10 December 2011

Back to the Table/Bamboo Dice Tower

We've recently started playing a loosely organized series of one-shots. My idea was to try out a bunch of different, largely old-school or old-school inspired, role-playing games.
Over the past couple of decades of gaming we've mostly been playing while sitting around the living room on couches, etc. People were always distracted and would start reading magazines or playing with smartphones, etc. during a game, so I decided that when running my games we'd play around the table, no electronics. Just paper, pencils and dice.
It's been working. So far we've had three or four solid sessions with no distractions and everyone playing with their full attention. This led me to look into means of keeping dice from ricocheting around the table and onto the floor.
I bought a number of cheap bamboo pencil holders from the local dollar store, hacked them apart and rebuilt them into a dice tower. It makes a nice clatter that's almost musical and it just looks really nice. Total cost $6 (plus a few nights of hacking, gluing and clamping, then a coat of tung oil.)
If you haven't been doing it, or haven't done it in a while, try going back to the table and leaving the gizmos behind. It's really brought the focus back to the people at the table and the game that they're playing.


  1. Nice dice tower, I'm completely cack-handed when it comes to building stuff, but I have dice tray.

    I prefer to play at the table, the seating might not be as comfortable, but I think the semi-formal feel you get when seated around the table creates more focus and engagement with the game. Plus, sitting closer you're getting clearer cues from peoples eyes and facial expressions which makes a subtle difference.

  2. It does make a real difference, doesn't it?

    The effect of sharing the table is pretty significant. I often play boardgames and it was easier to get people used to the idea of playing our rpgs at the table after we had discussed it during a couple of baordgaming sessions.

    The seating isn't as comfortable, but to tell the truth once the game is rolling nobody really seems to notice.