Gamescience Numbers Part 1: Crayons

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Photo by Tom Hack

One day in the DMC, Tom Hack said that he couldn’t be the only one who uses crayons on dice. Jon McDaniel contributed an expertly crayoned Gamescience set using white crayon. The thread was inspiring, with many dice maniacs providing advice on crayoning.

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Photo by Jon McDaniel

I’ve used crayon before, but it was on early polyhedral dice from AD&D sets that were rough looking to say the least. Back then, the junk crayon use was a formality to get the numbers colored in just enough to read. They weren’t pretty. It was like coloring a beach ball with chalk.

Fast forward a few decades later, and why wouldn’t I try crayoning my Gamescience? Because of a gaudily-garbed druid NPC named Lucynil Font, I had an ever-growing set of “ugly” opaque Gamescience, and many in that expanding set still needed some coloring. So I set on my task to try crayoning in the numbers on precision dice.

Lessons Learned

IMG_3785Effort: Technically speaking, crayoning dice is much more hard work. You need to press down hard to get the wax into the crevice, and sometimes you need to go over it multiple times to replace wax that comes out. You need to get at the grooves from different angles. At first I was trying to “color” in the numbers, but I soon realized that it wasn’t a matter of filling it in. It was more like scratching off a lottery ticket.

Technique: In addition to mastering the different angles and applying more pressure than paint markers, I also had to learn how to clean up the waxy mess. With ink, I usually made a hot mess with the paint and cleaned it up with some rubbing alcohol on a paper towel. Being a parent, I turned to wipes to clean off the wax. That was a mistake. Wet cleaning does NOT work on wiping wax clean as well as dry paper towels or napkins. In fact, I soon learned to place the die on a napkin or paper towel and wax away. Then throw the wax-covered napkin away and replace it. Then keep it on the clean napkin while cleaning it off with a new one – and repeat. The idea is to keep the napkin clean because if it’s too covered in wax, it gets right back onto the die.

IMG_3825Tools: The only crayons I had on hand were Crayola and Playskool. Crayola seemed to cause less of a mess, and there were obviously more color options there. Playskool seemed to go into the grooves much easier (with less pressure), but the chunks also came back out of the grooves more often. So Crayola wins that battle. I didn’t notice any difference in ease of coloring between colors of the same brand.

Zocchi: Much like with inking, certain dice were more difficult to master than others. Just like with inking, d24s are a pain. I actually gave up on the d24 and opted to ink it instead. It was a dark purple, and colors wouldn’t show up with waxy crayon as well for some reason. The d3s took some finesse to learn, but it was actually easier to crayon in the R, P, S letters than it was with paint marker. Zocchi d5’s were comparable with crayon as with ink – no problems there. The d14s and d16s seem easier with ink; those are super easy to do with a paint marker. But chunks of crayon seem to come back out of the deeper grooves for those.

Fun: The first night I tried out crayoning, I accosted my 6-year-old son’s box of crayons. I set out a bunch of colorful dice, and of course he wanted to be part of it. So we sat there and colored in the dice. He had trouble coloring in the whole thing, so I kept him to d6s and dice with less sides. He wasn’t as patient with the process as I was, but he had a lot of fun helping me choose “ugly” combinations. I couldn’t let him color in with ink, or I’d have a huge mess. But the crayon is more kid friendly, and without the lingering smell of rubbing alcohol when it’s clean-up time.

Conclusion

I will not be forsaking my paint markers for crayons. Even though wax is a fun alternative to paint, it’s a lot more difficult. However, I will be returning to crayons eventually. They were a good fit for the “ugly” dice theme because they offered more color options. Putting tan crayola on permafrost felt deliciously heretical. And the nostalgia factor is real. I haven’t crayoned dice since the 80s. But I would recommend limiting crayons to a single color on a single set to minimize effort and mess. Keep in mind that it does take more pressure and time to wax in the numbers and clean up the mess than it does with ink.

How does inking differ? Stay tuned for part 2!
Want to write an article of your own on your precision-dice inking experiences? Contact Joss Hevel in the DMC.

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Rainbow Dice

One of the more common questions in the Dice Maniacs Club is “where can I get rainbow dice?” or “what rainbow dice would you recommend?”  With pride month upon us, this article takes a look at some of the many rainbow dice options.  It’s important to keep in mind that the rainbow styles available are often available across several different retailers.  The goal of this article is not to sell you a particular set from a particular store. Instead, this overview should provide you with a lot of options and some brightly colored dice shinies for your viewing pleasure!

Exclusives

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Over the Rainbow by Kraken

 

 

There are two stand-out, exclusive rainbow sets among the many rainbow options.  First, Kraken has a set of polymer rainbow dice with the Kraken symbol on the 20 face, gold inking for numbers, and a semi-translucent style.  Though currently sold out as of this post, they are not planned to be a limited edition and should be back in stock eventually.  The dice come in 11-piece sets and are available at krakendice.com

 

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Gemstone Metal Rainbow by Die Hard Dice

Looking for a metal option?  Die Hard Dice is currently offering a metal gemstone line, and a rainbow set (one of each gemstone color) is offered as a mixed set.  The gemstone glitter is an exclusive Die Hard Dice creation, and rainbow dice purchases during June support The Trevor Project.  The 7-piece set can be found at dieharddice.com along with an expansive rainbow dice selection.

 

Scorched

A metal rainbow set that can be found almost anywhere is the “scorched rainbow.”  The metal poly looks like an oil slick-style rainbow singed material that has been wildly popular among gamers.  The set is typically available with scorched-looking numbers, golden numbering, or white numbering depending on the retailer.  Kraken put their own twist on the set by branding the Kraken logo on the 20 face, and Die Hard Dice has a set that’s in the shape of their popular forge line, where the sharp tips of the metal polyhedrals are truncated.

 

HengDa and other Rainbow Polymer Sets

 

Beyond the exclusive rainbow sets, there are several rainbow polymer options that can be found at different retailers.  HengDa already had a rainbow set – one of the first mass produced – and have since added the translucent rainbow to their ever-expanding lineup.  

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There is another rainbow option with more of a tie dye feel and slightly brighter tones than HengDa’s sets.  This set can be found on sites like wish, aliexpress, amazon, and a few U.S. retailers like 6d6Studio.  The set offers a brighter alternative to the HengDa coloring, but with wavier lines between the layers.

An Underrated Option

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Koplow’s Rainbow Dice from DarkElfDice

Amidst the plethora of rainbow dice options sporting sparkle, glitter, metal, icons, and translucence, this little set from Koplow doesn’t get much love.  The plain white opaque dice are often overlooked in lieu of more obvious rainbow options, but the subtle styling of inked numbering in different colors makes Koplow’s rainbow dice a unique option.

 

Recent and Upcoming Kickstarters

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Bescon’s Midnight Candy from Amazon

 

C-EL is a recently-delivered Kickstarter by Bescon and designed by the Dice Maniacs Club’s own Hague Nikolayczyk.  C-el is a glow-in-the-dark polyhedral project including a rainbow set of dice called Midnight Candy.  The kickstarter page can be found here, and the dice are now available to the masses at Amazon by searching for Midnight Candy.

 

 

 

One of the more popular posts ever to grace the DMC group was a recent glimpse at an upcoming Kickstarter for LGBT flag colored dice.  The teaser revealed five sets of dice with hearts on the twenty-face.  The dice colors represent groups like bisexual, pansexual, and asexual.  Hailed by many DMC members as a much-needed representation in gaming dice, the Kickstarter is bound to be a popular KS for the LGBT and its allies.  This KS is currently planned for the end of June 2018.

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The End of the Rainbow

That concludes the DMC blog’s look at rainbow polyhedral sets.  Keep in mind that there are variant options out there like translucent mixed sets, unicorn dice in one of each translucent colors, and many brightly colored homemade ETSY creations.  This article serves as a glance at some currently popular options and is not a comprehensive look at every rainbow die ever produced.  Whether you’re looking to celebrate pride month or just add some bright colors to your gaming arsenal, rainbow polyhedrals are a trend in gaming that have been a long time coming.

Q-Workshop Dragons

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Q-Workshop announced a new variety of dragon dice coming soon.  The teaser image showed a metallic gold dragon symbol on a black die with some green coloration.  The new design is still currently being produced, but this is a great time to look at the dragon line from Q-Workshop, which according to a Q-Workshop representative, is “one of the most popular sets we’ve ever had.  At the same time it’s one of our oldest models.”1
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The image gracing the box of Q-Workshop’s dragon line is by Anne Stoke’s and is “probably one of the most famous dragon images”1

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Q-Workshop currently produces the dragon dice in five colors:  white with black, black with white, red with black, black with red, and black with yellow.  Anyone interested can order those directly from https://q-workshop.com/en/55-dragons

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From Q-Workshop.com

However, for those of you seeking out previously produced color options, the hunt is a little more complicated.  There are some full sets that have been confirmed by Q-Workshop1:

  • Set of White & Black Dragon Dice
  • Set of Black & Blue Dragon Dice
  • Set of Black & White Dragon Dice
  • Set of Black & Red Dragon Dice
  • Set of Black & Yellow Dragon Dice
  • Set of Red & White Dragon Dice
  • Set of Red & Black Dragon Dice
  • Set of Blue & Black Dragon Dice
  • Set of Yellow & Black  Dragon Dice
  • Set of Gray & Black Dragon Dice
  • Set of Green & White Dragon Dice
  • Set of Green & Black Dragon Dice

 

 

 

Collectors might also want to track down some of the singles that slipped into loose bins and Q-Workshop bulk jars.  These include a reddish-pink color with blue, of which a Q-Workshop representative said “Nope, we never had full sets like that. You may only be able to find [them] in jars.”  Others, according to Q-Workshop, might be production errors2.

 

 

 

In addition to the current sets, previously produced full sets, production errors, and samples, there are also Q-Workshop brand dragon dice with a slightly different logo dating back to 2004 according to Kevin Cook’s renowned dice database.  Some of the singles and loose dice can be found there:  http://www.dicecollector.com/THE_DICE_THEME_Q_WORKSHOP_DRAGON.html

Q-Workshop’s dragon line are a favorite for a reason.  The engraved delicacy of the artwork connect with the fantasy backdrop of many RPGs with a quality that dice lovers and game players have come to expect from the brand.  Though we weren’t lucky enough to get more of a sneak peak of the upcoming dragon line, we can’t wait to see more images!  Stay tuned to Q-Workshop’s social media for further updates and images of the new dragon line:  https://www.instagram.com/alldicetellastory & https://www.facebook.com/QWdice

References

1Katarzyna Zięba (June 2018).  E-mail communication.

2Jagna Przychodniak (April 2017).  Facebook post.  Dice Maniacs Club Facebook Group.

Photo Credits

Image 1 – Q-Workshop.com
Image 2 – AnneStokes.com
Image 3 – Q-Workshop.com
Image 4 – Liz Rushing
Image 5 – Joss Hevel
Image 6 – Katona Kamilla
Image 7 – Joel Fitzpatrick

DMC Discussion Threads

https://www.facebook.com/groups/DiceManiacsClub/permalink/1870465929660915/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/DiceManiacsClub/permalink/1631443396896504/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/DiceManiacsClub/permalink/2197367336970771/

Launch

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We proudly present the Dice Maniacs Club blog.  Though our DMC group is headquartered on Facebook, we welcome members outside of that community.  This blog is an extension of the DMC offering articles that provide news about dice.  We hope that this blog will serve as a new way to unite dice lovers and give centralized information in a more in-depth way.