Guestwriter: John Enfield
When looking for an upgrade from your plain blue or black starter set dice these days, you feel a bit like a mage shopping at Shadowdark House. Not only do dice come in a staggering variety of colors and designs, they are even made from different materials today. In addition to the usual polymer resin like your starter set, they also come in various metals (Die Hard Dice says theirs are made from a non-toxic zinc alloy), stone, precious gems, even wood and bone.
How do they compare to your standard starter set dice? While they are about five times heavier, each die is slightly smaller than its starter set counterpart by maybe a couple of millimeters. Not really noticeable unless you set them side by side. The biggest difference, aside from the weight, is the squared off corners. Each roll of the dice was done with both D&D starter set dice and Die Hard Dice. The set we received from Die Hard Dice for this review have a very nice ‘gunmetal’ finish that is indeed reminiscent of that on a typical rifle with numbers in a bright teal blue. The contrast makes them very readable, even in low light. The font makes each number quickly distinguishable from the others, so we were never unsure what they were. The sixes and nines have a line under the bottom of them which is actually easier to see than the tiny dot under those numbers on our starter set.
We were curious how they’d compare to starter set dice when playing games, so we tested them by playing the Dungeons and Dragons solo adventure Revenor’s Ring. All of the rolls were done in the same dice rolling tray, in this case, a large shoe box padded with mouse pads covered with a velvet fabric, rather than a tray from a specific maker, so we’d have a neutral test. It worked quite well, especially since we could carom the dice off sides of the box in a sort of craps roll style that we felt we could do consistently for a fair test. The metal dice did seem to tumble just as well as the plastic starter set dice and actually a little bit better than the official casino d6 that we have.
We rolled up our character’s stats using the old four D6 method, getting fairly typical stats using both the starter set and Die Hard Dice. As we played Revenor’s Ring, we rolled each difficulty check with both sets of dice as well. Rolling the Die Hard Dice took a bit of getting used to due to their heavier weight. Though we tried to roll and throw each die in our homemade dice tray the same, it felt like we were tending to throw the plastic dice a bit harder than the heavier metal ones at times, requiring a re-roll to try to get consistent technique. We tried launching the dice with a scale model catapult across a felt blanket covering memory foam floor mats to see if that would be a good test, but wound up launching the lighter plastic dice clear off the blanket! The Die Hard Dice launched only about two feet, and tumbled very nicely. The sharper edged casino die launched about three feet and didn’t roll as well since the corners seemed to catch on the felt.
As we played Revenor’s Ring, we felt like we got fair rolls, never really feeling like either set was giving our hero, Taam, an advantage. Once we got used to the extra weight of the Die Hard Dice, we really enjoyed rolling them. Are they worth $33.95? They are only $1.95 more than the previous style of Die Hard metal dice without the special edges and they are priced favorably with other metal dice we looked up from other makers. So, as you are browsing through the Shadowdark House that is the internet or your favorite FLGS, be sure to check out these new Forge dice from Die Hard Dice.