Hexes & Bows Reviews: Dungeon Dressing Dice Kickstarter


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It’s been a while since we had the pleasure of talking about a fantastic Kickstarter, but wait no longer!  Dungeon Dressing Dice is Hexes & Bows’ latest review and boy was it fun to demo!

Gnome plays single player on this episode and shares his thoughts and experience with Incognito Solutions Inc.’s tabletop accessory: Dungeon Dressing Dice.

IMG_4824Now, let’s first just start off with the fact that dice are fun to collect, so if you’re just looking to add a unique set of dice to your already multiplying collection, this one’s a bit of a no-brainer to invest in!

However, if you want something that is not only durable, functional, AND fun, definitely look into picking up a set of Dungeon Dressing Dice.  This product, according to Gnome, is perfect for Dungeon Masters that struggle with filling their dungeon rooms with interesting, story-based items.  Whether you’re trying to create an elaborate manor many sessions in advance or forced to create a new dungeon room on the spot, Dungeon Dressing Dice is there to help.  Take a few minutes and listen to Gnome’s detailed and honest review!

Dungeon Dressing Dice has 12 days left on Kickstarter and already reached it’s funding goal of $6,500 for mass production, sitting at $16,000 as of posting this review!  Check out the Kickstarter here and follow Incognito Solutions on twitter!

Gnome also takes a moment to make an announcement regarding Hexes & Bows new project: Hexes & Bows Actual Play Podcast!  The characters are cast and the stage is set!  H&B will be playing a homebrew D&D 5e game with a great cast of characters and a brand new world!

Thank you so much for listening! Don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes, Podbean, or other podcast apps so you don’t miss out on an episode!

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And visit http://hexesandbows.com for updates, cast lists, videos, past podcasts, and more!


Disclaimer: Dungeon Dice Dressing sent us this product for free to demo and review.  Our thoughts and views on any product sent to Hexes & Bows for reviews are explicitly our own and are not influenced by the company or any of its affiliates.

H&B Reviews: Cantrip Candles

Sweet Fig Farmhouse by Cantrip Candles

Hexes & Bows Podcast is BACK! We are beyond thrilled to be back behind the mic talking tabletop shop! Tara and Gnome team up to review Cantrip Candles, created by Christoff Visscher! These scents aid in immersion gameplay for your tabletop adventures and boy do they trigger some great gaming memories! Give this episode a listen and try out Cantrip Candles for yourself at: http://www.cantripcandles.com.

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cantripcandlessamplepackCantrip Candles, made by Christoff Visscher, are 100% soy wax candles for enhancing your tabletop gaming experiences by immersing players into their various surroundings found within fantastical worlds. Currently, there are ten different scented candles available for purchase and Cantrip Candles sent us their sample pack for review!

Both Tara and Gnome enjoy immersive gaming products, often implementing them into their tabletop games to help create memorable gaming moments. They’re no amateurs when it comes to using scents for gaming, and both hosts agree that Cantrip Candles encourages another of enchantment while roleplaying.

You’ll need to listen to the podcast for the in-depth review, but here’s how things stacked up:

Scents Reviewed:  Black Hound Tavern, Cosgrave Tannery, Goldwheat Bakery, Stonemoss Chapel, and Sweet Fig Farmhouse (all part of the sample pack)

Packaging – 4.75 out of 5

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How someone sells a product can be just as important as the product itself. In this case, Cantrip Candles does an excellent job with their packaging and marketing. Each candle is poured into a circular tin wrapped in a cardboard sleeve with a special map drawn on top. The labeling is incredibly rustic and the map is an excellent added touch that gives each candle its own personality. The scents are labeled with the name of the candle and includes the average burn time! Not only do the scents offer creative names, they’re also accompanied by a little story that helps stir the spirit of storytelling.

Quality – 4.75 out of 5

Tara is our resident candle expert and understands the pouring process and use of different elements to create a high-quality candle. In the case of Cantrip Candles, aside from a few non-centered pours, these 100% soy wax candles hold up well after several months in storage. Of the samples we received, each scent changed after being heated, some for better or for worse, but they each maintained a pleasant aroma that permeated rather quickly throughout the area.

The scents we received all represented the scents described on the website, some being more obvious than others, but all appropriately advertised.

Cost – 5 out of 5

Each candle costs $14 for a 6oz tin that lasts around 30-35 hours when burned (of course, only burn your candle for about four hours each time!). Many candles we’ve found online, be they mass-produced or from Etsy, vary in price, but for $14, this was an incredibly reasonable price for a small-poured batch, 100% soy wax candle.

Final Review

Overall, Cantrip Candles really stacked up well for us at Hexes & Bows. We are already fans of immersion products and these candles are well worth the purchase with a final score of 4.83 out of 5.

If you enjoyed this review and want us to try out out other gaming products, leave a comment below!

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Cantrip Candles Social Media:

Twitter: @cantripcandles
Instagram: @cantripcandles
Facebook: Cantrip Candles


Important Upcoming Dates:

December 8, 2017: Extra Life 24 hour charity gaming marathon begins at 8PM CST on twitch.tv/gnomedic! Help us raise $1,000 for sick and injured kids at CMNHospitals! We’ll have raffle prizes such as dice, dice mats, painted miniatures, and more for donors and will be playing a D&D 1-shot audience-participation game, along with games like Overwatch and Minecraft. Come play games, cheer us on, and help raise money for amazing kids! 100% of proceeds goes Extra Life. You can donate here!

December 16, 2017: Hexes & Bows Live D&D 5e Campaing on twitch.tv/gnomedic continues! Join Grohl, Talial, Teak, Makaria, Ricochet, and new adventurers Lyllah and Bulwas, as they finally sit down and uncover the mystery of the Feywild Queen, Subu. Show starts at 5PM CST!


Continue the conversation with Hexes & Bows on social media and get connected for additional updates, news, reviews, and more!

Twitter: @hexesnbows
Instagram: @hexes_and_bows
Facebook: Hexes & Bows

Let’s Review: Manicdotes!

Gnome and Tara get their hands on Manicdotes!. This social, storytelling card game is a fun way to kick-start your game night!

Manicdotes!, created by Michael Hanson, “is a fun, fast-paced, challenging, social, storytelling card game. As the Storyteller, you are given an opening line (Story Starter) and a list of keywords (Words Card) that must be entwined into your tall-tale. Players must listen carefully to your fast-paced fable to identify which words were pulled from your Words Card. Manicdotes! is designed to be a fast-action experience that can be played time and time again.”

Gnome and Tara invited a few friends over to play this social, storytelling game! After several rounds, Tara was the victor and both she and Gnome had a solid understanding of the overall purpose of the game!

As with all of the Hexes & Bows reviews, Manicdotes! was scored on five categories: packaging, components, rules, replay value, and cost. Each score is the best out of 5 with 5 being the highest, most desirable score to achieve.

Packaging

File_004Both co-hosts strongly agreed that the packaging for Manicdotes! is the best overall selling point of the game. It’s bright and bold color choices along with a fun and unique font left both Tara and Gnome feeling nostalgic. The game looks like it was transplanted from the 1950s into the modern era!

Components

File_003The components were a bit of a hit and miss. Included in the game are 150 Words cards, 30 Story Starter Cards, 6 pads of paper, 8 pencils, and a 90-second sand timer.

While the colors of the cards match the external look of box and remain bright and colorful, the card stock quality was poor. After unraveling the card decks from their original plastic revealed many edges of the cards already suffered from damage. The corners of the cards were either bent, frayed, ripped, or splitting prior to shuffling. Trying to shuffle the decks was a surgical process requiring gentle hands and alternative methods of shuffling in order to prevent additional bending and folding of the cards.

The 90-second sand timer was timed 10 times and each time came out at 92 seconds, which, isn’t that big of a deal since that is more than enough time to generate a tall tale with the words card!

Tara was not a fan of the pencils and paper, while Gnome saw them as neither an advantage or disadvantage to the game. They’re nice to have in the game, but, according to the components list, their box was shorted 2 pads of paper.

Rules

Perhaps the most important element of game is its rules. Overall, the rules and general jist of the game is relatively easy to comprehend. Players draw one Starter Story and one Words card, create a story in 20 seconds, then convey that story in 90 seconds to the File_006other players at the table who try and guess which words in the story generated from the Words card! First player to 25 points wins! It’s that simple.

Unfortunately, this level of vagueness left some questions being asked, particularly involving wording regarding the Story Cards, “topics,” and “categories,” which are not described fully in the rules, if at all.

It is easy to create your own set of rules for the game and the official rules offer alternative ways to play the game or make it more challenging!

Replay Value

As with most investments, at least between Gnome and Tara, the ability to replay a game over and over and over is exceedingly valuable. Manicdotes! can quickly become a predictable game. After a few play-throughs, a player may associate particular words with a card and simply “guess” the rest of the words in the story without having to listen properly.File_005

One way to combat this, as suggested in the rules, is by drawing multiple Words cards and then selecting the first word on each card! This method deals with the repetitive association of words that would otherwise decrease the replayability far too soon.

Cost

Manicdotes! retails for $19.95 on Amazon, which is the only store to currently purchase the game from that Hexes & Bows could find. While Amazon includes 2-day shipping in the overall cost for “free shipping,” both Tara and Gnome felt the cost was relatively fair for a game “Made in America.”

Ultimately, Gnome and Tara collected their scores and Manicdotes! earned itself an average overall score of 3.34/5.00. Listen to the podcast for the complete breakdown of the score!

You can try out Manicdotes! for yourself at www.manicdotesthegame.com!

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Leave a comment below if you’ve played the game! We’d love to know your thoughts on it!

 

H&B Review: Die Hard Dice

Tara and Joey dive right in to a pile of metal dice from Die Hard Dice for their latest review of tabletop accessories! Metal dice, rolling mats, and glow-in-the-dark die?! YEAH! We are all in!

 

The story behind Die Hard Dice is quite sweet and humble. Todd and Jessie, founders of Die Hard, find the time to sell dice and gaming accessories in the little free time between raising children and other jobs.

After speaking with Todd through a couple of e-mails, it’s very clear that he and Jessie are passionate about gaming and that they desire to share such a passion with other gamers! That’s why Die Hard Dice may be one of our favorite places to purchase dice from.

Die Hard offers a wide variety of metal and polymer dice, but today Tara and Joey review three sets of metal dice, some prototypes, and a rolling mat!

File_001RPG Gothica Set – Battleworn Copper

Straight from the tin box, these copper dice make a statement! Not only are they enjoyably hefty (it’s a word we like to use a LOT this podcast, in a good way!), the overall look is simply eye-catching!

The edges of the d6 and d10/percentile are rounded and offer a wonderful rolling experience that is often lost with jagged-edged metal dice. The same cannot be said for the d4, d8, d12, and d20s which each have very sharp, very crisp edges that really make the antique pop out within their beveled borders.

With the d6 and d10s outshining the other dice, the entire set offers players a steampunk-vibe in both color and design.

Ultimately, we enjoyed these dice, but could not overlook a coloring flaw that left some of the dice a more orange-copper color versus a more muted-copper color.

These dice retail for $28 on their website, which is an excellent and fair price for a rather spectacular set!

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File_002RPG Set – Raw Steel with Paragon Blue

If there’s one unique thing about this particular set of dice it’s in their aesthetics! Raw steel sounds pretty darn epic, but holding a set of gun-metal steel in your hand feels empowering!

Both Tara and Joey agree that these sets look more like a dark, ancient stone than they do metal, which increased their appeal! The deep steel color shows any wear and tear on the dice more, but that adds so much character to these dice!

One aspect that divided Joey and Tara in scoring revolved around the number coloring. The website image shows a much lighter steel and a brighter blue which make them easy to read. That wasn’t the case with this particular set. For near-sighted Joey, trying to read the numbers turned into a struggle, but Tara had no qualms.

Like most sets on the Die Hard website, this RPG set retails for $27! Seriously, the prices on this site are just fantastic!

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sinnRPG Set – Sinister Rainbow

After opening these dice, Joey originally believed they’d sent an assortment of colors to observe. That’s not the case! Be sure to listen to the podcast and learn how this glorious set came to be!

These dark, chrome dice are impressive! Their sleekness and shine make for an enjoyable rolling experience and quickly became Tara’s favorite of the bunch!

The Sinister sets offer a variety of coloring to their numbers that include pink, yellow, blue, purple, orange, red, and green! It’s hard to imagine anything sinister about a rainbow, but that’s exactly what you get with this dice set!

They’re molded similarly to the Raw Steel sets and are the most uniform in size and color. No blemishes appear on these dice, so they look fresh and ready for action every time you pull them out for game night!

Retailing at $27 as well, this is a must-have set for any type of dice collector!

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File_006Playmats

Todd’s ability to think outside the box and problem solve is very apparent in the products that he sells and creates. Even though it’s the cheapest item on the site it’s one that is worth so much more than $6.50!

The Die Hard playmats are the PERFECT, cost-effective solution to rolling metal or other heavy, sharply-edged dice on a variety of surfaces. Not only is the playmat well-crafted, the simplicity of its use makes it a must-purchase for players concerned with rolling dice on tables.

A rubber backing helps keep the playmat secured to any surface, so while you roll your nat 20s, it’s not rolling with! Plus, the mat acts as a sound dampener and a spring board for dice. What does that mean? It means every time you roll your straight-edged dice they won’t just land with a thud! Instead, you’ll achieve an actual roll!

Additionally, if you’re like Joey and lack space on the gaming table for a cool dice tower or tray, this is the perfect solution for a cramped table!

One word of advice regarding these dice mats is to let them air out in a garage or outside for about 24 hours. There is a very strong rubber odor.

Joey and Tara both recommend giving this product a try! You can order one here!

Other Products

Die Hard also sent a few prototype dice, but listen to the podcast to hear Joey and Tara’s review of them! (Seriously.. glow-in-the-dark dice… impractical but oh so mystical!)

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Overall, Joey and Tara agree that Die Hard Dice offers a fantastic array of fairly-priced, quality metal dice, innovative solutions to dice problems, and the best customer care and service you’ll every find on the internet! These dice sets will make for spectacular gifts or a wonderful addition to your collection.

Peruse through Die Hard’s website and find the perfect set of dice for you at: www.dieharddice.com. Use the code FREEDICEMAT and receive a free dicemat on orders $25 or more!

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H&B Podcast Review: Darksilver Forge Dice

Join Mr. and Mrs. Gnome as they test out and review two legendary metal dice sets by Darksilver Forge!

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There are a handful of companies producing different colors and styles of metal dice sets, but from our experience, Darksilver Forge hoists the bar high. Originally, Darksilver Forge began as Downcast Systems who produce mobile games such as Puzzlewood Quests and Hangman’s Noose. They decided to break from the digital mode and dive into the world of tabletop accessories.

Currently, Darksilver Forge offers two different sets of dice:

  • DragonSteel Silver Set –
    • This is a 7-dice set that includes a D4, D6, D8, D10, D10 Percentile, D12, and D20
    • Brushed Silver color with large, black-painted numbers
    • Silver tin case with durable foam padding
  • Cthulhu’s Gold Set –
    • Another 7-dice set with the standard fair of various dice
    • Matte Gold finish with large, black-painted numbers
    • Black tin case with a sweet Cthulhu pirate flag

Both dice sets are made from a zinc alloy that is electroplated with nickel. I’m sure that means something, but like their website says, “While we may not know exactly where “zinc” comes from, or how it’s forged, or what “electroplating” means, our best guess is that dwarves and dark magic are heavily involved.”

File_003Some of the best features these dice sets offer include their weight and feel in the hand, the large, bold, and readable numbers, and the overall look. The gold and silver colors are awe-inspiring!

While they’re nearly perfect, there are a few flaws. The weight appears to hinder rolls on the D20 and D12; both have no rounded edges compared to the other dice in the set, so your rolls land on the table without a decent roll. The weight is also concerning while rolling on various surfaces. Do not roll these dice on a glass or wooden table, you will definitely scratch or dent softer surfaces and your wife or mom may straight up feed you to a dragon.

Ultimately, for us here at Hexes & Bows, the Darksilver Forge dice sets are absolutely worth investing in. We’ve dubbed them a “luxury” set of dice as they are far superior in quality than your typical plastic set. These make great gifts for a brand new player or as a thank you to your weathered and exhausted DM.

Each set costs $39.99, but are on sale for $29.99. Use the code hexes to get 10% off of your entire order! Go to www.darksilverforge.com to order your legendary metal dice set!

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H&B Reviews: Adventure Scents

Ever wonder what a barnacle-laden, booty hauling pirate ship really smells like? Then check out our podcast review of Adventure Scents by Jennifer Howlett!

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If you’d like to buy some Adventure Scents for your next tabletop session, head to their website here!

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Scents Reviewed:

Final Review Score:

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Atlantis Miniatures – Review

As a tabletop gamer who loves accessories, I find it increasingly difficult to find miniatures that are both highly detailed and affordable. Reaper Miniatures offers the standard go-to for miniature figures for tabletop roleplayers and while the affordability is there, the lack of diversity makes the figures quite tired after years of staring at a catalog of the same minis.

Then there’s things like Hero Forge (I’ll review that next!), where you can get detailed, customizable, 3D-printed miniatures. This is SUPER awesome, until you look at the price.  At $30 a miniature (for the premium plastic), that’s an awfully steep price when you’re a Dungeon Master trying to maximize visualization on your table.

You can also use the official Dungeons and Dragons or Pathfinder miniatures. They come pre-painted and run $10-$15 per a blind box which usually contains four minis.  The downside? They’re pretty awful looking.

So, what else is out there?

Atlantis Miniatures.

I came across this company randomly on Facebook and was immediately impressed by their digitally rendered models. The detail in every miniature was intricate, giving every single creature a distinct personality.

goblininfantry2_preorder_grandeThe Goblins Infantry set is what drew me in.  For years, I’ve been visually assaulted with little goblins, usually green in color, large, weird smiles, oblong bodies, and hardly imposing; annoying, yes, but imposing? No. The Atlantis Miniatures goblins are JACKED! They bench press 450 and eat iron shields for breakfast! Seriously, look at those abs!

There is so much detail in each miniature goblin that you almost want to take the time to name them, give them personalities, and make an NPC sheet for them! The Orc set is no different! These are vicious looking orcs, menacing even! Plus, there’s a female orc model!

On top the of Orcs and Goblins sets, Atlantis Miniatures also offers creatures such as animals and monster creatures such as the gorgeous looking Ettin (seriously, I want it so bad!) and the Wyvern.  The 3D models are just stunning, full of detail and personality. But, the biggest question I wanted to know: do these miniatures look as good in person as they do online?

The answer?  Yes, so far!orcfemale_render_grande

I immediately ordered the War Bear to replace my druid’s current bear form model (taken from one of the D&D board games). Needless to say, after over three weeks of waiting (they were kind enough to offer a coupon for the delay in shipping, they usually ship much faster than that, even across the pond), I cut open the plastic package and felt the truly awesome power of the mini in my hand.

It wasn’t heavy like pewter figures, but it was much heavier than a rubber or plastic one.  The details were sharp, deep, and very defined.  I could make out all of the individual clusters of hair on the bear, along with deeper details in the teeth, tongue, and claws.  The only place that did not really have a lot of detail were the feet.  The claws were disappointingly flat.  However, that is not a reason to dismiss this mini. I ended up covering the feet with terrain material.

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Priming the mini was easy.  I used a fine, grey primer that stuck to it and dried quickly with no issues.  I then coated the bear in a thin layer of beige, not quite sure of what I wanted to do just yet.  When it came to washing, I did notice that the crevices of all the details were so deep that they soaked up most of the wash.  Deeper areas ended up pooling, so I had to thicken up my wash with paint.

Dry-brushing was a breeze! With all the nooks and crannies, I wish I hadn’t needed to pain the miniature bear black (sloth bear!) because the fur is just so detailed that you could really go nuts with different layers of fur-coloring!

I ended up using hot glue (couldn’t find my plastic glue) to secure the bear to the large round base that came with the mini. It stuck, no problem.  A little wood glue and some terrain materials finished the figure off rather nicely (I’m a novice, especially with basing, but this was big enough and easy to manage).

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Despite the problems with shipping, the customer service and response times were wonderful. Dan was very pleasant over e-mails and resolved the issue promptly.  The miniature itself looked identical to the 3D rendered image presented on the website.  I was so pleased with how well this handled paint, the stability and heftiness of the figure, and the amount of detail overall that I placed an order for the goblin infantry set, forest trolls set, Minotaur, and cave troll.  Overboard? Probably. But they were on sale and this simple little War Bear miniature sold me on their value.

The cost is something that may turn people away (the War Bear was about $15USD with shipping, other minis cost between $8-$75+), but when you’re stuck between the crummy, lackluster quality of mass-produced official miniatures or the old tired-but-true Reaper models, paying a little more for a quality product was completely worth it in my eyes.

Atlantis Miniatures receives 9 out of 10 for quality, customer service, creativity, and delivery.

You can order and pre-order Atlantis Miniatures from their website here.  They are also launching a Kickstarter featuring Dwarven models!


Let me know if you’ve ordered from Atlantis Miniatures before! What do you think about their product? Does the pricing scare you off or would you like to see them produce more creatures ?