Every GM can have their own style, every table is subject to variation, and every gamer plays for different reasons. That said, nothing confuses me more than when a GM says “you don’t have to roll for that.” Like if I have enough ranks in Handle Animal to handle my animal in combat without fail, or if I successfully hit a target who’s at 1 hp and my minimum damage is guaranteed to kill it dead. Maybe I don’t have to roll, but can I?
- There’s narrative potential. If I roll a 1 on that skill check I can’t fail, the GM can still mimic my kangaroo’s baffled expression as I sneeze at an inopportune time and rant at myself under my breath instead of finishing the command. If I roll a 20, the GM and I can just knowingly nod at each other because Stonethrow’s bond with Joey is so strong words are no longer necessary;
- Dice are fun! What compares to the kinetic experience of rolling dice, with the added drama of the unknown.
Recently, Easy Roller Dice Co offered me samples of their products for review. As the name suggests, they are a manufacturer of high end dice and dice-related gaming accessories. Their website’s About Us page touts that they “create awesome products for gamers, teachers and other professions.” So far their store is exclusively stocked with products for gamers (specifically, dice products). They are a fairly new company, so we’ll see what products for teachers and other professions they add to their catalog. For now, I am here to judge how awesome their dice products are.
They sent me the following items for review:
- Gun Metal Polyhedral Dice Series: Serpent’s Blood Dice Set – 7 Piece Set With Display Case
- 10 Piece Polyhedral Dice Set – Blue Frost
- Wyvern Reversible Microfiber Self-Standing Large Dice Bag
Gun Metal Polyhedral Dice Series: Serpent’s Blood Dice Set – 7 Piece Set with Display Case
Twelve years ago, I bought a girlfriend a set of Crystal Caste Brushed Brass 12mm Dwarven Metal dice. Now we’re married. You could say we found the paths to each other’s hearts.
All that to say, the power of dice, people! No, all that to say, metal dice are nothing new, dating back to June 18, 2002 (happy belated 14th birthday, metal dice!). Originally a high end novelty item for the gamer who has everything, companies like Q-Workshop have started offering designer metal dice, a luxury on top of luxury item. A new entrant into the category like Easy Roller needs a niche to fit in.
Despite appearances in photographs and at first glance, Easy Roller’s Gun Metal dice are not black. They are reflective. As someone who enjoys a good mirror, trust me when I say you can see yourself in these dice.
Weight-wise, there is a distinct heft to them, the d20 in particular. The weight affects their roll a bit, but they don’t just fall with a dead stop. If you put as much effort into rolling them as you do any other die, they will roll true. I wouldn’t blame you for hesitating, though. First of all, these are not dice you want to lose control of. You probably won’t hurt someone*, but you might make a friend nervous if it flies out of your hand.
*However, more than one person who picked up the d8 described it as sharp. Not draw blood sharp, but “is it supposed to be this sharp” sharp.
Second of all, you might be nervous for the dice. These are expensive dice, and you wouldn’t want to chip them. The product description on the website proudly advertises that these dice don’t chip. “Unlike painted dice since these are made purely of metal the surface does not chip. This is why we use a reflective plating instead of paint. Paint chips, and falls off when the dice bump together on a roll, plating done this way, does not.” Unfortunately, straight out of the package, my d4 had two flawed edges that I wouldn’t hesitate to call chipped. True, even after a full session of use, none of the other dice have any chips or scratches, I would recommend rolling on a gaming mat or in a gaming tray for the safety of your dice and your table.
The Gun Metal series is sold in what’s called a display case. I’ll get pedantic and disagree with Easy Roller’s use of the word display. The case tucks into the lid in a way that almost presents the dice like a jewelry box, except he lid angles inwards and casts a shadow over the back row. Ultimately, it comes off less like this is by design and more that the owner is being clever with what he’s got.
Which isn’t to say I don’t like the case. I like a lot about it. It holds the dice well, and fits in your pocket. As an alternative to a dice bag, this is a nice way to transport your dice and definitely makes a statement at the game table. Just not so much on the game shelf.
TL;DR – The weight you want from a metal die, cool reflective surface, but might not be as chip resistant as advertised.
Value – It’s in the same price range as other metal dice sets. If you are in the market for a dice set that stands out and you have the budget such a purchase demands, Easy Roller Dice Co’s Gun Metal series is worth a look.
10 Piece Polyhedral Dice Set – Blue Frost × 1
I don’t care if d6s are more common than dirt, a 10-piece dice set is far superior to a 7-piece set.
In addition to their high end dice, Easy Roller also sells regular end dice in three varieties: opaque (at $10/set), translucent (at $11/set), and stylized (at $12/set), like the Blue Frost set I was sent.
These are pretty dice. The finish is subsurface, and they’re captivating to look at. Again, photos don’t do these dice justice. You might get the impression that these dice have a marble finish, but in fact the visible swirls are how the finish catches the light, with sparkles for added effect.
One point against these dice is the numbers, particularly on d%, d12, and d20. They were engraved with soft edges that cheapens the overall look, which is a shame because it doesn’t feel like a cost cutting measure, just a design choice or a hasty QA approval (Note: the gun metal dice do not have this same issue).
Something that may have been cost cutting is the lightness of the dice. Every gamer I know who has picked up the d20 in this set has looked at it askew. It isn’t a bad weight for a d20 as much as it just feels like the wrong weight. Added to that, the set rolls unpredictably, most noticeably on the last bounce. Even the d4. My theory is that the die is either hollow or is a light material coated in the standard material for dice. Texturally, they feel normal. And yet…
TL;DR – Prettier than you’d expect, but lighter than you’d expect, and there’s something funny about how they roll.
Value – They’re a bit cheaper than other sets of 10 dice, but there’s definitely something off about how they feel. I don’t recommend anyone who is particular about their dice buy these without getting them in their hands first.
Wyvern Reversible Microfiber Self-Standing Large Dice Bag
Unlike the bag that came with the blue frost dice, the Wyvern dice bag is as reversible as advertised. I’m particularly a fan of the red side, I think in a sea of dark dice bags, it stands out.
The bottom sits flat well, meaning even empty it holds its shape and stands well. I can easily load a dozen dice sets in there, including oversized dice like the Paizo d20, dice bricks (for anyone who needs a lot of d6s), and even the gun metal sets in their case. Even with all this space, it isn’t an obnoxious size, and wouldn’t look ridiculously big when you carry it into the curling hall (or wherever your gaming conventions are held).
The stitching passes the Tina Test (Tina being a scientist gamer and daughter of an upholstered, she basically knows everything), the material is soft, and the tie is strong. There is a tag advertising Easy Roller Dice Co on the edge, but it doesn’t detract from the overall presentation.
TL;DR: Big, pretty, and well made. I have no complaints about this bag.
Value – It’s an expensive dice bag, but there’s not questioning the quality. If you are a fan of dice and have a big collection, this is definitely a dice bag you should consider.
Easy Roll Dice Co is building a reputation as the makers of high end dice products, with their line of gun metal dice being their featured product. It’s unfortunate that there’s something off about their standard dice, and I wouldn’t blame you for hesitating to pay for their high end items when their baseline products are questionable. When it comes to their big ticket items, however, the quality is there, and their gun metal dice stand out, even in a category that’s built on being different.