As we get back into the swing of getting Silent Fury up to speed, one thing we’re doing is maximizing our visual appeal for convention games. I’ll have some more posts about that soon, but as part of that I just finished one minor project that I’ve wanted to do for awhile – making some custom dice for Silent Fury.
Silent Fury doesn’t officially require custom dice, but the way the rules are laid out I’m anticipating that they’ll be useful. Here’s the short of it if you haven’t read the rules – for d6s we have black Impact dice and red Effect dice. Impact dice work this way on a normal D6: If you roll a 1, 2, or 3, you get no points. A ‘4’ or a ‘5’ is 1 point, and a ‘6’ is 2 points.
Effect dice are similar – you get a special damage effect if you roll a ‘5’ or a ‘6’ on any of the red dice on a damage roll.
All of the above works with standard dice and we’ve played successfully with those for years, but I’ve always wanted to go one better and get custom dice to exactly reflect the above outcomes. At Historicon I found my solution – blank dice that I could mark, and for a marker I used this silver oil-based paint pen.
With impact dice (black) you total up the overall value from all the dice rolled, so I marked them with pips like standard dice – three sides are left blank, two sides have one pip, and one side has two pips. At con games this will let me skip the explanation of how to translate black d6’s into point values and remove the necessity for new players to do so.
Effect dice (red) are NOT added up, the only thing that matters is if you get that ‘5’ or ‘6’ anywhere in the set and they are never added, so I drew exclamation marks on two faces of each die and left the rest blank. This clearly differentiates the results and I’m hoping makes it clearer to new players that they are treated entirely separate from the Impact dice.
A little clumsy freehand drawing later, and voila!
I have no idea how durable they’ll prove (they’re still drying as I write this) but I have high hopes that they’ll last since the paint is oil-based (and even if they chip off I’m keeping the marker around for touch-ups). I also had the good fortune to have designed a game where all the dice have at least one blank side that can be put on the table while the other sides dry – if you were going to mark every side then you would probably need to mark some faces, let those dry, then go back and mark the rest.
In terms of cost this worked out to about ten bucks total, and most of that was the paint pen – so this is probably the cheapest way you can get good looking custom dice. The other way is to use indented blanks and stickers, but I didn’t like the look of dice with stickers and wanted something more ‘natural’ looking.
Assuming these work as well in a game as I’m hoping they do, down the road I plan on ordering professional custom dice for the game, but since the rules are still in flux I didn’t want to commit that much to dice that I might make obsolete in a few months (I doubt I will as this dice system has been solid for years now, but you never know – nothing is safe from redesign!) I checked on custom dice from Chessex and you’re looking at a dollar per side – for the above set even with all the blank sides, that’s gonna work out to about 30 bucks.
Considering that the other part of our visual enhancements is going to involve several of these Khadoran Royal Navy and Deisho Confederation ships from the Cold Navy miniatures line, I can stand to save money on the custom dice…