I’m not too big on receiving gifts, I’d rather buy it myself or watch other people open them up with glee and enthusiasm. It makes Yule a very tough season for me sometimes, and this time, I was definitely over-gifted. This year for Yule, I had received something special from Jessica, my significant other: an Adventure Case from Dogmight Games! It’s my first entry into the many accessories that exist for role players, even more-so into the “wooden finery” type sub-genre. There’s a long list of stuff from that sort of family of accessories that I’ve had my eye on for a while (I’m looking at you, Wyrmwood), and with this now in my possession, I’m even more excited to journey down this road. Just for transparency, she did actually purchase this. we did not receive a review sample of this product.
Dogmight’s Adventure Cases seem to be one of their most high quality products. I don’t mean that from a craftsmanship perspective, but from the sheer complexity of what it is. The Adventure Case is a wooden chest with a felt (or suede for some extra dough) lining for rolling dice. From there you can choose a whole plethora of things: A wood carving or metal design on the lid, the type of wood, felt/suede color, whether it has a bi-fold compartment on the inside, you can even order a custom design for the piece on the lid. Me? It looks like Jessica got me the dark walnut wood with a handy-dandy Mjolnir on the lid.
At first glance, this this is impeccable and when you decide to look closer, the details stand out. The intricacies of the Mjolnir design is mind-boggling, the fact that someone made that with the two hands they were assigned to is insane to me. The metal fittings of the clip on the front, the chape-like pieces on the corners of both the lid and the base, they all look stunning. Not only that, they are all neatly and securely fitted with screw of either the same metal, or the same finish at the very least. You can’t see it all too well in the picture, but those same peices (minus the clip) have this really nice scroll work either stamped or etched into them. The overall finish of the piece is very smooth, the only rough spots being on the surface of Mjolnir itself. Hey, what can you expect? If you sand that thing too much, it’ll lose all of the magnificent work on it.
Right off the bat, this worth the $120 or so that she probably paid for it (I’m making an educated guess off of the “Custom Case” section of the website). Before you go buy it though, there’s more inside! Wonders to be had. When you first open this puppy up, you’re greeted by a dice bag. Yep, they include a dice bag. It appears to be silk with some sort of polyester lining on the inside, but I’m not sure.
Immediately, you can see that I got the Adventure Case with the bi-fold compartment in the lid. The one that comes without that compartment is called the “Classic Adventure Case” can can be purchased for a little less than $100. Moving on, the felt on the inside is neatly secured, no signs of glue stains or anything like that. Not sure if it’s due to an incorrect measurement when cutting it, but on the left side it does climb up the siding for nearly 1/4″. Honestly, I almost wish they had lined the walls as well as the bottom of the case, just to protect my dice from being rounded when rolling them. Especially since I have some wooden Artisan Dice on the way! A very minor thing though, in my opinion. The clasp on the upper lid is identical in quality and finish to the one on the outside.
Opening that sucker up reveals some compartments, also lined with felt. A good call, I honestly think. It helps keep the whole piece looking consistent. The thin slot at the top appears to be for a pencil, a good lesson some people I know need to learn when coming to an RPG game. The longer side compartments are seemingly for dice, and since I’m a little particular about things, I separated my D20s and other types of dice. This feature very much falls in line with the way I enjoy organizing things. The bigger compartments in the middle are shown on the website to hold Pathfinder Critical Hit and Fumble card decks, but I don’t use those seeing how I don’t play Pathfinder. I’m more than confident that there’ll be a use for them that I can find. As a 13th Age guy, index cards seem satisfyingly sufficient.
Looking at the case open like this, it seems like it takes up a lot of space, and it does. Leading to probably one of my favorite parts about this thing, it almost never should be open like this during play. You can lift the lid to a 90 degree angle with the bottom and use the covers on the upper compartment to create this mini-GM screen with it to hide your rolls! It shows off the logo on the front to people on the other side, and the felt makes it not so noisy to use.
Using the case this way takes away the functionality of the dice sleeves in the lid but it is a very nice way to use this case. I have the 13th Age GM screen and I find that it’s not always wide enough to fit my open books and where I roll my dice. Before I’ve even used this at the table, I can already place a value on the utility it’ll hold for me. Now that I’m done praising this product, it’s time to look at some of the drawbacks.
Firstly, it’s heavier than having just a dice bag or the plastic Very Useful Box for miniatures. It’s not cumbersome by any stretch, but it is a bit heavy. Sticking this in a backpack or something is the way to go, but make sure you have something protective between it and your books. Since it’s made of wood, this’ll without question mar up the front of your hard cover books. Also, it’s a bit noisy. The clip on the front of mine is a bit loose. Not loose in the sense of it won’t hold the case closed, but loose as in it’ll rattle around when walking or what have you. Everything has a bit of noisiness to it, but it doesn’t end with the clip. With hard plastic dice on the inside, it makes a lot of racket against the wood. If the inside were completely felt-lined in the storage compartment, it’d probably be a bit better but definitely not as visually appealing. Not something that’s deal-breaking for me. Taking this a step further, looking at the images, there are no rubber stops on the lid. If you’re not paying attention when you close this, it could be horrendously loud. More importantly than that, you could wear out or damage the wooden surface. Utmost care and attentiveness seems to be the key here.
What is a large drawback to me, however, is the fact that there are no feet on the bottom. No rubber, no felt, it’s just those metal chape pieces digging into your table. I’m likely going to add some furniture feet to the bottom of this thing at some point, but since I have a plastic game-table, this isn’t an immediate problem. For you card players out there, a play mat could be a quick and easy fix for this issue. It looks fantastic but those little bumps on the fittings will easily do a number on somebody’s table and ultimately themselves. I was a little confused by this, especially since their Dice Chest products have legs that lift the entire wooden part off of the table. From a portability standpoint, this makes a lot of sense, for sure. However, as somebody who plans on getting a Geek Chic table somewhere down the road, this’ll be an issue.
This one’s definitely a nit-pick but it did stand out to me; You can see where the nails are driven in the hold the box together. I’m not saying that there’s just blatant little metal heads in the joints of your Adventure Case, have no fear. They did rub some sort of compound in there that matches the color of the wood to hide them, it’s just something I noticed. Importantly, they’re not on the top of the case, but on the sides. This makes them not as noticeable, which is great. Not a drawback to me, but perhaps important to know.
Finally we can look at the cost. The Classic Adventure case is pretty economical when compared to other products of a similar design/utility. At around $120. I’m not sure I would have ordered this for myself anytime soon, not because the product isn’t worth it, but simply because I was not losing out on anything without it. Okay, sure, I was losing out on bragging rights and gawking at its beauty, but I had other cheaper stuff that did the same thing albeit in different spots and ways. The Adventure Case as a sort of modular storage system is incredibly useful, make no mistake, but it’s not a 100% needed product by all gamers.
So let’s sum up:
- Immaculate craftsmanship
- Quality materials
- Clean-cut finish
- Very detailed
- Utilitarian design
- Simple yet elegant
- Portable in size
- Relatively heavy to transport
- Noisy to transport
- No rubber/felt stoppers on lid to ensure quiet and safe closing
- No legs for the case to stand upon
- No rubber/felt on the bottom of the case to protect the table
- Felt lining on rolling surface does not climb up the sides
- Expensive, but not without good reason
At the end of the day, I cannot recommend this product to you guys enough. If you have the money to spend and are looking for something nice for yourself to carry small bits of gaming gear, go pick this up. It seems as though intense care was taken into the design of this case from a utility standpoint, working within the limits that using wood as a material presents. As a person who values craftsmanship and appreciates a good piece of furniture (I suppose this falls in the same family), Dogmight’s adventure case is far beyond a pleasure to own. Even with the drawbacks as presented above, I encourage you to go out and have one made.
Dogmight doesn’t only make Adventure Cases, however. They do make a few other utilitarian type things with the same amount of customization and, seemingly by the pictures, quality. They have a website that you can go visit here. You can also find them on Twitter to receive promotional deals, photos of other products, limited time offers and the like.
And, of course, before I forget…
Stay Metal \m/