheet you can use to pop in your own tokens to they’ll be the correct 1-inch x 1-inch size. Here are two tokens I made for one of my games:
There’s a wide variety of items you can use as alternatives to regular figures.
Japan, Korea, China and other countries make erasers that come in cute shapes like pandas and dolphins. These can work great but some of them don’t stand upright great so add a little base to it with sticky tack or glue like a coin or a piece of cardboard. Rodrigo also sometimes uses Squinkies that are available in any toy store. They’re built so that the majority of them stand upright without need for a base.
There are “Blind Box” or “Blind Buy” toys, like the designer vinyl toys from Kid Robot, but more mainstream companies are also making toys like this, My Little Pony has a line of these for example that work well. There are toys that come from egg/coin operated vending machines that can work. For higher quality ones, search for “gashapon” figures from Japan/East Asia, ranging from popular anime series to just strange little original characters.
Get a Cuter Dice Bag
Before I switched to my beloved Batman bag, I had a bag that was pink and white and covered in a strawberry print:
This was a bag intended to hold Japanese lunch (“bento”) boxes. Search online for “bento boxes” and you’re sure to find some really cute or refined looking ones (ebay is great for this). If you have a local store that sells Japanese/Korean/Chinese items like a Kinokuniya, try them as well. Also, you can use the bento box itself, I did this as well and lined mine with a matching pink handkerchief.
You can also look for makeup bags/coin purses/travel bags, online or at your local department store or pharmacy store. Check out any where that sells makeup! These bags can range from cute to beautiful. You can also ask your friends/family if they have a makeup bag they’re not using. For really original looking stuff, look on Society6.
For a more refined look, try a classy black box or a damask pattern. Check the dimensions of these items to make sure you’re not picking a massive thing that will get in the way (unless you have a rabid dice collection…). But if you get a larger one, you can also keep your new pretty tokens or other gaming items in it.
Small tip, making your dice match the bag instantly gives you +2000 style points.
Make the encounters themselves cuter or prettier
Study images of visually appealing things and figure out what about them attracts you, both character wise and setting wise.
Pay attention to things like sleek architecture, gardens, clothing and hairstyles.
Expand your characterization, NPCs and monsters don’t always have to be grim to be threatening or impressive. Try cursed viking kittens, teddy-bear golems, and murderous cherubic vampires. Stats are stats, if they wreck your party, they still wreck your party!
Magic the Gathering
Guess what! The standard 9-pocket sheets for Magic cards are a standard size for 3 ring binders in general. You’re not limited to Ultra Pro and Wizards of the Coast brands!
Check out a scrapbooking store, a stationery store, office supply store, anywhere that sells 3-ring binders.
I got this damask print one from Amazon to keep all my rares in.
For example, try a black faux leather one or a polka dot. You can even get them personalized!
Deco Deck Boxes:
The cards themselves tend to be the same size as regular playing cards, which means you can use playing card cases to hold your cards too. Again, these can sometimes be personalized. A company called Legion has a cute Unicorn and Rainbow box I got the other day.
Check dimensions of your deck boxes. A standard Ultra Pro box is 3 7/8”x 1 13/16”. Anything with that size will fit your cards! Up the size and fit the deck box itself in there. If you double that size you can fit more than one deck. Look in places that sell little storage boxes. Look at tin boxes, bento boxes, boxes to store small makeup and scrapbook items and art supplies. Even some glasses cases will fit your deck. Some craft stores sell unfinished little boxes now that you can personalize yourself with varnish and paint.
You can also create custom cards. Personally, I’d be interested in taking cards that already exist and switching out their art/theme, but something that’s really popular is creating your own Magic cards. Obviously, they wouldn’t be usable in a tournament but still, it’s something to play around with.
There are two forerunners in this arena. One is Magic The Gathering Card Maker. The card maker is a browser-based application, but… it’s broken right now.
For a more robust (and actually functional) option, you can try Magic Set Editor, this is a desktop application with lots of options. It’s a lot less intuitive than the MtG Card Maker, it took a lot of poking for me to figure out how to make things go where. But it’s a must for people that are really hardcore about designing their own cards, with lots of organization features and a large amount of border/layout options. I turned out this:
Okay, those are my tips, comment if you have any ideas of your own you want to share!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Adriana is an artist living in Seattle working in gaming and doing comics on the side having learned to draw through the use of a montage and cool rock music. She has a small, crappy cat, an intense love for Batman and an open relationship with The Legion of Super-Heroes. She is a thin layer of indifference wrapped around a large nougat of rage and possesses the World Record for holding grudges without letting them touch the floor.