Why Can’t I Stop Hoarding Dice?

One of the downsides of starting my first vanilla Dungeons & Dragons campaign is that it gave me an excuse to get more dice. I like to adapt my dice to everything I do, you see. My Warhammer 40,000 Tau has futuristic dice to match their mech warfare style. My Grung swashbuckler has a nautical flavored dice set. My Dark Mechanicus comes with a hefty limited edition box of 100 dice complete with Mechanicum skulls. That should be enough dice for any game of any size, but if it’s not themed, I don’t care.

I am happy to admit that I have a problem. It’s not about me smoking crack at my desk or cooking my entire paycheck at the casino. (No, Ultimate Team is not a casino mom!) I just like fancy dice. Is this a crime?


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So when the 1985 Games asked me if I wanted to check out some of his dice, I jumped at the chance. It’s not just that I wanted to add my dice, but I know quite a bit about funny stuff, having collected so many. I can tell you how readable they are, how heavy they feel, how they spin, and whether or not they’re worth buying. 1985 also sent me a bunch of helpful DMs, so I’ll touch on those as well.

1985 games vhs dice

The main attraction is TTRPG Games retro dice set from 1985. The complete set of seven D&D dice (D4, D6, D8, D10, D10, D12 and the all-important D20), clearly boasting the popularity of Stranger Things, is packaged in such a way that looks like an old VHS tape. The size makes it look more like an audio cassette, but the effect is the same. Inside, the cubes are neatly packed in specially cut foam, perfect for storing such a premium set. The dice themselves are beautiful, mine are red with what looks like gold leaf hanging inside. The numbers are clearly legible on each page, written in white ink. The edges are sharp and clear, and while I’d like a little more weight, they seem to roll. These dice will set you back a whopping $70, but if you’re into collecting and have an ’80s-themed campaign, you can’t go wrong.

I also opened five packs of ‘Mystery Dice’ worth $20 each. Each pack contains one complete set of D&D dice in the same color scheme, but your opinion of each set may vary. My five packs included one set that was pure white with a bright red blood splatter pattern, a cool purple and blue glitter set that reminded me of outer space, and a metallic silver set with nice gold numbering. This was followed by a turquoise set, which I didn’t really like, and a translucent green set with sequins hanging inside, which were pretty but unfortunately unreadable due to the green numbers on the faces. Although I had a 60% hit rate with my loot boxes, I can’t encourage you to buy these as there is simply too much variation involved.

1985 mystery dice
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (from left to right)

These mystery packs are also only available as a monthly subscription, and as fun as that sounds, I personally wouldn’t lock myself into paying $20 a month for a set of dice that could be junk. Even the sets I liked have nothing on a premium VHS box – I’d much rather shell out for one of those than have four dice rolls (pun very much intended) on an old IRL loot box.

The DM gadgets that 1985 makes are interesting and have no real correlation to the retro vibes of its premium dice. I received a double sided 24”x33” laminated battle map that features a grid covered with dirt terrain and a more grassy area on the back. On its own, this $17 map is a bit small—especially since it’s not perfectly flat when unfolded—but it’s compatible with 1985 Dungeon Craft game pieces (sold separately) to create areas for your characters to explore, and battlefields for them. fight on.

Dungeons & Dragons red and blue dice on a table next to small figurines

The game pieces themselves are much better I think because they remind me of the old card terrain you got in the original Hero Quest. From blacksmiths to banquet halls, dormitories to siege engines, these modular cards can help you get really creative with your environment. If your players are visual learners or like to have this gadget in front of them as they explore, your $40 could be much worse spent. You have to cut the pieces yourself, but I think it adds to the homey feel that hits me right in the nostalgia gland.

1985 Games has a ton of old school tabletop gear, and whether you’re hoarding dice or looking back on those rose-tinted games of your childhood, there’s plenty here to love. Almost everything here seems to have been made with heart – The Mystery Cube is an obvious omission from that statement – ​​with love and a fondness for those DIY days gone by. Of course, you could actually do it yourself for a real nostalgic trip, but it’s helpful to have some pointers along the way.

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