One of my biggest problems when I play board games is picking things off the table. It’s a really dumb thing to be unable to do but I have an awful time trying to pick up a coin or a bobby pin off the ground so I shouldn’t be surprised. I played Splendor the other night and struggled immensely every time I wanted to pick up a card. A playmat will solve that issue for me though.
But what about components? Metal coins and flat cardboard chits leave me dragging them off to the edge of the table to pick them up, not to mention the pieces just sprawling out across the table and taking up valuable room.
I purchased these on Amazon as a throw-in as I needed to hit the $25 threshold to add an add-on item to my cart. When they arrived, one was damaged and after a quick email, another pack was sent to me. This is a review of all ten (including the damaged one). Also, major customer service props for handling my issue and handling it quickly.
When the bowls are laying flat, they measure 6×6 and can fit into almost any board game box that you’ll use them for. I honestly keep them in bowl form and just bring them out when a game needs them (as opposed to keeping them tucked away with one particular game). When they’re in bowl form, they’re closer to 5×5 as the edges curl up and pin to create the bowl shape. The image above shows the size difference (note the second photo is using two separate bowls. They do not have a base like that).
The bowls come in five colors (Red, Blue, Green, Yellow, Black) which are typical of most board game player components. I’m all about uniformity so being able to give a player the same color bowl as the color they’re playing is a small but noteworthy benefit for me. They also work as a contrast if the color doesn’t exist. For example, in Bunny Kingdom we typically place the black-colored bunny’s in a non-black bowl so they stand out more.
The bowls themselves are made of a flexible silicone that will stretch lightly and is easy to put together. You just pinch the corners and push the button/nub through the hole. The bowls also come apart easily. We typically don’t pass them around the table but I could see them coming undone if handled roughly or holding a heavy component. In all my plays using them so far this year (~30), they have never come undone while being used.
The broken bowl I received was missing the nub/button that helps the pad create its bowl shape. It’s made of the same material as the rest of the bowl but I could see them becoming damaged if handled harshly or pulled upon. I have yet to see any tear on mine but I’m also not constructing and deconstructing with every play.
Their size is almost ideal for any component(s) you want to store in them. I’ve used them for Bunny Kingdom, Great Western Trail, Gartenbau, Pandemic Legacy Season 1, Rajas of the Ganges, and Reef so far. The heaviest component (and harshest) they’ve encountered were some metal coins we use for Great Western Trail.
I absolutely love these bit bowls. There are several different brands that sell them and I’m sure they all work the same but I’ll vouch for the GAMELAND version. They’ve become almost a must-include for any game with resources or bits that sit outside the board. They’ve opened the table up for more space for your beverage or phone or laptop or baby book. They make picking items up a breeze as my stubby little fingers can latch onto things much quicker than against the wooden tabletop. I look at them as a quality of life improvement for when I play games and since we play so many, it’s a worthwhile improvement for me.
Lastly, they make clean-up a dream. You just dump the contents from the bowl into the baggie or compartment and you’re done. For heavier components (such as metal coins), players won’t be able to pull the same method (as the bowl won’t keep its shape when lifted) but scooping them out of the bowl is much easier than picking them up flat off the table.