I received a deluge of responses (if you can call four a deluge) to my initial entry of physical fixes with requests as to where I find my supplementary game materials. So, as not to deprive anyone of too much of a good thing, here are my major suppliers for all the tinkerers among us:
Danco Industries, Inc. (www.dancoindustries.com) supplies the best variety, price, and service that I have found when purchasing zip-lock bags. A wide selection of sizes in regular and heavy duty thicknesses, while also having a choice of with or without a white labeling stripe. Each size comes in a case of one thousand, which may seem like a ton of bags, but for those of us who are anal organizers, they go fast. Also, better yet, ingratiate your gaming buddies big time by handing bunches of them out. The costs are really reasonable. For example, a case of 4x6 that I purchase only costs $16.40! What a deal. You can order online, or call Danco at 800-225-7960.
One of my greatest perks from being a math teacher was discovering Nasco (www.eNASCO.com). A retail supplier who offers a very wide selection of high quality bits that are designed for schools to use as manipulatives for hands-on math applications, but also work as great gaming stuff: Specialty dice, colored cubes, shapes, high density plastic miniatures, counters, markers, etc. Their prices are very reasonable. For example, the small plastic poker chips I frequently use (which they call "stacking chips") come in a bucket of one thousand in eight different colors for $14.75. You can call Nasco at 800-558-9595, and ask for the math catalog.
Now, for the serious game folks, there is Rolco, Inc. of Kasota, MN. They are a manufacturer of plastic game pieces who cater directly to game companies and corporations. Therefore, they are a bit pricey unless you order a thousand or more of the same thing, but offer many items that I haven't seen anywhere else. I particularly like their universal card stands. These are great for holding upright any cards, fold-over cardboard miniatures, die-cut figures or counters, etc. They work well for a wide variety of thicknesses since they are more of a spring clip and not the usual stand with a corrugated slot which is set for one thickness. These cost $27 per thousand of one color. You can call for a catalog at 507-931-4525.
And for my last little shopping tip of the month, there is the ubiquitous lamination process. For many years you could have taken your goods to be laminated to a variety of places. This usually involved a hot press or rollers sealing Mylar plastic onto your item. There are two problems with this method. First, you couldn't trim the plastic to the edge of your document without causing the lamination to separate since the plastic only stuck to itself. Second, you couldn't fold the stuff, because the Mylar would crack. Your other option was to try the ol' rolls of clear vinyl contact plastic, which you can buy at any megastore. Believe it or not, these work great! For you do-it-yourselfers, this provides a permanent, durable, waterproof, greaseproof, foldable protection which can be trimmed to the edge. I have never had any problems with separation or cracking even with repeated backfoldings. It also provides more of a matte finish, opposed to the very glossy Mylar. But, for the faint of heart, caution is the utmost priority. There are no second chances - it is VERY sticky stuff. Be sure you have mastered the art of laying the plastic on a table with the sticky side up, then carefully rolling out the document on top of it from its edge to prevent bubbles from forming. But now, thanks to the magic of innovation, there are now cold laminators which will do this sticky and precarious job automatically, which I highly recommend. However, purchasing a cold laminator can cost several hundred dollars. So, when looking for a place that does laminating, be sure to ask for the cold process.
- Ray Smith
GGA - One more links to manufacturers of parts—the desire to buy 1000 brains is almost overwhelming...