By Fantasy Mint
There’s an old song going through Gamer Bling’s mind these days, one of those tinny wartime ditties that goes something like this:
Reviewer says “tawkin”
But you say it’s “toekin”
You may think you’re right
But GB has spoken
Tawkin, toekin, GB has spoken,
Why don’t we call the whole thing hawt!
Hmm. Gamer Bling probably tried to push that joke a bit too far. Sort of like the calypso scene in Beetlejuice. Be that as it may…
Today, class, we are talking about Tokkens, the item cards produced by Fantasy Mint. And by mint we mean fresh and exciting not in the oversexed breath-ad fashion, but in the high fashion, which is to say, these cards are not printed, they’re minted. Then printed. On.
Tokkens are the combination treasure pack / inventory management / blingy reward product produced by the same people who brought you Rook steel deck boxes. In fact, they are much like Rook deck boxes, except they have fewer sides and more game info. And some requisite d20 legal stuff.
Basically, each Tokken is a tin plate roughly the size of a TCG card. On the front is a nice piece of art depicting the item, as well as a logo and some requisite d20 legal stuff. And on the back is a specific description of said item. As well as a logo. And some requisite d20 legal stuff.
They are packaged in cardboard booster packs, each of which contains five Tokkens. And some requisite d20 legal stuff.
First, the over-all impression. The Tokkens are well produced. The edges of a freshly cut tin plate might be sharp, but Gamer Bling will never know as the edges of each Tokken are rolled tightly back for safety’s sake. Sort of like the curl on the lid of a tin Band-Aid box (or a Rook deck box, coincidentally enough). Not only does this keep you from getting massive razor cuts (which are painful and cause blood and gobbets of flesh to obscure the nice art), but it also makes each Tokken feel more substantial and solid. The rolled edges have the added benefit of giving the Tokkens resistance to bending 10. This is good if you have small kids, as Gamer Bling does.
The front: The layout is nice and clean, although one supposes the art area could have been made a tad bigger. Still, Gamer Bling will not kvetch about graphic design, especially when some of the art splashes outside the picture bounds. The art varies rather dramatically from Tokken to Tokken, but has a relatively high minimum standard. At least in Gamer Bling’s opinion. Which is the only one that counts. Unless Gamer Bling’s wife also has an opinion. But at least in such cases Gamer Bling’s opinion will still be solicited before being ignored.
The back: On the reverse side—which is presented landscape, not portrait—is the item’s name, a description (or at least the start thereof), along with its rarity, category, value in gold pieces, and an F.M. code. And some requisite d20 legal stuff.
Now, when Gamer Bling lived in Texas, F.M. referred to a Farm-to-Market road. Here it refers to a Fabricator-to-Merchandise-holder Internet Highway (with a tip of the ten-gallon hat to Mr. Gore, who has inexplicably shown up twice on this website). Go to www.tokkens.com and enter the F.M. code into the search box that appears on the screen, and you get the complete description of the item straight from the DMG. And a link to some requisite d20 legal stuff.
As to the art: The art ranges from a solid C+ (with the very occasional forays lower) to some pretty darned outstanding stuff. Judging by the styles, it’s apparent that Fantasy Mint used a variety of artists, although none of them receive an artist’s credit anywhere that Gamer Bling can find. Which is a shame for them. Most of them, at least.
The art styles and depictions vary from the plain to the ornate, the vulgar to the esoteric, and the vile to the angelic. It’s a good mix. There are potions that Gamer Bling wouldn’t imbibe with a ten-foot straw, and weapons he’d give his eye teeth to own. And the art in Volume 2 appears to be more colorful on average than that in Volume 1. Gamer Bling surmises a small adjustment in production procedures took place to better saturate the ink.
Speaking of production, the materials and methods employed by Fantasy Mint have created a product line that stands up pretty darned well to casual abuse. Gamer Bling brought home a handful of the Volume 1 Tokkens from Gen Con last year. They’ve been shuffled around his study, fallen off a chair once or twice, and moved and restacked over and over. And occasionally just fiddled with on account of the pleasant tactile and aural stimulation. And, thus far, the UV coating on the Tokkens has not worn through. Or if it has, the ink beneath is holding up just fine to the wear.
You can use both wet- and dry-erase on these. Why you’d want to is another matter.
Fine, fine, enough of the esoteric stuff. What about utility you ask?
“Utility?!?” bellows Gamer Bling. “Art needs no utility! Other than to cover unpleasant stains on the wall!”
But, in this case, it has some anyway.
You can toss out a pack or two of Tokkens as a reward to your players when they at last defeat the great dragon. A sealed pack is especially effective, because no one, not even you, knows what’s inside.
Using Tokkens for inventory management is very rewarding for players. It has the added advantage that the players will not lose them as easily as, say, a 3×5 card or such. One gamemaster hands them out freely, but tells his players that if they lose the Tokken, their character has lost the magic item. It works.
And you can just collect them. Like anything else.
Of course, if you collect them, you’ll end up with duplicates. What to do with these? Well, Fantasy Mint also minted the 24 the artifacts in the SRD, but only a few. You might call it a Tokken presence. Only 100 of each were minted, and they are only available by redeeming major item Tokkens. Trade in 250,000 gp of major items and you get a minor artifact; 400,000 gp gets you a major artifact.
But you can only get this stuff by trading in major items in at the Fantasy Mint booth. Or you could be Gamer Bling, who has a winning smile. And a review website. And has worked with the fine gentlemen at Fantasy Mint before. Thus Gamer Bling has a Sphere of Annihilation to review, as well. Perhaps he will raffle it away in the future as a Tokken of his appreciation for his loyal readers.
Now we shall address collation.
Gamer Bling did not receive a large enough sample to do a serious analytical discussion about collation. If you wish Gamer Bling to provide one, you must write to Fantasy Mint and petition them to send Gamer Bling at least one display of Tokkens for public scrutiny. Especially since a competing review site got a display. Sending them a photo of all the Tokkens you bought as a result of this review will only add gravitas to your missive.
Fantasy Mint claims that items appear in the Tokken packs with roughly the same frequency as they appear on the treasure tables. Gamer Bling has not nearly enough data to try to test that.
Nonetheless, Gamer Bling will share what he has inferred from the product he does have. Tokkens come in a 5-piece box, a 5-box block, and a 5-block display (Gamer Bling would have called it a “bar” just to keep the alliteration going). Since boxes can be easily opened and closed up again, Fantasy Mint has wisely factory-sealed each box with cellowrap emblazoned with the Fantasy Mint logo. Consider it a cheater-proof cap.
Each box is guaranteed to have one item worth at least 9000 gp. Gamer Bling has a Cape of the Mountebank that drops in at 10,080 and other items worth even more.
Each block will have an item worth at least 25,000gp. In the block he opened, Gamer Bling acquired a Belt of Giant Strength +6, worth 36,000gp. Now his muscles are as strong as his odor.
And each display has an item worth at least 60,000gp. Gamer Bling didn’t get this lucky.
As for rarity, everything is classified as Minor A&B, Medium A&B, and Major A&B. In the five boxes that Gamer Bling opened, he got 13 Minor B, 2 Minor A, 5 Medium B, 4 Medium A, and 1 Major B.
Based on the guarantees and such, as well as the fact that such a small sample necessarily has a skewed sampling, Gamer Bling guesses that the collation per pack is:
|Minor B||25-1500||3:1, less Minor A inserts|
|Medium A||9100-25,400||1:1, less Major inserts|
Finally, if you knit your extra Tokkens into armor, you’ll have (wait for it) Tokken mail. Okay, that was a reach.
Weak Points (aka Tokken Trash)
First off, they’re not entirely steady when stacked. With little rolled edges, a small nudge can tip the pile, and a larger pile will cascade across the table (and probably onto the floor). They don’t tip over easily, but you can’t treat them with the same cavalier disregard that you can, say, 12-point C2S cardboard. In a more extreme example, Tokkens are much more liable to produce the dreaded “gamer spurt,” that event wherein your stack of cards inexplicably shoots out of your hands and across the floor. Gamer Bling’s wife found this out a mere moment after she decided to move the stacks of Tokkens and a mere moment before Gamer Bling found his Tokkens strewn across the floor of the study and under the futon. “Uh… honey?”
Second, secrecy. Since the item’s name is one the back, you must make an effort if you want to keep it secret from your players. Like sleeve the cards. With opaque-backed sleeves, of course. Or, if that’s too much trouble, just game with the lights out.
This leads us to our third point, which is that the Tokkens are 63 x 91 mm, a good 3mm taller than the standard TCG card. Kind of odd, that, and it means that the Tokkens don’t fit as nicely into card sleeves as Gamer Bling would want. It also means they don’t fit into Rook deck boxes. They do, however, fit nicely into the 9-up pocket pages, since those are designed to handle the large, thicker entertainment cards.
The space on the back could have been better utilized. Shrinking the point size of the requisite d20 legal stuff and reducing the size devoted to the Tokkens logo would have opened up more space for the item’s description, which in turn would have increased the utility of the product. Gamer Bling would rather have a complete if terse description on the back of his Tokken than a verbose one that requires a web lookup.
This segues into the fact that in Gamer Bling’s humble opinion, the product line as a whole could have used some editing. Now, Gamer Bling may be picking at nits here, but Gamer Bling cares very deeply about editing. Especially when dealing with high-bling items like this.
For example, consider item 1001170, the “Ring, Energy Resistance, Minor (Sonic).” First off, why not call it the “Minor Ring of Sonic Resistance”? Why speak in language, military, backwards?
The description, item reads like someone took a scan, character recognition, optical of the Guide, Master, Dungeon and just ported the text without editing. As a result, the text is usually too long to fit on the back of the card, and you see this:
“This reddish iron ring continually protects the wearer from damage from one type of energy—acid, cold, electricity, fire, or sonic (chosen by the creator of the item; determine randomly if found as part of a treasure hoard). Each time the wearer would normally take such damage, subtract the ring’s resistance…”
Since the text is cut off, one must resort to using the Tokkens website (or DMG) to look up the attributes, where, after wading through repeated dialogs demanding that you download Chinese simplified language support, one sees PC/Mac conversion errors like “the ring¡¯s resistance” and such.
Just a hint of creative editing could have pruned the unnecessary rulespeak, to wit:
“This reddish iron ring continually protects the wearer from damage from sonic energy. Each time the wearer would normally take such damage, subtract 10 points from the damage dealt.”
In the same vein, every potion Tokken bears these words: “A potion is a magic liquid that produces its effects when imbibed. Magic oils are similar to potions, except that oils are applied externally rather than imbibed. A potion or oil can be used only once. It can duplicate the effect of a spell of up to 3rd level that has a casting time of less than 1 minute… [more]”
Scroll Tokkens in the first volume had a similar problem (curiously, you don’t see those words when you found the scroll’s entry on the Tokkens website). Scrolls have been fixed in Volume 2; Gamer Bling hopes that potions will receive a similar fix in Volume 3.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, a +1 shortsword of spell storing has no help text at all. Sure, the +1 Gamer Bling can handle, he’s got a grip on that, but he doesn’t expect every player to be up to date on what spell storing means. Nor does the Tokkens entry give any hint. Time to hit the DMG.
And sometimes it seems like Fantasy Mint is willing to sacrifice utility for extra web traffic. For example, on most items, there is space for 55-60 words, encompassing some four lines of text. However, on the Circlet of Blasting, Major, there are only two lines of game text with the usual [more] directing you to the website for the last 14 words. Clearly these last few words would have fit on the back of the Tokken, yet they weren’t placed there.
Finally, Gamer Bling must talk about art. What little of it he has seen, at least, because each volume has 400 items, of which Gamer Bling has seen but a mere 6%.
There are a few pieces that are kind of funny, if, like Gamer Bling, you take the time to examine them. For example, the potion of sonic energy resistance 20 has a medusa head on it. Hokay. And the chime of opening is a far cry from “a hollow mithral tube.” It’s very bellular. But those are minor and mostly just humorous. And most likely only noticed to anal review rats like Gamer Bling.
However, Gamer Bling previously mentioned a rare few forays into the lower letter grades of art. He has reproduced samples here. As you may have gathered from other reviews, Gamer Bling does not like anachronisms in his fantasy art. He especially does not like jungle camo or peace signs. Especially in combination. It reminds him too much of drug-swilling hippies.
You know, Gamer Bling must admit he was marginally predisposed against these. But he was wrong. These are very cool. Nice art, great feel, and a super high-bling item. Really, dahling, a full-color tin token to represent something that most petty gamers track with a line or two of graphite illegibly scrawled on cheap typing paper? Second only to gem-encrusted dice, that’s about as blingy as one can get.
And the Tokkens are highly collectible. Once you start buying, your Tokken resistance will crumble. Like your bank account.
Thank you, class, that will be all for today. Gamer Bling hopes you’ve enjoyed reading this review. And some requisite d20 legal stuff.
See also Gamer Bling Deathmatch #1.
The Bottom Line
Bling Factor: 10
Price: $3.19 for pack of 5 random tokens
You need: 400. And some requisite d20 legal stuff.
Fantasy Mint does not sell online, thus no e-tail deals are possible.
Expect Volumes 3 and 4 (and some requisite d20 legal stuff), to round out the first 1600 items from the DMG, over the next two years.