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.
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.
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.”
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.
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