I decided to put my money where my mouth is and move forward with this comparison. I took some money from a few book sales (I needed shelf space, badly) to buy a few things for the hobby, and decided to start that process by ordering a custom Bag of Many Dice and a custom Dice Sheath for my favorite sets of Fate dice. This was a double-purpose investment for me, as my Mimic Gamer Pouch started to experience problems before the six month mark (namely the elastic wore out so it won’t stay shut) and I needed alternatives for my dice in general.
Now that the order has been completed and the items are in hand, I think it’s time to put the bag through the paces and see just what it can do.
The Bag of Many Dice is designed as a standard dice bag, but with individual pockets to easily store and organize your dice or other materials needed at your gaming table. Each pocket is sealed with stitching to the bottom, so the only chance of “cross contamination” of your dice is if you overfill the pocket.
The standard bags are usually usually made of fabric and come with six pockets, but custom bags can be made to match your needs, whether in material selection, color, or various pocket options (sizes and number).
The owner of the shop is willing and able to do custom jobs to match what you need, but does have a few “ready to ship” options available if you love one already. I personally went the custom order route, as I had ideas in mind.
The bags come in multiple sizes and hold variable numbers of sets of dice based on the size, with a “set” being a “standard D&D set” of 1d4, 1d6, 1d8, 2d10, 1d12, and 1d20. The sizes are Halfling (4 sets), Original (10-11 sets), Colossal (24 sets), XL (30+ sets), and 4XL (40+ sets).
The Dice Sheathes, on the other hand, are much smaller and are normally designed to hold a “set” of basic game dice (again, a 1d4, 1d6, 1d8, 2d10, 1d12, and a 1d20) in a single sleeve that you can clip/attach to your keys, belt, or bag, and have your favorite set of dice on the go.
==What I Got==
I did a rather special request with my order, and it took nearly two months of discussing, soundboarding, and reviewing materials until I finally put in the order. Honestly, I’m surprised she put up with me that long!
My custom Bag of Many Dice is listed as an “XL”, which if you were paying attention to the sizes above, is a step up from a “Colossal” but a step down from her largest bag, the 4XL. I went with a gray leatherette exterior (which restricted me to the XL size at the biggest), a navy batik for interior/pockets, a galaxy pattern for the center, plain black paracord for the drawstring, and helmet beads to add some weight to the string, which was tied with a Chinese-style knot.
My bag was also set with seven pockets, allowing me to store my d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, and d20 collections in individual pockets while having a last pocket for my “specialty” dice: my d30s, d24, and my time dice (a pair of large 2d12). This, of course, leaves the center open for whatever accouterments I would need for that particular game, such as minis or tokens.
My sheath was also a bit different than the norm. I requested a blue leatherette material (instead of her usual fabrics), sized to hold two sets of Fudge dice (eight dice total). The sheath had to match the size of these dice, and the dice in question were the Hellfire and Winter Ice dice from the Dresden Files Wizard set (that limited run set when the game first came out).
The items arrived to me about a week after the payment was made, so I was able to get right to this.
Right out of the gate, I have to admit that the customer service was top notch. The owner, Marlena, dealt with frequent questions and discussions with me for two months (literally two months from the start of the conversation until my bag was in hand), and was pleasant and professional the whole time. I’ve dealt with a few craftspeople that get crabby if the sale isn’t immediate, so anyone who’s patient automatically gets points in my book. They get further points when they make the process of getting a custom order stress-free (I was never rushed) and pressure-free (I was never pushed to get a more expensive option for my bag).
These were both custom orders, so I was able to get exactly what I wanted and needed. In my case, I wanted a durable bag that could hold a chunk of my dice collection (my d10 collection consists of 116 dice; that’s a bag alone!) and that could organize that collection for ease of use (especially for Cortex games, as noted at CharCon), and I wanted a sheath to store my favorite Fate dice. The idea of I got exactly what I asked for in a custom job just makes my day.
Pricing was also very fair, in my opinion. My last custom bag, the Chainmaille dicebag you may have seen me carry around or in pictures here, would have sold for about $55 (and worth every penny) from Sinclair Jewelry (before they were discontinued in favor of beautiful jewelry). I paid just a bit under that for my custom bag with all the bells and whistles (and shipping), This included beads, custom fabric choices, knot choices, etc; the only thing I didn’t change was the paracord color. When considering prices, one must note an Original-sized bag starts around $20 (prices fluctuate based on options and materials). For a custom, hand made item I got to choose all of the details on (again, down to specific fabrics and color schemes), I absolutely think it was fair.
With regards to quality, the two items are pretty top notch. I decided to “stress test” the bag the first chance I had; while some would balk at doing this with a high-cost bag, I needed to know before the next event if these were going to hold up.
Note: I do not suggest doing this to your bags if you choose to buy one. I’m REALLY good at breaking bags and wanted to do a few of the usual antics I’d expect, but to an extreme, to try my luck. I’m okay losing money over a review; are you? Don’t try this at home!
The first thing I did was the basic tug test; I opened it as far as I could and gave a few quick tugs (tugs, not Hulking out and pulling forever); the material (and stitching!) held. I did the same with the cords to close it; same situation.
I then decided to fill the beasty up.
The XL line of bags is marketed to hold 210 dice, or about 30 sets of “standard” D&D dice. As I went with seven pockets, this means that each bag should hold 30 dice, with some room to spare in the middle. I decided to press my luck with that.
My current dice collection consists of 15d4, 105d6, 3 “special” d6 (weather, encounter, and a blank), 15d8, 116d10, 21d12, two “time” d12s, 24d20, a large d20, 5 “countdown” d20s (from my days playing Magic), 1d24, 2d30, and 1d100.
I should also note that this doesn’t include the Fate dice or my collection of Star Wars dice from FFG, nor does it include the other “random” things I keep in my dice bag. For example, I keep a marble (from a bottle of Ramune I had at Gion Matsurii in July 2006), a small bit of quartz, and a small bit of amethyst inside my dice bag.
As you can tell by the picture, a number of my dice are NOT “average” sized.
My stress test with regards to filling the bag was simple: I put up to 30 of each die (when applicable) into a pocket, and put the “odd” style dice into the seventh pocket; I got all but the 43d6 (large casino dice and a brick of dice) into this bag. I then filled the middle with the other 86d10 I had.
While it didn’t close entirely, it was pretty damned close (and impressive!). I swung it around a bit by the strings, and there was no change. I bumped it against my leg a few times as though it was attached to my belt; nothing popped even though the bag was bulging. I repeated this by smacking it against the side of the couch (not full bear swings) and had similar results.
I took out the d10s and put in two of my metal Grey Knight Terminators from Warhammer 40k, then sealed the bag. Repeat process. The Knights were undamaged, and there was no damage to the bag. WIN!
The sheath had a similar test: I filled it with 8dF, cinched it shut, and did similar swings (and collisions). It stayed intact and didn’t break open. DOUBLE WIN!
After testing the durability, I decided to seriously load the bag with what I expect a “normal” load to be. At this time, it comfortable houses 162 of my dice, namely 1d100, 2d30, 1d24, 24d20, 21d12, 30d10, 15d8, 48d6, 15d4, 3d6 “special dice”, and the 2d12 “time dice” (large dice). I still have plenty of room to add in more d8s, d4s, and of course I still have some wiggle room in the center for tokens and minis. This bag has basically shifted my dice collection around and has made my job SO much easier.
Really, the bag and sheath do exactly as advertised. What more do you want?
There’s not much necessarily bad about these. I mean, sure, I can lament that it can’t house my entire dice collection, but I’d be asking a miracle for that.
I’d also have a really weird looking sheath about as long as my leg if I wanted one for all of my Fate dice, so really, I can’t complain about form or function.
Honestly, my only real complaints are simple.
First, the material holding the carabiner on the sheath seems to be a bit…”fibrous”, I guess we could say? There’s small pockets within it, which wouldn’t be a bad thing if it didn’t keep catching onto the carabiner. I am looking at swapping it out for a different carabiner, but it does make me worried as it catches a bit easily and tugs the fabric in odd ways. I’m sure it’ll be fine, but I feel it is a valid concern worth mentioning.
My second concern may be the material type I went with; it is a bit rigid when I try to close it, and doesn’t conform well if I’ve “overfilled” a pocket; namely my d6s were filled to the brim, and while they didn’t go out of the pocket, they did restrict some closure. I have a feeling my other concern about the rigidity of the material will fade as I use it and wear it in a little bit, and I have been told that this will happen over time and use if all goes well.
I have to give the XL Bag of Many Dice a solid 5 buns.
As a dice bag, this obliterates my expectations, and shows signs of durability that I haven’t seen in anything outside of my custom chainmaille bag from Sinclair Jewelry before Brandy stopped making them; I’ve had that for four years and it’s still going strong! I’m expecting similar results from this bag.
You can head over the Marlena’s shop, the DM’s Wife RPG Shop, and purchase your own Bag of Many Dice. They start at $20 on average for an “Original” bag, and if you are looking at a custom job (whether for style or size), the prices fluctuate based on materials and other options selected. Trust me, it’s well worth the price if you, like me, have a collection of dice that you need to get under control and don’t want tons of plastic containers around.
It’s also a better alternative to the traditional purple bag (unless you want the booze for your game nights, then it’s a tough call) or to the aforementioned Mimic Gamer Pouch (which now sells for astronomical prices due to being discontinued but craps out quickly). I have a feeling I’ll be adding another one or two to my collection in the near future, and I’m pretty confident that it’ll be a mainstay at my gaming table for years to come.