Another premium product. Premium. The gents and gentettes over at Easy Roller have combined efforts with the mostly-lumber-blooded craftsman at Dog Might Games to bring this gem to life as part of Easy Roller’s ongoing “Rose Gold Dice” series (you’ll see a review in the future, trust me!). To give you all extra time to decide if it’s worth preordering/prepurchasing, we’re taking an early look at it. Onward, to the review!
Shipping (Too funny to pass up)
I’ve got some horror stories over the past two years. Packages folded in half and crammed into mailboxes with $80 packs of cards or a $40 art commission in them. I’ve had dice shipments show up nearly smashed flat. My Wyrmwood lottery shipping box looked like a bear got a hold of it.
If any of these frighten you, fear not! When Dog Might Gaming sends you a package, by Odin’s Beard you can rest assured it’ll be fine when it gets to you.
I had no clue what this even was when I unwrapped it from the quarter pound of brown packing paper. So i took off a layer of bubble wrap.
Boy, that narrows it down, doesn’t it? If I threw this thing off the roof, I bet it’d be just fine. I, for one, appreciate the simple over-careful approach all of my Dog Might gear has been shipped with, and I bet you will too.
This skull dice box is crafted of nearly a solid pound of Wenge wood (also called African Rosewood since the center of the tree can have a red hue to it). It’s a very hard termite and rot resistant tree – African native – that both flowers and produces beans.
Due to the overt destruction of most of Wenge’s natural growing zones (particularly the Congo) and the over consumption of Wenge timber – this wood is currently Endangered. As Dog Might Gaming and Easy Roller make up less than 1/10,000,000 of the overall effects on the lumber trade – you should not feel guilty. But do keep in mind that this wood will continue to rise in price as the sources of it dwindle ever further in the coming years.
The Wenge wood has a great chocolate and coffee color with near black central grain. The flat side is absolutely breathtaking. Depending on the finish for Wenge, it could be nearly black (like the highly coveted Ebony wood) – but I’m more than ecstatic Easy Roller and Dog Might decided to leave the more blond earthy streaks in the wood. It’s spectacular.
I slipped some Easy Roller “Legendary Copper” Dice into this beautiful skull – and man is it a striking combination. The warm luster of the copper with the rich, dark coloration of the wood – SO GOOD!
The skull comes with a foam insert for your dice. While I’m happy this is the standard for nearly all dice companies, I have to warn you, the insert (as well as the inside of the skull) does not sit flat. There is a little rounded gap between the bottom of the foam and the bottom of the case. You can see the light filtering through those gaps in the above photo. This means your dice will be PLENTY protected, and the case will be very quiet, but they will not be held fast. They will turn and rotate very easily inside the case.
The face of the lid and the body of this case are lined with a very plush and expertly attached velvet lining. I cannot overstate how good these look – no gaps or puckers. Similarly, the magnets to connect the lid and the body are quite powerful compared to competitors’ magnets, ensuring a very strong and snug fit.
Self explanatory as it is, the skull is simply cool as hell. It’s design is similar to a Jolly Roger but the 3-D elevations added to the nose bridge, cheeks, upper teeth, and jaw make it feel as interesting as it looks.
The laser etched recesses are a little rough. They have a texture to them that makes the finish added to the wood show a different luster than the raised or flat areas – which is a bit distracting.
However, what you lose in rough texture, you gain in diffusion of light! The eye sockets, nose, cheeks, and gums are not dark due to the lighting, staining, or photography. The wood itself manages to darken those areas due to the cut.
I’d like to see a version of this skull with the fingerprint-like laser marks sanded away (it would be a long LONG process to do so without losing detail and ultimately not worth it), but I think the texture gives it a more creepy look and helps keep the shaded areas dark.
The case measures just under 5″ long, 4″ wide, and a hefty 1.5″ thick.
The beauty, and ultimate pay-off of such a big case for your dice: the lid and the body are carved from one large hunk of wood. I’d wager 1/3 of the overall thickness of the entire case is solid Wenge, giving it a beautifully stout feel and heft.
(Author’s note: 4/14/17) my only concern is that I’m going insane. Originally, when I spoke with the beautiful lumbersmiths at Dog Might, they kindly offered to send me one of these boxes to better showcase Easy Roller ‘s Rose Gold dice set – I suggested they send me one with too much character (or a flaw) that they would not be able to sell – that way it would be a favor in both directions.
I expected a huge gouge, the back to be destroyed: but no. THIS beautiful case with only one small flaw, is unsellable in their eyes. So by no means do you need to worry about YOUR purchase dear reader. With so much time between recieveing my packages and reviewing them, I completely forgot!
There is one big flashing issue with the case I received. Did you notice?
One of the magnets, though powerful and very well set into the frame of the case, was exposed through the wood when the edges were ground down too far on that side. It’s a small quality control issue, but at this price point – those kinds of things make consumers’ guts sink into their shoes.
I’m sure if any of you run into quality control issues and file a complaint with the guys at Easy Roller or Dog Might, they’d take care of you. Michael [E.R.] and Michael [D.M.] are great people. Michael at Crystal Caste is pretty humble and kind too. As well as the other Michael at Dog Might – such a joker. The Michael at Shapeways and the Michael at Paizo were both quite professional by contrast. I haven’t spoken with Michael at Game Science in a while, but he was a helpful guy as well… Probably because my “adult” e-mail also starts with Michael (no, I’m not kidding). We Michaels will consume the world.
It’s heavy, sturdy, gorgeous, well built, well designed, and well executed (save a few tiny flaws that I agreed to). I love the spooky theme and am glad they steered clear of a more cartoon style design. And, lets be honest, what 80’s/90’s kid doesn’t love skulls in some form or fashion?
Many, myself included, will struggle with the price tag ($159 at Easy Roller) – but hear me out for a moment. My players are slowly building a dice collection of their own. Small dice, big dice, metal dice, plastic dice, wooden dice – the newest trend has been gemstone/precious stone dice. And the #1 concern is those little bastards chipping! Even in the package they’re SHIPPED IN they arrive chipped sometimes… but with the velvet lining, the foam insert, the extremely hard wood outer shell, and top notch magnetic fastenings – this case would make an absolutely PERFECT gift from a group of players ($15-$20 each?) to their DM or to a particularly special player at the table to protect such dice. For the price of a pair of shitty sunglasses from each, the table can give a gift that will completely blow away someone special to them, a gift that will last for generations if not lost.
That sounds like a good investment to me.
I don’t always advocate rolling, but when I do… be sure you have to Drop the Die.
Review by JB Little, Follow me on twitter for more product highlights and dice giveaways!