Thursday, February 11, 2010

This is What 600 Sets of Dice Look Like

They arrived! I got them from Dice & Games Limited.

I now need to find 600 appropriately-sized griplock baggies, and at that point sorting can begin.

They aren't your usual dice though. A size comparison between the new dice and one of the normal sets in my dice bag:

ha ha, fooled you! Those solid blue ones are jumbo dice! Nah, here's a real comparison between the dice that will be in the box set and a set of normal dice.

The small size of the dice saved me a bundle in both the cost of the dice and the shipping from the UK. And I get to have the dice included in my box and it's not impossible that it's a set unlike any in an experienced gamer's dicebag. And I might be able to shave a centimeter or so off the box thickness, which will save some money. And when I save money, you'll save money, since I formulate my profit margin and wholesale prices and retail prices based on my actual costs.

And they take up surprisingly little space, even all boxed together.

I'm a happy man today!

In other news, work is progressing nicely on the Spells and Magic booklet cover. I think the final concept is nailed down and I might have something to show you real soon. Personal issues prevented me from working as much as I should have on the rules this week, so I might not have the new upload ready tomorrow, but I have had the opportunity to really dig in and make a really good outline for the Referee booklet.

The Referee booklet is going to be rules-free, really, just being a collection of techniques, processes, and advice, covering everything from the basics to advanced campaign construction. This is the sort of thing that I really start rambling with in blog posts, so a tight outline is the first step to making sure the rambling and tangents are kept to a minimum for this all-important project.

As far as the rules, I had an epiphany of the obvious the other day (kind of like I just noticed last night, after living in this apartment for 14 months now, that the outer blanket on the bed has doggies on it). I'm not a rules minimalist by any means, but there comes a point where I'm looking at these big clever charts I've made and I just say "What in the hell am I thinking?"

Clear example:

I think encumbrance and movement rules are important. Particularly when it comes to overland travel and determining trip times. If they are important, then factors that affect movement overland are important too. Terrain and weather, namely.

But then I sat there and was coming up with weather generation tables. Not so very complicated, but after fiddling with it, I realized it was a complete waste of time. Knowing how weather affects travel, yes, I think that should be there. Detailing how to determine the weather in the first place? Unnecessary!

So I'll need to make another pass: Only player-facing issues should be actual rules in the first place. Let supplemental material fill in the Referee-aid issues like weather generation.

What else has been happening lately? I'm pricing hard drive backup systems. Any recommendations? It occurs to me that with various work items being done daily, and this being a job and all, it would be right inconvenient for this hard drive to go ptbtbtbbt. Need to take precautions, but I'm not vigilant enough to manually back things up every frickin night (or week). Of course now that I say all this out loud it'll take a dive tonight.

I also finished a couple of Arthur Conan Doyle's Challenger stories. The Lost World was decent, but The Poison Belt was rather predictable (although if it was so in 1914, I couldn't say). There are a few more stories to go in that collection, then I need to decide between Dumas' Three Musketeers and Arabian Nights (neither of which I've read before). Also, after watching some of the newer (corrupted) Miss Marple TV movies, I found a good collection of Christie's Marple books, in English, at a used book store today (never read any of those either).

Apparently my order for Vol 3 of the Clark Ashton Smith collection by Nightshade Books got canceled. Damned Amazon third party vendors! I knew that price for a new copy was too good to be true...


  1. For bags, uline might be what you're looking for (though I'm not sure about international shipping):

  2. I always used Uline for these kinds of things when I lived in the US. I'm looking for a more local option, but like the pencils, it might make the most sense to order from the US (and how much sense does that make, really? *sigh*).

  3. Now I want my own 600 sets of dice...;)

  4. Oooh. If you do a deluxe edition you could get some of the mini metal dice in pleather pouches. The copper ones look very nice.

    If you want some security on your files, then get an eSATA enclosure or NAS that has RAID built in. The NAS is better if you want to share with others, but if you want fast storage eSATA is the way to go. At work I have a personal NAS with RAID 5 on gigabit and it works well enough, but at home I have a NAS with RAID 1 to share photos, music and movies with the wife and store software installs and PDFs of gaming content, and an eSATA enclosure with RAID 1 for my personal data.

    You still need to back up once in a while, though. Truer words than "RAID is not backup" have never been spoken.

  5. James, consider this FREE method of backing-up your computer files:

    When I was working on CARCOSA, at the end of each night that I worked on it, I emailed the file to myself as an attachment. That way even if my computer was completely destroyed, I had a copy in my email. To be doubly safe, you could email the files both to your email address and to your wife's email address.

  6. Jim, Vol. 3 is $39.95 directly from Night Shade Books:

  7. Really like the look of those mini dice! :)

  8. I'm tempted to introduce a monster with 600 attacks for Sunday's game.

  9. For backups, try this:

  10. Online backups won't work. I have the slowest internet service I could get, and some very large graphic files that I work with...

  11. Get a couple 4gb flash drives. Every Xday, whatever you choose but it has to be once a week, back up your files to your drives.

    Keep one drive in your car and one on your person.

    If you feel really unsafe keep a third drive in your safe deposit box in an anti-magnetic padded waterproof case. You hit the bank the day after your backup, swap drives, and backup onto the week-old drive when you get home.

    Make sure you just backup into a new folder on your drives rather than overwriting old data. When you hit a 2 month backup you can start deleting your oldest ones.

    And make sure your backup folders are named according to the date, that way you know you're copying down the latest one.

    If you don't want to go through that much effort, and you can't use the Internet ...

    (Your large graphic files are all in lossless .PNG format, right?)

  12. I've got 4 sets of minis just like that. They've always seemed to give a more random spread than regulars. Not quite as good as precisions, but I prefer them when there are no dice-eating children or animals (or adults) at the tables.

  13. Those dice look a lot like the mini d6's that came in the T&T tin box I've got. They're pretty cute.

  14. use google docs. you can upload pics on there too. it might take some time for images, but hey, it's free and you can just set it to upload overnight.