We’ve reviewed DnDiceUK’s metal dice before – but now we’re taking a look some of their other products! But first, let me completely blow up the dice industry… Buckle up, y’all!
The Dirty Truth
I’m going to shatter some of your minds, and for that I give no apologies. My only hope is that you come away from this part of the review informed not feeling betrayed.
Most dice distributors you know and love are not dice manufacturers. The manufacturing process is often done by a handful of Chinese companies that then sell their dice in bulk to the distributors, who unwrap them, put them in their own packaging, give them a new name on their website, and then sell them to you. Just like shopping at Big Lots, Walmart, Target, Dollar General, and Kroger – you’re still buying a 32oz bottle of Lipton Green Tea with Lemon. What you’re paying for is the rest of what the store offers. How well they take care of the store front, how well they treat their employees, location and distance from you, etc etc.
So why choose one online retailer over others? Well, the same reason you shop anywhere – you want to support them.
Lets take a look at 3 sets of dice from three different places. To keep from throwing hella mad shade at anyone in particular, I’m instead going to compare using a Chinese manufacturer who was kind enough to ship dice directly to me, LoreSmyth‘s flagship giveaway dice (they’re a fantastic company and I cannot wait to showcase some of their stuff for you), and DnDice Uk’s “Blue Slushie” dice.
As you can see, the packaging really does a lot to show quality and care.
The “Blue Marble” dice that were sent directly from the manufacturer look pretty good. No big issues in quality or anything like that – the wedding favor bag they came in is what I ship my dice in when I use the mail, too. Cheap, effective. Obviously not a replacement for a real dice bag.
LoreSmyth’s dice are… the exact same dice. I don’t mean “they look the same” i mean they are from the same manufacturer. The selling point is the heavy felt dicebag with a soft interior liner! What you’re getting from the company (in this case, a giveaway!) isn’t a new dice experience, it’s just a reliable product in cool and presentable packaging.
As far as cool packaging goes, DnDiceUK is no slouch! They have a pressed aluminum cannister big enough to hold 3 dice sets, as well as tons of little additions:
But the dice are still the same. And this is not an uncommon practice, it’s not even a bad practice! DnDiceUK is catering to a world-wide market. LoreSmyth’s home is in the Netherlands. The manufacturing company that supplies them is in East Asia.
This, again, isnt’ a smear campaign or me trying to dissuade you from buying dice from whatever Manufacturer you like the most – this is me keeping my readers informed of the current state of the Dice Market. When you spend hours and hours shopping around for the CHEAPEST ‘Blue Marble’ dice, you’re only buying yourself a dollar or two at the most. I’d much rather buy my dice from DnDice, for instance, than the Chinese Manufacturer directly, not only because it wasn’t much cheaper, but because shipping took nearly a month (27 days) whereas DnDice got it to me in 6 days, which blew my mind. So those few dollars you save always come at the expense of other aspects of the order.
DnDice Acrylic Alchemy
So it’s not a big stretch to see that I enjoy the hell out of DnDice’s branding. Grady does a great job at making sure you know EXACTLY whose dice you’re seeing. What you pay for is safe shipping, cool tins, occassional business cards and stickers, random dice towers and even random encounter sheets with your orders! In the end, the perceived value is much MUCH higher.
Since these dice speak for themselves mostly, I’m going to share them with you and write a small blurb abut what I think about the dice on the whole.
Blue Slushie is a deep blue set of dice with pale-to-white marbling, the bright white letters stand out very well and overall these dice feel good in the hand – blended acrylics often feel much harder than plastic counterparts.
La Potion Magique
These dice are surprisingly easy to use/read. The sharp contrast of yellow to all three colors (white, red, blue) is appreciated. Layered dice are typically more expensive to produce as it requires many additional steps to create, but these are still pretty cheap. I love the addition of the Item Cards with these dice, it’s a charming way to increase brand awareness!
Black marble dice are some of my favorites – but really they’re all my favorites, don’t let me lie to you. Black Ichor is a striking black, grey, and white contrasted marble effect that often gravitates (due to die dyes) to have an embossed look around the white numbers – leaving them in sharp contrast to the rest of the marbled surface of the die. Also – look at that potion card! That’s insane!
Foldable Dice Tray
So, these things have become a normal sight in the dice industry – every brand has one and they’re all slightly different. I think that they are extremely helpful. Why? …. You can put them into a plastic page-sleeve and leave them inside your D&D binder. Remember, kids, the tray you have with you is the one you’ll use the most! And with 5 different colors to choose from, they can fit almost any situation.
On the “top” side and rolling surface is a plush felt with the “DnDice” logo laser cut into the middle. I have to admit, the felt is a lot higher quality than I would have expected (and a far better quality than my local gaming store’s table has!)
The back is a smooth faux leather. If you have a table that is varnished or waxed, you’ll appreciate this choice – as the leather will not rub off your table’s finishing like cloth or raw leather will. Even the rubber grip of a mousepad will wear down wax faster than smooth faux leather will. It might be a little slick and slippery on felt or tablecloth, but i’m sure you could manage!
Using the button snaps on the four corners, the heavy stitched outside rails lift up to give a steep 105 degree angled wall a little over an inch tall to corral your dice. Since the surface isn’t springy or bouncy, seldom do dice rocket out of this tray.
The “bird” Corner
Though I think the buttoned corners look very funny – like some kind of poorly designed bird on its back, they hold pretty firmly when all is said and done. My only real complaint is that they jut out so much further than the tray does, adding to the length and width of the tray without providing anything in return (other than me looking at it and laughing at what sounds this horrific bird would make).
Three-Quarters of an inch doesn’t seem like much, but I think many games take place on postage stamp size tables where people have to keep books in their laps in order to see their dice and the map – so every little bit counts. Also, I think the bird says “UHLAHUHL!”
Right at 10 inches across (including bird corners) these are not quite as bulky as the Easy Roller Dice Co 11.5″ dice trays, but close! The real selling point is that they’re narrow, clocking in at 6.75″ – with is far more manageable. To better show how big these things are, lets compare to the entire sets of dice we just reviewed.
Chances are, there’s plenty of room in this thing for two people to use successfully. Being so portable, built so well, and fairly large – I think these dice trays are a good investment for anyone who’s not quite ready to plunge into Wyrmwood infested waters!
DnDiceUK has been doing a lot of great work. I think that the extra energy and care taken with each package proves that Grady is willing to go the extra mile to present a better experience for those of us who buy his products. I think the dice boxes are very novel and cool (plus if you hot-glue a magnet to the bottom you can store them on your fridge and wake up the entire world at 2am when you get a Thin Mint in the middle of the night), and the dice trays are kept at DnDice’s high standards. Between unpacking, repacking, branding, posting, and shipping – i really have no idea how Grady keeps their dice prices as low as they do, so kudos to them.
I hope this review has answered some questions and helped you to see exactly what it is that sets these companies apart from one another. I will be, i hope, doing more reviews in this nature as we move forward, to showcase the high-points of each and every dice distributor you know and love. So stay tuned!
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.