Swiss Army Dice
The Swiss are internationally known for their army knife, which is so popular that variants are made around the world and can’t reasonably be called Swiss.
Of course, the Swiss haven’t been involved in a war for almost 200 years, which is the only reason that their mercenaries can still use pikes—PIKES!—for their primary weapon. Well, that and the fact that they’re guarding Vatican City, which has a crime rate of 0%, although, like the rest of Christendom, it still has a sinner rate of 100%, including the aforementioned mercenary guards.
Of course, long centuries of peace is also why the Swiss Army issues its troopers a knife that is incapable of killing any but a willing (and quite patient) victim. Really, has anyone tried mounting a Swiss Army knife as a bayonet on an assault rifle? It’d take a Swiss Army Knife to do it, at which point you don’t have one for your rifle. And the corkscrew? Pfft! That’d take hours to kill someone. To say nothing of the nail file. Which, by the way, shows how unmanly the Swiss Army has to be. Corkscrews, tweezers, and nail files? Sheesh! If they were occupying Vichy France, maybe.
But France is a bit tough, so maybe the Swiss ought to warm up on a lighter target. Like Lichtenstein, a tiny country that 171 enterprising (read: “lost”) Swiss soldiers invaded in March 2007. The soldiers quickly withdrew when it was pointed out that (a) they were on the wrong side of the border, and (b) all they had were Swiss Army Knives. Even though Liechtenstein has no military. Maybe they were afraid the Prince would send out a beefy cook with a cast-iron skillet, which, incidentally, was a character that Gamer Bling intended to play in Bureau 13, but the campaign never got off the ground.
But, if you’re not a Swiss soldier—say you’re a tailor who makes doll clothes and has a taste for wine and an obsessive-compulsive-disorderly need to keep your fingernails finely manicured—the Swiss Army Knife (with its tiny scissors and tweezers and toothpick and nail file and magnifying glass and iPhone and 100m monofilament rappelling line) is invaluable.
A simple pocket knife (or bayonet) is not enough. Like Jolt Cola once advertised: Dare to want it all!
Which is basically the point of this review: Have all the dice you want… in one die.
GameScience has produced a 24-sided die that claims to be able to replace your entire Crown Royal chainmail bag of dice. He refers to it by the humble moniker of the D-Total™.
With a single flick of the wrist, it can produce results for a d2, d3, d4, d6, d8, and d12. And a d1, which they at Zocchi Enterprises left off the list.
You can also use it for many other sizes, although you may need to reroll results. For example, using it for a d5, d10, or d20 gives you a 1 in 6 chance of having to reroll it. On the other hand, rolling a d23 means you have less than a 4.2% chance or needing to reroll. But how often to our encounter tables need a d23?
Each side of the D-Total is a diamond shape, which is to say that it’s more or less the shape of a real diamond in a Peruzzi Cut, not a baseball diamond or a parallelogram diamond or anything else. And each side of the diamond has 7 or 8 numbers of it, each of which corresponds to a selection of dice sizes.
Some results are easy to remember. The triangle is shaped like a d4. The square is the shape of a d6. The pentagon is the shape of the face of a d12. The diamond (parallelogram version) is, according to Zocchi, the shape of a d8, but we all know that that’s the shape of a d8 silhouette. The diamond is also the shape of a d30’s face, but of course rolling a d30 on a d24 D-Total-just-remember-that-the-diamond-isn’t-a-d30 would involve some extra rolls.
The d20, well, it’s smack in the middle, which, for adherents to the d20 OGL, is where is should be. Even though it goes up to 24, and thus occasionally requires rerolls.
Others are harder to track. The d3 is marked by pips, the d5 by Roman numerals, the d7 is next to the d6, and the d1 is marked by, um, nothing.
The dice comes with packaging (a zip-lock baggie), a compulsory Origins Award sticker, and a sheet that explains its use, and no mandatory d20 OGL disclaimer legalese. Yay!
The die itself is made of polymysterene or some other lightweight white polymer, molded in two halves, printed, and then welded together using multi-axis, computer-controlled, pulsed-laser marking systems some sort of device that creates enough sonic damage to weld them together. Seriously. The info sheet says they’re “welded shut with a sonic process.” Which may just mean that the process makes noise, but Gamer Bling prefers to interpret it illogically.
Whatever the case, the result is a die that is nearly 2 inches in diameter yet is light as a feather (if it’s a fat feather, that is). That makes it large enough that you don’t have to rummage through your dice bag to find it.
Since the D-Total is hollow, it makes a sort of chalky sound when it rolls. Some might find that cool; others might find it annoying. But what is definitely cool about it is that it won’t knock over anyone’s can of Mountain Dew, even when thrown rolled by clutzy energetic players like Yours Truly.
Well, for starters, having a die that threatens to replace all your dice and your dice bag and everything is sort of like the nutrition capsules the Andromedans from Star Trek used. It kind of misses the point. You remember those, right? A big ugly disk that had all the nutrition they needed for a day, so they never got to sit down and enjoy a big phat pizza with everything on it? Same sort of thing. Your friend plonks down a chainmail dice bag with Q-Workshop dice and crystal metal dice and all that, and you bring one piece of hollow plastic.
Second, if your die starts rolling bad, you’ll miss all those other dice that you left at home.
Third, you may get some printing errors along the seam line. No big deal, unless the smears start to look like dots or Roman numberals.
Fourth, it won’t fit in either of the dice towers that have been reviewed on this pathetic site. Not even close. Like trying to fit Andre the Giant into a Cooper Mini, or Gamer Bling into the Speedo he used to wear when he was on swim team in high school (TMI! TMI!).
Fifth, the numerals are a little small for Gamer Bling’s rheumy old eyes. No reading these pips across the table!
Finally, and most important to most people, you’ll need to reroll your d20 rolls over 16% of the time. That’ll slow down your game if you’re using the d20 system!
The Bottom Line
It’s a gadget, it’s a novelty, and it’s a die: a perfect trifecta of gamer geekiness!
Bling Factor: 6
You need: One. Unless you really expect to roll multiple dice of multiple sizes.
Gamer Bling will just have to hope that RPGShop.com finishes the updates to their website so that Gamer Bling can log in and check his affiliate earnings. Perhaps some public humiliation like this will help. Especially if everyone emails them.
Of course, by “public humiliation” Gamer Bling means “shaming them into fixing their affiliates pages,” not “the social stigma associated with being someone whom Gamer Bling knows.”
Zocchi turns a molecule of buckminsterfullerene into a die. That would really be hard on the ol’ eyes.