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Dungeonmorph Dice, Cards and Font Review

December 15, 2011

Dungeonmorph Dice was the first kickstarter to which I ever pledged, back in May. The dice just arrived yesterday, and to be blunt, I’m underwhelmed. I appreciate Joe’s hard work with the manufacturer in trying to make the best product possible, but in the end perhaps the idea was too ambitious. The concept was to create dice that had sections of dungeons on the sides that could be connected to form a truly random, endless dungeon. The original design looked much like the deck of cards turned out with the retro white-on-blue look. Due to manufacturing concerns, that design was scrapped in favor of black-on-white. The level of detail required to show features like secret doors and stairways is incredibly fine. Unfortunately, it ends up being too fine for the manufacturer to consistently produce. This leads to the dice being blotchy or missing lines in some sections. (Sorry for the crappy phone photos. Maybe Santa will bring me a decent camera!)

To his credit, Joe was very up front with all his backers and sent out surveys showing the issues and asking what amount of defects most people would feel would be acceptable. He always kept us in the loop as he struggled with one manufacturer, then another. He hand-inked some dice with a fine pen that were missing sections. But when all the dust settles, what do you end up with? A product that isn’t premium quality, that is asking a premium price. The kickstarter price was $20 a 5 die set, now going for $23.95, with a set of 5 “seconds” going for $14.95. I can’t imagine that the “seconds” would be usable at all.

The font is cool. It has all the designs, rotated all the different ways (0, 90, 180, 270 degrees), and flipped (mirrored) and rotated again. It’s a bit hard to mix and match all the rotations due to the fact that each is its own sub-font. That being said, just one will give you a lot of variety and inspiration. They’re also easy to print, but watch out for your ink levels as all negative space is solid black. At $7 bucks, it’s the most I’ve ever spent on a font (I don’t recall ever purchasing a font, to be honest), but not a bad value. The PDF key that comes with it is a very useful overview of what the font contains.

The cards are pretty awesome, and excellent quality. They each have a custom design with the old school aesthetic, and on the reverse of the design is on the back, providing nearly endless combinations. They feature all the designs from all 3 sets of dice. $15.95 is a bit steep, but they are completely custom, printed on both sides right to the edge. If you’re a DM that loves the old school crawl, or are looking for a map idea for a climatic encounter, this deck will definitely cure DM writer’s block. I would say out of all the products involved in the dungeonmorph project, this is the one to get.

To summarize, skip the dice, the font is cool, but the cards are the best thing to come out of this project.

  1. December 15, 2011 at 8:34 am

    I wonder if he’d be interested in making that into a digital program instead. There are a few interesting old school map programs out there (http://davesmapper.com/ is one of my favorites) but the market is hardly cornered, nor is it perfected.

    I’m contemplating snagging a set of the seconds, at the very least I can use them as projectiles at erstwhile players who spent the entire combat stealthed without participating.

    If I do I’ll be sure to let you know if they are indeed usable.

    • December 15, 2011 at 8:39 am

      Let me know how that goes! inkwellideas.com actually has a great java-based mapper I used for the maps in our recent Christmas Carol 4e adventure. He has a bunch of other great digital tools for heraldry, random town generation and character sketches. Joe is a great resource to the community, I just wish this project turned out a bit better than it did. Christmas Carol 4e adventure

  2. Joe
    December 16, 2011 at 12:19 am

    Thanks for the comments, and honestly I mostly agree. My only caveat is that the “seconds” are actually quite close. If you go to the seconds page, you’ll see what the differences are. There is usually a visible flaw on one side, but it doesn’t make the design harder to read or the die any less functional. The picture on the “seconds” page needs to be redone with better lighting, but it gets the point across: http://dungeonmorphs.com/seconds.shtml

    • December 16, 2011 at 7:05 am

      I appreciate all you efforts, Joe. I hope people who buy the seconds think they are great. I really like your site and plan to support your monster stand-in project. Sorry I couldn’t be more positive about the dice. I love the cards!

  3. December 19, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    FYI Francis, many of the maps used on the dice are actually posted on my mapper as well. It’s partially what inspired Joe’s project and brought together several of us as contributors. I just got my set today and love the look and feel of them. I don’t role-play, but I enjoy making things and playing games in general, so I love having either the physical dice or the mapper as options.

  1. December 18, 2011 at 9:05 am
  2. December 27, 2011 at 7:02 am
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