Review: Meta Dice by Bill Edmunds

Meta Dice are a great custom, multipurpose six-sided die that covers standard dice rolls (providing a result of 1 through 6), FATE-style success/fail checks, yes/no results, and even hit locations! If you want dice that can cover a myriad of games without having to sink into buying special dice, these guys are a great one-stop resource.

Rating: 5/5

Read on for the full review!

Meta Dice Kickstarter

Meta Dice Kickstarter

Meta Dice are multipurpose custom six-sided dice (AKA “d6”) Kickstarted by Bill Edmunds back at the end of 2015 and released to backers in 2016.

From the Kickstarter:

Meta Dice are 16mm PolyEurea plastic etched dice designed to be compatible with a variety of pen & paper RPGs. These dice can, for instance, double as Fudge/Fate dice and regular d6. They can also be used with games such as Burning Wheel, Mouse Guard, Torchbearer, the FU RPG, Dying Earth, Ubiquity, Prince Valiant, Story Engine, Foreign Element, and countless others that use a success/failure dynamic.

The hit locations correspond with those used in the Warhammer 40k RPGs, the older Warhammer Fantasy RPG, Reign, the OD&D supplement ‘Blackmoor,’ and many, many others. Heck, more limber people could use these for a really complex game of Twister!

What sold me on them was the idea that I could get hit locations (I have those gigantic d12 hit location dice, but they are unwieldy) as well as FATE dice in a way that’s also good for standard d6s.

I Got Mine!

My dice came with a nice baggy and a little insert with the link to a video showing how to paint the dice. I chipped in for colored dice knowing full-well I wasn’t going to paint them, but use them as-is, and it turns out they are perfectly legible, so win-win for me. But for the folks painting or coloring theirs in, it looks like the task is super-simple.

Meta Dice by Bill Edmunds

Meta Dice by Bill Edmunds

Show Me!

The dice have 4 pieces of information on all sides. Here’s an image from the Kickstarter that shows you what they’ve got:

Meta Dice give you loads of information on each face

Meta Dice give you loads of information on each face

Because the sides are the same on all dice — the 6 face contains a Success mark, plus symbol, and the Head location — there’s a degree of uniformity that might prevent these dice from doing something you want them to. But keep in mind that they come in multiple colors, so if you’ve got a game mechanic that requires different variations, you can just color-code the dice to the effect you are seeking.

(Hint: check the first image in this review to see the permutations shown on each die face.)

Extras

As Kickstarters go, Meta Dice was pretty simple and straightforward, and obviously I already revealed my grade for this product — 5 out of 5 — so you know I like what I got. Easy peasy. But that’s not all, folks!

One of the bonuses in the Meta Dice campaign was a copy of an RPG called Red Mists: Swords Against Sorcery that Bill wrote to make use of the Meta Dice. Check out the artist credits on there, too: Earl Geier and Eric Lofgren, among others, who you may recognize from FASA/Catalyst, West End Games, Monte Cook, and others. I’ll save a full-length review for that game, but it’s worth noting just how nice of a bonus it is!

Red Mists is a dice pool system based in part on FU: The Freeform/Universal RPG that is a bit narrative, but Red Mists specializes in stressing the idea that the player characters are savage Swords & Sorcery-style protagonists — which by no means makes them heroic in the “good guy” sense of the word — that will hack their enemies to bloody pieces. It does a good job of emulating the source fiction through the system by being relatively simple while making full use of the capabilities of Meta Dice to give players and GMs lots of cues for roleplaying. It also talks a good deal about the source fiction’s major themes — everything from lack of clothing (beefcake!) to lack of moral goodness and wholesomeness — and thereby makes for a great, simple game that could be run as a one off or as a mid-length campaign. There’s some narrative magic ideas and a bunch of monsters, as well as some cheat sheets for adjudicating different common dice rolls (stealth, different forms of combat, perception, social interactions) with the Meta Dice.

Resources


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neuronphaser is an editor, eCommerce consultant, web producer, and analyst living in sunny Hollywood, CA. He’s been playing tabletop RPGs of all kinds since 1985.

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