custom dice, a love hate relationship

So, what’s up with custom dice?

They are expensive and, in some cases, add an unnecessary barrier of entry into a new game. Plus, you can’t use them for other games, you have these expensive dice that sit in a box or bag and spend a lot of time not doing anything.

“But the game needs these dice to run properly”, the designers say.

Games can have a huge variety of rules using commonly available dice, they could have designed the system to use them. What does the special die do, other than assigning a specific result to a specific face of the die?

“But if you don’t want to buy the dice, the rulebook has a conversion chart” states the designer, and this is broadly true. Many rulebooks with games that use custom dice offer tables to summarize the dice results. What is the point, beside fancy dice that look nice?

So, why do I have a love hate relationship with custom dice in games? On paper, they add nothing to the game that commonly available dice can’t already be used for, they are expensive, and they don’t really do anything special.

So why can’t I stop buying them? I know they are a waste of money that could be spent on more models, but they look so cool, and sometimes that is all that matters.

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