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.

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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!

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.

Dice Maniacs Club: Rules Roundup

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The DMC is a great community, and the admin team wants the group to stay focused on dice. We have a few rules to keep the community happy and prevent advertisements from taking over. Rules can be found by going to “About” on the lefthand side and scrolling down to the rules section.  On mobile, they can be found by going to the left-most menu called “about” and scrolling down a bit.  This blog post will discuss those rules so that everyone understands not only what the rules are but also the reasoning behind these rules. Just keep in mind that for every rules violation we also have some very subjective grey-area situations where it turns into a judgment call. The admin team tries to remain as fair as possible in those situations and do what’s best for the DMC.

 

Posting Links and Stores

Perhaps the most common question and rules violation has to do with posting commercial content. The basic rule is simple. If you are a business owner, you can’t post links to your store. You can only post news, sales, and new items to the thread provided for you (the business thread we created). This keeps content organized and prevents the DMC from turning into nothing but advertising for products. It also prevents business owners from simply deleting any comments they don’t like.

Well, what if you’re not a business? If you’re not the business owner, you can feel free to link to shops and sales. The only exceptions are 1) eBay links, which began to take over the group for awhile. We ask that those are confined to the Dice Market. And 2) Referral links – referral links are not just showing a member a store. Referral links refer specifically to links where the person posting gets some sort of discount or additional contest entries for posting. We have this rule so that people don’t use the group as their own personal source for contests and discounts. A good example of a referral link is Massdrops – they often have referral links to give the poster a discount for people they get to join the drop. Gleam contests are another good example. Finally, 3) No using “sell something” to sell an item in the group. Individuals can post a picture and say “selling my dice set for $20, pm me!” but cannot create an official listing using the “sell something” feature. The “sell something” feature should only be used in the dice market.

Kickstarters

What about crowdfunding? The same rules apply as above. If it isn’t your KS, you can share it to the group! Just please use the search to see if someone else (like the admin team!) have already posted it. If it has already been posted, we’ll simply post the link and redirect to the previous post to keep all content in the same area.

Keep it Dicey

One of the most obvious rules in the DMC is to keep content dice related. This is fairly straight forward, but every once in awhile we remove a post that’s D&D related or design related but not actually about dice. Please don’t be offended. We just want to keep content on target. Also, to go along with this rule, we try to keep the group free of religious or political conversations. Even if the comments are benign and the people involved are not insulted, it can go off the rails quickly.

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Oh, Behave!

Along with the political and religious comments that can derail conversations, we have a few very simple rules to keep everyone happy. Very simply, no fighting! No fighting about dice or anything else. If a thread gets heated, we will remove it.

Admins need to be able to see your posts, and you need to be able to see admin posts. We also need to be able to contact you if we need to. For these reasons, you cannot have a member of the admin team blocked. If you do and we realize it, you’ll be asked to unblock. Remember that it’s policy to contact the Dice Maniacs Club – Fanpage if you have an issue. Even if you’re familiar with who the admins and mods are, we ask that you contact the page. That way the most available person will get back to you; contacting an individual might result in a delay because they’re busy or do not see the message.

Conclusion

Hopefully this cleared up some rules! The admin team is happy to answer questions about rules if you message the Dice Maniacs Club – Fanpage. But please don’t be offended if you have a post that gets deleted or a link that gets removed. You’re a valuable part of the group, and we want you to participate! We just want to maintain the rules so that the group stays full of dicey goodness!