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Published on April 11th, 2014 | by Across the Board Games Staff


Roll for Creativity

Customize Dice with Custom Game Lab

For anyone who has ever wanted to make their own set of d6 dice and have those dice on sale for others to buy, now is your chance! Custom Game Lab launched a Kickstarter campaign a couple days ago to set up a custom dice making business and make print-on-demand custom dice. Consider the Kickstarter their first print run! We had the opportunity to play with, roll-off and scrutinize the finished product and would like to share our reasons as to why this is a campaign worth your money. We had some questions while playing with these dice that are integral when considering buying a custom accessory:

custom dice color

1.Readability and Detail: Can I read the symbols quickly and easily?

During a 3 hour rpg session a player will roll a lot of dice. That’s a lot of math and success-tallying to do really quickly. A player needs to be able to read the numbers quickly which means the symbols need to be well contrasted from the cube color and the symbols on the dice need to be clear, dark and legible in low light, from an arm’s length away,etc. The dice we received were mostly dark colors with white fill-in color and they stood out very nicely. The black die with red text was a bit more difficult to read but could still be distinguished during play. It is more common to see white symbols etched into dark dice as they are easiest to read. Custom Game Lab let’s you choose from a variety of colors of dice and if their campaign sees enough following and funding additional fill and dice colors will be unlocked beyond the initial set. Gamers can create their own color combinations through this campaign; however, since those designs could be purchased by others, designers and fans should focus on color combinations that are well contrasted.

Line weight and design orientation issues came up while reviewing the dice: the black die with red text had two identical faces that upon closer inspection we discovered that they are supposed to be different and distinguished by varying line weight and separate horizontal and vertical orientations. Dice don’t rely on being ‘right side up’ all the time and a design cannot rely on those elements. Thus even more importance will be placed on having detailed and accurate previews of the printed dice before purchase.

custom dice preview

2. Accurate Previews: Is this what I expected?

A major concern when customizing anything is being able to accurately preview the finished product before it is created. Will these colors read okay together? Does the design look good on the die face or is does it lose too much detail? As for colors, Custom Game Lab has promised to take a picture of each die color and fill color combination. The initial dice colors for their Kickstarter are white, yellow, red, blue, green and black. The fill colors are even more diverse as white, pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, black, brown and purple are all options available right now. We hope to see a couple sample pictures of each die with consistent lighting: one with product lighting, one in low light and maybe one lit like you would find in a household or home game area.

Another concern is how accurate is the detail when compared to the images submitted. We found it really depends on the image and if the minute details actually need to be seen or are there for texture. For example we all loved the fishbone design! The silhouette stood out as a unique design and a well-contrasted shape and color. The red die with weapons and numbers were not as clear or solid in shape as there were additional details in the weapon shading and crosshatching inside the numbers. What gamers can’t in our photos is how that texture on the engraved weapon dice came through and divided our opinions: some of us didn’t like the loss of detail while others enjoyed the textured faces. Single-line and bold designs will be more easily filled in but crosshatching or shading will not be very accurately engraved but will add texture and depth to the design.

custom dice comparison

3. Practicality: Can I actually use these and play with these dice?

We’ve seen D-20 shaped everything from ice cube trays and cookie cutters to large acrylic plastics and copies made of steel. The most important function of dice is to be played with frequently. Dice need to withstand roll after roll, being dropped on the floor and sharing close quarters with a bag full of other dice. We didn’t have time to test considerable amount of wear-and-tear on the Custom Game Lab dice but they felt and rolled the same as our bag of Chessex dice. As pictured above the bold fill-in colors and larger symbols really help the custom dice stand out from the rest of the pack. The weight, gloss and paint all looked and felt identical. Compared to the mass-produced dice, Custom Game Lab stands out from the pack.

And now we come to everyone’s burning question…

4. Price: Is this a reasonably priced customized item or is it deemed too expensive?

Every gamer has to make difficult decisions when choosing Kickstarter campaigns to support. With all the talent, art and uniqueness out there, investors want to know that your product is worth some of their spending money. The best scenario is if a campaign feels like  ‘a steal’ where buyers feel and receive a much a deal that is too good to pass up. “A Steal” is where I would place Custom Game Lab’s Custom Dice campaign. In addition to creating well-priced, high-quality dice, with tons of options, the suppor from this Kickstarter will help establish a community where designers and gamers can cheaply and easily make their own designs.

An average roleplaying 7-dice gaming set and 27, mini d6 dice are about $8-$10. We feel that a completely customizable dice set shouldn’t be more than double that price and the difference would account for the cost of customization. Custom Game Lab smashed this expectation of ours and is offering a set of six d6 dice for $12 and a dozen dice at an even better deal of $22. How important is customization to you? If you’re looking for dice to call your own, this is the best deal you can get.

Custom Game Lab’s Custom Dice Kickstarter campaign will run from April 8th until May 11th. Visit their Kickstarter to learn more about the dice options, stretch goals and other fun surprises!

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Across the Board Games Staff

We are a diverse group of gamers who mostly live in the Seattle area and we have been playing games together for several years now. What you see here is our collective knowledge of and feelings towards board games. We are working to make an awesome space where people of all stripes can share their love of all things board games. Please join us!

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