Another Wizard Did It

Another Wizard Did It

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Writer_smallerThe Importance of Rolling Dice

If you’re a newer reader, here is a reminder of how I feel about wizards.

I think I just find it hard to move past that old stereotype of the pointed hat, white beard, and purple robes. Having never played D&D growing up, that stereotype was never challenged. And by the time the Wizard’s Guild hired publicist JK Rowling to radically transform their image, it might have already been too late for me. I have seen a couple of the films, and while I did think they were fun, they failed to really captivate me. Although I will admit that having never attempted to read the novels, I am likely to be missing the real magic.

However, I’m not a completely heartless monster, and I will admit to being charmed by the look of the trailer for Fantastic Beasts. Potter-verse aside, it looks like it could be a really fun, colourful adventure. Exactly the kind of film that would make for a good cinema trip in a cold winter month.

While this week’s comic might not be based on real events, it is certainly true and faithful in spirit. If Aileen, or indeed some person more nefarious than her, did ever need to lure me unwittingly into a trap, dice would work 100% of the time. I crave dice in my games like others seem to crave miniatures in theirs. And it’s not for the random element. I much prefer the balance of a game to swing on planning, strategy, scheming – any one of these wonderful things. It is the tactile nature of dice that appeals so much.

Whenever a new game comes into our possession (oh, what a glorious thing!), its unboxing will follow a by-now standard procedure. Once the shrink comes off, Aileen will occupy herself with the olfactory delights contained within. Nothing makes her happier than the smell of new board game, and she could easily lose hours to this pursuit.

Meanwhile, I will be digging around in the box for the dice. Once in my hand, I will assess their heft, feeling their weight, design, quality, and colour. And of course, test them. In the parlance of a younger generation, see ‘how they roll’. Do they make a satisfying noise as they collide in my hand, and then hit the table? Are they clunky, or clacky? Do they bounce, spin, or stop disappointingly? Will the test rolls produce a good omens, or ill?

For my birthday this year, Aileen got me the Pathfinder box set, a brilliantly packed box full of manuals, maps, cardboard, and a lovely-looking set of dice – a full complement of those required for roleplaying, in fact. Although reasonable looking, they felt a little light, and didn’t roll very much when cast into the box lid. My very first rolls produced three ones in a row on the D20, followed by a two. The D6 then rolled two ones in a row. I can’t speak for the other dice, as I immediately re-bagged them, and hid them at the very back of our gaming shelf, never to be spoken of again. The very next day, I bought a replacement set at the gaming store (after spending close to half an hour testing and rolling various sets at the counter, obviously).

27 Comments on Another Wizard Did It
  • I am a smeller too, just like Aileen! 😀 I don’t relieve believe in lucky or unlucky dices, per se. Of course, after some bad rolls, I change them (just like EVERYBODY, right? :D), but only with another one from the game box. But there is really a difference for feel and weight of different dices. For example, I don’t like very light wooden dices.

    • Aileen will be delighted to know that there are others who share her particular appreciation of games.
      You are dead right about wooden dice. Wooden dice seem like they would be a nice idea, but they are almost always too light, and they never feel right.

  • Dexter Ó Thuithear

    If you fancy dice, pick up Pandemic: The Cure. I’d say about a third of the box weight is just dice. So. Many. Dice. Every character gets their own set, and some generic dice to boot.
    Also, the classic Space Cadets Dice Duel…

    I picked up Champions of Midgard on a whim during the week, and it has a fair share of custom dice. Armada has left me with a ridiculous number of dice to roll in some games (hello 10 dice attacks…). Despite RNGesus having forsaken me so very often, I seem to be destined to always have dice in my games…

    • We have Pandemic: The Cure, and Space Cadets Dice Duel. Love The Cure. Such great dice, and it really has exactly the same feel as vanilla Pandemic. And just as often kicks you in the ass just when you think you’ve won.
      Yet to play Dice Duel, though, – that’s absolutely top of our ‘to play’ pile, but as it’s best with 6 or even 8 players, it’s not an easy one to get to the table.
      Is that 10 attack dice from just one ship .. ?

      • Dexter Ó Thuithear

        Yup, 10 from a single ship. It’s possible with a couple actually. The way I did it was fairly simple: an Imperial II class Star Destroyer with Spinal Armament, and a Concentrate Fire command. Native 4 red and 4 blue, plus 1 each for the upgrade and the command.
        The most I can squeeze with any combo is with a Rebel MC80, Enhanced Armament or High Capacity Ion Turbines, Concentrate Fire command, Defiance title, and Admiral Ackbar. That combo will get you 11 dice of pure hate

        • That sounds so cool. And there’s an Ackbar upgrade! That is one thing XWing is sorely missing.

          • Dexter Ó Thuithear

            All fleets must have a commanding Admiral, so characters like Ackbar, Mon Mothma, and Tarkin are a lot easier to integrate into the game. It’s a hell of a lot of fun, though. Your choice of Admiral often leads to various stylistic trends in play. Ackbar is all about broadsides, where Mothma aides the defence of small ships getting in close.

          • I have a very basic understanding of how Armada works, but I must admit I didn’t know about choosing an Admiral to shape your overall list/style. That sounds really … dammit, no! Stop leading me down the Armada rabbit hole!

          • Dexter Ó Thuithear

            Oh we haven’t even gotten to ship styles and specialisations! Not to mention the various styles and interplay of squadrons compositions, the effects of officers and teams as crew upgrades in determining how a ship behaves, and even how some of your enemy ships behave…

            Plus, we haven’t even broached all the lovely dice…

          • Get behind me, Satan!

    • Neil Biggs

      I saw Champions of Midgard played on the latest episode of TableTop on YouTube:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0536RUasM0

      Fun episode, looks like a game I’ll play, but not one I’ll buy

  • wr00t

    I have recently acquired FUSE and i really like the look of its digital numbers dice 🙂 http://www.wroot.lt/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/FUSE.jpg

    • That does look nice. Lovely colours as well, and a dice bag. I need some dice bags. I should start accessorising my dice.

      • wr00t

        Yeah, i was surprised by that bag. Really thick material, with the name of the game. Of course, there is only that bag, 25 dice and a deck of cards, plus manual in that box 🙂

        • What’s the game like, is it good? I’m not familiar with it at all.

          • wr00t

            So far i have only played it solo (like 10 times :D). From what i’ve heard it is hard solo, i haven’t won yet (was down to one card once). Need to try it with 4 or at least 2. But it is fun and very simple (and it is timed). You have cards with requirement, say [ # ] + [ # ] = 6. So you have to put 2 and 4, or 3 and 3 and so on to complete it. Then you defuse it and take another card from the pool. When playing with more players you have to discuss who needs which die and agree on that. And it is timed 😀 It’s fun and addictive, but i need to play with more.

          • That’s an interesting mechanic, and yeah, it sounds like if played with more people it would add an interesting dimension to the play. I must look into this game, From a quick look online I see that its reasonably priced as well.

          • Neil Biggs

            I played it with 2 friends last weekend – as a real time game some people may find it a little stressful, but if that’s not a concern it’s a fun, fast and frantic co-op game. Trying to figure out who should take which dice is a dilemma – if you take time to try and plan, you’re going to fail, if you just grab, you may leave one dice that is unusable. There is an app that adds a nice bit of atmosphere (and some sarcasm if you go for the personality option), and the rulebook includes some variants (which may be worth looking at to vary the difficulty as the initial construction of the deck feels like it maes the challenge level quite swingy). My one concern is that some colour-blind people may struggle, and the bomb cards use blue and black which aren’t easy to tell apart under certain lighting conditions (I wish they had gone for more of a cyan rather than the dark blue they used)

          • That does sound really cool. Real time co-ops are always a blast.

  • Ben Thorp

    Did you ever get Tiny Epic Galaxies? I like it’s dice mechanics

    • I really like the look of a lot of the ‘Tiny Epic’ games. And actually, Galaxies, I really wanted to back on KS. But as I recall, the shipping ended up being prohibitive. Very frustrating, as the game itself was really good value.

  • Ragnaras

    Oh, so you really need to start Dice masters from Wizkids or Star Wars Destiny from FFG. Those have tons of different interesting dice.
    And I’ll recommend Champions of Midgard too. Eurotrash style boardgame with rolling dice. Very nice theme and mechanics.

    • I looked up Champions after Dexter mentioned it above, and it does look really cool. I think I will look into it. We used to play/collect Dice Masters, but gave it up. I enjoyed it, but there was no-one else playing locally. Destiny looks SO very, very tempting. But we are really hesitant to go down the rabbit hole of playing a game with blind boosters, so that will probably keep us away. But I definitely want to at least get a game in, see what it’s like.

      • Neil Biggs

        I’m not sure what the difference is between Quarriors and Dice-Masters, but the former comes with an absolute ton of custom dice

        • As far as I know, Quarriors is the stand alone dice game that Dice Masters was actually based on. I had forgotten about Quarriors, actually, but it is meant to be a good game.

  • Rose the Hedgehog

    I think that you might enjoy this recent comic from Up to 4 Players – http://www.uptofourplayers.com/comic/125-dead-parody-sketch/ 🙂

    • Ha! That is great, I hadn’t seen that. I should try to do that sometime, just to troll my poor local gaming store 🙂