There is a a story about Surcouf, the french privateer. Having made his fortune he built a luxury house and was planning to have a dining floor "paved" with Napoléons coins. The Emperor was a bit worried, he wanted, ultimately, the very successful privateer to join his Navy, not his jails. He asked: "Do you really plan to step on my face?", Surcouf reassured Napoléon. The dining room was indeed paved with those very valuable coins, but they were placed on their edges, not face up.
Surcouf now has his own coin. I can't remember where I read the story above, and I can't find any trace of it, but I still like it.
Last year, I succumbed to Marble Madness, but I grew out of it, the gear is a bit heavy to carry around, it takes lots of space behind the screen and the marbles like to roll away. Still, I liked how the abacuses could hold the monsters and NPCs index cards firmly up.
After playing with marbles, I allied 3d printing and spherical magnets to build terrain. Putting the magnets to use, I was then able to build smaller, lighter, and sturdier counters. The picture above shows three variations of a 00-99 counter.
On the left, two decagons with each 10 magnets meet to display a number between 00 and 99 comprised. It's a bit large, but it's very easy to dial. I print in two colors to allow for pairs to mingle. Displayed numbers are horizontal, it should not be too confusing.
Right of the decagons are pentagon pairs. One side of a pentagon is numbered 0 to 4 while the other side goes from 5 to 9. It's half the size of decagon pair, but not as easy to dial.
Naturally, I was stacking decagons and pentagons. A stack of decagons makes a cylinder that easily rolls back and forth, while a stack of pentagons stays on one side.
I wanted to design one of those cylindrical counters, but I didn't want to have too complex a design. Now, thanks to magnets, I have my cylindrical counters.
The pentagon counters show one side (north-east) towards me, there are two numbers, I read the one that is not head down. It's easy to dial, and I printed in two colors so that I can have a long cylinders showing hit points for multiple creatures. The pentagon cylinder can even go with multiple digits, it's not limited to 2 digits and 99.
In my non-digital toolkit, I thus now keep decagon pairs for the hit points of "bosses" and pentagon cylinders for the rest. The decagons are easier to dial but they take up more space. Both tools are light and, thanks to the magnets, they don't spill.