The $8 Alea Tools Alternative

What's inside!? OMG COLORS!Recently I received an email from a reader who’d read over my CheapassDM segment on condition markers and decided to let me know about a solution he makes for similarly comparable price. He was kind enough to send me out a set for review and I’ve put em’ to the test for you!

The markers are aimed at being an Alea Tools alternative and do a pretty good job of it too. They are made from a soft, bendable foam like you would find at a hobby store and are about 1/10th of an inch thick, perhaps a little less as I didn’t actually measure. You get a buttload of colors and 110 markers in total for the 8$ he charges which seems like a steal, but are they worth it?

While running a test play session I found that the markers very easily adhered to one another when needing to stack multiple conditions and their circumference is only marginally larger than the base of a medium sized mini which kept them from feeling obtrusive. They worked well with tokens too and their lightweight/bendable nature made it easy to place on even some of the bigger minis with cramped or awkward bases. (Be sure to check the full image gallery below)

The barbarian is bloodied, dazed, and stunned!

Even with 3 or 4 markers stacked up under a mini, the figure only stood about as tall as one would with a single Alea Tools marker beneath it. For the most part, the markers worked well when the mini on top was being scooted from place to place but if that wasn’t an option, picking up your mini also meant picking up the stack of markers underneath it as well. I found this a bit cumbersome, although no more than any other non-magnetized condition markers that use the mini’s base as its foundation.

The only other downside to these would be that the soft material they are made from can be easily stretched and disproportioned, which i quickly learned after my daughter got a hold of one – it now looks like an amoeba – with bite marks in it. If you don’t have rug rats though this shouldn’t be a problem, unless of course you’re playing with that guy. So in summary – great product for the price, you could probably make your own with supplies and a 1″ round hole punch but if you’re not crafty or just plain lazy like me I think they’re a great catch.


  • Cheap
  • Lightweight
  • No magnets, no repelling polarities
  • No “flying” minis (markers are thin so figures stay close the the play surface)
  • Foam-like material makes for easy sticking/stacking
  • Work well with tokens also


  • Markers do not stick to minis
  • Soft material can damage somewhat easily


  • What: 110 markers in 22 different colors (5 each)
  • Where:
  • Why: You like 4e combat conditions to not be forgotten
  • How (much): $8.50 (Free Shipping)

UPDATE: Correction – shipping is free!


  1. I did something similar except that I glued together two foam circles to give the markers some height. Has definitely been nice to have, even if I’ve only done 4 or 5 colors so far.

  2. Those are pretty sweet. I have a handful of Alea markers, but thinner, cheaper, and easier to transport are all things I would like to see.

    I may pick up a box since the quantity for the price is hard to argue with.

    • Perhaps but poker chips definitely exceed the 1″ scale, at least any one’s I’ve ever seen. Good idea though since they are interlocking, do they come in more than 3 colors? I’m not much of a poker guy.

  3. I did the same thing over a year ago using 2mm foam purchased at a local hobby store and a 1 1/16″ hole punch (purchased for about $40). They work great and because I own my own punch it’s easy to make new ones if they get damaged.

  4. Ha! I started using the same material after I got frustrated with the magnets; but I bought my circle-punches at Michael’s craft store, 1″ and 2″ sizes for <$15 each. Then I bought sheets of adhesive-backed printer sheets, and now the colored discs also have pretty labels. :]

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