Getting Into Board Games? Here's What You're Gonna Need...
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With board games requiring a sizable amount of disposable income, I like to get the best deal I can when purchasing a new title. The joke around our house is, "Yeah, but how much did the game cost after you bought the organizer boxes?"

Yeah... Houston, we may have a problem.

No matter what hobby you get into, it's amazing how many accessories you end up NEEDING to have, and board games are no exception.

If you're new to the hobby, here are a few things you might need.
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1. Board Game: Doggy Bag [Average Rating:6.00 Overall Rank:10725]
Board Game: Doggy Bag
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Plastic Bags

Board game components that are just thrown loose into a box tend to get tossed around a lot. Not only can this potentially damage the pieces and lead to lost bits, but setting up the game takes a long time while you dig everything out and sort all of the pawns, cards, dice, tokens, and chips.

Board Game: Twilight Imperium (Third Edition)

This is a disaster!

You can keep your game pieces together and minimize setup time by keeping everything stored in plastic resealable bags.

From gallery of FALCON1717


These come in a variety of sizes and are available at Hobby Lobby, Michaels, and Walmart.

From gallery of FALCON1717


I remember hearing years ago about a law enforcement initiative to identify drug dealers by examining citizens' department store purchases to see whether there were large numbers of plastic bags being purchased. I wonder how many board game enthusiasts would end up being improperly profiled if that were to happen.

"Sir, what do you need with 900 plastic baggies?"
Um... well, in my game I need my pimped bits kept organized by player color." whistle
"We're going to have to ask you to come downtown."
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2. Board Game: Hole in One [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Hole in One
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Hole Punch

From gallery of FALCON1717


After bagging your components, you will find that packing them back into the box can be a trick if there isn't a lot of room in the box and you're trying to put a number of bags in there.

The thing is, when you seal the baggie, you're also sealing a certain amount of air in there and the result is like trying to fit little pillows into your board game. Punching a small hole into the bag allows it to lie flat.

It isn't always necessary, but it's a nice tool to have.
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3. Board Game: Table Bowls [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked]
Board Game: Table Bowls
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Condiment Bowls

From gallery of FALCON1717


Sometimes a game will require that a number of tokens be placed on the table in reach of all players. Dumping those tokens onto a little pile on the table is ok, but as the game wears on and players give and take from the pile, the tokens can begin to drift across the table. If there are multiple piles of tokens, they can even begin to get mixed up.

Enter the condiment bowl. Place your community bits in these, and they will help to keep your game neat and organized. You can get these at Walmart, the Dollar Store, thrift shops, any kind of small bowl will do. Wooden bowls can add a touch of class to a game, while brightly colored plastic ones can provide a festive look.
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4. Board Game: Boxes [Average Rating:4.67 Overall Rank:19001]
Board Game: Boxes
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Organizer Boxes

Sometimes games have so many pieces that even bagging them doesn't help much with organization. A board game box packed full of bags is going to take some time unsealing them all and dumping them all out into their own piles on the table.

That's where organizer boxes can really improve things. Imagine a game with a dozen different tokens or chips that players need to have access to throughout the evening. You can open 12 bags and dump out the contents, or you can simply pop the lid off of an organizer box and you're ready to go!

From gallery of FALCON1717


Fishing tackle boxes such as Plano are very popular, as well as craft boxes for beads or jewelry.

I have used plastic organizer boxes from Walmart, Dick's Sporting Goods, Bass Pro Shops, Dollar General, Hobby Lobby, Michael's, TSC, Ace Hardware, and even Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Just keep your eyes open and be sure to stock up on a wide variety of sizes so that you will always have something that will fit in your game box. Most Plano boxes are customizable, so you can adjust the number and size of the compartments in each one.

One brand I particularly like to use is the Craftmate Lockables.

Board Game: Fortress America


The cool thing about these are that each of the 7 compartments lock down by just closing the individual lid. To open a compartment, you just push in the locking tab with your finger and lift the lid. You don't have to worry about the organizer coming open inside the box and the contents being tossed all over. Also, if you're having trouble reaching into a compartment to retrieve your pieces, just turn the organizer upside down and let those bits spill out onto the table. The other 6 compartments will stay locked and those bits will remain inside the organizer.

I like to organize a box for each player, with their own pieces already sorted. I just ask them what color they want to be when we start the game, toss a Lockable at them, and we're ready to go. These boxes come in 2X and 3X sizes, as well as double box versions with 14 compartments.

Another organizer solution I like is the Darice Interlock modular storage system.

From gallery of FALCON1717


This allows you to mix and match individual compartments (small, medium, large) to fit into a larger case with closing lid. These are made of a hard plastic as opposed to the soft plastic of Plano boxes. I like the fact that I can quickly hand the appropriate compartment to each player or place community token containers on the table in easy reach of everyone without having an open organizer lid being in the way.

From gallery of FALCON1717


The large container lid keeps everything together, but inside, the smaller removable compartments can be set out without a lid.

From gallery of FALCON1717


I've used a lot of different boxes, depending on my needs and the size of the game box. For example, after trying out two other organizer solutions for Rattlebones, I finally found a tube container system I liked that works perfectly:

From gallery of FALCON1717


There are dozens of storage solutions out there to help you organize your game. Some companies, such as Broken Token and Folded Space, even specialize in custom solutions for specific games.
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5. Board Game: Rubber Band Game [Average Rating:5.75 Unranked]
Board Game: Rubber Band Game
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Hair Bands

No, not like Lita Ford.

I mean these:

From gallery of FALCON1717


Never, ever use rubber bands to keep a deck of cards together. Over time, the rubber will dry out and break, with pieces stuck to the paper. When you peel these dried rubber bands off, they can leave a residue on the card that either won't entirely come off, or will damage the card.

Use these fabric bands instead. While you can get them in the beauty aisle at Walmart, Target, Five Below, or even Sally's, there's no need to spend more than $1 for them at the Dollar Store.

Guys, if you don't like the funny looks you get from female customers while you're browsing the store's selection of these beauty products, you can have your wife pick some up for you.
I've been in this hobby for 12 years now, so I'm used to it. laugh
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6. Board Game: Shuffle Dice [Average Rating:4.88 Unranked]
Board Game: Shuffle Dice
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Card Shuffler

From gallery of Hedron Engineer


I'm the worst card shuffler anyone has ever seen. Seriously, if you want a little chuckle, watch me give it a try. My wife still laughs at my feeble attempts.

I cut the deck in two, flip each half... and totally miss the edges of the cards, leaving the same two decks of cards on the table that I started with.

Ok, this time I got it right. Now let me flex the cards backwards as I pick them up, and... nuts! Dumped them onto the table.

Let me try riffle shuffling, like my Dad always did. Uh oh, can you see where those cards went under the table? I'll pick the ones up that landed here. Yeah, I see the ones in my hand that flipped upside down, I'll turn them over.

You know what? Why don't you shuffle them for me and I'll just deal them?

Needless to say, I own a card shuffler. They're not perfect, and they're noisy, but sometimes they're necessary.
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7. Board Game: Good Cop Bad Cop: Equipment Pack #1 – Protect [Average Rating:7.09 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.09 Unranked]
Board Game: Good Cop Bad Cop: Equipment Pack #1 – Protect
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Card Sleeves

From gallery of FALCON1717


Until recently, I never sleeved my cards, but a recent issue with the cards from Fury of Dracula required sleeves to correct (FOD Event Card Fix) and I've begun to see the value in sleeving.

Card sleeves are like clear plastic envelopes that a card slides down into. It protects the card from wear and tear, grubby fingers, and are extremely valuable when needing to print up replacement cards as you can drop two cards into these - one card being the back of a game card and the other being the front of a new card you printed up.

I have a few card games where the card quality is pretty much just paper. I sleeved those to keep them from tearing. Another card game I have has square corners, which will become dogeared through shuffling and handling and will mark the cards very quickly. I sleeved those, too.

Another issue I ran into recently was that I was missing three cards from a game that was out of print. There were supposed to be 4 of a certain card, and I only had 1. I was unable to get replacement cards, so I scanned the one card I did have and printed out three copies of the front and the back on paper, cut them out, and placed a front and back into sleeves. By sleeving the rest of the cards, you can't easily tell which ones are the originals and which ones are just printed on paper.

From gallery of FALCON1717

Original on the left, printed paper on the right.
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8. Board Game: Deck Box Dungeons [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:4768]
Board Game: Deck Box Dungeons
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Deck Boxes

From gallery of FALCON1717


Deck boxes are made to hold decks of cards. It's an alternative to simply banding the cards, which allows you to label each deck. This has its advantages in certain games, where you might need to label the Event deck separately from a bunch of different Location decks, Player decks, and so on.

They are available in a variety of different colors and styles.

From gallery of FALCON1717


Deck boxes are also good for replacing the board game boxes that some card games come in. One of my games, Air War: Pacific, needed to be sleeved because of having square corners on the cards and I was worried that these would become marked as we played. However, after sleeving them, the cards would no longer fit in the box.

Here's an example which shows an unsleeved deck of cards on the left, and the same cards in sleeves on the right. In fact, two sets of unsleeved cards are the same height as the sleeved ones in this case.

From gallery of culix


Depending on the thickness of the plastic sleeves, the height can vary considerably.

Since my cards would no longer fit in the box, I replaced the box with a deck box of the same color as the original, which in this case was a sky blue.

From gallery of FALCON1717


Not only did this box hold all the cards, but it came with a divider which I used to separate the cards from the rules. I scanned the box cover and printed it onto a sticker, cut it out, and applied it to the front of the deck box. It looks great!

From gallery of FALCON1717
From gallery of FALCON1717


A cheaper type of deck box is called a tuck box, which are usually just printed out on paper, folded, and glued together. Check the Files section of your favorite card game on BGG to see if a tuck box template has been uploaded for you to use.
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9. Board Game: Hold'em-opoly [Average Rating:3.38 Unranked]
Board Game: Hold'em-opoly
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Card Holders

From gallery of FALCON1717


Card holders are convenient hands-free accessories and are good for organizing your cards. Some, like the ones sold in the BGG Store, also come with integrated component compartments to hold your game pieces.

From gallery of FALCON1717
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10. Board Game: Pixie Play Tray [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Pixie Play Tray
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Card Trays

From gallery of FALCON1717


For the discriminating OCD gamer, card trays keep decks of cards and discards neat and orderly.

They come in different sizes and some rotate to make it easier to push around the table to keep in easy reach of all the players.

From gallery of FALCON1717


This being BGG, you can find custom card trays for pretty much whatever you're looking for.

From gallery of FALCON1717
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11. Board Game: Tumblin-Dice [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:698]
Board Game: Tumblin-Dice
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Extra Dice

From gallery of FALCON1717


Get yourself a drawer full of dice. Six-sided dice, eight-sided dice, ten-sided, twelve-sided, and twenty-sided dice of all colors and sizes.

Chances are, you're going to lose dice to the dog, to the kids, and to the air conditioning vent. If you get games secondhand, sometimes the dice will be missing, so it's good to be able to replace them.

I also find that some games only give you enough dice for one person to use at a time, and you pass them around from player to player. While that often works just fine, there are times I like to include enough dice so that everyone has their own. When I do this, I like to make sure that each player's dice match their player color.

Tip: If you're going to throw out that old game of Monopoly because it's missing pieces, save the dice!
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12. Board Game: Epic Dice Tower Defense [Average Rating:4.46 Unranked]
Board Game: Epic Dice Tower Defense
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Dice Towers

From gallery of FALCON1717


Rolling dice is fun, but it's irritating when they fall off the table, or roll across the board and knock over all the pieces. A dice tower is made to allow dice to tumble down a tower and then roll out into the contained courtyard. No muss, no fuss!

There are many different colors and designs!

From gallery of FALCON1717

From gallery of FALCON1717

From gallery of FALCON1717
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13. Board Game: Cadbury's Milk Tray Man In Black Game [Average Rating:5.25 Unranked]
Board Game: Cadbury's Milk Tray Man In Black Game
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Dice Tray

From gallery of FALCON1717


A nice alternative to a dice tower is a dice tray. These keep your dice from falling off the table and the results are easier to be seen by everyone at the table than they are in the smaller dice tower enclosures.

We like to use dice towers for most games, but in dice games like Las Vegas, we use the dice tray instead.
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14. Board Game: Cup-A-Cup [Average Rating:5.94 Overall Rank:14082]
Board Game: Cup-A-Cup
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Dice Cups

From gallery of FALCON1717


Of course, if you're going to be rolling dice in a dice tray, you're going to need a set of dice cups!

It's kind of like that children's book - If you give a guy a board game, he's going to need a dice tray. And if you give him a dice tray, he's going to need some dice cups...
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15. Board Game: Pieces of Eight [Average Rating:5.77 Overall Rank:13779]
Board Game: Pieces of Eight
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Extra Game Pieces

From gallery of FALCON1717


Just like missing dice, you never know when you're going to need a replacement component, so keep a drawer full of different colored pawns and items that could be used to replace player pieces.

"Pimping" a game means replacing a boring game piece with a better one.
For example, in the photo below, the cardboard bullet tokens have been replaced with real bullets (made with baking soda instead of gunpowder).

From gallery of FALCON1717


Having all sorts of pawns and small toys will allow you to replace pieces or customize games to your liking. So that Monopoly game you're throwing out? Hang onto the houses and pewter pawns as well as those dice. You never know when they may come in handy.
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16. Board Game: The Game of CHIPS [Average Rating:4.87 Overall Rank:17587]
Board Game: The Game of CHIPS
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Poker Chips

From gallery of FALCON1717


If you've ever played games that use paper money, you know what a pain it can be to keep track of. The paper gets creased, torn, and worn out over time, it's hard to see just how much you have without flipping through all the bills, and pink and orange money just looks odd.

It sticks together when you're counting and it's easy to hand someone two bills when you meant to give them one. It also tends to clutter the table in messy pastel piles that can easily glide into the wash of air as someone walks by and flutter to the floor under the table. We have to weight them down or slip them underneath the game board if the ceiling fan is on high or else the room looks like a wind tunnel of dancing paper dollars.

For these reasons, I have replaced all paper money in games with poker chips. It's much more thematic in Old West and casino games anyway, and far easier to see how much you have with just a glance. (With pirate games, I like to use metal coins or even plastic gold pieces.)

I have three sets of poker chips I use.

This is a set from Walmart that you can get in the games aisle for $30. It's pretty good quality for the price, and I have parted these out to various games.

From gallery of FALCON1717


This carousel contains cheap plastic chips, which I generally keep in the unit. It's small and fits easily on the table if needed. I picked this up at a thrift store for $1 or something like that.

From gallery of FALCON1717


I bought this very nice chip dispenser at Tuesday Morning for $20. Simply press the button at the bottom of each column of chips to get a handful of 5 at a time. This unit is larger, but very nice looking at the table.

From gallery of FALCON1717

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17. Board Game: Bag-O-Loot [Average Rating:5.78 Overall Rank:16146]
Board Game: Bag-O-Loot
Chad McCoy
United States
Vilonia
Arkansas
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Cloth Draw Bags

From gallery of FALCON1717


It's handy to have a number of cloth drawstring bags to add to certain games. Some games require you to place a number of cardboard tokens face down on the table, and you draw one randomly at prescribed times.

It's easier to drop all of these into a bag, pull the strings closed before giving the bag a good shake, and then reaching in to grab one. It also saves on table space.

Some games come with these bags for drawing random colored cubes, but some of them are too small to get your hand into comfortably. When that happens, I just replace it with a larger one from my inventory.

A friend bought my wife a game that didn't come in a box, just a blister pack of dice, scorepads, and pencils. I dropped these into a drawstring bag, and now the game has a home.
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18. Board Game: Time's Up! [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:496]
Board Game: Time's Up!
Chad McCoy
United States
Vilonia
Arkansas
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Electronic Timer

From gallery of FALCON1717


When a game needs a timer, it usually uses a sand timer. The problem with these, is that people are usually focused on the game, not the timer. Which means you look over, see the sand has run out, and announce time. But you're not really sure how long time has been up. It could have been sitting there empty for 5 or 10 seconds for all you know.

This is why an electronic timer makes sense. Just set it and forget it. It will let you know when time is up. You can use a phone app for this, but I've never found a generic one I like that can be used for any game.

That's why I have an electronic kitchen timer with a Start/Stop and Reset button. The reset button is critical, because it lets me hit Stop, Reset, Start very quickly and the preset time will begin counting down again. This is very useful for party games in which teams are taking rapid fire turns.
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19. Board Game: Dots [Average Rating:4.99 Overall Rank:18278]
Board Game: Dots
Chad McCoy
United States
Vilonia
Arkansas
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Velcro Dots

From gallery of FALCON1717


If you like to store your board games vertically on the shelf like a book, then these little dots are great for keeping the box lid closed.

I apply two sets on the inside of the box lid, one on the left and one on the right. To open a game, just pull the lid lightly outwards and the velcro will release, then lift up normally.

I used to use rubber bands to hold the box lids closed, but rubber bands were always breaking and I would find bunches of them on the floor. I threw out handfuls of them. The dots work great!

From gallery of FALCON1717
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20. Board Game: Elves & Shelves [Average Rating:6.06 Unranked]
Board Game: Elves & Shelves
Chad McCoy
United States
Vilonia
Arkansas
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Shelves

From gallery of FALCON1717


If your game collection grows beyond a dozen games or so, you're going to need to come up with a storage solution for them.

I use the adjustable wire shelving kits from Rubbermaid because I like to determine the height and width of each shelf.

From gallery of FALCON1717


They also have cool accessory baskets and shelving that clip on to the existing shelves which I like to use for card games.

From gallery of FALCON1717


Other people like to use fixed wood shelving, like Kallax.
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21. Board Game: Pick a Paint [Average Rating:5.88 Overall Rank:14811]
Board Game: Pick a Paint
Chad McCoy
United States
Vilonia
Arkansas
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Paint Markers

Many games come with unpainted, gray miniatures, and painting them is another hobby all its own. I'm not handy with a paintbrush, but it's difficult for me to tell one piece from another when they're all wearing the same gray suit.

While I can't paint to save my life, I can work a marker, and you can buy acrylic paint pens in different colors and in different-sized tips.

It is very easy to draw a line of color around the base of these figures.

From gallery of FALCON1717


With a little more effort and a little care, you can even paint the entire base of the miniature, which I think looks even nicer.

From gallery of FALCON1717


If you think you'd like to get into full miniatures painting, then that's a whole other list of required tools, but if you're only interested in being able to tell one piece from another, an acrylic paint pen is a worthwhile investment.
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22. Board Game: Alphabet Soundtracks [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Alphabet Soundtracks
Chad McCoy
United States
Vilonia
Arkansas
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Soundtracks

Board Game: Conquest of Planet Earth: The Space Alien Game


There's nothing like a good music soundtrack to enhance the gaming experience.

Flick'em Up is a great Western game, but playing it along with the soundtrack to "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" makes it unforgettable.

Youtube has hours of cave ambiance or ancient tomb sounds you can listen to while playing dungeon crawlers.

Some games even come with their own CD's to help you get into the theme of things, like Last Night on Earth.

You can have fun putting together playlists for games that help to immerse you in the story.
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23. Board Game: Get In That Tub [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Get In That Tub
Otherworldly Gamer
United States
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Game Tubs

From gallery of Havox


For getting your stack of games to game nights.
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24. Board Game: Friends Trivia Game [Average Rating:4.48 Overall Rank:18877]
Board Game: Friends Trivia Game
Dan Mansfield
United States
Poway
California
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Make sure you have plenty of friends who will play games with you. Check out your local FLGS, Meetup, or Facebook groups to find others in your area. Solo gaming is always an option, but forging friendships through gaming is one of the best parts of this hobby.
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25. Board Game: Flat Top [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:1912]
Board Game: Flat Top
Roger McDowell
United States
Fountain Inn
SOUTH CAROLINA
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Buy headliner fabric from either Joann or Hobby Lobby to cover the top of your table. Makes it super easy to pick up cards. You can also get some cheap alligator clips to hold it in place.

From gallery of BolognaPony
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