VixenTor Dice Towers
By VixenTor Games
The Power of Tower
The inherent problem with dice-rolling, fundamentally, is that gamers have traditionally used dexterity as their dump stat. Thus, we have not-terribly-nimble people throwing small polygonal solids across tables cluttered with miniatures and drinks and books, and the hazards of this undertaking get amplified during a critical battle when imagination and emotion are running high.
In short, while gamers can typically control themselves, they cannot always control their dice.
Gamer Bling will raise his hand here; he is well known for using a clever flick of the wrist to “get a good roll,” therewith arcing his die over the edge of the table and under the nearest large, immobile piece of furniture, whereupon he must brave whatever the local rodent denizens are, be they dust bunnies or hungry ferrets, to recover his all-important dice.
Historically, the Ancient Romans used dice towers to control their dice, this being a natural outgrowth of the Roman penchant or building siege towers to control the Greeks, etc. Somewhere along the line—probably around the invention of gunpowder—sappers came into favor and dice towers fell out of fashion.
Leave it to VixenTor to put the fashion back into hand-crafted. Er, “hand-fashioned.” Heh. Little mistake there.
Dice towers contain the dice like lead shielding contains nuclear piles. (Little known fact: nuclear piles are a side effect of atomic ache.) No more will the toss of your best d20 strike your root beer just so, causing you to lunge for it lest it fall onto your book, which in turn causes a veritable avalanche of calamities, and all for the sake of a roll that was a miss, anyway.
Dice towers have the added advantage of forcing a minimum level of randomization to the throw of each die, which is a very good thing if you’ve ever gamed with one of those guys who likes to let the die slide off the edge of his palm and cry out, “Another six!” (This is a technique that the ancient Romans called “signor cheatypants”.)
VixenTor dice towers are each hand-crafted out of ¼” birch plywood. While plywood may not be considered the finest of materials, it is inexpensive and very, very durable. These towers will last a whole lot longer than Gamer Bling’s shop project did.
Each tower is assembled in two sections: the tower part and the dice containment part. These two sections nestle together like napping kittens when being transported, and quickly convert into a fully functional dice corral. After being stained (intentionally with wood stain, not unintentionally with pizza), each side of the tower and corral has a piece of full-color artwork applied. Then the whole receives a generous coating of water- and cola-resistant varnish.
The interior of each tower has three ramps to toss the dice back and forth. Better yet, the ramps have a thin layer of padding to protect your precious dice, as well as to minimize the clatter and rattle during use.
Dice towers are available for dungeons, military battlefields, modern adventures, and post-apocalyptic wastelands. But what about galaxies far, far away? Yeah, that tower’s probably still in litigation. And while we’re on the subject of midichlorians… aw, never mind.
Gamer Bling was fortunate enough to receive a copy of the Phoenix Tower to review. The stained-glass motif ranges from a more realistic interpretation (which Gamer Bling found the weakest of the four sides) to a more abstract representation that Gamer Bling thoroughly enjoys. Thus he now places the tower so that is the side facing him. Let the other gamers at the table get their own dice towers if they want a better view.
The tower stands some 10″ high, with a 10″ x 4″ footprint. Large enough to be noticed, not so large as to be obnoxious.
For those weaklings with a smaller budget or less available space, VixenTor also makes compact towers. These towers stand 6½” high, and come in three varnishes. There are no exterior graphics other than the VixenTor brand on the bottom. Some bling is better than none.
Being hand-crafted, the towers are not necessarily perfect. Angles may be very slightly off, or stains a bit irregular. Gamer Bling does not consider this a weakness; he only mentions it because some people like things to be predictable and identical… but Gamer Bling points out that predictable sameness is what led to Pringle’s potato chips and Big Macs.
Gamer Bling’s biggest complaint is that the interior ramps are offset 180° to one another; the years he spent in engineering would seem to imply that a sideways ramp or a dowel running through the tower would have added an extra measure of randomness. Gamer Bling vows to test the actual randomness of the dice tower, but garnering the results of a thousand die rolls will take some time.
The towers are not cleverly pinned together, but come in two sections. That, coupled with their size, makes them rather less portable than a paperback book. This is an accessory for the back pack, not for hand-carrying.
Gamer Bling looked very carefully, but after a thorough search, he could find no art by William O’Connor or Michael Komarck anywhere on his tower.
And, on occasion, thanks to the padding in the dice corral, you can end up with a cocked die.
And if that’s all the weaknesses Gamer Bling can find in this item, hey, you know it’s pretty cool.
The Bottom Line
These are a lot more useful than Gamer Bling had originally thought. They’re well made, durable, and colorful. Practice safe dice-rolling: get one.
And, best of all, if you can’t find any art you like, they’ll do custom work.
Bling Factor: 7
You Need: 1
VixenTor already has towers suitable for a variety of genres. Gamer Bling supposes it’s only a matter of time before they start doing licensed goods. For example, a dice tower for WarMachine would be cool, and wholly in line with the property. And it would help prevent careless throws from knocking over a top-heavy warjack miniature. And if Gamer Bling can hook the two of them together, he might get brownie points, which is always a good thing.
VixenTor also has dice cups, so perhaps a wooden dice box is next.
Or something completely different. Like a dice tower carrying bag with shoulder strap and cell phone pouch! And rhinestones down the side!