Chessex News, Part 3: Speckled Dice

At Spiel in October, Michael Schäffer from the DMC sat down with Donald Reents from Chessex. The interview lasted 2 1/2 hours, and we’ll be releasing the information in parts. Part 1: Borealis and Part 2: Test Sets were already published. This is Part 3: Speckled Dice!

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Background.  Sadly, the Chessex family suffered a loss in 2018: Jørgen, the owner of the Chessex speckled factory, passed away. He contributed many named sets in the speckled line and created color combinations for the pounds of dice. He is succeeded by his son, Kasper, who has taken over the speckled line and is eager to start creating new speckled sets.

New Speckled.  Donald confirmed that creating new speckled colors is something he wants to do.  There haven’t been new speckled colors since 2004.  One possible reason why is that the materials come straight from the speckled factory, and their pigments are commonly used in things like toilet seats and switch plates, which aren’t typically in “interesting” colors.  But they still plan on experimenting with new speckled combinations in 2019.  They thought about doing Funfetti, but couldn’t get them ready in time for Spiel.   They made test colors for speckled, but only a couple of them turned out alright.  But after Spiel and Lucca (conventions), Donald said that he’d be visiting the speckled factory and mixing new colors.

Jumbo.  One DMCer asked about jumbo sets.  Chessex explained that the problem is that jumbo dice become cost prohibitive.  The reason jumbo dice like 34mm d20s are only in speckled and opaque are because the cost increase for the signature colors causes such a higher price point that Donald doubts he’ll be able to sell them at that price.  However, he did state that a speckled jumbo line is a possibility, but it’s all dependent upon cost.

Release.  Though Chessex is planning new speckled dice, it sounds like they’d be prototyped after the test colors release, and that release will include only “signature” designs.  However, speckled could potentially be in a release after that along with translucent and/or opaque colors.  Though Chessex wants to keep speckled separate from signature designs, they wouldn’t release speckled by themselves.

Random Facts:  Donald pointed out that speckled dice like lotus, fire, and earth look drastically different from one decade to the next.  This difference in consistency is similar to the changes in the scarab lines from batch to batch – they can differ in the exact mixing of the colors.  Also, one DMCer brought up color-coded dice sets where each die is a different color.  Donald said that Chessex tried that with a speckled Kaleidoscope set (25399), but the set didn’t sell.  Chessex thought it would do well since people playing D&D would more quickly be able to identify the dice, but it just didn’t do well in sales.

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And that sums up Chessex’s thoughts on the speckled line!  We hope you’ve enjoyed this article series.  Stay tuned for the final part, where we summarize all other content and provide the complete interview transcript.

Photo Credits:
Featured Image – Michael Schäffer
Picture 1 – Paulina Drozdowska
Picture 2 – Michael Schäffer

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Chessex News, Part 2: Test Sets

At Spiel in October, Michael Schäffer from the DMC sat down with Donald Reents from Chessex. The interview lasted 2 1/2 hours, and we’ll be releasing the information in parts. Part 1: Borealis was already published. This is Part 2: Test Sets.

At Gen Con in 2018, Chessex offered a line of ten new test set colors. The colors were only available at conventions, and the sales at those conventions among other factors would ultimately help Chessex determine which sets would go into regular production.  There has been much speculation, but we now have official word from Chessex as to the fate of the Chessex sets.  This article announces the sets that Chessex will produce in March; this article also provides insights into the different test sets and how they were chosen for production.

Sets Going to Production:
Oxi-Copper
Festive Pop Art
Water Lily
Sunburst with Red Ink
>>Two Previously Unrevealed Sets<<
Translucent Navy Blue (Released Later)

Sets Not Going To Regular Production:
Vortex Icy Blue with Gold Ink
Vortex Icy Blue with Red Ink
Sunburst with Black Ink
Vortex Navy Blue
Vortex Violet

Test Color Background:  Chessex developed Oxi-Copper’s green base color one to one and a half years ago.  Water Lily, which was test color 207, has been around for seven to eight years. Sunburst was 297.  These colors have existed as prototypes for quite some time, but Chessex haven’t produced them because of capacity issues.

Development:  Donald from Chessex shared that the test sets were decided about two to two and a half months before their Gen Con debut.  Donald actually said that he prefers to produce and sell the dice directly as opposed to producing test sets, but since Chessex’s production capacity was halted for awhile, Chessex wanted to get new colors out sooner to show that they were still producing new content.

Deciding:  Chessex makes the decisions about test sets as they go rather than all at once.  Sales have a major impact on what gets put into production, which is part of why Vortex Icy Blue won’t go to regular sales. Also, Vortex Icy Blue didn’t turned out as expected, another reason the set won’t go beyond the test version. Chessex decided that Vortex Navy Blue and Vortex Violet are too close to Phantom Teal and Festive Violet for regular production.  Vortex Ice Blue has trouble with consistency during production plus looks somewhat like Mother of Pearl Blue, meaning it won’t go into regular production either.

Conclusion

Chessex will release four of the test colors in March of 2019.  Chessex will produce Sunburst with Red Ink, Oxi-Copper, Festive Pop Art, and Water Lily. Two additional set colors, which were never released before as test sets, will also be released at the same time.  Chessex will also produce Translucent Navy Blue at a later date. Test sets that will not be released include Sunburst with Black Ink, Vortex Icy Blue with Gold, Vortex Icy Blue with Red, Vortex Violet, and Vortex Navy Blue.

Featured Image: Michael Schäffer

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.