“Why do you have so many dice, Brian?”
I'm sixteen years old, and the Cool Kid who is in my room is asking questions that have me sweating bullets.
Why did I have so many gosh-darned dice? Why hadn't I hidden them along with my pile of role-playing books and Warhammer rules manuals? They were sitting there in a pile, some tucked up in nice little felt bags with SKULLS on the outside.
The Cool Kid turns and looks at me, waiting for an explanation with bated breath.
A little over a decade later, and I feel like we're living in a different world. The Cool Kids are getting hyped for the last season of Game of Thrones, which they'll be watching in between catching up on last week's Critical Role.
My dice, however, still sit in a pile of felt bags, atop a wicker basket on the coffee table of my lounge room.
A marketing genius figured out some time ago that nerds love collecting things.
To the outside world- to the uninitiated-, the vast oceans of dice that pile up in each of our homes, in our closets, on our board game shelves, must seem like a decorative item that don't really serve a purpose- like rich people who keep little bowls of stones and seashells in their bathroom.
Our obsession with dice is an anthropology thesis waiting to be written.
Working in a Good Games store, I sell a lot of dice to a lot of different folks. I also explain dice to those people I described above – the uninitiated.
For the longest time, I thought I was immune to the infectious dice-buying bug that is so rampant in geek communities, but as I sit here writing, looking at the pile of colour-coded D20's I bought for my Conan game, I remember that I've got a different pile of D20's sitting in my drawer at work- D20's that are much more suited to simulating laser-beam shots across a battlefield than those coloured Conan dice would ever be.
Which just makes so much sense, right?
Turns out, just like my geek brethren, dice are important to me as well.
It's hard to know exactly what dice are best for your purpose. Obviously lots of companies create branded dice for their games, but if you like to keep things unique, and really expand your collection, it's good to know what's on the market.
Of all the different brands of dice currently available to the modern geek, Chessex are easily the most ubiquitous.
There is a reason for that. Not only are they sell at a generally affordable price point (with D&D sets starting at $7), they also have what may be the biggest range of colours and styles.
Geeks like to express themselves in their dice. I've met D&D players who only ever use purple dice, and that means they also have to buy every set of purple dice they find. Wargamers, on the other hand, like to get new D6 sets for each new army, and in some cases they destroy dice which seem consistently roll poorly.
For those among us who are superstitious, buying a new set of dice each time we roll a natural 1 in the fight against the Demogorgan, having access to affordable dice with a huge range makes Chessex the bread and butter of our collections.
Oakie Doakie Dice
One of the newest contenders on the market is Oakie Doakie Dice from the same folks who over the past two years have bejewelled our shelves with Ultimate Guard product.
Oakie Doakie offers a wide range of both D6 and RPG sets in a variety of colours and designs, different enough from Chessex to set them apart on the shelves.
TCG players in particular will be happy to learn that many of the Oakie Doakie Dice sets come in hard plastic container designed specifically to fit perfectly into the tray of many of the Ultimate Guard deck boxes.
This makes your transition from FNM and D6 to Saturday and D&D as simple as switching our your Standard deck for your spell cards and sliding in your RPG Dice Set.
A huge hit at the Good Games booth at PAX last year was the juicy range from Dice Monster.
For the role-player who likes a good chunk of oomph with each roll, Dice Monster offer a range of solid-metal dice with unique designs.
While a collection of these bad boys will set you back more than the average dice, they're a great way to spruce up an other-wise light collection.
Dice Monster also produce a range of felt-lined rolling trays to protect your otherwise vulnerable kitchen table from the mighty thumps of these hefty chance cubes.
I'm a recent rolling-tray convert, having witnessed too many players consistently toss dice off the table, rolling-trays are a great way to make sure everyone's dice stay clean, isolated and away from your delicate and meticulously painted miniatures.
My favourite thing about the Dice Monster trays is that they snap together at the corners, allowing you to store them flat, making them right at home sandwiched between RPG tomes on your book case.
Level Up Dice
Drawing a comparison between Good Games and a bottle shop might seem strange, but like all the best liquor stores, Good Games have top shelf product.
When it comes to dice, nothing is more top shelf than the wondrous curiosities from our friends at Level Up Dice.
An Australian company, Level Up Dice have made a huge splash in the industry, spending almost as much time travelling to different gaming conventions around the world as they do producing one-of-a-kind luxury dice for you to enjoy at your gaming table.
The staple of the Level Up Dice ranges at Good Games are the anodised aluminium: Metal dice coloured via an electro-chemical process that means no paint or colouring will be chipping off your dice.
All the metal dice from Level Up are not poured, but cut from single slabs of metal, assuring no imperfections or air bubbles inside.
Second to the aluminium are semi-precious stone dice. Agate. Lapis Lazuli. Obsidian. If you can name it, chances are Level Up Dice have a matching product.
Not only does each semi-precious stone set come with a matching pendant, each dice is individually weighted, and the numbers inscribed accordingly to assure the dice isn't just a pretty jewel- it's also perfectly balanced and ideal for game play.
The world of dice goes far beyond just these key brands I've mentioned. Many companies produce product-specific dice, like our friends at Games Workshop, and Q Workshop.
When it comes to dice, Good Games tend to be the experts. As it turns out, we spend more time rolling them than the average person, so we know our stuff when it comes to randomly generating numbers!
So whether you're plotting a new epic army, rolling up a character for D&D, or just want to add to one of those ever-growing collections like I mentioned above, then pop on down to your local Good Games and get rolling today!