by Moritz Eggert
Hello, my friends. I might sound like a complete bore, but when asked what my favourite gaming accessory is, the answer is simple. It is not, sorry Tom and Sam (from the Dice Tower podcast), a dice tower. It is not Start Player the collectable card game, because I still haven't got around buying it. It is not Shocking Roulette, the start player finding device to end all start player finding devices.
It is not a CD with bad Dixieland music from Woody Allen's latest film.
It is not a sheet of Plexiglas, even though they're very useful.
It is: A simple dice cup, made from smelly, old leather. Big enough to fit a manly man's hand, so I mean: HUGE.
I first encountered dice cups when I started playing role playing games way back in medieval times. Throwing the polyhedral dice with your hands usually proved deadly, they usually either didn't roll at all or fall of the table, like 4-sided dice, or they rolled on endlessly, like 20-sided dice, or the crazy true 100 sided die from Lou Zocchi that would roll on up to the North Pole if you would let it roll.
Does anyone remember doing the deadly bare feet walk of the 4-siders, that usually collected below your gaming table? I do, and the feet still hurt!
To avoid this, leather dice cups were in fashion. And there is just something about them, the smell, the feel; that I simply love. Dice cups are around for millennia, they were already used in ancient Rome, really. So they must be the oldest gaming accessory in the history of gaming.
Dice games, especially wargames, are nothing without my feared black leather dice cup of doom. This is a massive leather cup made from hardened leather as black as the abyss. The inside is covered in red felt, which gives the cup a really ominous and terrifying aura.
There is nothing that beats shaking this huge dice cup with both of your hands, and I don't mean that girly shaking with one hand, which usually ends up with the dice flying through the room by the laws of centrifugal physics.
No, I mean taking the thing with both your hands, cupping it with one of them; the dice cup is filled to the brim with heavy, preferably metal dice.
And then you start shaking it, and I mean REALLY shaking it. It has to be a trained movement, like a cocktail mixer in the most expensive bar of New York, like Tom Cruise in the awful film "Cocktail". And then, with one single devastating smashing powerful movement you crash the dice cup on the table. And the dice fall where they may.
And then, shortly after that, your opponent does the same, another crash.
And now, the great duel can begin.
It is the decisive combat roll, it is Napoleon at Waterloo. It is your fleet in Twilight Imperium, ready to take on the central planet. It is Guderian before the gates of Moscow. It is the most exciting moment of the game.
But who will have the guts? Who will go first, and actually lift the dice cup to see the result? Peeking is for wimps, no, the true connoisseur lifts the dice cup with a flip of his hand, while looking the opponent... in the eye! You don't look at the die. You let your opponent look at it. And you want to see him turn pale with frustration as he as already wimpishly peeked under his dice cup, and he now realizes with horror that you have a 6 while he has only a 1.
This moment of triumph can not, and I repeat cannot be duplicated with a dice tower, as throwing dice in a tube to see what happens always reminds me of the fireball throw in the chimney in the old Hasbro game "Haunted Castle". It is just not the same as slamming a dice cup filled with 18 dice on the table when your Serpent strikes in Titan, one of the greatest games of all time.
I think some people will understand that feeling, and this is because you belong to the initiated. Keep the faith up and keep slamming those hard leather cups! But be careful of drinks, they tend to spill...
This was the wisdom shared to me by my trusted Sauerkraut amulet of the mighty FUJIKURA-SAN.
Thank you for your attention.
©2007, Westpark Gamers