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New, exciting styles for Fate Dice and matching Fate Points to use in your Fate or Fudge games
New, exciting styles for Fate Dice and matching Fate Points to use in your Fate or Fudge games
896 backers pledged $24,571 to help bring this project to life.

Progress Report and a Trip to the PROTOTYPE GRAVEYARD (OooOoOooo... Scary!)

Posted by Fred Hicks / Evil Hat Productions (Creator)

TL;DR: We're even closer to Infernal Dice, and you can get a deeper look at the prototypes that didn't make it onto our viable-candidate list. Details below!

Hey all! Fred here. Carrie is battling snow and soccer this week, so I'm stepping in for this update. Try to contain your disappointment!

How's The Campaign Doing?

This has been a great week for the Kickstarter. We're nearly 50% of the way through our Infernal Dice stretch goal. At the time of this writing we're at $17,154 and 684 backers, which is a very interesting set of numbers. 

Why? Because if each one of those 684 backers added $8 to their pledge, we'd reach the Infernal Dice stretch goal. ($8 is the price we're putting on those Infernal beauties!)

Oooh, I wants them, precious!
Oooh, I wants them, precious!

Today marks the start of our last full week of the campaign. Come next Tuesday we'll be teetering on the cusp of the final 48 hours of the campaign, when pledge traffic usually starts to pick up again. If we are close to or (better yet) past that Infernal goal by the time we hit the 48 hour mark, it'll put us in the best possible shape for pursuing our later goals during the final surge. Your help getting us there is appreciated!

Obviously it might look at this point like your favorite preview-item isn't going to get funded this time around, but trust me on this, that's okay. We've gotten some incredible data here and the whole process of preparing for this campaign has given us a ton of prototype designs that we can look at rolling out when budget does become available months or years down the line. Planning out our future is good and we'll be returning to your comments on the updates for this project whenever the topic of Dice or Points comes up again. So yes, we may not reach some of our stretch goals, but that doesn't mean the dice or points those goals represent won't ever happen. We're committed to continuing to grow our line of accessories for Fate in the next five years and beyond.

If you're curious about some of the history of the whole Fate accessories line, I tweeted up a thread about that over the weekend, which you can find starting here: — in this thread I talk about the past five years of Fate Dice sales, why we didn't have as much money to subsidize the goals on this campaign as we did on the first one, and the difference between Kickstarting to launch a new line of dice vs. maintaining an existing line of dice and Kickstarting to expand it. Deep data dive, ahoy! 

But, speaking of prototypes...


Folks, it is crazy tough to get dice colors right. I spend a lot of time with a PANTONE color book, trying to visualize what certain colors applied to certain materials and processes will look like, and I don't always get it right. This has led to some aggravating near-misses and entertaining belly-flops over time, and the run-up to this Kickstarter was no different. There's also only so far you can push on asking for color tests and other die samples from your manufacturer before they start to want to charge you serious money for the time you're eating up.

And so, I have a pile of various prototypes that are considerably less likely to see the light of day. The previews we've given you so far have all been for dice sets we feel are pretty darn viable. The ones I'm about to show you... less so. Some are "on the bubble" as it were, just barely missing the cut, while others were just plain bad

At least to our eyes. Maybe your take is different, so if you see something here you think deserves a second chance, speak up! We'd love to hear your thoughts. 

First up are the Void Dice. When we got access to a manufacturer that could provide us with the layered style of dice, I went all in, trying to assemble a number of color sequences that were more subtle than some of the strong-striping high-contrast ones I'd seen in some of the samples. With our Infernal Dice (see above) as well as the others in the current stretch goal set that effort produced something really special. Void Dice were intended to be a part of that, looking much like the Infernal Dice do but in the purple spectrum. The problem is most of the purples used were just too darn dark, and the brighter middle stripe contrasted too much with those colors. If I take another run at the Void Dice concept, I may try to reverse the flow and have it start with brighter purple on the outsides of the gradient, shading into darker purple in the middle. The concept's not dead, but this implementation of it certainly is. 

Void Dice. Too much contrast between the layers!
Void Dice. Too much contrast between the layers!

Some of the samples we got looked amazing. They were items from another publisher's use of layered techniques to produce a variety of styles in your standard D&D polyhedrals. Two of them we wanted to do as Fate Dice, but the manufacturer (rightly so) balked at what amounted to a request to reverse engineer the colors of that other publisher's dice. In one of those cases, I took inspiration from a layered set that looked a lot like jade and played around with the hues and layer-sequence... which got us the Malachite Dice you see in our stretch goal list. Success! But...

... the other set we really liked were a rainbow, but after the manufacturer made reluctant sounds about that, I figured I'd try to scramble up the colors in a non-ROYGBIV order to see if we could still get a broad-spectrum result. We certainly did get that in these "Psychedelic Dice" prototypes, but, ugh, it just looked like a big clashing eyesore to me, a tie-dyed car crash of color. As with the Void Dice, I think the concept may be right, but the colors and sequencing certainly wasn't, so these go under the "back to the drawing-board" column.

Psychedelic Dice, now featuring Too Dang Much Orange
Psychedelic Dice, now featuring Too Dang Much Orange

Here's a close miss that we decided to take a second run on — our first-round red and blue dice for the Primary set. Their main problem was that they weren't Primary enough. The blue ended up being too greeny-blue, and the red had a powdery, tomato-y quality to them. They're still attractive dice, but they didn't directly nail the target, so we went for a second round resulting in the Primary Dice preview we've shown in our prior update.

Not-So-Primary Dice
Not-So-Primary Dice

Then we get into the Toxic Venom sequence... We took several runs at the idea of some "toxic" dice themed around poison, radiation, that sort of thing. Dice you'd bring to a post-apocalypse. That has produced some of our more colorful failures.

This first style was built out of the colors for the Spooky Dice set, with glow in the dark ink, and the two die material colors swirled together. The swirl wasn't bad, but we liked the other three styles that landed in the Spooky set more, so this one got left on the cutting room floor. I mean, I kinda like them, but I wasn't sure I liked them enough to say "make me 20,000 of these." (Why 20k? 4 dice, 5000-set minimum order.)

Swirly Spooky Sludge?
Swirly Spooky Sludge?

I also tried to marry yellow ink with yellow-green translucent dice for a reptilian venom vibe, but the yellow ink was too pale and we had other parts of the green hued spectrum we also wanted to explore, so these were a dud. They actually photograph a little better than they look in person (that yellow is paler than shown). 

Weak Venom
Weak Venom

Then there's this hot mess. I was going for the same two-color swirled-material effect you see in the Spooky-derived swirled ones above, but I wanted to see a mix of yellow and green to really give that don't-touch-it-it'll-turn-you-into-a-mutant vibe. Problem is the factory just couldn't manage to craft a swirl that let those two colors maintain their separate identities, and the green ended up blending into the yellow rather than contrasting with it. Really just a train wreck.

Toxic Trainwreck... if you cross your eyes you might spot a few faint smudges of green in there
Toxic Trainwreck... if you cross your eyes you might spot a few faint smudges of green in there

But, I didn't want to end this look behind the curtain on a pile of failures. These final two are ones I actually like quite a bit, but didn't see a way for us to find a home for them. 

There were also some questions about whether they'd actually have shelf appeal if they were released to the retail market. Sometimes something looks great once you've got it in your hand and out of a package, but it would likely look dull or unattractive in the package, and when that's the case you really shouldn't invest the money in getting them made only to see them fail to sell. Both of these sets potentially have that problem.

First is the Smoke & Silver Dice. Silver ink, translucent "smoke colored" dice. I think these look great, and they gave me a bit of that cyberpunk or noir feeling I was aiming for. Their biggest problem is that smoke colored dice tend to be poor sellers. Personally I like the look of smoke dice but I get the strong feeling that I'm the odd man out there. I'd love to hear your comments on these ones... maybe they could get resurrected as a stretch goal on an RPG project at some point in the future if it turns out we're off the mark about their sales potential. 

Smoke and Silver Dice
Smoke and Silver Dice

And the last prototype is another favorite of mine: Cosmic Dice. Here, I wanted to pair the iridescent material seen in our Accelerated Core dice with a so-dark-it's-almost-black ultra-dark purple to create a sort of "star-field" look, with glow in the dark ink for the symbols evoking luminous celestial orbs. In person, with the right light, the effect absolutely delivers. But on a game store shelf, without some bright or direct light to help catch those iridescent highlights, these come off like they're black dice with white symbols on them, pretty darn dull. It's a pity, because I find them incredibly handsome. 

Cosmic Dice -- zoom in to see those sparkles, they look great!
Cosmic Dice -- zoom in to see those sparkles, they look great!

Iridescent material is tricky stuff to work with. You can end up with an effect that's too subtle if you go too dark with your colors, and if you go too warm with a color, the rainbow spectra of the iridescent sparkles can end up shifting the apparent color far off of the actual hue you dyed the material with. Plus, it tends to be difficult to source in small quantities, sometimes requiring a higher minimum order quantity in order to be cost effective on a per-unit basis. I love its look tho!

At any rate, that's it for your GRAVEYARD TOUR (thunderclap!!! distant cackling!!!) of our prototype stash. Let us know if we made the right call in the comments below.

And remember, if you haven't added $8 to your pledge for those Infernal Dice yet, the best way you can make sure we actually get to make the Infernal Dice is to do so before we reach that goal. (If you're worried about pledging for something that doesn't get made, keep in mind you can always convert any overage you pledge into a purchase of our other available dice sets in BackerKit after the campaign ends, or put it towards an extra set of Fate Points!).

We're excited to see what the next week brings! If you have any questions for us, don't hesitate to reach out in the comments or through Kickstarter's private messaging system. 

And of course, thanks as always for your support!

Chuck Dee, Sean Nittner, and 19 more people like this update.


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    1. Jay Pierce on

      Count me among the fans of Smoke and Cosmic.

    2. Sarah Williams

      I like the swirly sludge. I LOVE the cosmic.

    3. Marion F. Carpenter Jr.

      I'll take one set each of the Smoke and Silver, psychedelic rainbow, reptile venom, spooky venom, void, and cosmic dice in that order.

    4. Missing avatar

      L Oshins on

      Too bad you need to keep them for reference. I'd make you a Very Nice Offer on most of those graveyard sets. I like weird.

    5. Jon Smejkal on

      Quite a bit of love for those smoke dice!

    6. Dale on

      Anytime you want to unload the too-much-orange-psychedelic-dice, you let me know. ;)

    7. Missing avatar

      Sean Mulhern on

      Wow, a lot of these look great! I especially like the Swirly Spooky Sludge, Cosmic, and Smoke and Silver.
      I also think the Weak Venom set looks really cool. If there had been a Ghostbusters Fate RPG in the 80s, these would have been the Ecto-Dice it came with.
      Maybe an orange ink would pop better in it than the pale yellow?

    8. Tal_Thom on

      I have to say, I haven’t gotten any Fate RPGs to the table yet, but I’m consistently pleased with how transparent and excited you and the company are to share the process. I guess I’ll keep stockpiling games until I break the dam of my groups will to play!

    9. John M. Portley

      Hi Fred —

      Your instincts may have been right about the Smoke and Silver Dice, which I also like. If you have a chance to experiment with the concept again, perhaps a little lighter in color for the interior, and closer to a suspended smoke cloud.

    10. Timothy Toler

      I'm with you on the smoke set being nice. As for the cosmic dice...there's still life in those, they don't belong in the graveyard--get them on life support!

    11. Vicki Maxfield

      I like the purples of the void better than the infernal layered... just maybe needs an adjustment on that middle purple.
      I like what you were going for on the cosmic, but I think I'd prefer the silver ink over the glow in the dark.

    12. Torolf - Alchemist of the Obsidian Order on

      I actually prefer the Smoke & Silver and the Cosmic Dice to any of the ones you're actually offering in this Kickstarter, even as stretch goals.

    13. Missing avatar

      Austin E. on

      I'd pick up a set of the smoke and silver in a heartbeat!!

    14. Missing avatar

      Shachihoko on

      I may be in the minority, but I *like* the "Smoke and Silver" and Cosmic dice. I agree that the others don't look too great, though.

      Idea: Is it possible to layer the colors diagonally, from either a corner or an edge? That would probably be a MUCH better way to get the "rainbow" stripe effect - but it depends on your manufacturer being able to do it that way, and I admit it may not be feasible. Among other things, you'd have vastly different amounts of each color per die depending on the arrangement.

    15. Ben on

      Yeah, I would get the smoke and silver, along with the cosmics, although I can see why they may have trouble selling without light control. The purple green swirl would get considered as well.

    16. Missing avatar

      Jeremy Hamaker

      I like those purple and green swirl dice. If they were in a three set pack, the others would need to be opaque too though. If they were packaged together with translucent dice the package would look horrible and un-buyable. BTW, on their own I think they'd go great as an accessory to a Fate of Scooby Doo game...

      I like the smoke and silver dice, too.

      Overall I gotta say I'd like to see additional fate token choices (I know they're coming. Just upping the vote.)

    17. Fred Hicks / Evil Hat Productions 14-time creator

      @Jon Smejkal - I have not, for a couple reasons. One, I kinda dislike the ultra premium tier mentality in kickstarter rewards. The other is that I still need to have these prototypes on hand as reference points for future projects!

    18. Erin Blackman on

      I really like the smoke dice! They'd coordinate well with the other smoke dice I own (for different games, but still, it's nice having coordinated sets.

      I LOVE THE COSMIC DICE. I'd pick them up in a heartbeat. Totally my jam. Revisit this one please!!!

    19. Jon Smejkal on

      Put me in the smoke camp as well!
      Heck, I was in that camp during the first Fate Dice Kickstarter: (NOTE: Not official dice!)

      Fred, have you considered offering these prototypes as "special edition" tiers for an appropriate special edition price?

    20. Michael Charlton

      I thank you for the explanation, but what I really meant is that as soon as those colors are made available, you have a sale.

    21. Fred Hicks / Evil Hat Productions 14-time creator

      @Craig E Ransom - Adding digits to the faces is a non-starter as that would require construction of a completely new dice mold, at a cost of several thousand dollars. I also think it'd be unnecessary clutter. It's not like regular d6es are in short supply!

    22. Fred Hicks / Evil Hat Productions 14-time creator

      @Michael Charlton - The layered dice are made at a completely different factory than the other styles, there's no way for us to package them together, and they also have a higher per-die manufacture cost that would make them not work in a $15 three-style 12-pack. So much as I could see smoke/silver, cosmic, and void in one package, it won't work. :)

    23. Missing avatar

      Dustin Evermore on

      Also imagining the smoke color for Fate Points... ah a dark Fate token for my Dresden games.. that would be cool too!

    24. Missing avatar

      Dustin Evermore on

      Good point about the $8. I do want those infernal dice! Eight bucks added. :)

      I also really like the smoky dice!

    25. Couchman on

      I'm normally not one for smoke dice, but I gotta say, I do like how they look with the silver symbols. The cosmic dice are my favorite out of these, no question. I like those more than some of the other stretch goals, to be honest. I think that color scheme might look really great as FATE points, too.

    26. Aaron Stockser on

      I *love* Smoke & Silver and also think Cosmic Sparkles are pretty cool.

    27. Missing avatar

      Scott Raun on

      I like both the Smoky & the Cosmic.

    28. Michael Charlton

      I would love the smoke and silver, void (with adjustment), and cosmic sets.

      Just make them available now as a $15 3 pack and you have got yourself an increased pledge.

    29. Missing avatar

      Paul Cooper on

      Again, got enough Fate Dice to choke a horse. Not interested.

      Let me know if you ever decide to offer Fate Points in different colors. Then I might be interested in upping my pledge.

    30. Missing avatar

      Jeff Workman

      Love the Smoke & Silver.

    31. Missing avatar

      Piper Thunstrom on

      The cosmic dice are gorgeous and I'd buy them in a heartbeat. I get why they'd be bad for selling on shelf, though.

      I kind of like the sickly purple and green swirl, but agree that it didn't fit the spooky theme well. I'd buy them as a single set, though!

    32. Morgan Weeks

      I want the cosmic dice yesterday. Also, smoke and silver would find a happy home with me. But cosmic dice. Yes, please. Please?

    33. Jim Davies

      We're going to need a director's cut campaign. ;) The void and smoke would have made my list in a heart beat.

    34. Keith Stanley

      I would definitely be a buyer for the cosmic and smoke dice.

    35. Danny on

      Cosmic are good. I actually like the sludge dice too!

    36. Jeremy Downey on

      Cosmic dice are some of my favorites.

    37. Jose A Piniella on

      The smoke and cosmic dice are fantastic! Shame they’re not going into production.

    38. Missing avatar

      Sean Kinney on

      I love the smoke dice set. A shame that we're in the minority there!

    39. Datalaughing on

      I actually like the swirly spooky sludge dice, but they have an almost cartoony feel. I feel like a deeper purple and a darker green might go a long way to hitting that spooky feel you were going for.

      I like the smoke and silver, and I love the Cosmic.

    40. Nathan Hare on

      I'm a big fan of the cosmic and Void Dice as well! Would love a good rainbow set too, but I agree that the color combination for those shown above aren't quite right.

    41. Craig E Ransom on

      One thing I'd like to suggest is adding the digits 1,2,3,4,5, and 6 on a corner of each die face, so that we could use them to roll other things like 3D6. Would be useful.

    42. Carl McLaughlin on

      I too have a soft spot for the smoke and silver dice. My first set of polyhedrals were a paler smoke type. I’d definitely kick in to get them in the future.

    43. Alec Martin on

      I really do like those Cosmic Dice and the Void Dice.