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

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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.

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.

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!

Dice Shipping Tips and Tricks

Before I joined the DMC, I barely ever shipped anything.  But after a few weeks in the DMC, I started doing trades and eventually some sales in the Dice Market group.  Since then, I’ve learned a lot about shipping dice.  I’m sure there’s more out there to learn, but here are some useful tips and advice for shipping dice out.

Keeping Costs Down

A great way to save costs is to keep dice in bubble mailers.  A common reason to use a smaller box instead of a mailer is to ship the cubes that dice like Chessex, Halfsies, and some Koplow come in.  If you’re doing a trade or just swapping with someone who has some extra boxes, you might ask to just send the dice and inserts (labels) without the box.  For example, I don’t keep my dice in boxes, so I’m fine with people shipping dice to me not in packaging.  Boxes make a difference in shipping costs due to weight, and they can often crack in shipping.

Another easy way to keep costs down when shipping is to hit up the dollar store – not Dollar General, but stores like the Dollar Tree where items are literally a dollar.  I tend to buy bubble mailers from there because they have packs of two for a dollar.  These cheap mailers are usually just a bit more padded than a regular envelope, but there are also usually bubble mailers (the ones here are usually bright red) for a dollar that are a little more secure. 

Tape can also be purchased from a dollar tree type store, but I caution you there.  I actually prefer to spend the money on a bit nicer packing tape just because I’m willing to spend a little more to avoid swearing at the tape as it peels off in thin fringes.  However, if you’re careful and patient, you can save some money buying tape at a dollar store, too.

Convenience

My post office is about 20 minutes from my house.  To avoid the drive when I don’t need to leave, I print out labels from PayPal.  It’s really not hard!  The only thing is that you’ll have to estimate weight if you don’t have a shipping scale.   If you ship often, it may be worth getting a shipping scale to get the weight exact.   MAKE SURE you 1) set it to first class, and 2) set the DATE to the appropriate day it’s getting picked up.  If you print it out at 11 o’clock at night, for example, make sure you change the date to the NEXT day.

Important:  You can print a shipping label from PayPal even if you didn’t use eBay and even if the recipient didn’t pay goods and services.  Just go to https://www.paypal.com/shiplabel/create/  

Traveling Dice Boxes and Other Flat Rate Shipments

If you’re mailing a lot of dice, flat rate boxes are an option.  I recommend putting the dice in a box and just having the address handy when you go to the post office.  Ask them to let you know how much it would be to mail in a regular box, and they’ll usually weigh it and give you a price.  That way you can opt for a flat rate box if it’s cheaper to flat rate box the shipment.  Sometimes it isn’t cheaper to do it that way.  But – handy tip – you can request that the post office drops off some flat rate boxes for free (usually in sets of 10).  It’s nice to have extras around sometimes!

Ship Securely!  

Protecting dice is key.  1) Do not ship dice loosely just in the mailer.  Put them in a zip bag, drawstring bag, or wrap them in plastic.  2) Consider wrapping everything in a plastic bag, especially if you’re shipping several sets.  These steps are to prevent dice from falling out if there’s damage to the box or mailer.  3) Take a picture of everything you’re sending.  4) Take a picture of the receipt from the post office.  These steps are in case something gets lost.

International Shipping

International shipping is awfully expensive. If you’re mailing even a few dice from the States to a European country, for example, it’s still going to run I’d guess between $12-15.  That’s why it’s worthwhile to trade in large bunches if sending overseas.  However, you can put a few d6s in a regular envelope.  Note that it’s high risk to do that.  They can get damaged easier, and you never know if they’re going to arrive safely or if they’ll have extra postage due upon arrival.  Do this at your own risk.

Side note about Australia:  Australia is the most expensive place I’ve ever shipped dice to.  So think critically before trading or selling with an Australian location.  And know that if someone quotes you a large price to ship to or from Australia – it’s not their fault.  It really is that high.  Yes, even for Kickstarters.  Yes, even for Australian-friendly KSes.  I’m sure there are some similar expensive locations in Eastern Europe and Asia.  Just be aware that even a small bubble mailer can cost upwards of $20.

Have some additional shipping tips?  Please share in the comments!

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.