Any miniature gaming company that’s worth its salt will make custom dice for their games. After all, why wouldn’t your fans want to play your game with some snazzy branded cubes? Games Workshop is no different in that regard. In fact, it probably produced more custom designs than any other game company ever. Too bad they were terrible more often than not. And here are 5 worst.
Five Worst GW Dice Honorable Mention: 25th Anniversary Dice
I know how horrible these dice are from first hand experience, since I own a set. They combine two of my least favorite features when it comes to plastic polyhedrons: marble effects and a special symbol on 1. It takes a peculiar brand of genius to put a special symbol on the most useless dice roll result in any game system. Yet that’s not the worst that Games Workshop has ever wrought…
#5 Worst GW Dice: Imperial Knights Dice Set
Once can already question the wisdom of making Knights into a separate faction. However, big robits are big money, and GW sure loves those. Enter the absolutely terrible Imperial Knights Dice. Instead of going with a boring, but safe color palette inspired by House Terryn (blue and gold), they made them black and silver. To make things worse, we have symbols on both 1s and 6s – a common feature of terrible dice. Furthermore, the numbers on other sides are marked out with these spikes that makes them look like terrible little backgammon tables. Disgusting.
Actually Good GW Dice: Horus Heresy Legion Dice
Forge World is a part of GW, after all, even if that part is mostly known for atrocious pricing, terrible PR and business plans that were definitely laid down via dice rolls. However, for a short while, they sold dice for the Horus Heresy Legions. Of course, Death Guard dice were the best. Skull-burst on 6s, normal numbers on everything else, nice cream color. Like other dice on the list, they’re OOP. This being FW, we have no idea if they’ll ever return. Introduction of Night Lord dice came and went without much fanfare, and the future of dice remains unknown. So it’s Forge World being Forge World.
#4 Worst GW Dice: Genestealer Cult Dice Set
Unlike the Knight dice, the GSC dice don’t have symbols on both 1s and 6s. No, the faction symbol only replaces the 1s, which is the most terrible scenario. Why would you want to associate your faction’s logo with the worst dice results? Is it a subtle jab at the alien failures? However, there’s nothing subtle about the decision to put images of planets behind the numbers. What a novel way to make a die dogshit unreadable!
Actually Good GW Dice: Middle-Earth (TM)(R)(C)(BDSM) Dice Sets
Lord of the Rings was the red-headed stepchild of Games Workshop’s line up, despite being an actually good game. Well, when the game got rid of the God-awful Hobbit tittle, it also received a new starter kit – and some dice. One set for Rohan, one for the One Ring and one for Mordor. Beautiful color and texture choices, simple numbering, special symbols on 6s, no gimmicks – what else could a wargamer want? Oh, right, for them to still be on sale.
#3 Worst GW Dice: Beasts of Chaos Dice Set
It’s really hard to make it just a top-5 list of terrible dice, as GW has great heaps of them. And it’s getting crowded on the top. So you might say that Beasts of Chaos (beastmen) dice don’t deserve it. That maybe the Fyreslayer dice with those stupid squiggly runes are worse. But hear me out. Sure, the numbers aren’t that easy to read, but it has an attractive design. However, you get skulls for both 1s and 6s. Different skulls, but it’s still terrible in the conceptual sense.
Actually, you know what? Ork dice are worse. The capstone to the disappointment that was the WAAAGHtober – hyping up for a month of ork releases that ended up with a few cool vehicles and which got immediately overshadowed by the new CSM range – since they commit all the sins of beastmen dice without the tight design. But the terrible marbling is there!
Actually Good GW Dice: Blood Bowl Dice
Blood Bowl is a mean sport and the dice are out to get you. No exceptions. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to play with sub-standard dice. And as it turns out, Blood Bowl dice are quite OK. Easy to read, not plagued by gimmicks, they’re just… good.
#2 Worst GW Dice: Idoneth Deepkin Dice Set
GW’s relentless pursuit of stupid copyright names and edgy backgrounds for elves that only count as “good guys” gave us underwater dark eldar. It also gave us Idoneth dice. The set’s markings are unremarkable: the waves aren’t easy to read at a glance, but not too terrible either, and the 1s-and-6s disease seems incurable (though, strangely enough, Skaven dice were spared-spared such fate).
But then they made them transparent. Clear and transparent dice with light blue markings. Has any GW dice designer ever tried to play with their own creations?
Actually Good GW Dice: Necromunda Gang War Dice
The nice thing about the Necromunda starter is that it came with two sets of dice. They were very simple: one set was black and yellow, the other – yellow and black. The gang-specific sets were gimmicky, but the starter ones did their job well enough and were a pleasure to roll.
I’m starting to see a pattern emerge. How come only Specialist Games and Middle-Earth get designers who understand how to make a good dice? What kind of fanboys with terrible ideas got locked up in the design room for 40K and AoS? Why do they keep making terrible dice?
#1 Worst GW Dice: Sylvaneth Dice Set
Just look at this garbage. Is marbling there? Yes, and the color is terrible. Do we have symbols on both 1s and 6s? Yeah, skulls and some sort… swirl? A whirlpool is less Syvaneth and more “circling down the drain.” Oh, and the numbers are terrible: be prepared to count terrible little leaves.
But wait, there’s more!
The damn symbols colors change from dice to dice. So even if you have a full set, your dice roll will still look like a garbage dump. Bonus points for whatever brain genius decided that one of the colors should be orange. On brown. In as much as AoS rules make me snooze, the dice just make my blood boil.
Please, just re-release the Horus Heresy Death Guard dice.