As with any hobby, there are many items that are not necessary, but can significantly contribute to the enjoyment of the experience. I don’t have to wear a Chicago Bears jersey on game day, seeing as they still haven’t signed me to the squad (I’m cheap, Ryan Pace!), but it makes it more fun when I’m out in public and run into other fans. In the same way, there are many gaming accessories that aren’t required but can be very useful and make the games we play more enjoyable.
Many games rely on dice to produce the random results needed to play the game, and most players develop a “style” of rolling those dice quickly and conveniently. Some like to use dice towers, relishing every clack and clatter of the die as it falls through the tumblers within. Others like dice cups, swirling the dice within like a fine wine before authoritatively slamming the cup down to show the game who’s really in control. Then, there are the troglodytes that like to bowl the dice across the playing surface attempting to knock over all your meticulously painted miniatures. But the most civilized, well-mannered, and discerning gamers use a tray to gently cradle their favorite dice and ensure the fairest result. (No bias here!)
Today I will be reviewing Metallic Dice Games’ Collapsible Dice Trays. These retail for $16 normally, but I was able to snag a two-pack of them on Massdrop for $23. The trays are very portable because they unsnap and fold flat, making it very easy to throw into a bag for game night without taking up a lot of space. There is a leather (maybe?) backing on the outside, and a soft, velvet lining on the inside with some sort of stiff material in between. If you like to roll with fancier metallic dice (can damage a table because of their weight) or the semi-precious stone dice (can chip if treated roughly), I wouldn’t be without one of these bad boys. Measuring in at 10×10 inches, they are large enough to let the dice roll a little bit without taking up too much of the table real estate, which can be an issue with bigger games or smaller gaming spaces.
I picked up a blue one and a purple one (to match our Blood Bowl team colors), and liked them so much that I picked up another two-pack in red and black we can have more around the table on Zombicide nights. Recently, I saw that they released a multi-colored one in a chevron pattern the last time they popped up on Massdrop, but it looks like the lining on that one might be a more standard cloth rather than the velvet. I’m sure that there are other dice trays that would be just as nice, but the price point for these in the two-pack was good and I was very impressed with the quality of these trays.
At our table, my teenager has a tendency to send dice careening around the room when he gets a little excited, so we spent a lot of time chasing dice. Of course, whenever it is a good roll it counts, but if it’s not what he was hoping to see we need to re-roll since it fell off the table (Seems legit….wait a minute!!!) So, I implemented a house rule that if it doesn’t end up in the tray it doesn’t count, no matter the result, and must be re-rolled. This has eliminated 95% of the dice on the floor (there’s still the odd one that bounces out or misses the tray), and has had the added benefit of eliminating “cocked” dice when playing games that involved uneven terrain features. If I’m using the trays away from home, I always let my opponent know how I use the tray and I’ve never had anyone complain. In fact, many roll their own dice in the trays as well!
So, readers…how do you roll at your table? Let us know in the comments if you use a tower, cup, tray, box lid, Vegas-style craps table, the hollowed-out skull of your enemy, etc. We’d love to know!