Back to my truest of true loves. Metal DICE! A relatively unknown company to me I stumbled ass backwards onto, happily, is Darksilver Forge. We’ll be taking a look at one of their (currently) two metal dice options. Let’s dive in.
Immediately, we have to pause and discuss something. Every single person I showed these dice to commented, immediately and repeatedly, on the laser etched art on the top. Not that it was particularly striking or to their tastes. Not that it illicited a certain feeling. But that there was art on the case. So vehement were people’s immediate attachment that I realized – from grade school lunch boxes to supermarket packaging – people largely buy the thing that has art on the box. DSF – tip of the hat to you. Every company needs to seriously consider following suit. I can’t imagine how many of these would sell if it had a cat on the lid.
The dice, themselves, are incredibly secure and protected by this case. Each dice cradle also has an access dip cut into the foam to allow for easier removal. Considering the extraordinarily highly dense foam in this case – you’ll be thankful for the extra wiggle room to get these guys out.
Check out my quick (now with TRIPOD!) shake test video to see how nearly silent these things are. And minus the d4, how incredibly held-fast the foam is. (Shake Test Video)
DSF hits a good stride with the DragonSteel set – it’s got a wonderfully cool silver finish – matte/brushed to be less reflective. I believe the perfect uniformed matte finish is due to the zinc bonding process for this particular dice set, but chemistry is not one of my specialties.
Much like the lid of the DragonSteel dice, the dice themselves are semi-reflective. The finish allows superficial scratches and abrasions to be hidden remarkably well, as well as finger prints and even dust – making this set a great option for open display on a gaming shelf.
Weight (and Cut)
These dice are, as one might expect, pretty heavy in the hand. Along with some interesting design choices, it makes for a bit of a mixed experience that I feel some gamers might actually enjoy.
As you can see, the Darksilver Forge Dragonsteel d20 is actually quite a bit heavier than the Easy Roller Gunmetal competition. However, when comparing the entire sets side by side – Darksilver Forge marks in at 0.25oz LIGHTER than Easy Roller – the exact same difference in weight, in reverse, as between the d20s.
Before you start blaming the Illuminati and drawing triangles everywhere – I can shine some light on this mystery.
Easy Roller Gunmetal, as you can see above, is a small margin (maybe .5mm) smaller on all sides than both Darksilver Forge’s DragonSteel die and WizKid’s Abyssal Mist [my 800 follower giveaway prize set].
To maintain a perfectly flat surface, Dragonsteel is even a fraction smaller than a traditional plastic die. Primarily, plastic dice are manufactured much larger than their end product so that they can be placed in huge vats and tumble polished, making the edges and faces much more rounded and smooth – where the Dragonsteel die is sharp and very cleanly manufactured.
Where the additional weight is shed, however, is in the design of the other popular dice in the set!
Every corner on the d00, d10, and d6 are rounded. The numbers are much smaller on the d6, and the hard edges on the d4 are flattened at a more gentle angle to keep the zinc coating I mentioned earlier from cracking on the die and flaking off. The “shaved weight” has quite literally been shaved off of these central dice to keep the coating even and strong.
Currently, Darksilver Forge (or DarkSilver Forge, I’m not sure which looks better to the reader) is offering this dice set and their “Cthulhu Gold” set (review to come) for $30. You get 7 very well made, even coated, hefty dice; a metal dice box with enough padding to stop a small caliber bullet and laser etched art on the lid; and, most importantly, to help grow an up-and-coming dice distributor. I think it’s a fine investment, but Darksilver Forge has missed out on one critical and glaring turn-on for many people: they offer no polished, bright, glittering dice.
While I list the merits of the matte finish on these particular dice, there is a 70/30 split in the people I’ve spoken to of glossy to matte finished fans. Many believe the zinc coating to make the dice look cheap, despite them being a quite lovely product. It’s something to keep in mind when making this purchase for a gift – there are people who vehemently do not like brushed metal. And that being the entire market for Darksilver Forge right now, those would-be consumers have to wait for a product more suited to their tastes to come along. Regardless – keep an eye out for DSF in the future. I hope for good things.
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 “useful” information.