FATE is one of those RPG systems that you either love or hate. I seldom meet people who fall anywhere in between. The system uses extraordinarily loose rules and a math-light system of + and – symbols to determine the effectiveness of any particular action in the game. Having said that, we’re going to approach this review in a similar way: fast and to the point, highlighting the pros and cons to this Metal Dice option available from Norse Foundry, since they’ve earned the benefit of the doubt in the past, we’ll start with a 3 (Good) by FATE rules.
No one goes to Norse Foundry for packaging. While sometimes their designs can catch the eye, they prove extremely ineffective when trying to store their dice for long-term use. Their FATE dice (or “fudge” as some call it) are no different.
The package is sylish and showcases the insanity that you can build in FATE, but I feel it was a giant misstep to take up so much real estate for absolutely no reason. The vast majority of the cardboard packaging, the foam insert, and the bulk of shipping are devoted to just this one photo – that could easily be truncated into a smaller more easily handled size.
+ The Color
This is Norse Foundry’s “Black Lava” fate dice, and I have to admit I’m quite impressed with the contrast and the vivid orange color. They stand out far beyond most fudge dice you’ll find – black lettering buried under crazy color combinations.
Fudge dice are renowned for being ostentatious in their color as to make them suited for many different roles. You may want to be a cyber ninja attacking pre-industrial Russia one day and a Dinner Guest at Dracula’s Castle the next. But I find that instead of spending $15-30 on a three pack of colored dice, investing $20 on these will work out in the long run.
+ The Finish
Holy cow. Just look at that mirror polished finish… just bask in it for a moment.
Norse Foundry may be the best brand for high-gloss finishes like this. It’s insane. Coupled with the cool metal luster and the rounded edges, the entire die ends up looking like some kind of angular portal when you stare at them for too long.
+/- The Shape
Fudge dice, unlike a d20 set of dice, have no edges. no sharp corners. No real threat of imminent table or foot destruction when haphazardly hurled across the table by an energetic player (I’m looking at you ARTHUR). As such, they pose no real disadvantage over common plastic dice. On the contrary, the added heft and production value will lead to a much better hand-feel when rolling these guys, and – added bonus – they won’t scratch themselves up when you toss them in a bag together.
The downside to having a polished and smooth rounded metal surface? You’ll drop these f*ckers like mad if you aren’t conscious of how slick they actually are. It’s like handling marbles for clumsy people, and rounded corners means they may very well roll off the table, onto the floor, under the chair, across the room, and under something annoying to get behind – but this is only the tiniest of cons: no amount of edges will prevent your dice from trying to escape. It is known.
Final Score: 4 (Great!)
The packaging could be better. They’re not the easiest to handle in the world. They show finger prints.
Every other aspect of these FATE dice are a positive. They’re hefty and strong. Well polished and well made. Good colors and uniform balance. They won’t scratch each other up or damage your tabletop like other kinds of dice. There isn’t a single rough surface on any of the dice, including the edges and the symbols. They catch the eye and you really only need one set to play FATE – only these 4 dice.
If metal dice interest you at all, it’s not hard for me to recommend picking these up. No matter if you’re playing Salvador Dali’s Ghost Bounty Hunter Blowout or a gaggle of Intergalactic Space Geese – Norse Foundry has six vibrant colors of these dice to choose from, and I’m sure you marvelous people can find one that’s right for you.
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!