These Dice Ain’t Craps
Dice had their first golden age back in the 1980s when multi-colored and translucent dice first appeared. (Mullets also appeared, but Gamer Bling will decline to review them here.)
Since then, there has been little innovation save to vary the colors or to come up with clever new designs to take the place of the one or the six. Sadly, these “clever new designs” have become as commonplace as tramp stamps, and there’s only so much that can be done by changing colors around.
Hailing from Poland, the former Iron-Curtain nation and home of Pope John Paul II and the Solidarity Labor Union, Q-Workshop understands that innovation and creativity must, in the end, overcome proletarian drudgery.
In short, blingy dice will triumph over International Communism and the oppression of the gaming masses! It is an historical imperative. And if God Himself does not smile upon these dice, know that Gamer Bling does.
Q-Workshop produces fine dice inscribed with a variety of enhancements, from Nordic runes to Celtic knots to serpentine dragons to nuclear destruction (Gamer Bling approves of nuclear destruction; if you’re going to destroy something, it’s best to go all the way). These scribed enhancements are kind of like grills for the knucklebones.
Better yet, the symbols are not merely painted on these dice; they are laser etched to a depth of 1mm. That’ll be a whole lot of rolling before these babies wear out. And each set comes with a d4, d6, d8, d12, d20, and two d10s appropriately marked for rolling percentiles.
The selection of styles available is almost alarmingly broad. There are six different inks and eight different plastic colors paired in 17 different combinations. (Why only 17? Well, Gamer Bling hears that red-on-red isn’t easily read.) Layer this onto the six different designs currently available as complete dice sets, and you have over 1d100 possible permutations. Surely among all that you can find a pair that matches your personality.
Then there’s the extra dice that are not yet available in a complete polyhedral selection, or even custom dice made to your specifications…
When Gamer Bling tossed these dice out onto the gaming table, the reaction was immediate, as all the other (non-blinged) gamers pawed at the dice with their grubby little mitts. Even after gaming for a few sessions, one envious bling-challenged individual was heard to mumble, “I still can’t believe those dice of his.”
So show off.
Hard though it may be to believe, there are weak points. Three, to be specific.
First, and perhaps this is a niggle, but the d4s had the numbers inscribed along the bottom edge of the die. Gamer Bling thought that the whole industry had migrated to placing the number at the top of the tetrahedron, and this is where his personal tastes run. Perhaps Q-Workshop kept the number at the bottom to keep the graphics in the corners, but creative people like these should have found a better solution.
Second, and more important for Gamer Bling, was consistency. The ink with which his black runic dice were painted varied from a nice white to a distinctly pinkish hue in the d4, which made it a rather less manly die, make no mistake.
The ink coverage was thinner in the d10 and d20, which made their numbers seem a little more gray. And the Polish polish was uneven among the dice; the d6 had a nice finish, while the d20 seemed to have a bit of a haze to it.
Yes, Gamer Bling said “Polish polish.” Now if he can discuss a “Finnish finish” on a wooden dice box or some such, all will be well with the world.
The final point Gamer Bling must make is not so much a weakness as a missed opportunity. Consider the runic d6: It has six sides, each of which has four edges, each of which has roughly seven runes. That’s 172 runes to play with, more or less, and they don’t say a thing. For example, the runes around the six translate thusly: Eaporchsto Maezicdi Cerunc Cinzco. Not overly inspiring.
At first, Gamer Bling thought this might be Polish, but there are too many vowels. After all, Q-Workshop’s founder is Patryk Strzelewicz, and his name has clearly been disemvoweled. So Gamer Bling confirmed with Q-Workshop that the runes are, essentially, gibberish. They are also carved in the Frisian Futhorc, with some Elder Futhark runes thrown in for good measure.
Despite this early oversight, Q-Workshop has persevered and progressed. It is an historical imperative. Consider the beautifully scribed elven die to the right: it has a cleverly crafted subliminal messages encoded on it. Or else a prophecy that Gamer Bling will eventually rule the world of gaming opinion. GB is still haggling his way through the Tolkein-English dictionary.
The Bottom Line
They’re cooler than just about any other dice out there. But let’s be real about this: They’re dice, and you’re a gamer. You gotta have ’em.
Bling Factor: 9
Quality: 7 (early designs) to 9 (elven, celtic, other recent designs)
Utility: 8 (early) to 10 (recent)
Cost: $11.00 per set
You Need: More
Since Q-Workshop is like in Poland and stuff, and that’s like somewhere near the Iraq or Eurasia, shipping charges for getting dice across the Atlantic Ocean to say nothing of all the way across Texas would be astronomical. So from the POV of a geography expert, Gamer Bling says we should just make Poland the 51st state to they’ll be in the US and we can just use domestic shipping rates. Until then, you can order their dice and other stuff through RPGShop.
With everything they’ve done thus far, Q-Workshop seems like they have no intention of putting a lid on their creativity. And hopefully they’ll rework some of their older designs to bring them up to snuff.