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.

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September Dice Kickstarters

September has been a busy month for Kickstarter campaigns so far.  With the Upstart line from Legendary pants having come and gone and some notable projects from Dice Envy, we still have some ongoing treasures out there to find in crowdfunding land.  Keep in mind that this is in no way a review or a comprehensive account of dicey goodness.  This is merely a test-run for an article highlighting the Kickstarter dice projects that are currently popular – or should be.  So if you enjoy this article, please let us know that you did so we’re aware that there’s interest in this sort of writing.

Now, without further ado . . . 

Top Drawer Dice (Q-Workshop)

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Q-Workshop has come to Kickstarter with some new designs in need of funding.  Among the designs are Wizard, Arcade, Halloween, Dragon Slayer, and Bloodsucker.  There are stretch goals unlocking different color options for each set, bags for the sets, and play mats.  There were steampunk dice rewards for day 1 backers, the complete set of which is now being offered as an add-on.  However, as of writing this post, there are only a couple of days left on this Kickstarter.  Please jump on fast if you’re interested in backing.

Diffusion Dice (Role4Initiative)

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Diffusion Dice is a nebula-style translucent clear die with a drop of color distributed (or diffused) throughout.  The campaign started off with 8 based colors including Sea Foam, Elven Spirits, Storm Front, Wraith, Majesty, Fool’s Gold, Cherry Blossom, and Bloodstone.  There are stretch goals to go beyond that, some of which have already been unlocked.  In addition to dice and several options for dice add-ons, the campaign is offering T-Shirts (both r4i and Dice Maniacs Club) as well as dice boxes and towers from Adventure Guild, which also include engraving options with the r4i logo and the DMC logo.

Reality Shard, Supernova, & Neutron RPG Dice Sets (Gate Keeper Games)

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Gate Keeper Games has unleashed a slew of new styles with Reality Shards, a five layer product based on previous halfsies’ color schemes.  The style follows a layered A-B-C-B-A pattern and features the GKG logo as the 20 on the d20.  Supernova die, on the other hand, are halfsies with a clear translucent stripe down the middle.  When the halfsies go “supernova,” they create a Neutron dice set for each color in the halfsies.  Neutron is a translucent clear with a stripe of color – sort of like a geometrically interesting take on the nebula style.  Finally, Inminity are 12mm pipped versions of the neutron and reality shard dice.  As if that wasn’t enough new terminology and dice to drool over, there’s also a lot of swag like pins, stickers, and Thinking Monk dice boxes.  At funding, the project unlocked two styles – Truth and Thought.  There are many more stretch goals for additional colors, almost all of which are styled after one of the first or second generation halfsies dice.  There are also a few new color combinations such as black/yellow and black/purple, coming soon to the halfsies line.

Dice Coins: 2018 2nd Release (J.M. Ward)

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Dice Coins is a popular dice project that has been on Kickstarter multiple times previously with different styles and mintings.  The company produces metal coins that spin and can be used as dice.  There is an outer ring with numbers on each coin. When the user stops the spinning dice coin with a finger, the number to the left of the finger is the result.  The dice coins come in a variety of d20s, and new options are unlocking periodically for d4-d12.  There are also two specialty coins, a d3 cerebus and an alphabet book coin.

Dragon Egg Gift Candles w/Metal D20s Inside! (Lunar Wolf Treats)

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Lunar Wolf Treats launched a KS for dragon egg candles that burn to reveal d20 metal dice of your choosing.  Candles are scented but can be unscented upon request. Each candle matches up to a d20 that compliments its style, and rewards can get you a single, pair, or multiple dragon egg candles.  There’s a pledge level for a set of seven candles that reveal a complete metal RPG set.  Stretch goals include bonus “themes” of candle/dice pairings, but the 5k stretch goal (already unlocked) opened up gift box add-ons.

Oblit-O-Tron D6 Dice – Explore the Stars! (Black Oak Workshop)

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Black Oak Workshop has returned to KS with a set of retro laser gun d6’s.  The same art is on each face, accompanied by a number.  Black is currently the only unlocked, but the project is slowly approaching the green variety stretch goal.  The dice are sparkly, and a bag and RPG set are later stretch goals in addition to more color options.  Black Oak Workshop have previously brought Light Speed dice, Bullseye dice, and the asian Dragon set of red polyhedrals, just to name a few.

Mad Dice aka Mood Dice (Trilania)

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Trilania/Mad Designs has released a color changing mood dice that functions like a mood ring in color changing.  The dice come in a 7-piece standard polyhedral set, with or without a standing bag, and as a super extended set of 19.  The project also offers add-ons for individual dice in any of the standard RPG polys.  The delivery is a bit far off at September 2019, but is due to hand painting.  The dice themselves are darker colored but obviously shift depending on temperature.

Retro Dice: D-PAD D6 – Control your destiny! (Dirty Vortex)

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Currently in need of more backers to fund, the Retro Game D-Pad dice KS is a non-numbered set of dice with symbols from old school gaming controller.  The sets come in grey, black, and pink/blue.  The sides include the select, start, direction pad, and gaming buttons like A, B, X, Y.  The project previously was hoping to unlock an accompanying RPG called Bulletproof Heroes, but changed direction and decided to offer it outright as a PDF to all backers.

Big 20 (Big 20)

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The Big 20 is a magic eight ball crossed with a dungeon master and a 90’s cell phone.  Or at least, that’s the description on the campaign page!  The Big 20 provides randomized results and can mimic any dice in a standard RPG set.  The project has big potential for visibility in gaming, but the funding goal is around 70k.  The Big 20 itself isn’t offered until the $60 pledge level, but there are also more affordable options with swag like drink cozies and enamel pins.

Wrap Up

Those are some of the more popular dice projects.  We plan to only cover those projects that are quite popular or where the creator has reached out to the DMC.  If you wish to get your project here, please contact the Dice Maniacs Club – Fanpage.  Note that these are unpaid write-ups and are not reviews of the products, but rather an overview of what’s happening in dice crowdfunding!

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.