Chessex News, Part 1: Borealis

This year at Spiel on October 26, Michael Schäffer, admin for the Dice Maniacs Club, interviewed Donald Reents from Chessex and asked him member-submitted questions.  The interview lasted about two and a half hours and was then transcribed by Paulina Drozdowska.  The Dice Maniacs Club Blog will be publishing a multi-part story to relay the latest Chessex news and answers to DMC members’ questions about Chessex!

This is part one:  Borealis.

A NEW Borealis Color?  Perhaps the hottest news from Donald Reents is a new upcoming set for Borealis – a Maple Green color set for release in March of 2019. Rather than in the actual interview, this information was released by Donald in a follow-up e-mail to Michael. He explained that the effect is a “translucent green with a maple additive.”  Though the run will technically be limited, Donald expects the quantities to last about 3-4 years of production, so it will not be technically designated as a limited run.

Old Glitter Unavailable: Confirmed.  Donald provided further confirmation that the Borealis’s green sparkly pigment was discontinued because it began to be used in European currency. Chessex actually continued to produce borealis with the pigment for about 3 years longer than they would have been able to if they had ordered less of the pigment in bulk.  Donald also mentioned that Chessex considered a more condensed Aquerple, but that the pricing of using that much of the pigment would make the retail about 40 Euros per die.  Hmmm… 40 Euros a die for Aquerple… that sounds somehow familiar and reasonable now, doesn’t it? Haha!

Bye Forever Old Glitter?  So is the old sparkly green borealis pigment gone forever? The bad news is that it’s likely a yes. Donald explained that if someone would have been able to replicate it, it would have happened already.  But don’t lose heart entirely – Donald attends something called Fakuma, a trade show attended by the color pigment producers. They’re always on the lookout for pigments that look like old borealis.  In fact, Donald mentioned that if they ever found pigment like the old one that they’d definitely try to bring back confetti, Aquerple, and clear borealis lines.

What About Current Borealis?  What about the rumors that some of the current borealis are gone forever? Fortunately, that was just a rumor. Six of the seven colors were sold out and a little behind on reproduction.  Donald explained that one of the varieties weren’t back until October. But the current Borealis options are still in production.  They are still being produced:  sky blue, light purple, royal purple, smoke, pink, teal, and light green.

Stay tuned for additional parts of the interview released, including a discussion of test colors, speckled dice, Chessex company info, and other fun dice news! We’re releasing this in pieces to keep the information easier to read than one massive article.  At the end of the short series, we’ll provide the complete transcript for your viewing pleasure!  A big thank you to Donald from Chessex for sharing company news with us, and thanks to Michael from the DMC for conducting the interview, Paulina for transcribing the content,  and all of the DMCers who asked questions.

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Dice Hoarding: Accumulating Treasure

Why We Collect Dice

When I tell people I collect dice, they usually don‘t understand.  I’ve been speculating about why we collect dice – what are our reasons? I’ve identified some factors that compel people to collect. This is not a comprehensive list, but it’s a glimpse into why we acquire so many dice.

Gotta Catch ‘em All

When I first began collecting dice, I thought “hey, I can just get them all.” I had this overwhelming Pokemon need to complete sets of different styles. It started with frosted and progressed from there. I’ve since backed way off because there are so many styles and brands, and the amount of dice companies producing unique products have increased even since I’ve joined the DMC. It’s much more realistic to focus on a single brand or even style. And it’s cheaper, if you’re going the Chessex route, to collect the in-print sets of a style. Even the most hardcore collectors in the group (Kevin Cook, Michael Schaffer) can’t get every single die ever made. Between casino dice, promotional d6s, polyhedral sets, board game dice, expensive artisan dice, and more… it’s just too overwhelming. But DMCers get the urge in us to finish collections, check item numbers off a list, and get all the dicey goodness they can.

Variety/Appearance

People are dynamic. We might pick favorite colors, styles, or types of dice, but many of us own a wide variety.  DMC members have different tastes and can collect on a spectrum of colors, styles, and shapes. That’s why you’ll see someone ask something like “I don’t own any purple dice – what do you recommend?” My first set I bought for myself was Chessex opaque grey. Grey is my favorite color, but I still buy sparkly dice, swirly dice, bright pink dice, etc. You know those gamers who have a single set of polyhedral and that’s it? They might have a set that fits them, but they can’t change sets based on mood.

Multiple Characters

People also collect dice for different characters.  For example, I’m a dungeon master in D&D. I might play with my black/red dice if my players are fighting demons. I could bring out teal Borealis for an underwater adventure. When I’m a player, I have 3-4 sets I’ll use for my wizard (and only my wizard); I use my Q-workshop dragons only for my dragon-slayer paladin. So we get an array of dice to represent out tastes, personalities, or character’s personalities.

We like Choosing Which We Are

Though individual dice collectors are more diverse than a single colorway or style, we still like identifying with a certain element or category. I’m in this Harry Potter house. I’m in that Game of Thrones house. I’d be this power ranger. I’m this character in Star Trek. We like to select something that represents us whether it’s a zodiac sign, Meyers Briggs test, or – that’s right – DICE! When the new Chessex test sets came out in 2018, I didn‘t want them all. I saw Marble Oxi-Copper and said “that one is me.” Even when I’m culling my collection, I said the frosted smoke and clear were the most “me.” So, wait… wouldn’t that be the opposite of collecting – just choosing one? Nope! Because I own several sets of Gamescience that are “me.” And maybe I pick an entire Chessex style that is “me.”

Happiness/Mental Health

This is more serious of a subject, but dice bring many of us happiness and stability. It’s a distraction to get online and look at dice pictures, to browse shops for dice, to ink dice, to sort dice, etc. Sometimes it’s a welcome distraction from serious mental health problems, and sometimes it’s a distraction from daily stress in life.  At a time when people plug into social media 24/7 and news can be depressing, it’s important to spend some of your plugged-in time with something pleasant. That’s why the DMC is so important – no religion, no politics, no tragedy – just a comforting space we try to keep drama free. Some DMCers have made substantial connections to other collectors. There are meet-ups at cons, and even friending other members can gain you lifelong friends.

Conclusion

Embrace the hobby! While keeping dice purchases reasonable and on-budget is important, it’s also important to keep yourself happy. Connecting with others in the DMC community is rewarding. So whether you‘re scratching the need for completion, considering color styles, or distracting yourself from everyday life, dice hoarding can be therapeutic! Do you collect for a different reason? Let us know in the comments!

photo credit: Michael Schäffer

Customs: Shipping Dice to Other Countries

by Paulina Drozdowska

If you’ve shipped dice internationally, you will have been asked to fill in a customs form/declaration. This informs the destination country about the contents and value of the package, and it helps them make a decision as to whether or not to apply tax and import fees.

When trading out-of-production dice, it is often difficult to decide on their value. As we know, some dice can go for astronomical prices on eBay, but they will also cost you $1 if you find them in an FLGS dice bin. Which one should you choose?

The lower one. A high declared value (or even worse, an overestimated one) will almost certainly result in your trading partner having to pay additional fees when receiving your dice. As a rule, I ship my dice with declared value of no more than £1 per die (which, realistically, is a very appropriate value for most mass produced dice). This is because in most countries, packages below certain value are not subject to the extra fees.

Additionally, marking the package as “gift” reduces the chances of tax/import duties being applied to it (and isn’t *technically* wrong!). In lots of countries, gifts are allowed to be of higher value before being considered for import fees.

As an example, in the UK a package below £18 total value (this is SHIPPING PRICE + DECLARED CONTENTS VALUE) will not have customs fees applied to it. Packages marked as gifts can have a total value of up to £39 before being considered for fees.

So if you’re shipping from USA to the UK (USPS: $14 = ca. £10), and declare the value of the dice as £20, the total value of the package is about £30. Assuming you haven’t marked it as a gift, the recipient will be required to pay £6 VAT (20% of total value) as well as £8 Royal Mail handling fee, so your trade will cost them £14.

For more examples on the threshold for customs fees for different countries, see the original discussion thread in the DMC, as the comments may be helpful:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/DiceManiacsClub/permalink/2475163099191192/

Please remember when shipping internationally to declare the value of dice as low as possible in order to help the recipient avoid unnecessary additional costs.

Buying Expensive Dice

By Melissa Alexandria

Ok, so as many of you likely know, I have a thing for buying and trading expensive dice. Recently I bought a pair of Mammoth Ivory Nickel Silver Inlayed dice from Artisan Dice for over $2,300.  However, this wasn’t my first, and it certainly won’t be my last, expensive purchase. A few of my friends remarked that it was “risky” and “weren’t you scared to spend that much money” on something that I might not get? When I shared with them how I protected myself, they encouraged me to share it here to the DMC as well.

This is *not* about Artisan Dice, Level Up Dice, or any other specific company but rather a general op-ed offering my humble advice on what works for me. Obviously, I also can’t guarantee your results, and you should always do your own due diligence and never extend yourself in a way that makes you financially or emotionally uncomfortable.  The dice in the picture for reference are Level Up’s Damascus Steel & Artisan Dice’s aforementioned Mammoth Ivory. I am going to walk you through some “real life” examples of what I did on this most recent purchase.

My first bit of advice is to do your research within our great DMC community. What experiences have others had?  When, how, and for what? Look for warning flags and areas you might want to avoid or mitigate your risk. This is a great community and a terrific resource. In this case I was considering spending $2000+ on a set of dice from a maker that has had some issues with both delivery, timing, and quality control particularly in the past, and I’d used DMC to both do my research and to find and speak with past customers. Whether I believe they have turned things around or not is irrelevant when we are talking about “my” money, so I wanted safeguards.

After that checking with the community, look into the company you are considering purchasing from: what is their policy on customer satisfaction, guarantees, and returns/refunds and exchanges? If it’s not clearly spelled out for you, ask questions and get it in writing (email is fine, it doesn’t have to be an actual letter). Do, however, make sure that the terms are spelled out clearly and specifically to your proposed purchase. In this case I contacted the shop owner directly. I asked how long it was going to take from payment to delivery. I was told 6 weeks.  I asked if he had faith in his ability to deliver, and he said he did. I then said “Fair enough. I know that custom work often involves complications, so I’ll even allow for extra time.  But would you guarantee that I will have my dice completed to my satisfaction of quality within 10 weeks, or I am entitled to a full refund?” He agreed, and this was all conducted in writing.

I would always recommend large purchases be made with a credit card. This is frankly your best bet to avoid all manner of complications. Specifically, you want their muscle for buyers protection. Again, if you aren’t sure, ask! In this case I felt comfortable about purchase protection for 30 day issues, but this was 6-10 weeks! So I called my credit card company and asked “If I buy something with your card and have a written/email agreement that it be delivered to my satisfaction within 10 weeks or I am entitled to a full refund and the company gives me an issue, will you have my back?” The credit card company said “we got you.” So I asked that this be annotated in the record of my call, and I proceeded.

I outlined my expectations to the owner, and again without placing any blame or giving attitude just plainly stated what I would expect from this transaction, and the protections I had in place. He acknowledged his understanding and agreed to the terms of sale (again in writing!).

Finally be ready to ‘walk away’, if any of these protections weren’t able to be landed, and/or we hit the 10 week mark…I would have pulled the plug at once…both by notifying the company and then my credit card company as needed.

My order was then placed, and, of course, I kept the records, but throughout the process I was updated on each step and in 7 weeks I had my dice (a one-week delay for custom work is not bad!). They are amazing, and I love not only that I have a new heirloom quality set for my collection, but that I had a worry-free amazing experience, completely comfortable in my purchase.

So, that’s it!  I hope this helps some of you who might be considering big purchases from *any* of the dice manufacturers out there. Let’s face it, most of the companies are small operations, and while they mean well, sometimes things happen.

I know I post a lot of pictures of dice, some expensive and some not so much, but I am always careful about my decisions.
Lastly I want to state:
– This is not about any specific company
– This is regarding purchases direct from a company, your options (and risk) with person-to-person or Kickstarter type purchases become a lot more complicated and risky (for the record I often use Paypal ‘goods and services,’ and I usually run that through a credit card for 2 layers of protection).

Hope this helps.

October Dice Kickstarters

The dice Kickstarters are still in full swing, prompting another big blog post showcasing current projects.  Because of the high number of dice KSes, this blog post will focus only on dice.  However, there will be a brief mention and links for the dice storage and accessory projects currently ongoing.  Remember that there is no special action for creators to get listed here – it costs nothing for companies to be featured.  I simply search for dice projects and prioritize dice-only projects first.  I often put them in the order in which they appear in the search, and this is meant to be informational, not a review of the product or company.  

Polyhedral Dice

Divination Dice (Doug Out Crafts)

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Divination Dice is a project by Doug Out Crafts and will be manufactured by Q Workshop.  Each die has a different “divination” themed design, with the d10/d% differentiated by sun and moon.  The d6 design allows the die to function as a d6 and fate/fudge dice, and extra fate/fudge are available as add-ons.  The color schemes are black/white or black/teal, but funding has still not been reached.

Good Luck, Crit, and Lucky Dice (Good More)

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Good Luck, Crit, and Lucky Dice are polyhedral sets where backers can choose the color scheme of dice from 8 options and then choose from “lucky,” “grit,” and “good luck” for the “20” spot on the d20.  In addition to the different color schemes, there are also d20 packs, extended sets, a coin stretch goal, and a hexagon bag add-on.

 

 

Table Breakers (Kakapopotcg Gaming)

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Table Breakers are hefty polyhedral dice sets weighing in at 207 grams.  For reference, most zinc alloy sets are closer to the 90-100 gram range, with polymer sets around 25-30 grams.  Table breakers are available in black w/red, copper/bronze, gold, silver w/blue, and likely soon to be unlocked in purple w/white.  They come in a case called “The protector,” and a new case is available in a later stretch goal (likely as an add on).  Backers can also add d20s and d30s from previous KS projects to their pledge, which match the color styles of the polyhedral sets.

Gorgeous RPG Dice (Paladin Roleplaying)

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Paladin Roleplaying relaunched their Kickstarter for custom dice combinations.  The relaunch allowed backers to choose starting sets.  The project had three starting options, but has since unlocked several stretch goals for 9 total colors.  There are still 8 prototypes shown that can be voted into future goals as of the time of this blog posting.

D.O.U.S. Dice of Unusual Size (Impact Miniatures)

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Impact Miniatures returns to KS with a campaign featuring five new dice designs:  d21, consonant d21, vowel d5, d36 and 2d6, and Pulse Dice (fate/fudge).  The company is known for dice chains starting at d3s and going up to d30, and those chains can be purchased through this campaign as well.  They feature color styles unlocked in the last campaign like cotton candy and silver glitter along with more traditional black and translucent teal options.

Dragon Scales Dice – Dual Drake Metal Gaming Dice (Ulfsark Games)

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Dragon Scales dice is a KS offering polyhedral dice sets in new dual mix colors.  The dice are available in five new dual colors plus the eight original solid colors.  There are stretch goals for an additional dual color unlock and designs for dice.  Backers can pledge for full sets, d20s, or d6s, and add-on dice are available as well.

D6 Dice

Suit Dice:  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/timothykremer/suits-dice-modern-technologies-in-metal

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Movie Dice: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/markgonyea/movie-dice-what-to-watch

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Finally, there are some some dice accessory projects currently on KS:

Wyrmwood Dice Vault:  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/wyrmwood/the-wyrmwood-dice-vault-cthulhu-mythos-edition
Parsec:  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1027107105/the-parsec-for-rpgs
Munchkin Metropolis Dice Cases:  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rwgdesign/2018-special-d20-dice-cases-for-dandd-pathfinder-o
Tome of Holding:  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ingramwoodworking/tome-of-holding-the-hardwood-dice-box-and-rolling
Dragon Slayer Cosplay Wands:  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1658949603/dragon-slayer-rpg-and-cosplay-wands
Dice Tower: 180:  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/carlschenkenberger/dice-tower-180

Wrapping Up

Dice Kickstarters have continued to be plentiful.  In addition to the above-mentioned projects, it’s worthwhile to note that the Mad Designs Kickstarter mentioned in the September Kickstarter Blog Post has relaunched and is still up and running.  On the horizon, we can expect upcoming Kickstarters for Roll With Advantage, Gio Lasar Designs, and Lucky Hand Dice.  Stay tuned to the DMC blog for more Kickstarter round ups!

A Guide For Commercial Members

Page, group, market, threads – what is this all about? And what the heck is a commercial thread?

A Guide for Our Commercial Members

DMC Fanpage (https://www.facebook.com/DiceManiacsClub/)

  • On this public page, we share news from other dice related Facebook pages. There is usually no discussion.
  • You can’t post there.
  • If you want to see your dice related pages news shared, please contact us. We are sharing news daily.

DMC Group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/DiceManiacsClub/)

  • This non public group is for discussion of any dice-related topics.
  • This is where you get your commercial thread or a post for your Kickstarter (send the fanpage a private message).
  • Please also see the group rules: (https://www.facebook.com/groups/DiceManiacsClub/about/).
  • You will notice that commercial members are allowed to share pictures of prototypes and starting market research.
  • This should not have the appearance of advertising.
  • Your commercial thread has all the information that is interesting for a customer.
  • The contact person (you) and links to web and social media pages.
  • When starting prototype or market research posts, always make sure to add a link to your commercial thread. People will see all your business information.
  • In your commercial thread you are allowed to share new products for sale, contest and discounts.

Dice Market (https://www.facebook.com/groups/dicemarket/)

  • This is for advertising. Post the same things you are allowed to post on your commercial thread.

Dice Market Advice

As the DMC has grown, trading and buying/selling have become a bigger part of the group.  We keep buying and selling in the Market only, but trades are welcome on the main DMC group.  We’re happy that members can connect and exchange dice to find the pieces they’re looking for.  But we also want members to feel comfortable making the transaction, especially if they’re less familiar with how to trade or buy and sell online.  This blog will help mention some ways to safeguard yourself and others in a transaction.

They’re Your Dice

Your dice are your own.  The number one most important thing is to not trade dice because you feel pressured to make the exchange.  Just because you might be dealing with someone who “knows more” about dice or has been in the group longer does not mean you have to follow what they suggest or what they say is fair.  

IMPORTANT:  No DMC member should ever message you and suggest that you’re selling for too high a price, or that you’re a bad person for not making a trade.  If you ever receive such a message, please let the DiceManiacsClub – Fanpage know.  Your dice are your own, and no one should be pressuring others to trade or sell.

Ask The Group!

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Do you have dice that you’re not sure what they are?  Or is someone telling you they’re not valuable, but you think they might be?  If you’re curious about general value or identification, the DMC group is more than happy to help.  There are some people who have become masters at dice identification!  And if you explain a trade you’re considering, we can usually chime in and say if it’s fair.  We might not always be able to give an exact value – and it may differ from person to person, but the DMC can help you know if it’s a fair deal.

Use PayPal or Another Trusted Service

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PayPal (and some similar online payment services) have protections built in.  If you buy something from someone, PayPal will reimburse you if you never receive the item.  To receive this protection, you have to pay via “goods and services.”  If you are close enough with the member, you CAN pay “friends and family” if you trust them.  However, you should never feel pressured to pay for dice using anything but goods and services.  Frankly, if someone insisted that I paid “friends and family,” I would become highly suspicious and immediately state that I’m not interested. 

Is PayPal 100% protective?  No.  If the buyer sends something incorrect, I’ve seen people not be reimbursed because there was tracking and a package arrived.  To help ensure that’s not a problem, be clear in the “note” what you’re buying (that might help if there’s an issue).  But never ever send cash or give credit card info.

Check The Feedback!

We have a feedback thread in the market to provide some insight on who are reliable traders.  This is especially important when trading because you are essentially crossing your fingers and hoping that the other person comes through.  To safeguard yourself, find someone who is reliable to trade with.  If the person isn’t mentioned in the comments but has completed successful trades, you can always ask for “references” in the comments.  Some people who have traded might vouch for the person!

Conclusion

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Keeping these tips in mind well help safeguard you in trading and buying/selling dice.  Keeping in mind that your dice are your own, that the group can help, that feedback is available, and that PayPal can help protect you can go a long way from preventing you from being taken advantage of.  But keep in mind that this is not a common occurrence.  If you check the feedback thread pinned at the top of the market, you’ll see that you’re in a group with reliable dice maniacs.  But since anyone can buy and sell in the marketplace, we want to make sure that you have ways to feel comfortable about exchanging dice with other DMCers.