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Subject: TJGames' Dice Tower: Better than expected! rss

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Greer
South Carolina
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I have to admit, the first time I stumbled across this dice tower, I was skeptical. I mean, it's made out of card stock. How sturdy could it be? I had a hard time imagining the tower holding up during a game of Settlers of Catan, much less some other dice fest like Heroscape or Epic Duels. The only thing that broke through my reservations and convinced me to buy one was that it was designed by Tim Schutz, a respected gamer who wouldn't put out some sub-par product to make a quick buck.

Furthermore, most people who have gamed with me know I have an odd obsession with size. I've condensed a lot of card games down from their original boxes to deck boxes to allow me to carry more games with me to game nights, and I even purchased a 300-piece poker chip set that takes up as much space as a Kosmos 2-player game. If I can condense something for easier portability, I'm sure as heck going to do it. So, the fact that the dice tower would take up as much space as a half-sized manila envelope was appealing to me, too.

The tower is visually appealing. It has a medieval touch to the design, including the font style across the front. It arrived in a manila envelope about half the size of a standard sheet of paper, with a thick cardstock backing inside to prevent bending of the tower itself. The tower is made of the same type of cardstock you would find in an office supply store, and it arrived flat. The tower itself is folded flat in one direction, and the gate at the bottom of the tower folds flat back in the other direction, so that it lays completely flat.

The tower also came with two sprue-type supports of extra-thick cardstock, which are placed diagonally across the top and bottom of the tower. This keeps the tower square from top to bottom, without risk of it folding up as the dice fall through the tower. Also, there are three shelves inside the dice tower for the dice to bounce over on their journey through the tower. They are scalloped, to allow the dice to fall through more easily, and you can see them better here:



The gated landing area at the bottom of the tower doesn't have one of these cross-sprues, but it's less important there than it is within the tower itself. It's necessary to bend the gated area opposite from the direction that it's folded to make it stay square, but it really isn't an issue. Ron says on his website that the tower can accommodate up to 6 dice at a time, and the landing area of the tower is certainly large enough for that. Also, the landing area is just a folded gate, without a bottom, so it's easy to retrieve the dice for the next person and pass them the tower.

So, how does it hold up? Fairly well! When I first received it, I took 10 8MM d6s and dropped them through the tower, just to see what would happen. The tower rattled and shook as the dice fell through it, but it didn't tip over, and all the dice landed in the bottom without jumbling up on top of each other. I dropped the dice through the tower several times, just as a test, and the tower held up just fine. It does shake from one side to the next as the dice make their trip, but this seems unavoidable; the tower simply isn't sturdy or bulky enough to stay firmly on the table. Still, it's sturdy enough to stay up while being used.

A few days later, I noticed that some fellow gamers at our game night were having trouble keeping the dice on the table or out of Catan while playing Settlers, and I pulled the tower out for them to use. They thought it was "cute" at first, but as the wild rolls continued, a couple of the players started using the tower instead of rolling directly on the table. I wasn't part of that game, so I didn't witness how well the tower withstood the real-time test, but the players who used it liked it. I think they both preferred the wooden type of towers best, but who doesn't, really?

The key element of the Paper Tower is its portability. I think if you're at home, and had the choice between this one or a nice wooden tower, you'd probably choose the wooden one. If you want to have a tower to carry around with you in your game tote, though, this one will certainly suffice, and take up much less space than that bulky wooden one. And for $8.95, it's certainly a deal! You can find them here:

http://tjgames.com/tower.html

Oh, and I received no compensation from Tim for this review; I just wanted to point out the usefulness of the tower for those of you wondering if it's worth getting.
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Michael Van Biesbrouck
Canada
St Catharines
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I've had one for a while, and it seems pretty good. I got mine cheaper by going through eBay instead of the official site. The official site would sell their other products and get multiple copies, though.
 
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Ron Hale-Evans
United States
Kent
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Verkisto,

Thanks for the compliment -- "The only thing that broke through my reservations and convinced me to buy one was that it was designed by Ron Hale-Evans, a respected gamer who wouldn't put out some sub-par product to make a quick buck". I appreciate your trust.

I have to set the record straight, though. The dice tower was designed by my good friend Tim "AlphaTim" Schutz. TJ Games is his company. However, if you substitute his name for mine in the sentence above like so -- "Tim Schutz, a respected gamer who wouldn't put out some sub-par product to make a quick buck" -- you'd be absolutely right. :-)

Thanks,

Ron

p.s. Sxajnas ke vi estas esperantisto. Mi estas verkisto kun eta 'v' ankaux. Pri kio vi verkas?
 
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Tim Schutz
United States
Federal Way
Washington
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Thanks for the great write up...I am glad to hear The Paper Tower is serving its purpose for which I intended it to. I came up with the idea for the paper tower after playing a game of Yspahan (Good Game) on a small table...where you have to roll 9 to 12 dice at a time. I wanted a dice tower that was compact and easily portable to carry with the rest of the games I lug around.

Thanks for clarifying who created it Ron…although that statement does fit you too.


 
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Greer
South Carolina
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D'oh! Sorry, Tim and Ron. I should have checked the website before thinking I knew who was running the site.

blush
 
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Ralph T
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Signal Hill
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I bought one soon after becoming a BGG member, however, it has had some problems. The crossbar bent, so I taped a toothpick to keep it straight. One or two of the bumpers became unglued and I have had to reglue it. Looks like I even cut out a new cardstock bumper from the cardboard liner to make it heavier duty. The use has been moderate duty using small chessex dice. I would recommend it for lighter duty (rolling one or two dice) as opposed to heavy dice heavy games (such as Titan). As a first dice tower I can't complain but I prefer using a heavy duty one. If it has improved since 2007 it would be good to know.
 
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