Sunday, January 4, 2009

I actually review a type of damn dice.

For starters, yes, I am actually reviewing a type of die. Be in awe of my mighty geekitude! Though in light of certain discoveries, I feel no shame. I do wonder what the hell they were playing though.

Now there are times when my will is strong and I can be a very frugal and responsible man. However there are also times when I crumple like a pair of Kleenex underoos because of something shiny. This is one of those times.

I present*, the D-Total. Yep, a 24 sided die that does the job of at least 17 normal dice. Probably more if you play Hackmaster, one of the few games that actually calls for a D10,000,000. Now why did I buy this? Because it was cool and it was there.

This little baby was brought out at the 2008 GenCon by its developers, Lou Zocchi and Dr. A. F. Simkin. Zocchi is the same gentleman who brought us the 100 sided die, or Zocchihedron. Makes me pissed I missed the con last year and as a result I’m making arrangements to go to this year’s convention. So I’ve been hounding the Gamestation site since September waiting for this to go on sell. The moment it did I grabbed one and last time I checked there are only 3 left. So on with the review.

The die is big. Really big. Bigger than a ping pong ball. And it’s made of a lightweight but strong, bright white plastic. The lettering is a sharp black and is easily readable, and it appears to be etched into the plastic which means it probably won’t smudge anytime soon. The die has a total of 24 sides and it’s easy to read your results. Now the info on each side appears a bit complex at first, but after finding an explanation online it all made sense. Each side contains 4 shapes and a bunch of numbers. Each shape represents a common type of die and the shape corresponds to the shapes on that type of die.

For instance, when you look at a classic 6 sided die, it looks like a square. So on the D-Total, the square shape indicates the result for a d6. The same goes for a D4, D8, and D12. The other numbers/pips/roman numerals on the die represent other types of dices and from all of that you can come up with other die types. Want a D20? Just roll the die and if the result is a 21 to 24, reroll, for a D10, half that result, and so on. This sounds complex and it can be, but if you’ve gamed for any length of time you’ve figured out all sorts of short cuts like these that allow you to use one type of die for some other that you happen to be missing at the moment.

This isn’t a solid die. The sucker’s hollow and it rolls a bit light as a result. It bounces too much and the roll has a hollow sound to it on a hard table, on paper, not really noticeable. Now I’ve rolled those giant 2 inch, solid dice before and I’ll admit they are too heavy and they make a hell of a lot of noise as they hit the table, but still a bit more weight on the D-Total would have been nice. Also the way they manufactured this die leaves a noticeable seam on it. This sucker was formed in 2 parts and then sealed with some sort of sonic device. On mine the seal is nice and strong, but there is a noticeable crack open where the seam meets on one side. It probably wont be a problem in the long run and this the first run of these they’ve made so there are bound to be a few bugs, but it does kinda hurt it aesthetically. I’m also afraid to try to fix it, because I might screw up the balance or break it in the process. It's also a bit pricy. At $26.99 it does cost more than a full set of normal dice. However that's still cheaper than a set of Zocchi dice, which are worth it as far as quality stands. But nothing says durable like metal.

Its 17 bloody dice in 1. As a GM or gamer on the go it’s nice to only need one die and with this one you’ll be ready for any game you might happen across. And if you add it to your normal roster of dice, you’ll never be sort a die. Missing a D8 and don’t want to slow things down by digging around for one? Just grab the thing and roll. Also, because of its lightweight nature, it’s great for throwing. As a GM, sometimes you just want to pop a player upside the head with a die. But most of the time you risk injury as they are too small and will hurt too much, or they’re too heavy and you risk manslaughter. There is always the foam option, but then those suckers are a bit big and ungainly and you risk them seeing it coming.

Overall, I like it, and I'd recommend it. I can see myself using it a lot in my games and it’ll make my life as a GM a bit easier. Plus it looks cool and is bound to impress. I don’t like how it feels or sounds when it rolls and the seam along the edge is a bit of a turnoff. But on the other hand this is the first run of these dice they’ve done so far and I’m willing to bet that next time they will do better. Plus Zocchi is known for making some pretty fine quality dice and I’d own more if they weren’t so damned expensive. I’m still debating buying a copy of the glow-in-the-dark ones he sells.

Now let me leave you with a little bit of Zocchi at work. Enjoy ^_^

*That pic of the D-Total was borrowed from another review at I wrote this at work and I forgot to bring the bloody thing with me. :p


Richard R. said...

Lololol. I didn't know there could be so many pros and cons to a die. Your geekery knows no boundsand I commend you for extensive knowledge on table top games and D&D culture.

Seriously, not enough people write good about this subject and it's an area of gaming that is really untapped. For whatever reason, D&D still has this stereotype of only being for the geekest of geeks and people assume that its players are socially awkward. Yet, if you actually play the damn game you see that it is one of the most social games today.

It's certainly more social than video game meatheads who play Halo 3 all day and stare at a screen for hours without saying a word.

Denzal Z. said...

Thanks for posting your review. I wasn't aware that such variation happened in die manufacturing. This explains why mine roll the way they do. I plan on getting some of Zocchi's die now.


Cialis Online said...

dude I was a D&AD player I never saw a dice like this, for sure must have a complicated use, too many numbers and letters, well I like more the classic dice set.

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