So, you sit down at your gaming table and pull the shoe box lid out of your bag. Everyone nods, they know the struggle. You roll dice, have some laughs, and enjoy a night of gaming.
So, you sit down at your gaming table and pull out a blue velvet bag nearly a foot long. You unwrap a leather and cherry wood etched and ornate scroll sporting the likeness of a dragon on the black leather exterior. You remove the leather and cherry wood insides and snap them together into a dice tray just as gorgeous. Everyone nods, because hell yeah. You roll dice, have some laughs, and enjoy a night of gaming.
The thing you can take away from my little blurb – half of the products I show you guys will not change the fundamentals of the game. Each and every one of you should determine your level of investment and involvement. All I aim to do is help you decide if the product is worth the cost of admission – and today we’re going to take a look at the Scroll Codex Dice Tower by Elderwood Academy!
Just like our previous review on the Spell Book, you’ll receive this thing in a very well sewn plush blue velvet bag. I love these little additions, it adds a much needed layer of protection to keep the finish from being rubbed off of the gorgeous wood.
My package, in addition, came with a smaller velvet bag I’m assuming for nick-knacks, snacks, pet rats to cuddle in, or dice – which is a lovely gesture! This level of branding is always appreciated and is a small investment on Elderwood’s bottom line.
Show Us The Scroll Already
Woah, jeez. Relax, mate. It’s okay.
Worth noting! The velvet bag is actually just flat enough to allow it to stand! It helps when you want to – PUT THE GUN DOWN! OKAY, OKAY HERE’S THE SCROLL!
*cue sultry music*
Just look at THAT….
Alright, you can pick up your jaws now. Here it is in all it’s glory, putting my hand finished and waxed table to shame. Let’s take a nice, close look at all the features this thing has!
Right off the bat, you need to be made aware of the extra features this Codex sports. Number one – it is indeed a dice tower.
Hidden underneath the “woody bits” (Elderwood’s name, not mine!) is the main compartment of the scroll case, housing the rolling tray!
With a firm turn, the top cap releases, lifting free.
Inside, in yet another velvet bag, we see the components to make the dice tray!
This velvet bag is not only for show – it protects the inside of the codex from begin banged about by the rest of the components.
Also, be on the lookout – you gotta locate this little guy before you lose it or accidentally break it:
The dice tray is completely collapsible, allowing it to be rolled up quite compactly. I love this feature; it shows just how much time went into the design of this thing, and it knocks my socks off.
You should have a length of supple yet thick raw-backed leather connected to two sides, and two more sides with heavy metal knobs on the ends. Essentially three hard-to-lose pieces, the tray is not overly complicated, but well executed.
The leather wrapping around the codex is identical to the leather base of the dice tray. Both are soft to the touch but well tanned. Leaving the back of the leather “raw” not only adds cushion, but lets the bottom of the dice tray grip the table top.
The leather you see in this review is Lapis, a deep blue that should go well with most combination of wood and foil.
The most interesting part of any product to me – the fastenings. Every bit of metal in this system is rare earth magnets, making them hold quite tightly.
The walls of the rolling tray slide into place along grooves cut into the wood in addition to the powerful magnets buried just under the wood. You can shake the whole thing and it’ll hold.
Likewise, the top cap of the scroll, which comes completely off, has 4 such rare earth magnets – they hold like a goddamn gorilla, which really helps one feel confident that their components wont shake loose.
Bonus Points: The cap doubles as a dice jail!
The “tongue” as I’ve come to call it, also has a tiny magnet at the base. Whatever for, you ask? Look at this – it’s so cool to me.
There is no “snap” or spring or anything strenuous to hold the tongue on so that your dice can tumble as it falls – just a really strong magnet! I feel like Beakman would be proud! I just love magnets, maybe.
The bottom of the scroll, where the dice should come out, is… completely closed. I think this is a strange design choice. Eventually the scroll would just fill up with d-
OHHH! Okay. That’s intense. The bottom is twist of, just like the top, but you need not even remove it to open the compartment that allows dice to fall through – you can just twist the base and it lines up the carvings to allow the dice to fall through. This was a really awesome design choice, I must admit.
Foil Pressed Art
Again, Elderwood has completely crushed the pressed foil art on their leather. No flaking, no bubbles – it all looks extremely well done.
This is the highlight. This is where your money is going guys, gals, and associates. The laser etchings and CNC machined carvings are absolutely top freaking notch with both of these products.
They have depth and an even uniform look.
Having it wrap around the tray gives a feeling of depth that would otherwise be missing in plain wood slabs.
Each section of the top and bottom caps (Woody Bits) can be covered in designs and carvings, again giving more depth and contrast with the raw and finished wood. Unlike many companies, there are no visible laser burns or chips in these minuscule etchings, showing a great attention to detail and quality control.
The top and bottom of the scroll case also has options for incredibly detailed designs. This one is Spell Circle – and I would highly recommend it. So long as no one’s dog is named Alexander, that is.
I don’t even know what to say. This thing is fantastic. From top to bottom, each and every part of it was designed to fit together perfectly. So much thought and time was taken that other companies should feel as though the bar has been raised.
The figure and form of the tray is striking and simple – light and extremely portable. I think it’s a bit pricey at ($60 USD), but the value of the tray increases exponentially with the addition of the Scroll Dice Tower. It’s like buying really nice tires. If you have no car to put them on, you should probably not bother.
Dice Credit: SettlingGeek “Ruby Mine” dice
Plain, no dice, no frills, no filters – the codex and tray both strike quite the figure at the table, they are utterly gorgeous. I would like for the dice tray to be a bit bigger, perhaps giving it an octagonal shape could help showcase the art on the rolling surface while the scroll is standing inside. But such changes would increases the price point. Sitting at ($135 USD), the Scroll Codex is also quite the investment – but each part is expertly crafted. Every seam is smooth, the wood is finished beautifully, the leather is well treated, the magnets are set perfectly aligned.
I have to say, this thing surprised me. It’s utterly gorgeous. If you think you’d like it – I feel like this could last a lifetime. Think about buying one. If you can get 4 or 5 people together to spread out the cost – it’d make the best gift ever for your gaming companion!
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.