Sunday, July 13, 2014

Dice Inking the Old School Way

You can see the wear on the old die that isn't high impact. 
So I was going through my dice sets the other day in the way we partially-OCD gamers do before starting up a new campaign. Several of my precision dice were not inked or had the ink chipped away, so I needed to find a good product to refill the numbers.

Looking at some of my retirees brought back memories. For those of you not old enough, d20's used to be numbered 0 - 9 twice. You colored half the sides to designate 11 through 20. Eventually they improved the molds enough to print 2 digit numbers in the smaller space, but many of those early dice were considered "cheater" dice because all of the high numbers were on one side. Note the grouping on the white d20.

Nowadays, you only need to color your precision dice for number visibility. [Side Note: Pre-painted dice are not considered "precision" dice because the painting process rounds the corners and can alter the shape of the die. Check out Lou Zocchi explaining the process].

Anyway, getting back to the main issue, my precision dice were hard to read because most of the numbers had lost their ink. I had gone over them a number of times with different pen types, but the ink never lasted long after drying.

Then I saw my daughter coloring with Crayolas the other day and I thought, "Hmm... why not try the old ways." So I stole borrowed her silver crayon and started to go to work on my blue gem d20.

The neon Gel FX color really stands out against the green.
Surprise! It seems sometimes the old ways are better. The faces came out pretty well and I was pleased with how easy the application and clean up was.You don't need to worry about ink drying before moving on to the other half of the die.

While I used silver on the blue d20, I also found some Gel FX Crayons in her 96 color set. I had once read that these bright neon colors are good for contrast on dark d20's and they did not disappoint. The Yellow Gel FX color is a fantastic contrast on the green gem die. Crayola also has some Metallic FX crayons that I think I'll give a try to see if I can get a little more contrast on the blue die. The silver looks good, but it is nowhere as bright as the Gel FX Yellow (you can even easily read the tiny Gamescience "G" on the 1).

Crayola used to sell a separate pack of only Gel FX crayons, but these are apparently no longer available and become extremely hard to find. Ironically, I found a 4-pack in the Target $1 aisle just last week... but I think this was crazy coincidence. The Metallic FX might be your best bet for a bright high-contract crayon color.

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