Gen Con 2013 was quite the gaming extravaganza. Apart from tournaments and events, there was the looming presence of the vendor hall—all the gaming swag you could imagine, the only limit to the fun to be had in this room was your bankroll. One of the greatest surprises of Gen Con 2013 for me was coming across the CritSuccess Dice Rings. You know those moments when you see a product and you immediately want one? When you’re so amazed at the innovation that your knee-jerk reaction is to reach for your wallet? Needless to say, I got one.
The product, as the name suggests, is a ring that substitutes for a die. The ring is essentially two rings stacked on top of each other; one ring is slightly larger, thinner, and channeled into the smaller, wider ring. The ring spins around your finger and eventually stops, landing on a number that you would normally achieve by rolling a die. I like to think of this as a nerdy form of the big wheel on The Price is Right! CritSuccess has many variations of these rings to replace all sorts of different dice. The traditional D6 and D20 dice are perhaps the most functional options but there are also D4, D8, D10, D12, D24, D100, etc… (since these are rings, CritSuccess labels them R6, R20, R100) In addition to the dice they also have some fun randomizing rings for “Yes or No”, “Heads or Tails”, and even “Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock” of Big Bang Theory fame.
I picked up the R20 ring and have thoroughly enjoyed the practicality of it. The frustrating thing about dice is the random and unpredictable rolling on the table. Oftentimes it is rolling off a table to an unreachable place or rolling into a gaming element and messing with it’s positioning (whether it be a miniature or a game piece on a specific tile or board). The rings are great for keeping a die at hand and out of the way. One possible frustration is the shared experience of dice. While playing a game, most often people pass dice around the table—with they ring you don’t feel compelled to take it off and pass it to someone (whether that’s a hygiene concern or just a convenience thing). Dice won’t be completely obsolete because of the dice rings; it’s just another option.
One possibly less obvious feature of the dice rings are their fashion implications. The rings come in a few different colors, so the option is there for some accessorizing. From a more gamer culture perspective, wearing a die ring out and about while not gaming is a nice way to let your nerd show. There’s the boy-scout-always-prepared-to-game element of that, but there’s also the “I’m a gamer, so what” side. I never hide my nerdiness.
The random fun of having someone in your circle of friends with a ring is a nice addition to everyday life. Quickly doing a high roll with someone to decide where to go out to eat or who gets to pickup the bill is a hilarious decision maker and adds fun to some annoying social situations (there is nothing worse then fighting over where to go out to eat).
The ring itself is lightweight and comfortable to wear. The materials have a quality feel to them. My first worry was that through time and natural use the numbers would scratch off and the functionality would be ruined. Upon further observation and a detailed conversation with the salespeople at the booth, I learned that everything is etched into the metal and there is no worry of scratching the numbers off the ring. One cautionary note. The rings take a little effort to break in. When initially purchased, my ring wasn’t spinning as freely as it could and CritSuccess recommended I wear it while washing my hands and spin the ring around a bit to loosen up the spin. After a day of hand washing (easily done at a gaming convention with lots of bathroom breaks) the ring was spinning nice and smoothly.
The CritSuccess Dice Ring is a really nice product with the right amount of innovation and practicality. It’s also worth noting that it is another great product to come out of Kickstarter, with 7,000 backers pledging $344,069 toward their $23,000 goal—people were clearly excited about this. “One ring to rule them all?”—it’s a completely unique gaming accessory and I have a hard time seeing any fundamental flaws. “One ring to find them”—you can find out more on their site, www.critsuccess.com