At Gen Con, premium dice dominate

At Gen Con, premium dice dominate ...

One moment I was at Gen Con, stalking the aisles of the vendor floor for the next big board game. The next moment I was shopping for an engagement ring or at least thats what it felt like. A lady with beautiful hands was removing semi-precious stones from a brightly-lit glass case, placing these beautiful objects on a velvet cloth and encouraging me... to roll them.

At least two vendors Dispel Dice and Level Up Dice were selling sets of polyhedrals that were almost as costly as whole games, and people were waiting in line for the chance to get them. In 2020, Karen Wang was the headliner, driving the crowds to the tabletop gaming Super Bowl.

Despite the fact that many would-be dice manufacturers have simply gone out of business during the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic, Wang had to overcome the epidemic with manufacturing, workflow, and import issues. Level Up CEO Alex Abrate said that many would-be dice makers have simply gone out of business.

The problem is that it's a niche market, according to him, despite the mandatory face mask that guests were required to wear this year. So suddenly, we had all this new generation coming in, looking to monopolize [and] capitalize on the dice industry. And then COVID hit, which meant that there was no way to get out. [...] There are places with [literally] tons of dice that they've been sitting on for two years. [...] They're dropping their prices everywhere.

Abrate and Wang stand out from the crowd because of how they prepare their dice and what they make them from. Wang relies on liquid resin like the hardware store's two-part glue, as well as novel inclusions to her work to give her creations depth and sparkle. Each one is an opportunity to connect with a specific role-playing game or campaign.

Abrate's niche is made up of semi-precious stones and extremely rare materials. We work on things in four figures and five figures. We just made a set of dice from a Tiger I from World War II.

Indrani Ganguly was part of another cohort of dicemakers who sold their products online at Gen Con this year. Her main concern during the epidemic was finding the tools and materials to begin with. Her main challenge: the air bubbles that were ruining her sets.

Ganguly explained that a pressure pot is a liquid nitrogen vessel that compresses any air bubbles in the resin once it's been placed there, which means that there will be no bubbles or little gaps in the dice. It's a lot of work for me to go look for these industrial-grade ones.

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Ganguly, who was honored to receive the Diana Jones Award on behalf of game designer Ajit George (Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel), is now using sales of her dice to fund her visit to Gen Con.

Even when a single dice set may take hours to complete, she insists she loves the job.

To get it to the point where people see it online, Ganguly said, where it's super glossy and beautiful without any scratches or marks, it takes a lot of effort and effort. In my seven-step polishing process, I've spent five to six hours.

Ganguly claims to be able to produce custom dice on commission. One client wanted raven feathers as a nod to Vaxildan's Critical Roles. But what about dice with Mountain Dew inside?

Ganguly stated, "I want to produce attractive dice." Im not necessarily interested in making the most famous cursed dice imaginable.