With the holiday season just passing, I got some pretty cool gifts. Among them was a single D20 from Artisan Dice, a company out of Mesquite, Texas that makes normal and polyhedral dice out of a plethora of unconventional materials. All of their dice are crafted by hand and come with a guarantee. They don’t offer refunds but will replace any damaged dice, so long as you pay shipping. Pretty good deal, if you ask me. From desert ironwood and deer antler to  amber and titanium, Artisan Dice has no shortage of options for unique and splendidly beautiful products.

This (now concluded) holiday season, it seems like great minds have thought alike. I had ordered Jessica a set of the purple heartwood dice, while she and her father ordered me an ancient bog oak d20 and a set of Jack Daniels barrel d6’s. I swear, we didn’t collaborate. Today I’m taking a look at the ancient bog oak, seeing how that’s the only one I have on hand at the moment. No worries, though, I’ll be talking about the other sets when they come.

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The packaging to endure the long trek here was stellar. Inside of the packaging, the die was wrapped in a 1/2″-ish thick foam, held around it with some tape. This keeps it from jostling around during the shipping process and potentially damaging the points or edges. It proved to work, for sure, because when I opened the package I was gobsmacked.

Right off the bat, the first thing I noticed when I unpacked this thing is that it was stunningly beautiful. The grain of the wood showed really nicely in the light, the numbers were engraved almost flawlessly. The “12” on it was a little off center, but nothing to really gripe about. The color of the wood itself is what really catches my eye. Darker colors are my favorite in wood, I’m in love with things like black walnut and ebony wood, and this fits my taste like a dream. What was shocking was how light it was, especially considering the material. It’s just about as light, if not, lighter, than most polymer dice that you see for sale everywhere. The edges and points are very acute, making this thing bounce and tumble like a stone down the mountainside when you roll it.

Here’s where the honeymoon wore off for it, however. I had rolled the die on my coffee table, also constructed out of wood. The good word here is that the die seemed to be balanced, not favoring a side. I didn’t do a salt water test because, well, wood. Apparently there was some debris or something on it (you know, as is wont to happen in most households) and it pocked up a couple of the faces and points on it. I hadn’t thought of it before I rolled, but it does make sense. If you’re rolling this particular die on a surface that is harder than it, it’s going to get a little chewed up. No biggie, that much makes sense when you think about it. However, that happening when you make the first roll is a bit shocking. I’ll definitely be rolling this in my Dogmight Games adventure case from now on, seeing how it has a felt bottom. I sense myself cashing in on Artisan Dice’s guarantee at some point.

With the beauty of this die being unquestionable, the weight of it being surprising, it’s only appropriate to talk about the size as well. It’s the size of most standard d20’s, which I personally prefer and am very comfortable with. This’ll sit nicely with my other dice that I keep in the adventure case. While the color is immensely satisfying, the numbers are a bit difficult to read, especially with the lack of overhead lighting in my game room. Not a huge deal to me, but certainly noteworthy. Some metallic paint would add some contrast and look killer, in my opinion. Perhaps a gold or a silver would help make them stand out. As far as voiding the guarantee, well, who knows.

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I’m not sure when it was ordered for me, but on the website, the expected delivery time is between 6 and 8 weeks. That’s acquiring materials, making it, QC-ing it and shipping to your door. Not a bad turnout time, especially considering how popular this company appears to be. The shipping price that they slap on it ($12.00 priority mail from TX to MA for the full set of purple heartwood, in my case) seemed immensely reasonable, and paired with the time, I was very satisfied with what I’ve been quoted. With the single d20 weighing in at $63, it’s certainly not on the economical end. In fairness, it is hand crafted and a domestic company, which I personally love about them. Craftsmanship always has a price, this is no exception.

So, to shorten things a bit:

Pros:

  • Stunningly gorgeous
  • Hand made, quality craftsmanship
  • Reasonable manufacture/shipping time
  • US crafted
  • Seemingly balanced

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Soft material (in this case, can’t speak for any other materials)
  • Human error (one slightly off center number)

 

Personally, I would definitely sink money into more that Artisan Dice has to offer. Even with some of the drawbacks, I am more than satisfied with what I have. The pictures that they have on their website doesn’t portray well enough exactly how beautiful this product is. I recommend this product, wholeheartedly.

 

 

Stay Metal \m/