Dice Nerdery: What's so good about metal dice?

by Imaginary Daemo on May 11, 2017

Something that I get asked very often when I tell people that Imaginary Adventures sell metal dice is 'Why metal dice?'.

Being an old hat at this RPG thing, the radness of metal dice jump right out at me... but that might not be the case for everyone. You may be looking at your first set of dice, and spending near $50 is not a small investment. You may be a dice fanatic who has been using the same for 15 years and are wary about trying something new.

So, in this blog entry I hope to let you know a bit more about the metal dice that Imaginary Adventures sell, and why they are so awesome.

1. How are they made?

Our metal dice are made of a high quality zinc alloy, and are cast using molds. They are completely non-Toxic and comply with international En71 standards.

Once cast they are then coated in different ways depending on the finish - either electroplating for the metallic finishes or electrophoresis for the coloured versions.

The numbers are also indented as part of the mold and then filled with paint. This means that even though the paint may fade over time, the numbers will always be there.

Metal dice - How are they made?

2. How are they different to normal dice?

I'll avoid the obvious answer here and say that MAIN differences are the weight and quality of the edges.

A normal plastic 7 set of dice usually weighs around 26g. A set of our metal dice weighs around 122g - nearly 5 times as heavy!

Why would you want heavier dice? For starters they FEEL awesome.

The extra weight makes a very satisfying clunk when you roll. This is the most satisfying part of using metal dice. They just feel better to roll. Without fail, 100% of my close friends and part members who grabbed a set of metal dice never wanted to go back to rolling plastic.

Metal dice also don't roll as far, so they are great in smaller spaces (eg. a mousepad on a crowded gaming table)

The sharpness of die edges are important to helping the dice stay as random as possible. Take a look at the d6's used in casinos - they have some of the sharpest edges around to ensure the dice roll as randomly as possible.

When plastic dice are made, they are commonly put in a tumbling process to polish the dice, but this also softens the edges. Another unfortunate side-effect of this is that the dice can also be made slightly oblong (this applies more to d20s than others), which in turn can affect which numbers show up more often (think about rolling an egg)

Not only are the edges of our metal dice crisp (for premium randomness!) they also aren't put through any processes like tumbling. Every metal die we sell is made using the same mold, and always comes out shaped exactly as intended.

3. Things to be careful about

Metal dice are great, but if you're going to get a set there are a few things you need to be careful about.

Try not to store them in a dice bag with all your other dice. It's not great for your metal dice (they can scratched) and they can also do nasty things to your plastic dice (they can get even MORE scratched).

Each 7 dice set of metal dice sold on Imaginary Adventures comes with its own small velvet bag. I very much recommend keeping your dice in this bag, then putting the bag in with your other dice.

I know - this was listed as a plus above. However, when you end up carrying a full compliment of metal dice - 4 sets of 7, a bunch of d6's - all that metal adds up. Make sure you have a dice bag of pencil case that can stand up to the challenge.

I'm not sure how often this would happen, but being made of metal, these dice are susceptible to dis-colouring due to oxidisation. Try to keep them out of water, particularly salty water. No rolling in the oceans.

Be careful where you roll
Being much heavier and with nice sharp edges, our metal can do mean things to soft wooden tables or floor tiles. Be careful where you roll. Try to keep your dice rolling area contained (dice trays are great) and the table padded (mouse pads do just fine).

Be careful where you step!
For years I have always affectionately referred to d4 dice as caltrops.

Metal d4's literally ARE caltrops.

Do not stand on one.

...and I think that is quite enough gushing about metal dice. 

If you're still unconvinced, they really are the thing you need to try for yourself. 

Try to find some at your local comic shop. I guarantee, you'll never want to go back.

Imaginary Daemo