Monday, December 24, 2018

4 Tools To Help You Control Your Dice At The Table

There are few things more annoying than your dice making a break for it when you're in the middle of a tense situation. Whether your dice go wild, knocking over PC and monster minis on the map, or they fall off the table entirely, leading to the whole table shining their cell phones down into the shadows while you try to retrieve your fallen soldier, that can break the spell you're all collectively weaving.

Maybe you don't have a lot of room at your gaming table, or maybe you just want a neat, clean solution to keep your dice on their best behavior. These are the solutions I've found that work, and which can easily become a part of your regular gaming arsenal.

#1: Dice Cup

As opposed to a cup of dice, which is a totally different thing.
The dice cup might be one of the oldest known gaming accessories, next to dice themselves. Simple and straightforward, you toss your dice in, give it a shake, then upend the cup over the table. No dice go flying, and you can usually roll all your attacks in a round with a single pound. If you really want to save time, toss in your damage dice along with the d20.

If you have a bunch of old games on your shelf (particularly Yahtzee), you can likely scrounge the dice cup out of there and put it to use. Or, if you don't mind going super cheap, you can just use a hard, plastic cup from your kitchen (and if you're crafty you can glue some felt to the inside, and put a band of leather around the top for softer, smoother rolling). Even if you're not crafty, though, you can get a cheap dice cup for $6 or so. The one I'm currently rocking came with the Wiz Dice Cup of Wonders, which gives you a dice cup, and seven complete sets of dice for $12. Would highly recommend for anyone looking to kill two birds with one stone.

#2: Brick Roller

No, I didn't know these were called bricks, either.
If you've ever bought a new set of dice at your friendly local gaming store, then you're familiar with these clear, plastic brick cases. They're convenient for carrying a single set of dice, and you've probably used the clear plastic part to represent flying creatures a time or two on your battle mat (and if you haven't, well, there's a life hack for you). However, if you need a quick and easy way to roll your dice without risking them going too far, you can turn the brick into a simple die roller. Just empty it, put the die you want to roll inside, and close the brick. Voila!

I've used this trick in the past, but mostly I just used the d20, and rolled my damage dice out on the table. Fewer problems, but inconvenient if you like to use multiple sets of dice for a single character. If you don't have any bricks laying around, relax, we live in the future. You can order them online! Or, you know, just buy a few more dice sets...

#3: Dice Tower

Brings "keeping" your dice in order to a whole, new level.
I mentioned back in Towering Defenses Against My Bad Rolls that I'd been building some dice towers of my own. And, generally speaking, I've found that they're particularly useful for shaking off the bad juju when it comes to avoiding a slew of natural 1's. However, if you're going to go that route, it's helpful to build a dice catcher into the base of your tray. I put the blueprints and videos I used in that other entry, if you want to try your hand at making your very own tower.

If you're not feeling crafty (or you want something tough enough to stuff into your travel bag on your way out the door), then models like the Black Tower pictured above (which has dice storage in the base) will run you a couple of Jacksons. Or, if you're shopping on a budget and you don't want the spinning rims and awesome exterior, then a simple design like the Litko Dice Tower will certainly get the job done.

Handy, fun, and neat, you can roll as many dice as quickly as you want without having to police them back up once they stop moving. Even better, they don't take up anywhere near as much space at the table as you might think.

#4: Dice Tray

May the All-Father's Eye grant you battle luck!
A dice tray is, perhaps, one of the most ubiquitous solutions to the problem of your dice rolling further than you'd like. Not only that, but they are one of the easiest things to make for yourself. The first thing you need to do is go to your local craft store. Find where they keep the small, wooden boxes with slide-off lids. Buy it. Boom, you now have a dice tray!

If you want to spruce it up a bit, get some felt and glue it to the insides. This ensures a smoother roll, and it stops your dice from rattling quite so hard. If you're of a mind, you can also accessorize the outside with stain, paint, or even taking a wood-burning kit to the surface to make it a one-of-a-kind piece. Best of all, the lid lets you toss your dice inside, shut it, and put it in your bag without worrying about your stuff going all over the place.

However, if you want something fancy like Odin's Battlefield pictured above, there are plenty of options out there. But, as always, if you want something cheaper that will get the job done, then a folding leather dice tray is a solid choice, too. But if you go with either of those options, you'll still need your trusty dice bag to get your weapons from point A to point B.

If you enjoyed this piece, then you should also check out Need Cheap Minis? SCS Direct Has You Covered! to make sure you never run out of monsters at your table.

That's all for this week's Moon Pope Monday post! Hopefully your December holiday of choice finds you well, and you have plenty of time to rest, relax, and roll some dice. If you'd like to see more of my work then stop by my Vocal archive, my Gamers page, and stop by Dungeon Keeper Radio to hear me put some snazzy shows together with fellow players and dungeon masters.

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  1. Small plastic food containers work well for this. The dollar store usually has a package of half a dozen 2 inch ones. Big enough to put three or so normal size dice in.


  3. I eat a lot of TV dinners, if you wash out the tray the TV dinner comes in you have a nice cheap and easy to replace dice tray.