Tightening HP/XP Dials (In 5½ Steps)
Tightening HP/XP Dials (In 5½ Steps)

The hitpoints/experience points (HP/XP) tracker wheels are notorious for having a mind of their own. In the middle of a scenario you can pick up your tracker to add on a modest experience point and find, to your chagrin, that your XP dial is informing you that you have somewhere between 2 and 3 points (you could swear you had reached 7), and your health is either at 26 or 0, depending on the angle you hold it at. You then need to try and remember exactly how many XP you were at as you sheepishly adjust it upwards and explain to your party group “I swear I had at least 7, I’m not just giving myself extra points”, and while doing so accidentally knock your health down to 24 with the lightest of touches. 

For all the trust you can put in them, you may as well be committing your points to memory and forgoing the spinning wheels. But you deserve better! So let us take a look at tightening HP/XP dials. 

If you haven’t tightened them up already you really should give this a try, I can’t recommend it enough. All we’re doing here is putting in a bit of thick paper so that the dials are tighter and don’t move around on their own. You may be a bit nervous about wrecking the dials as we’re doing this, but let me assure you it is really easy to do. It’ll all work out well. No guts, no glory!

Materials To Tighten HP/XP Dials

  • Dials
  • Literally anything to pop the pin out
  • Business card or thick paper
  • Scissors

Step 1. Pop that pin out

There is really no art form to this, you just need to find a pushing implement that fits the hole and push it through. Anything sitting around the house will do. 

It takes a bit of force, but you’re not going to ruin anything by pushing it out. On my first attempt I (somewhat overzealously) pushed the pin all the way through. In the ideal scenario, the pin can stay in the body of the tracker, you just need to push it enough to get the back off and the wheel off. 

using pliers to pop the pin out
Use some pliers
Popping out the pin with a screwdriver
Screwdriver
Using a pen to push the pin out
Use a pen if you haven’t got any tools
Uncooked spaghetti strand to pop the pin out
Spaghetti if you haven’t got a pen
disassembled hp/xp dial
What it looks like disassembled
side view showing pin half way out
This is how far you should push the pin (if you push it all the way out it doesn’t matter, it’s just more effort)

Step 2. Cut a small square of card

In order to achieve the desired effect of this entire operation we’re going to need to slow the wheels down with some thick paper, or a bit of a business card, or failing those options then multiple pieces of thinner paper will work. The bit of paper should be about the size of the interior of the wheel, so it doesn’t overlap any of the numbers.

wheel with the bit of card on top showing size

Step 3. Punch a hole in the card

If you happen to be in possession of a hole punch and have somehow managed to not lose track of its whereabouts then now is its time to shine. I personally fell out of contact with mine when I lost my pencil case in grade 3, so in this instance have been reduced to punching a hole with a commonplace pair of scissors. I found it to have worked just fine. 

A small square of paper with a hole in it next to the dial it will be supporting

Step 4. Trim the card

If the card you’ve cut out is too large it’s going to cover up the window through which one sees the HP/XP counter, which would be altogether counterproductive. You’ll then need to disassemble once more and rectify the error. I shall spare you this effort with Step 4. 

If you’ve left the pin in the body of the HP/XP tracker it will be wonderfully easy to see if the corners of your card need trimming. Just place the card with the newly cut hole on the pin. Rotate it around, and if any of the corners cover the window then you’ll know to trim them back. 

The square paper with the hole is octagonal now because I've cut the corners off. It's on top of the dial to show it doesn't cover any important information.

Step 5. Reassemble 

With freshly trimmed and sized bits of card you now have all the necessary pieces to reassemble your HP/XP tracker. 

If you’ve taken the pin out, be sure to put it back in the right way, with the head at the front of the tracker and the point at the back of the tracker. Now you can put on the card, the wheel, and the donut-shaped black piece that holds it all together. Try to ensure you’re putting them back on in that order (it’s fairly intuitive), but if you’re silly enough to mess it up then perhaps you’ve earned whatever abomination you’ve just created. 

Reassembled hp/xp dial

Step 5 ½. Lather, Rinse, Repeat

One down, 7 more to go! If you are the keeper and protector of the game for your party group then I’d highly encourage you to extend the courtesy to your fellow members and tighten up their dials as well. We may be mercenaries, but a little bit of kindness should not be beneath us. Gotta get that reputation up somehow. 

If someone else has got the game, send this link over to them. Once you’ve got trackers that will actually stay where you put them you will wish you had done it earlier! 

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