Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.Seen at almost every tabletop booth at PAX East were Wyrmwood Gaming wooden accessories. Be it dice trays, towers, vaults, or deck boxes, you couldn’t escape Wyrmwood’s presence. Their actual booth was a marvel with all sorts of beautiful wooden items, including a custom Crokinole board.

After a few email exchanges I was lucky enough to be the recipient of a dice tower, dice tray, and dice vault to review here. Each of the three pieces was crafted from Purpleheart wood, which I had never really heard about until now. The pictures online looked beautiful, but they’re nothing compared to how the wood looks and feels in person.

Everything arrived wrapped in brown paper bearing the Wyrmwood logo. Once upwrapped I found all the pieces neatly tucked into the dice tray and secured with a leather strap. Here’s the really cool part. The dice tower is flat-packed and snaps together using magnets. This allows for quick and easy disassembly to store right back in the tray. All the pieces fit in perfectly with room for the dice tray.

Wyrmwood dice tower, tray, and vault setIt’s pretty amazing how solid the dice tower is once it’s put together. It fits neatly up against the tray so that dice spill from the tower into the leather-line tray with a satisfying sound and tumble. I have to admit I’ve been using the tower for any game we’ve played with dice in it since the set arrived…even if the game only has 1 or 2 dice.

The dice vault they sent is just as durable and well-crafted. The lid snaps on with magnets, and there’s a stiff foam inside to keep your dice safe. I’ve got my original set of polyhedrals from when I was 8 in there currently.

I couldn’t be more happy with the entire set. They’re amazing pieces of craftsmanship, and I feel lucky to own them. These are items built to the highest standard, and meant to stand the test of time. The best part? Wyrmwood has a Craftsman’s Promise:

There is only one acceptable outcome for our Craftsmen: a product that they can take personal pride in and an -absolutely- satisfied client. If you are unsatisfied with your product for -any- reason at all, we will fully refund or replace the item free of charge. We always guarantee our products, and we will always pay for shipping.

I was told that this guarantee is unconditional, not time-sensitive, and applies to everything they make.

While we feel the price is fair given the quality of our items, we also like to point out that these pieces are an investment, and you’re buying not just the item, but the assurance that it will live up to expectations, as well as our pledge to address it if it doesn’t. We’re very serious about that, both because we believe strongly in making sure our customers are absolutely satisfied and because we only want top notch products out there with our name on them.

I can’t recommend Wyrmwood’s products highly enough, and with a guarantee like that you can feel safe knowing your investment is well made.

A dice tower, tray, and vault were provided free for review by Wyrmwood Gaming.

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Gifts for the Game Collection

There’s a gamer in your life, but you don’t know what to surprise them with as a gift. There are deck-builders, dice fests, worker-placement games, area-control games, and all sorts of different types of games (and so many!) — it’s tough to just pick that perfect game for your perfect gamer. Instead of giving a gift for them, why not give them something for their game collection?

Replacement Money and Score Counters

There’s something about the tactile experience of props in games, from the foam guns in Ca$h ‘N Gun$ to the paper money in Monopoly. Purple Pawn suggests upgrading your game collections money and scoring counters with one of these three suggestions:

Bird Bucks from Smart Play Games. For less than $7, you can replace money and score counters with a thicker thematic card deck. Featuring fifty cards numbered 0-9 with a sharply designed monetary look, these cards can be used as score keepers and as a clever tool for budding game designers.

A Poker Chip Set. Gamers who dislike paper money in their board games can use a standard set of poker chips as a replacement. When looking for a poker chip set, look for chips that are about 11.5 grams or higher for the weight and feel. Plus, they make a satisfying CLUNK when tossed onto a game table. Added bonus: poker chip sets can also be used for playing poker! Amazing!

Campaign Coins. A fantastic set of coins and counters available in many different styles and metals, these coins are absolutely luxurious to hold and use. You can create a specific collection of coins or just go for the King’s Ransom, a custom set intended for use with board games. Wonderfully designed, these coins are a delight to look at and play with. (Shopping for Christmas? Get your order in now to have a set arrive in time!)

Organizational Supplies

There are games with well-designed inserts and then there are the majority of games. Here are three items that Purple Pawn suggests to use to help manage their game collection (once they throw away that useless insert):

Hugo’s Amazing Tape. Games with cards often have the same problem: keeping them together. Enter Hugo’s Amazing Tape. This product is a transparent static wrap that sticks to itself, not your game components. It’s great for securing game boxes and keeping cards in organized stacks. Although Hugo’s Amazing Tape works well on most games, make sure to point your gamer over to this geeklist on BoardGameGeek for a list of games “safely tested” with the stuff. Looking for more colors? Try static bondage tape.

H-Shape or X-Shape Rubber Bands. To keep that overstuffed game box shut, a collection of crossing rubber bands might do the trick. Unlike regular rubber bands, these are split almost down the center, allowing one rubber band to wrap around all four sides of a game box.

Plano Stowaway Boxes. Primarily used as tackle boxes or for crafts, these transparent storage boxes can be configured to hold many differently-sized game components. For games that require multiple types of tokens (we’re talking about you, Fantasy Flight Games), Plano boxes are a great asset for organizing and storing. The boxes come in different sizes and basic configurations; most have adjustable dividers.

Other Items

And a miscellany of items that are just plain helpful (or tasty).

Edible Dice. Searching for a gift for a role-player? Gamers love dice — and Dice Candies makes them out of chocolate. A complete set of Ghirardelli, Van Lerr Callebaut, or TCHO organic chocolate polyhedrals (one each of d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, and d20) will run you less than $10 — that’s less than some sets of non-edible dice!

Sports/Duffel Bags. Game night at a friend’s house? Heading to a convention? Your gamer will want to have something to safely and securely carry their games over. Look for a squarish-shaped duffel bag that is at least twelve inches wide — square board game boxes like Dominion are just under 12″x12″x3″. End pockets are great for holding smaller games. Note that when buying online, dimensions listed are usually the exterior size. The item linked above should carry three Dominion-sized boxes in the main compartment with room for a smaller game box.

Game Tables. With a round gaming table that’s easy to put away for storage (and to be used for other things), all players can have the game board at an equal distance, which helps with seeing those small board elements and reaching the board no matter where you sit. Have a few thousand dollars in your gift-giving budget? Consider The Portal by Geek Chic for something a bit more elegant and customizable.

Dice Trays. When rolling a handful of dice, it’s helpful to keep them all together instead of chasing them off the table or — for the gamer who wants to keep their game pristine — scuffing the board. Dice trays come in various shapes and styles, but for our tastes, you want to look for a large (but not too large) rolling surface and high walls.