Recently, I was given the opportunity to review a set of Steampunk dice sent to me by Q-Workshop, a dice company based in Poland that is well-known for their eccentric and beautifully designed dice and dice sets such as their Runic dice or more recent Call of Cthulhu dice.
When Q-Workshop reached out for reviews of their dice, I desperately wanted to get my hands on the new Wild Die from the Deadlands set, too. I wasn't interested in reviewing the entire set as it had already been discussed and viewed on Pinnacle's forums, but I really wanted to get a good look at the design of that Wild Die. When I asked about possibly obtaining one, Q-Workshop was more than happy to provide one for this review.
Steampunk Dice Design
The Steampunk dice set, designed by Shannon Couture, is actually a winning design of Q-Workshop's 2008 Dice Design Contest. One look at these polyhedrals and you can see why. The design is a clean and elegant one with enough style to set them apart from more plain looking dice sets.
The different dice have different designs that invoke the steampunk genre. The d20, d4, and d8 have a clockworks design featuring screws in the corners of each number and gears surrounding the numbers. The d10s feature a steampipe design surrounding each face. The d6 and d12 have a mix of both.
While I have found Q-Workshop dice to have enticing designs in the past, I never really felt they were clear enough to read quickly when at the game table. I've often preferred the more basic dice designs from competing dice manufacturers. In fact, my most commonly used dice set is a Chessex set with black on ivory. To be fair, though, the more recent Q-Workshop sets have been much cleaner in their designs, leaving the numbers uncrowded with clear fonts to distinguish the digits and identify them with a quick glance. They've even made sure to mark the 6 and 9 with a pip at the base to distinguish the two.
Savage Worlds Wild Die
This die is another example of a clean, eye-catching design. Each face is a hand of cards fanned with the face value on the topmost card. The cool thing is that each face is a winning hand of some type.
- 1: 10, Jack, Queen, and a pair of 9s
- 2: 9, a pair of 10s, and a pair of Jacks
- 3: 10, Jack, and 3 Queens
- 4: a pair of Jacks and 3 Queens
- 5: 3 Kings and 2 Queens
- 6: 10, Jack, Queen, King, Ace
The 6 is a bit different as it has the infamous Smiling Jack icon rather than a 6 on the topmost card. As any Savage Worlds player knows, a 6 on a Wild Die aces (hence the Ace on the face), meaning you get to reroll it and add to the total value, with each successive 6 continuously adding to the value. If you're familiar with Q-workshop's designs, you'll quickly realize that this approach to each face having a different design is somewhat unique. Most of their dice have the same general pattern on each face with only the value differing. They've taken great care to specifically alter each face on the Wild Die with a higher-ranked hand to correspond with the higher valued face.
My first thought when I saw the photograph on the Pinnacle forums was how great it would be to create custom dice sets for Savage Worlds settings using the designs already available from Q-Workshop.
- Runic + Wild Die: RunePunk or Hellfrost
- Cthulhu + Wild Die: Realms of Cthulhu
- Steampunk + Wild Die: RunePunk or Clockworks
- Celtic + Wild Die: Hellfrost
You get the idea. I only hope that Q-Workshop decides to sell the Wild Die individually because it really makes a nice addition to one's dice bag, especially if you're a Savage Worlds player or GM.
Bonus Promotional Die
Those of you with keen observations will notice two d6s in the little bag in the embedded slideshow. Q-Workshop was not only kind enough to throw in the Wild Die, they also sent a promotional d6 advertising the designs of their other dice sets. Each face on this d6 features a different design from among the Celtic, Elven, Runic, Steampunk and Dwarven dice sets. Dwarven dice sets? Wait a minute. Where did that come from. Oh, yeah! Shannon also won the aforementioned contest with a Dwarven dice design.
As I mentioned above, I used to have opposition to Q-Workshop's dice designs because I felt their intricate designs made the dice difficult to read. I even had my eyes set on a set of their Dragon dice for my Eberron campaign (the design looked similar to the O-dragon in the 3e Eberron logo, and I always liked the dragon-themed lore of Eberron). The price was a bit of a sticking point for me as well (approx. $18-20 USD), but now that I have these in my hand and can see them up close, I would confidently say that these are worth the money. I think they also make a great gift to give to a steampunk-loving GM as a token of appreciation. So, if you're looking for ideas for a holiday gift or next year's GM's Day (March 4th), you should consider picking up a set of these dice, perhaps splitting the price with your gaming group. Hopefully, the Wild Die will be sold individually as well so that you can buy a batch for your gaming group, too.