Saturday, October 27, 2018

Dice Delve: Skulls!

In honor of the Spooky Season, I thought I'd dispense with the formal review and instead showcase one of the subsets in my ridiculously odd collection, and that's my affection for Skull Dice. That's right, those D6 polyhedrals with a skull in place of the 1 (or sometimes the 6). This may be the oldest novelty dice, first produced in the 1980s, as an inked drawing on a blank face, and later carved into the dice as part of the molding process.

Lots of manufacturers have made and continue to make Skull Dice; Koplow, Chessex, Q-Workshop, and many others have them in their line-up even today. What are they good for, anyway? I eventually worked a couple of systems out to make use of them, because what's cooler than throwing bones and coming up with skulls? Doom for you! Check out some of my favorite Doombringers below.

Knucklebones! For reals!
 This set is from a Pirates of the Caribbean "dice" game called "Rollin' Bones." While not actually Skull Dice, the skeletal hand called to me like a cursed doubloon. Of course, when you take them out of the clamshell, they do this on you.

The game itself is a simple match-the-symbols kind of deal. But that's not the point. One of these days, I'll find a use for these boogers. Maybe a puzzle the players have to solve? Yes, that's it. A devilishly complicated puzzle. You not only have to reconstruct the famous pirate's hand, but you have to display the correct scrimshaw tattoos on top of the fingers or, instead of leading you to treasure, leads you to certain doom...*cue thunder, cue lightning*

Color is off, but these dice are actually dark, dusky gray.
Speaking of Pirates of the Caribbean, these dice were part of a Liar's Dice set that was originally marketed with PotC: Dead Man's Chest. The dice and cups were put back out with the third movie, PotC: At World's End.  In fact, these came out of a huge PotC-themed game set that included chess and checkers pieces. The checkers pieces were, of course, the Cursed treasure of Cortez. If you're doing nautical gaming, there's a lot to pull out of that game set. The Liar's Dice cups are okay, nice thick plastic, molded in the style similar to those cups used in the movie. A little touch-up paint and they would make excellent table props. But these dice are great, and the reason why I bought the game. They have very shallow impressions for the skull face, but they are stamped into the plastic. And there are a lot of them, too, because you need 20 dice for a four person game.

From Chessex of old.
Okay, this is more like it. These are the current Skull Dice you can get from various sources. Technically, they are skull and crossbones dice, aren't they? Similar, sort of, to the classic Skull dice that have been in play for years and years. This graphic was originally an ink print that would eventually rub off if you handled the dice too much. Glad those days are over *Gives Koplow the stink eye*

Legion is a relatively new company that I
stumbled across that mostly makes CCG accessories, like card sleeves and card boxes, so I am assuming that these dice are intended to be used as counters in Magic: the Gathering or other similar games. Yeah, go pound salt. These are dice, and the cool skull only adds to my interest in putting them on the game table. They also come in a nifty tin and are reasonably priced.

The company also makes other symbols for their dice, and if you like themed dice for damage, like fire and lightning, you may need to drop some of your hard-earned pazoors on their products.

These are my favorite skull dice, for so many reasons. I got these out of a Pirateology board game, which is a box  full of lame, with the singular exception of these here dice. Look at these beauties. They are made of lightweight, solid plastic, but just big enough to have the minimum amount of acceptable heft on the table. These absolutely must be used as in-game artifacts, because why on Earth wouldn't you? They are striking and roll pretty well on a felt surface.  Now I just need to run a pirate-themed fantasy game or some sort of horror game involving undead or animated skeletons and then these puppies will hit the table and never leave.

Appendix N: Happy Birthday, Robert E. Howard!

Hey, look! A book! I wrote this! If you have a first edition, please buy this one, too. It's better. I think we're going to just...