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Delightful Dice-rolling (A Preview of Daft Dice)

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Few tools of a gamer’s library are more recognizable than the die.  Dice are everywhere, even in the mainstream world.

Daft Dice, a startup company run a group of gamers is launching a new line of dice and dice-related tools, including dice towers, dice cups, dice storage, and a variety of etched wooden and acrylic dice.  We were able to get our hands on some of the samples, and here’s what we think.

*Note: in the photographs below, you may notice some slight discoloration or bleed along stained edges.  This is due to the fact that the package these came in was left in the rain for a few hours, and the interior of the package was damp.  This is not the fault of any production issues on the part of Daft Dice, and I do not consider this a flaw in the product.  You shouldn’t get unfinished wooden items wet; that’s the truth of it.

 

Dice Cups

The dice cup is a thin wood cut and wrapped so that the sides are rounded, with a cork-lined interior and etchings on the front (which I believe are customizable).  The cup is a good size – small enough to hold easily in your hand, large enough to hold a substantial amount of dice.  The cork interior gives it a bit of “bounce” on the inside to help your dice get shaken up.

There was some slight warping on one of the slats on the exterior rounded edge of the cup, but overall it feels sturdy.  It comes in flat wood with dark stained edges, but it could easily be painted to your liking.

Dice Storage

The dice storage box fits 8 of the larger Daft Dice, or two complete sets.  The box is assembled from 6 interlocking wood pieces (which, I’m told, are glued as necessary to keep in place).  The top stays on by the interlocking wood pieces, and it holds well but slides off without any trouble.    The wood is the same – unpainted, unfinished, but with stained edges.  It looks niece enough as is, though, and its up to you if you want it painted.

The smaller Daft Dice do not fit snugly, but you can put them in there if you want.  A set of large Daft Dice comes with 4 dice, so you’d need 2 sets to completely fill the box.

While it is nice looking, I’m not entirely sure of the practicality of it.  I could see something like this being used for game parts or something, but all my dice are in a dice bag, and I can’t really picture this box being any more convenient when I just need a set of d6’s.  But, hey, I’m sure you can figure out some uses for it.

Dice Tower

The Dice tower is also made of up interlocking wood flats, stained only on the edges.  The interior of the tower contains 3 angled slats to help bounce the dice around.  I’m not extremely familiar with other dice towers, so I don’t know what other randomizing elements they include or if other interior slats are angled on more than one axis, but it seems to randomize dice fairly well, even when I attempted to “cheat” it.

The tower actually comes in 2 separate pieces – the tower itself and a base to catch the dice.  These two pieces can be arranged to store the tower in a simple rectangular format with all the openings covered, and I really like that.  Makes it easy to store.  The wood pieces are sturdy but I did feel a little bit like the actual connections on this one were not as secure as they could be, and if it wears over time it might need re-gluing.

The sides of the Tower I was provided for review were blank, but from the Kickstarter campaign page it looks as if you can get images etched on to the sides if you wish.

*Address digitally blurred for privacy reasons

Business Cards

I received a sample of business cards, which are business-card sized pieces of wood with your information etched on to them.  In addition, they have punchable parts that can be assembled into a tiny die.  Mine has simple numbers 1-6 on them, but I believe you can customize what goes on the side of each die.

This is a cool idea, but I cannot see these actually being practical.  The wood is too thick to fit a stack of them easily in your pocket.  The dice parts, while clever, are difficult to assemble, and while they are arranged on the card in the order required to assemble the dice correctly, anyone who punches all the pieces out and absent-mindedly mixes them up may have trouble figuring out how they go together.
These business cards are also fairly expensive as business cards go, and I see them more as a novelty item than actually being practically useful.

One final caveat – the creators were kind enough to etch my name and address on the business card samples they sent, but they spelled my name wrong.  Anyone can make mistakes and I’m sure D.D. would be willing to replace these due to their error if I’d actually paid for them, but I would think it would be extremely important to pay attention to detail and not make simple mistakes like this.  A spelling error anywhere on a business card makes it worthless, and I would be nervous about this kind of mistake happening.

You can kind of see for yourself which dice have easy-to-read numbers and which do not

Dice

Last but not least, dice dice dice.

The primary feature of Daft Dice are the etchings that make these dice very unique. Actually, I haven’t seen too many wooden dice out there, but the etchings really make them stand out.  The dice are the same clean, flat wood while the etchings themselves are stained and easy to read.  For some of the designs, the actual number on each side is a little small and hard to read quickly – this is something I find extremely important in dice.  The number has to be visible at a glance.  I’ve seen some very fancy dice out there with beautiful engravings and it takes me 3 minutes of staring at one side to figure out what number it is, which is highly impractical.

In most of the etchings, the numbers are large enough to be clear  and it’s not a problem, but if you care about that kind of thing, pay attention to the style you’re ordering.

Some of the dice are “puzzle” dice made up of interlocking pieces you can assemble yourself.  No instructions for assembly were included and it took me a few minutes to figure out how the pieces went together, especially as some pieces fit in where they don’t belong.  It is, however, kind of fun to assemble your own dice, but the nature of the “puzzle” does not allow you to rearrange sides as you might think.  There are 3 piece types and each must go opposite its pair, so you can’t adjust the layout of the sides at all once they’re made.  That’s not really a bad thing, but if you were thinking you could do that, you should know you can’t.

I have no way of testing balance or weight or fairness of these dice other than rolling them a lot.  While they are not “precision” Dice per say, you can expect to get enough randomness out of them to be fair in any game.  The most likely dice to have problems with that are the puzzle dice, but even those seem pretty evenly keeled.

There are a few different materials – the standard wood is clean and looks nice.  I received some translucent Acrylic dice as well – one with an interior engraving and one with the numbers cut out completely.  The engraving looked especially cool as long as you have enough light to see it, but it was one of the designs in which the numbers were tiny and hard to read.  The cutout numbers were large and visible.  I don’t know if the Acrylic comes in any other color than the orange I received, but I believe it does, and these dice do look cool and have a nice bounce to them.

The final dice material I receive was cork.  Daft Dice claims to have been the first to make a die out of cork; there might be a good reason for that.  The cork die is very light, and something I like about dice is the substantial weight you feel while holding them; you completely lose that with the cork.  And, while the etchings are just as clear on the cork as they are on the wood and acrylic, it feels like this die will wear out quickly and easily just through normal use.  I can’t exactly advance time to see how well these last, but I probably wouldn’t buy any cork dice myself.

Overall

Overall, the products were delivered as described.  The wood is a good material, the acrylic is nice, the etchings are clean and precise.  The staining applied on the edges looks nice, but you are free to paint these things however you prefer.

While some of the items seem more novelty than actually practical – the dice box, business card, and cork die – the dice, towers, and cup are useful and very fine looking.  If you want some custom dice or custom dice tools, Daft Dice is definitely worth looking into.The project has some stretch goals to add additional nifty materials, like aluminum, so go check it out and back yourself into some dice.  This preview shows that they already have a line of production in place, which should distinctly decrease the risk of this project failing to be completed.

Here’s the project link:
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/732415737/daft-dice

iSlaytheDragon would like to thank Daft Dice for providing us with samples of their dice products.

Futurewolfie loves epic games, space, and epic games set in space. You'll find him rolling fistfuls of dice, reveling in thematic goodness, and giving Farmerlenny a hard time for liking boring stuff.

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