Several Different Dice Cups
By a Variety of Manufacturers
An Opaque Container like a Coffee Mug
Gaming has never been without rules lawyers, wankers, and Mr. Cheatypants. That is, in part, why we have dice trays and dice towers, and, when things get bad, pepper spray.
What’s that? You don’t use pepper spray in your RPG sessions? Wow. Gamer Bling wants to switch groups now.
Anyway, Gamer Bling has always tried to play fair. So it was a shock to his innocent young mind when, in the rules of an SPI wargame, it specifically stated that when game pieces were to be drawn randomly, they were to be placed “in an opaque container like a coffee mug” and that players weren’t allowed to peek inside while drawing.
Duh! Breaking that rule is as intellectually sound as trying to justify your actions with “I was just swinging my fist around; it’s your fault your face got in the way.” Sheesh! For that matter, breaking that rule is as socially conscious as breaking wind, and a lot less funny besides.
Now, people have dice superstitions, and that’s okay. Prepping the dice, try-outs, warming them, blowing on them, time-outs, training… Gamer Bling has seen and done plenty of them. And one of Gamer Bling’s superstitions is not to calculate the odds when you’re on a streak. But he did break that rule once.
See, the group was playing RuneQuest, and the party was in a major scrum with a variety of beefy monsters. Huge battle. And Gamer Bling’s character, who had something like a 55%-60% chance to hit at the time, had been whiffing like a helicopter propellor. Whiff whiff whiff whiff whiff. So, his anger piqued, Gamer Bling calculated the odds of missing that many times in a row, and they came out almost exactly to 10,000:1 against. And verily didst Gamer Bling’s wrath burn against the cruel fates, and he irately quoted his ill fortunes to everyone at the table who would listen, which was no one, because we were in a major scrum with a variety of beefy monsters.
Grumpily, Gamer Bling continued the battle. He was facing a two-headed dragon snail, which may sound lame like an owlbear or duckbunny, but is pretty fearsome nonetheless. And the next roll Gamer Bling made was… a 01, critical hit! One dragon snail head died. Which, with blood poisoning and gangrene and all would eventually entail the death of the other, but not in the timeframe we were looking for, so on the fight went.
Next round: 01! Other dragon snail head dies!
Next round, Gamer Bling sees a chance for his character to run around this large pillar on the left flank and hit a major baddie from behind. So his character sprints around the large pillar. Where, unknown to Gamer Bling, another monster is hiding. Gamer Bling must roll his spot check at a significant penalty. Fortunately, he rolls… a 01! He sees the hiding beast almost before it spots him!
So he gets to attack the lurking creature. And he gets first strike, because he’s got great dexterity. And he rolls… another 01! Creature dies!
Afterwards, Gamer Bling’s luck returned to normal. However, he did note that the odds of four consecutive critical hits were not merely 10,000:1 against, but 10,000²:1 against. So his ire waned and he was a happy camper.
But those days are long past, and now that story is, too, so let’s talk (nonvocally) about dice cups.
This review will take a sort of backwards approach to dice cuppage for two reasons: first, all dice cups are fundamentally and functionally identical, so it doesn’t make much sense to rehash that subject in preambles like this more than once; and two, Gamer Bling is unsure of his ability to be entertaining about dice cups more than once without having to resort to athletic-supporter jokes. And since jokes about athletic supporters are a jock’s trap, Gamer Bling will avoid the situation by mixing all the dice cups he gets into one big
mongrel mixed-breed review.
And, for the fun of it, he’ll use lolcats for his illustrations. In case you haven’t figured that out yet. Oh, and you have to hover your mouse over the lolcat photos to get teh funeez.
Now, using dice cups may seem to prevent people from employing their favorite dice superstitions, but this is not the case, unless your favorite dice superstition is “If I arrange the dice just so and let them tip gently from my palm so they land the way I want them to, no one will notice.” And if this is your dice superstition, you’re not only wrong, but stupid besides. In short, you are what is known in the industry as a “wanker.” So if you get dice cups this Christmas, take a moment to reflect upon what this means. (Hint: It means people love you; why else would they give you a cool gift?)
You can still perform
all most of your favorite superstitions with a dice cup. But the cup also helps disallow wankers from being wankers, and protects your dice from getting Frito’s grease on them. As much.
Anyway, a dice cup, in case you don’t know, which Gamer Bling supposes in possible, in which case you’re just reading this review looking for a gratuitous athletic supporter joke, is “an opaque container like a coffee mug” into which you put your dice before throwing them. The typical approach is to drop in your dice, give the cup a vigorous shake (be sure to cover the cup with your free hand, otherwise this part ends up kind of like popping popcorn without a lid on your popper, as Gamer Bling’s cousin did once), and then roll the dice out of the cup, across the table, and knock over some miniatures.
If you’re playing in very cramped quarters, or are weary of knocking things over, you can opt to slam your dice cup upside-down on the table. Aside from being very, um, barbarianlike, it also guarantees that your dice remain contained within a very tiny area. Unless your slam move accelerates slower than one gee, in which case the dice fall out of your overturned cup and scatter to the four broken winds, and you look like a dork.
The rattling of the dice in the cup creates its own aural gaming ambience, and the cup is useful for people either who have small hands and thus cannot shake dice effectively in them (for example, Gamer Bling Expansion #2), or else people who have a lot of dice to roll and thus cannot shake them all without watching them spurt clumsily out of their fingers (like when Gamer Bling’s supreme character Gleek slung five beads from his necklace of fireballs in a desperate bid to kill an evil priestess), or else people who are tired of being beat up by other gamers yelling “wanker!” in utterly uprovoked attacks at the gaming table. (Hint: Using pepper spray is easier on your knuckles, and keeps the wanker down longer.)
If you’re a klutz, holding one dice cup may prove more reliable than handling several dice. It’s embarrassing to have to say, “Excuse me, my die rolled under your chair” more than once per session. Gamer Bling knows these things.
That’s about it. Dice cups are deucedly simple things. Leave it to a gamer to make them complex, like by making them with embossed leather or interior padding or multi-axis, computer-controlled, pulsed-laser marking systems.
They don’t contain dice the way dice trays do. Yes, the dice start out contained, but so do sneezes. Inevitably, dice and sneezes alike shoot out across the gaming table and cause problems. Unless you do the slam-and-jam move. With your dice cup, that is. Gamer Bling does not want to see a slam-and-jam sneeze.
You don’t really get to touch the dice when using them. Gamer Bling likes the feel of dice rattling around in his palm. So much so that Gamer Bling will just sit there and roll his dice around in one hand while gaming. Gamer Bling also likes the feel of money crossing his palm, but that doesn’t happen nearly often enough.
And dice cups don’t fit nicely into book bags. But neither does the Gamer Bling Official Companion, so maybe that’s not as much a weakness as Gamer Bling originally thought.
The Bottom Line
They’re cool in an old-fashioned retro sort of way. And if you’ve got cool dice, don’t they deserve a cool vehicle to transport them to the gaming table? Gaming superstition says that dice that are treated well treat you well. Unless they need to be punished.
Bling Factor: 7-8
You need: One. Well, one per dice-wanker would be more convenient.
Just be sure to tell the manufacturers who sent you. Any specific offers will be detailed below.
More people will send Gamer Bling dice cups. And they will be added to this review. Then Gamer Bling will grow old and die, after which the sun will eventually bloat into a red giant, boiling away the oceans and destroying all life on Earth as the global-warming crusaders shout, “We told you so!”
Gamer Bling sincerely hopes we have colonized other star systems by that time, or else no trace of his work here will remain. Which is even more depressing than the realization that alien species probably have wankers, too.
Gamer Bling lists these in the order received, if only to give top billing to those manufacturers who’ve waited the longest for this review.
VixenTor Wooden Dice Cups
VixenTor, maker of way-cool dice towers, also produces smaller wooden paraphernalia (a.k.a. dice cups) for those who aren’t manly enough to handle large wooden items on their gaming table.
These dice cups are hexagonal in cross-section, and stand 4¼ inches high and 3 inches across the lip, with ¼-inch-thick walls (including the pad). The base measures a tad under 3¼ inches across and, as you can see in the photo to the right, allows the dice cup to float upright on water. Miraculous, we agree.
The interior of the dice cup—sides and bottom alike—is covered by a thin but thoroughly adequate layer of synthetic foam padding. There are some small gaps in the padding at the corners, but these are too small to pose any actual danger to your dice. If you use really small dice, you may have to floss on occasion.
The cup makes a nice resonant rattling sound when shaken. Assuming you have dice or gnome skulls or something inside, that is. The wood makes for a good sound, while the padding keeps it from being too loud. Since this is made of wood, Gamer Bling does not recommend jamming it on your nice table, for the sake of both your table and your cup.
Gamer Bling’s dice cup is slightly oblong—it can’t be easy to match up and glue wood cut to 60° angles as accurately as one can with right angles. So, depending on whether you’re a perfectionist or you follow a more Eastern philosophy that imperfection makes an object more interesting, this may be troublesome for you.
Q-Workshop Leather Dice Cups
Q-Workshop, maker of way-awesome dice, also make handy leather cups to keep them in. Some of them even have graphic designs that are complementary to the designs on the dice. Like, for example, the runic dice cup that Gamer Bling has that so nicely complements his runic dice that so nicely complement his ruggedly handsome (as long as you don’t look below the neck) Nordic features.
The leather cups are 7.5cm tall (0.015 rods for thsoe of you using the Imperial system) and 6cm across the outside (340,000 twips). They have 18 stitches around the bottom and 7 along the seam (in hexadecimal, that’s 12 x 7). Gamer Bling has no idea why all this might be important, but perhaps a numerologist out there will elucidate.
As mentioned, some cups have a colored imprint stamped into the leather. And, if you look, you can also see the imprint mark of the edge of the stamp. For example, on Gamer Bling’s cup, there is a circular mark that extends all the way around around the silver dragon on the side of his cup. Conversely, you won’t see this mark on the lid, since the diamater is almost exactly the same as that of the lid itself.
Speaking of which, the cup lids are 7 cm across and 23mm high, with 19 stitches around the rim and two on the side seam. And they kind of seal the cup. Gamer Bling inverted his cup with some 16 Hero Lab d6s inside, and the lid stayed on, even with very gentle shaking. Once the shaking reached moderate, Gamer Bling had some cleanup to do, and regretted having performed this test in his messy study.
The leather comes in black, brown and red. You may think that the self-described crazy Poles at Q-Workshop chose these colors on purpose—they’re all good barbarian colors—but the basic fact is that for fifty years under Soviet rule, these were the only three colors allowed, and old habits are hard to break.
Since they’re made of leather, they come with their own intrinsic padding, and they are ideally suited for slam-and-jam gaming.
The Dice Cup You Stole from Your Parents’ Backgammon Game