Lab Dice Wave 4
After the first three successful waves of Lab Dice in 2019, Chessex released one additional wave of Lab Dice in 2020, with six new designs in pairs of two — 2x Heavy, 2x Nebula, 2x Gemini.
Most strikingly, in terms of difference of this wave, is the new packaging and an addition of a custom pipped d6 to each set. All dice now come in a test tube with a silver screw cap and an additional 16mm pipped d6 that has an Erlenmeyer flask on the face of the 6, and the words “Lab Dice” above and below the 1-pip. Chessex explained that they are now starting to include the pips to separate the Lab Dice sets from those that may potentially be released later as regular lines, as a token of Lab Set authenticity (“only authentic with the extra pip”).
Completely new in this wave is the Heavy line, which are indeed heavier than regular acrylic dice (approx. 50g per polyset, as opposed to approx. 30g for acrylic). These dice are made from the material that Chessex used as the base for their Faux Metal sets. From a tactile point of view, the dice are heavier in your hand (due to their weight), and feel somewhat similar to ceramic dice, without the porous surface. Wave 4 included two Heavy sets whose colours complement each other — orange with turquoise ink, and turquoise with orange ink. It remains to be seen if we’ll see more colourways in the Heavy line in the future.
The other four designs are variations on already existing lines, namely two new Luminary Nebula colours, and two new Gemini colours.
For the first time, Chessex also provided uninked versions of their dice, but these were only available for Nebula Copper Matrix and Nebula Supernova, and only in a limited capacity for retailers that ordered the box of 50 sets (one set each per box). They are now available on the chessex.com website as ‘unpainted’ sets at a price point of $11.98.
Heavy Dice Orange
Opaque orange dice that have very subtle surface swirls and weigh about 70% more than a regular acrylic set. The numbers are inked in turquoise.
Heavy Dice Turquoise
Opaque turquoise dice that have very subtle surface swirls and weigh about 70% more than a regular acrylic set. The numbers are inked in orange to complement the Heavy Orange set.
Nebula Copper Matrix
Metallic copper and black swirls are mixed into a clear translucent die base, the numbers are inked in orange. Nebula Copper Matrix dice have Luminary particles inside that glow in the dark.
Orange and pink swirls are mixed into a clear translucent die base, the numbers are inked in white. Nebula Supernova dice have Luminary particles inside that glow in the dark.
Notably, Nebula Supernova has more luminary particles mixed in than most Luminary sets, which means they really glow strikingly bright in UV light or in the dark.
Translucent clear and opaque pink material is mixed together in the well known two-tone Gemini style, the numbers are inked in white. Gemini Clear-Pink dice have Luminary particles inside.
Gemini Black-White (w/pink)
Opaque white and black material is mixed together in the well known two-tone Gemini style, the numbers are inked in baby pink, earning this set the nickname “cow dice”. No Luminary particles in this one.
Wave 4 became available worldwide in July 2020, and opinions in the collecting community varied. The Heavy dice seemed to be fairly popular despite their simple opaque design, while people didn’t seem to care much for the two new Nebula designs. Overall, wave 4 seemed to have been less popular than the previous Lab releases. Chessex has not yet made any announcments as to whether any of these will go into regular production.
From Lab Dice to Regular Production
In an August 2020 webinar, Chessex owner Donald Reents disclosed that Nebula Red, Oceanic, Nocturnal and Wisteria from the previous Lab Dice releases will go into full production, and there’s going to be a new version of Nebula Spring. Nebula Spring was, per Don R., “not a bad colour, but it was supposed to have more orange in it.”
Future Lab Dice Releases
In the above mentioned webinar, Donald Reents mentioned that more Lab Dice would be coming out after the new Nebula and Gemini design releases. He gave a time frame between January and June 2021, depending on production capacity. It’s hard to make accurate predictions on release dates because production times can be unpredictable.