Storage a.k.a How to Hold Your Crap
The unique and intriguing aspect of collectible games is that your main goal is to catch/draw/trade them all. Dice Masters is definitely no exception, with over 80 different dice and going into the hundreds of cards. This is all well and good, but in the quest to get the final few super rares, we have come to have a ludicrous quantity of both dice and cards, and in turn, need a way to store them and organize them for transport to the FLGS, a friends house, or just to have on the shelf.
If you are like me, you went to a craft/hardware/organization store, and shelled out for a Plano box or something of the sort as well as all the dividers you could fit in it. Don’t get me wrong, these are fantastic for holding all you can, but therein lies my issue with that. I have been able to tote every die I have collected back and forth to the two to four OPs a month, as well as to Mat’s to play. I could say with a fair degree of confidence that no one needs to carry 8+ of every die, let alone the 15 Vibranium Shield dice I have brought along time after time.
Personally, I am physically limited in what I can haul around to under 10 pounds, so this really led to me to wanting a better option.
Necessity is the Mother of Invention
After searching high and low, I came to the conclusion that in this niche hobby, nothing exists to fill the gap, yet.
Trying to isolate to what exactly I needed, I made a simple list of requirements.
1. Compact enough to carry in any bag
2. Durable enough to survive in a bag
3. Dividers to keep every character die separate.
4. Able to hold ‘max dice’ listed on cards
Armed with a simple list, exact dice dimensions and middle school level woodworking skills I visited a local craft store. For less than $10 I was able to grab the following:
– Wooden box with latched lid – 7″x 7⅛”x2″
– Precut “hobby board” – 2’x3″x⅛”
– 2 pieces of felt 10″x10″
– 1 sheet adhesive backed foam 10″x10″
First thing I did was cut the wood… I’m kidding, of course. I wanted to establish how to lay it out, or even see if it could work. Now this part will be different depending on the version of Dice Masters you are making this for. Avengers vs X-Men happens to have 38 characters (including both Mjölnir and Vibranium Shield) whereas Uncanny X-Men is limited to a paltry 36 characters (including Cerebro).
The box I found happens to be just slightly wider than deep, so I switched to a 7 row, 6 column layout to allow a little more finger room.
Now that I figured out how I wanted to lay this out, I tried to devise various methods before realizing that technology is my friend. As of late, I’ve become quite a fan of woodworking videos on YouTube, namely Steve Ramsey, and took inspiration from his Router Bit Storage. Using a nonexistent understanding of Sketchup I was able to draft up the box and design not only the spacing, but every piece including cuts, with intent for the pieces to interconnect using what I believe are half-lap joints, or what we commonly see as the dividers in a case of beer.
After some failed attempts using a newly acquired handheld electric jigsaw, I was thrilled to have had the foresight to get some pencil files for the slots.
Using a simple X-Acto knife and an aluminum straight edge. I ripped the 3″ wide piece into 4 pieces just shy of ¾” wide each, and cut them together into (4) 6½” and (4) 6⅝” lengths. Then, taping the respective lengths together into a neat stack, I was able to trim each slot evenly so the intersecting pieces would stay square across the box. This process could be done with almost any cutting tool, but in retrospect power tools were overkill. I picked up an X-Acto saw and mini miter box to do a box for Mat.
A great deal of hand filing later (admittedly too much), and after trimming the shorter pieces for the middle sections, there was a rough framework.
Happy with this, gluing began to secure the latticework together, and to especially hold those shorter pieces in place.
Next step, lining the box. This really serves a multifold purpose. It not only adds a little style to the project, it quietens the rattling of the dice while in transit, it allows the lid to be used a dice tray if so desired, and it keeps dice in their assigned seats. Since I had opted to make the dividers ¾” tall to allow for better finger accessibility (and avoid having to buy more wood), the box had a little too much wiggle room for dice to slip out of their places while closed. Thankfully the foam added enough thickness to dampen roll sound AND fill that space, making sure nothing gets out of line while running to the local OP.
You can find adhesive backed felt, but the colors are a little limited. If you am have your heart set on Royal Blue, Deadpool Red, or Psylocke Purple; you can use a fantastic product called Super 77 that will happily adhere fabric to wood or even plastic or metal.
Before attaching, you obviously have to trim the felt down for that “professional” look. I found that trimming felt to the exact spec was ineffective. To compensate for the fabric’s desire to stretch, cutting about ⅛” under the space’s dimension made for an ideal fit after stretching for a smooth surface.
To make certain all was in place, glue was applied to every surface that wood contact’s wood, and I chose to place the framework ⅛” above the bottom felt to further limit any wandering dice. A nice side effect is that cleaning dust or debris out is a bit easier with a spray air duster.
Allowing all adhesives to cure for 24 hours was ideal, especially since these glue joints are going to be getting bumped around over the next several months.
Finally, the project completed, and loaded up with those precious UXM dice. I don’t have access to 4 of a character dice, but this gives you a good idea of the size and fitment of this build.
Things I Would Have Done Differently
First of all, I would have taken more time and care using a simple saw to keep the cuts cleaner. On that same note, I would have refrained from filing as much to make sure the joints were tighter, so glue wouldn’t be as necessary.
Finishing. I would have taken time before gluing and finished the wood in some way. Either spray lacquer, possibly wax, or even just paint to take it from looking like a simple craft box to something more custom and unique. I also would have liked to mask off and either stain, burn or paint the Dice Anon logo into the lid.
Measurements. Opting to trim down to ¾” rail height was a definite fail. The dice are a hair over ½” tall/wide/deep and the box empty was a bit over 1¼” tall inside. 1″ rails would have made fitting even 6 dice in each slot possible, just not quite comfortably.
This project was as much about making something that wasn’t a bulky plastic hold-all as it was about educating all of you about the option to just DIY a nice box you can show off at your next OP. With my broken back and limited crafting skills I was able to throw together this in a matter of a few hours spread across a couple of days.
I would love to hear thoughts, suggestions or even criticisms. If you can do it better, please let us know your tricks and send pictures or links.
Finally, because I realized after the fact that the box seems a bit larger than it is, here a picture of it on the official WizKids AvX play mat.
This isn’t the only crafty project I have in the pipeline, and I plan on doing some different things in this same vein. And some unique new things, as well.
Stay tuned for more great stuff, and may the rolls be with you.