Norse Foundry Chainmail: A Review of Metal Dice

(A great review by Guest Contributor JB Little. For more, check out his YouTube and Twitter @Dropthedie )

I’m something of a dice addict. Twenty eight sets of various colors, sizes, shapes, clarities — but that does not mean I’m easy to please. Once I finally dipped my toe into metal dice, I knew it was bad news for my bank account and any silent DM rolls from then on.

The newest addition to my ever growing collection came from Norse Foundry in the way of their “Chainmail Silver” dice set – apparently one of their older offerings. Part of the reason I chose this set was because I had absolutely no idea what color they were even supposed to be from their website.

Packaging

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Norse Foundry is not known for having the best packaging, and that’s pretty true here as well. It will not be a life-long storage solution by any means, but it gets the job done for safely shipping the product. And seeing as my mail-person shot puts my parcels into my mailbox from across the street (I imagine every time I open it), I’m glad to have adequate padding and protection, and that’s exactly what you’ll get here. The box may be flimsy, but the inner foam core the dice are nestled inside of is actually pretty impressive: a soft padded foam that nearly consumes the dice and a hard foam back-plate to keep everything in place.

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   Overall: You will need a long-term method to store your dice (I suggest making your own dice box, but more on that later), but there should be very few worries during shipping that your dice are safe – unlike certain other retailers that I will not mention here…

Color

No wonder I had no idea what color these dice were from the photo on the Norse Foundry website – they’re basically silver mirrors. Unless you’re at just the right angle, even representing the color of these bad boys is difficult to capture on camera. They are basically Chromed, for lack of a better word.

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The polish on this set is particularly striking when compared to any other metal set I’ve owned and not polished myself. But, as such, they tend to pick up the color of whatever they are adjacent to – giving them a very unique look compared to other offerings I’ve seen from Norse Foundry, and since ambi-light metal dice are a thing of the future, I think the mirrored surface is extremely appealing.
The biggest complaint and the one thing I’d be remiss if I did not point out is that these are the worst fingerprint magnets I’ve ever seen. If I had not polished them between shots – some of you may have been able to tell my fortune. The fingerprint issue is only a concern when showing off the dice, during actual play  I never really thought they looked dirty, which was a little surprising to me. All the rolling probably keeps them honest.

Weight

You need to be prepared for the heft when tackling dice sets. The average weight for a complete set of Chessex brand dice is somewhere in the neighborhood of 0.9oz (of the many sets I own and have weighed) – The weight of this set clunks in at a whopping 5.1oz. That means the d12 of this set weights a little more than an entire set of your average plastic dice.

WARNING: Having said that, if any of you are considering buying a metal set of dice for the first time, you absolutely need to buy a Play Mat if you intend on playing on any wooden, glass, or tile tabletop. Many gamers end up on Felt covered tables, and that’s perfectly fine, but the sharp corners and hard edges of these dice can and will leave marks on your table. I would highly recommend you check out the specialty play mat offered by Norse Foundry on their website if you’re considering ordering a set of their dice. In the photos on this post, I’m actually using the “Around the Table” play mat, which is actually pretty damn nice compared to some other mats I’ve used at my local gaming store. You can find it here.

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You can see from the hand made table underneath, I’d rather not take chances.

Final Verdict

I honestly have very little to complain with as far as this set of dice is concerned. They arrived within three days of my order, they are extremely sturdy and very hard to chip (I tried), even when clanking together in a cup or bag. They roll very well for metal dice, who are renowned for being lifeless rollers, and they preform exceptionally well on play mats and gaming tables – where the extra weight actually gives them added bounce and mobility, they rolled just as well as normal plastic dice on those rubberized surfaces.
The only real complaint I’ve seen or had is the price, and  at just under $34 at the time of this review, they are a sizable investment, I admit, but the moment you get these dice in your hand, see your own reflection in them, and hear that tactile “whump tik-tik” when you roll them, I promise you’ll be glad you took the leap.

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I don’t always advocate rolling, but when I do… be sure you have to Drop the Die.
Review by JB Little, Follow me on twitter for more “useful” information.

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