Aug 09 , 2022
Let’s talk about dice. Is there anything more synonymous with gaming than dice? The sheer number of games that are played with dice is extraordinary. When it comes to table top role playing games, many of them require multiple dice sets. Games like Dungeons and Dragons require at least one set of DnD dice, but the longer you play, the more you’ll see players with dozens of dice sets. Veteran players will have their favorite dice set, the set just in case, the set they will never play because it’s “unlucky”, the set they bought because they forgot the set they planned to bring, a set for other players who might not have a dice set of their own, a set of “fancy” dice, a set of dice they didn’t remember they had, a set they don’t like but it keeps rolling well, and maybe a dice set a friend gave them that they feel obligated to bring along. Then there’s players who want multiple sets of dice because it’s easier to roll three six-sided dice (3d6) than it is to roll the single die multiple times and try to do math. Then there are games like Shadowrun - famous for requiring a bucket of dice. It’s not uncommon to roll sixteen six-sided dice in a turn. Dice are always flying and they come in all sizes, shapes, colors, and materials.
Plenty of games require some kind of dice, everything from Backgammon to Monopoly. Some of the most popular dice games are Farkle, Liar’s Dice, and Yatzee, all of which can be played with just a few six-sided dice (d6). Each of them are fun family games and don’t have a big learning curve. More complex dice roller games come with game specific dice. Games like Elder Sign, Sagrada, and Quarriors give you everything you need, just be careful not to lose or damage them because replacements can get expensive.
If you’re in the market for dice, the first thing is determining what kind of dice you need for your game. A standard set of DnD dice is a four-sided (d4), six-sided (d6), eight-sided (d8), ten-sided (d10), twelve-sided (d12), and a twenty-sided (d20) die along with another ten-sided die to do percentile rolls. If you’re playing Kids on Bikes, that will also require a dice set. If you’re playing Agon, it needs 1d4, 1d6, 3d8, 2d10, and 1d12. Call of Cthulhu uses percentile dice for most of the game so it needs 2d10. One d10 for the ones place and another for the tens place.
If you’re on a budget, yes it is possible to google “roll dice” and you’ll have every combination of dice there is. And it’s so unsatisfying. You’re no longer rolling dice, you’re hitting a button and letting a random number generator tell you what the outcome is rather than seeing fate play out in front of you. There is something to be said for the tactile sensation of rolling dice. To feel it in your hand. Dice appeal to basic senses: touch, sight, and sound. If it appeals to taste and smell, it’s time to wash your dice.
All dice provide a different experience. The basic acrylic or resin dice are the cheapest, and there’s nothing wrong with them at all. They can be made in all kinds of shapes and colors. If you need a mountain of dice, this is a good option. They don’t require a lot of maintenance, don’t really need any kind of special storage, and last a long time. A hardcore gamer might have a giant jar of d6s just hanging out on a shelf.
If you’re looking to put a little money into your gaming experience, a metal dice set might be what you want. Depending on the style, a set of dice can be anywhere from $15 - $50 dollars. Metal dice will last longer, they will usually be easier to read; especially long term because acrylic dice tend to have ink numbers that get rubbed off over time, and they have that added weight and satisfying metal clang as they are rolled. Metal will tarnish, so they will require some cleaning and proper storage with padding to prevent any chipping. A storage case may be included with the metal dice set that you purchase. If you are using metal dice, you will also want to invest in a dice tray. Again, the added weight and the strength of the metal will not do your wood table any favors.
If you want something truly special, get yourself a set of gemstone dice. Gemstone dice are the definition of fancy. Getting a set of gemstone dice will set you back about $60 - $100 depending on what it’s made of. These are the dice you will need to take the most care using. Cut glass gemstone dice will chip very easily if dropped, it’s not unheard of for them to shatter if not properly maintained. The last thing you want is to spend $100 on a set of beautiful emerald dice and then carelessly drop them on the floor. It’s absolutely a luxury item and must be treated with the utmost care.
If your heart is set on playing with metal dice, Forged Gaming has some incredible metal dice sets with the added bonus of coming with a great case to store them. If you’re looking for some kind of dice tray to roll those metal dice, it’s not recommended to go too cheaply. A good felt tray will run about $12 dollars and that is perfectly fine. Neoprene mats are good for metal dice as well, but come with the disadvantage of absorbing the sound. The sound is the best part of metal dice!
As far as dice storage goes, it really depends on the type of dice. Gamers for decades have used any kind of small bag for dice, some all the way up to something like the Pouch of Endless Hoard dice bag that will sort out each type of dice and keep everything neat. For cheaper dice, these are perfect, but metal dice are better kept in a padded case. For gemstone dice especially, padding is your best friend. The more, the better.
Whatever type of dice you bring to the table, may they bring out good luck and great adventures.