“Sean,
We apologize for the long wait on yourhandcrafted dice.
Included is a complimentary assorted wooden d20 for the wait.
We appreciate your patience.
Thank you and Best regards,
Artisan Dice”

 

So this is the very late follow-up to my post about the ancient bog oak die I had received as a gift for Yule. My overall impression was extremely positive, and now that I’m using it more often, not being able to see the numbers can be a pain in the rump just a tiny bit. That doesn’t keep me from using it because, well, I’m 22 and haven’t suffered enough in my life yet. First impression of these guys? That’s not going to be an issue anymore.

Now before I get too ahead of myself, I need to address the most important part of this whole gift receiving thing. These were ordered well before Christmas Day, by Jessica’s father as a gift to me. I hadn’t received these until late February/early March (if my horrendous memory serves). That’s a long wait time, but it was clear that wood supply was short and from Artisan Dice’s constant Facebook updates, it was blatantly apparent that they were having some machinery issues as well. Simply put: I was not in the least bit upset about how long it was taking. I don’t mind waiting some time for a truly quality product, and sure it would have been nice to have them earlier, but I wasn’t wiggling in my seat in anticipation. Now, I did order a set of purple heart wood dice for Jessica that arrived around the same time and having not sent a complaint email, Artisan Dice made an incredible gesture on their own. The featured photo is the tin of purple heartwood dice, the small tin is one of their assorted wood d20s as a good will gesture for the wait, and a hand written note to put the icing on the cake. I was shocked, and asked Jessica’s dad if they had done the same thing with the order he had for me (I had an assorted d20 too) and he confirmed my suspicion. From what I know, Jessica’s father did send an email to them asking about the long wait time, but I’m blown away by this company’s generosity. It warms me that there are still companies that are hellbent on giving the customer a quality experience.

Now that that’s over; let’s talk about dice, shall we?

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I’ve never had one of the wooden boxes that Artisan Dice offers, but even these little tins are well put together. As you can see from the small d20 only tin, the lid is fitted with this foam insulation on the inside to protect the face of the die. The housings for the dice themselves are made from some type of unfinished wood. It’s seemingly painted black and looks really good with the color contrast of my dice. The image doesn’t show it, but between the d4 and d8, they have etched into the housing a little maker’s mark (it’s in the shape of the state of Texas). It has no bearing on the product, but it does make for a nice presentation piece.

So, what’s the story with these? Turns out, Jack Daniels doesn’t retire their barrels until seven years after their whiskey has been aging in it. My thoughts on limited product supply were correct, for sure. The inside of whiskey barrels are very often charred, to give the whiskey a sweeter or vanilla taste. Any whiskey that comes out of America definitely utilizes charred barrels. Based off of logical assumption, that’s why the d6s have one black side; they utilize the charred inside of the barrel. The charred inside of the Jack Daniels whiskey barrel on the 6th side looks cool. These are the only parts with that charring, but the percentile d10 also has the slightest amount of it. It’s pretty clear this wasn’t intentional, but it still does look kind of nice. One thing I actually do enjoy about these dice is that the d6’s have pips instead of numbers. This shows off some complex layering of the wood inside the pips and is really pleasing to the eye.

Anybody who has worked with it knows that wood lacquer is really smelly. What’s incredible to me is that, though these dice are sealed with lacquer, you can actually still smell the wood itself through it. It’s a little odd that I smelled my dice, sure, but I’m a whiskey guy. Can you blame me? Beyond that, the charred sixth side smells different than the other bare wood dice. A rather trivial detail but, man, do I love it.

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Sadly, the one thing I didn’t find in the note is exactly what kind of wood my assorted d20 is made out of. I’m no wood expert, but if I had to guess, I would say its some kind of walnut. The rich brown color really falls in line with my general taste in wood color and really pleased me. That didn’t sound like I intended…

I store these guys in my Dogmight Games adventure case, I take advantage of the felt lined rolling tray in an attempt to preserve these Bad Larries as long as I can. Sadly, this is where the bad stuff comes in.

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One of the tips of my d4 took a hit, likely just from transport. The wooden doors on the adventure case aren’t lined, unlike the rolling surface. Therefore, when it’s in my backpack as I walk, everything is jostling around. Definitely not the die’s fault, but noteworthy. Also to note, the edges of all the dice are extremely pointy. This means that they’re sort of a target to become dulled or chipped anyway. I like how pointy they are, it’s certainly not a flaw. The die still functions just fine, but if this can happen during transport, certainly be careful while rolling. The points will likely wear over time, it’s just the way it’ll work. Bummer. Based off this alone, I would highly recommend you transport your dice in the provided containers to eliminate the risk of damage.

What didn’t dawn on me until I plastered this picture in the post; You can sort of see the pattern I was alluding to when talking about the d6. The wood naturally has this strange criss-cross pattern that looks really cool. Inside the pips of the d6s, you can see that they’re more like strands almost woven together. Nature is an amazing thing.

From this point of the review forward is going to be the cons of the dice that aren’t things that I could control (like my storage). The geometry of the d20 and d12 are pretty damn near flawless. The other dice, however… well…

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Granted, this is a bit of a nit pick but if you look, you can see that the top point and the bottom point of the d8 aren’t aligned. They’re slightly offset from each other, which means the die isn’t fully symmetrical. That’ll without question affect the way this die rolls, and from what I’ve seen so far, not for the worse (heh…). I certainly don’t mind rolling well with it often, and thankfully my game group is lax enough to where it doesn’t really matter either. For some people, this may be a huge issue however.

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As you can see, this asymmetry is extremely apparent with the d10s. It certainly won’t keep me from using them but I feel this is important to note. Quite honestly, I’m not too upset about this. It does bother me that the dice aren’t true and that they won’t roll well, but this is the risk you run when buying hand crafted products. Human error is a real thing, and although there’s likely some sort of quality control in place, sometimes things slip.

In blatant contrast to the bog oak d20, these dice are incredibly easy to read since the burned in numbers are dark where the wood color is light. Even when rolled in the darkness behind the screen that my adventure case makes in front of the roll tray (invest in the LEDs, people. It’s a good idea), I can still read the numbers very clearly. The assorted one, on the other hand, does suffer the same fate as the bog oak.

To wrap it all up, I do absolutely love these dice. They’re gorgeous, fragrant (not something you hear every day) and just feel absolutely stellar to hold in the hand. This set runs you 167 USD, which is pretty expensive. Like I had mentioned in the last review, you get what you pay for. Having dice made out of a moderately rare and certainly interesting material is going to cost, it’s a simple fact of life. The one thing to certainly expect going in: these are going to take a while to get to you. Be patient, you’ll be happy you were.

 

Stay Metal \m/