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Commands & Colors: Ancients» Forums » General

Subject: More replacement dice - laser etched wood rss

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Dan Becker
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Here is another replacement dice set for Commands and Colors Ancients. I bought the wooden blank dice from www.spielmaterial.de. I contracted for the laser etched engraving from Incredible Engravings at www.engravings.com.

I was happy with the quality and the precision of the laser engraving. No wood chips. Very high detail. I was a big stickler about the orientation of the images. I think it is important with dice to NOT have a prefered facing. By this I mean that no roll should make the die appear upright or upside down. In other words, no two faces should be upright with any one roll. Thus each face must have a different upright direction.

You can darken the wood by burning it at low laser power. On some other prototypes I have colored in the faces. The geometric shapes (square,circle,triangle) are easy, but the graphics (banner,crossed swords,helmet) are hard - ink wash tends to pool in unintended parts of the die.

This was a fun experiment for me. Originally I planned a few sets of ten that I could share with friends. However, the costs from these vendors proved prohibitive, so these prototypes are the only ones I will manufacture.

Well, they certainly feel nice and roll nice. I really like this dice construction technique over stickers, screen prints, or other types of dice I have seen.


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Chris Heinzmann
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what was the total cost
 
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Chris Bailey
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I'm interested in the cost as well.
 
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Jason Sadler
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I must say that those are very attractive. Well done!
 
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Kevin Duke
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Really beautiful.

Count another vote in the "how much did they cost?" category.
 
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Ken Takacs
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I am intrigued as to what the cost is as well.
 
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Jeffrey D Myers
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Seems there may be a market for these. There are already reports of ink fading on the dice provided.... Fortunately one can print more labels from the GMT website.
 
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Dan Becker
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The blank dice were about 50 euro cents each. Then the engraving quote was about $3.00 each. My view is those costs would put a bag of 10 up around $40. That is expensive versus the price of the game.

However, I only quoted one laser engraver, and I suspect dice are very labor intensive for them (6 rotations required). Perhaps other engravers or larger quantities might bring the costs down.

Nevertheless, I really like this technique for dice, and I will keep it in mind for future projects.
 
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Nomadic Gamer
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This cannot be a crisis. wow
buy blank dice and mark them..................
$1 a die from Kaplow dice?
 
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Read the rulebook, plan for all contingencies, and…read the rulebook again.
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Sirrah! Dan Becker is the Martha Stewart of BoardGame Geeks! Sure, you can do things cheap-- or you can do them in style!
 
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John Burt
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I am going to check and see the cost here as well
 
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Brandon Pennington
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Is there any place in the US to get blank wooden rounded dice like this? All I can ever find over here is plastic ones with sharp edges.
 
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Steve Cates
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http://chessex.com/Dice/Custom_Dice_Home.htm

$1.00 a side for the bakelite goodness... $60 for ten dice which is the minimum. I like this better than the wood. If somebody could do a big run and get the price down, it could go as low as 0.42 cents a side or 25.20 for ten and turn around and sell them for 30.

Whoever does this please give me a set
 
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Russ Williams
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beckerdo wrote:
I was a big stickler about the orientation of the images. I think it is important with dice to NOT have a prefered facing. By this I mean that no roll should make the die appear upright or upside down. In other words, no two faces should be upright with any one roll. Thus each face must have a different upright direction.


I agree with and admire this anal retentive way of thinking. That said, I was shocked and disappointed to notice that one square and one circle are incorrectly oriented on a couple of dice in the photo! (I leave it as an exercise for the reader to deduce which square and which circle.)
 
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Dan Becker
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Have you spotted the subliminal message in the arrangement of the cubes?
 
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Read the rulebook, plan for all contingencies, and…read the rulebook again.
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5 dice. 5 words.

Square. Heavy. Heaviest class. Most extreme result. Could be "Too."

Leader. Organizer. Intelligence. More than others. "Much"

Circle. Light. Sun-face. Solstice. "Time"

Flag. Retreat. Run. Onward. "On"

Crossed Swords. Weapons. Manipular Combat. Hand-to-hand. "Hands."

TOO MUCH TIME ON HANDS!!!
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Something Awry
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beckerdo wrote:
I was a big stickler about the orientation of the images. I think it is important with dice to NOT have a prefered facing. By this I mean that no roll should make the die appear upright or upside down. In other words, no two faces should be upright with any one roll. Thus each face must have a different upright direction.

These are very cool dice, and they surpass the Valley Games version for your stated goal, so I hate to bring this up: aren't the crossed swords considered up when the handles are at the bottom? In which case, when the leader symbol is the top-face, the swords and medium triangle are both "up". Of all the non-circle/square symbols, this one is the least distinguishable orientation-wise, of course, and would be "fixed" (if need be) by simply flipping the swords.
 
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Dan Becker
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thirtyseven wrote:
so I hate to bring this up: aren't the crossed swords considered up when the handles are at the bottom?


You are correct. A subtle point is that the CCA triangles are considered right side up with a point at the bottom. This threw me off into the ignomy of incorrectly oriented dice. Another way of fixing this is to rotate the triangles instead of the swords. Someone can capitalize on this and come out with a better set of dice! (P.S. Please do it more cheaply than I can.)
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Justin Hoffman
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ironcates wrote:
http://chessex.com/Dice/Custom_Dice_Home.htm

$1.00 a side for the bakelite goodness... $60 for ten dice which is the minimum. I like this better than the wood. If somebody could do a big run and get the price down, it could go as low as 0.42 cents a side or 25.20 for ten and turn around and sell them for 30.

Whoever does this please give me a set



Well, Valley Games [in a very recent response to questions over at F:AT] has stated that they're basically sold out of their original run and there won't be a reprint any time soon, if at all. Since I missed out on the Valley Games set and I despise the GMT dice, I am toying with a run of 100-120 if enough (at least 6 folks wanting 10 dice sets) people are interested, I could conceviably order 20 sets of 5 dice, which would bring the price down to $3.60 per die x 5 dice= a base cost of $18/set of 5 + a portion of the S&H, so, I'd probably sell 'em at $40/10 shipped to anywhere in the US [and a couple bucks more for shipping OCONUS] if folks were interested.

I don't know if they can custom color each face, so I'd go white on black dice [and one could ink in your own colors if you want].

I'd take the risk on a larger run and post something on the marketplace about it but I'd prefer to avoid incurring the wrath of GMT as I believe Valley to work out a license deal of some sort to produce those dice. But a small pool of verified "pre-order" buyers would [hopefully] be beneath their notice. Question is, are $40 sets actually worth it to folks?
 
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Miguel (working on TENNISmind...)
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Does anybody know why GMT stays aside all this just looking how VG is unable to continue making the good dice for their game, or how individuals try to risk their money when they should know much better how to do it?
 
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Justin Hoffman
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franchi wrote:
Does anybody know why GMT stays aside all this just looking how VG is unable to continue making the good dice for their game, or how individuals try to risk their money when they should know much better how to do it?


Because GMT are extremely cheap when it comes to accessory components and they will push the envelope to see what the market will bear on that front [witnessed by their awful hollow dice in the C&C:A 1st printing]. I suspect it's part of how they keep their margins comfortable to publish a lot of other marginal titles [e.g., Manifest Destiny]. They publish a significant number of excellent games in a very small niche in the gaming marketplace, but dice are something they clearly just don't want to invest a dime in. [And, some would argue that maps are in the same category, but the vast majority of their paper-map games have a significant # of man-hours in design work invested, which has a fairly high component cost; as well as a target audience [wargamers] that are pretty comfortable with paper maps. I suspect GMT went with mounted boards for C&C:A because there's nearly zero graphic design cost to 'em and because they needed something that could hold up to having wooden blocks shoved around on it]

Valley games, on the other hand, is essentially a 3 or 4-person operation in which I believe all of those people have other "day jobs" [which goes a long way in explaining some of order processing/shipping issues they're a bit infamous for at the moment]. The fact that they [VG] could republish 5000 copies of a game like Hannibal with the quality that they did and keep the price far under US$80 [which is easily what GMT would have charged] astonishes me. I think the C&C:A dice were a nice little "hey we're Valley Games come check out what we're doing!" item, but their original print run of 2500 sets of dice was a significant number for a tiny shop that has very little operating cash to begin with [which, I presume, is why those first couple of games they printed were cash-up-front preorders]. Companies like that really can't afford a 2nd print run of something that may have already reached a substantial percentage of its target audience [I admit I have no idea what GMT's sales #s for C&C:A are but I suspect it's probably not more than 4,000 copies].

I'd love to get a run of 140 dice [which would be 20 sets of 7] simply because it would cut the overall unit price by 40%, but that's still a fair amount of financial risk [do I ask folks to pre-pay? How many wouldn't trust me?]. Even at 1,400 dice (200 sets), I suspect the price would drop to around $.38/face [so $2.28 per die], which would be ~$16/set of 7 in base cost without including the shipping costs to get them just to my door [I'd guess that could add up to $.75/set]. So, call it $17 in base cost. Folks would have to be willing to shell out $20/set of 7 at that point, which I think is close to 3x what VG was selling their wooden dice for originally [and heading into Games Workshop territory for pricing on custom game-specific dice]. Gamers can be extremely cheap and I suspect most of those left who didn't buy sets already just couldn't fathom coughing up that kind of cash for a set of dice.

I do wonder why Chessex, which specializes in this sort of stuff, hadn't done a set of these. Since they have the capability to produce these things in-house, they could do a substantial number in a hurry for cheaper-even if they couldn't custom color each die face, etched symbols on nice 16mm bakelite dice would work just fine.

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