Monday, April 26, 2010

European Invasion

Last year I started noticing that the cutting edge of dice design was shifting from the United States to to Europe. It was not any one event which caused my shift in thinking but several "OMG" moments which had me salivating as surely as Pavlov's dog at dinner time.

The first thing which caught my eye was the unique designs of Q Workshop of Poznan, Poland and how they seemed to be taking full advantage of laser engraving. The combination of new and interesting designs with the detail and accuracy of a laser engraver are brought together in designs here-to-fore unseen by the world. The faces of dice began to look like the engravings once reserved for coins. The picture to the left is a Q workshop design and illustrates my point wonderfully. This is the new Celtic design. Q Workshop was kind enough to get me an advanced copy. As you can see quite detailed with each face almost a work of art. This is way beyond anything US manufacturers have been doing and has caused some of them to sit up and take notice.

But Q's work in bringing these new and wondrous designs to market was far from the only reason I say the center of the dice world has shifted from North America to Europe. One other reason came to my attention last year when Lego of Denmark announced the changeable face dice mentioned in an earlier post. These dice are new. The very concept of being able to change the odds or the ratio of the resultant throw of the dice is unique in far as I know. Here is an example of a design I created with the new Lego system.

And if it were just Lego and "Q" which came out with trend setting designs then would I be mentioning a shift in the center of the dice design Enter Irondie. This was a WOW moment for me. Take the time to look at what these guys came up with. Located just southwest of Milan Italy Irondie has come up with a beautiful style for what looks to be an interesting game. I would consider this a collectible dice game(CDG) in the fashion of Dragon Dice or Chaos Progenitus because of the rare dice which can only be acquired by purchasing multiple booster packs. Simply stunning design and not shy about pricing. I do not own any dice yet but will be making a purchase later this year.

And one more...Late last year I was introduced to a new concept in dice design...heck new to any kind of design. That is the world of rapid prototyping. For those who are not interested in the technical aspects of this it should suffice to say that rapid prototyping is a way of printing a 3d version of a concept or design. Very quickly, very inexpensively. That is starting with just a 3d drawing of a die and literally printing out a "hold in your hand and roll" copy. I am talking about Shapeways. Shapeways is a company out of the Netherlands which has brought rapid Prototyping to the masses by allowing people to design their own items and have Shapeways print the design. What an amazing concept. Here is a link to one of the more interesting designs submitted. While technically speaking Shapeways is not specifically in the business of dice production they have effected how I look at the ability to get designs into production. I currently have a design I would like to produce and need only send it in for editing and then production. A very cool concept indeed.

And conclusion these four companies have made me come to the conclusion that the center of the dice world is now in Europe. If anyone can offer an argument in opposition to my theory please let me hear it...I'm all ears.

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