Updated 16 Sep 2022
The continuing journey of the Lab Dice
Ever since the premiere of the first wave of Lab Dice in 2019, Chessex has continued releasing new test colours under their Lab Dice premise — smaller runs of new designs to test their popularity and make more informed decisions which of them to make available as regular releases. Below are details on the Lab Dice releases from 2020 and beyond.
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, none of the designs have been announced so far to go into regular production.
Lab Dice Wave 5
In August 2021, the next wave of Lab Dice was announced. First sets were sold at Pax West, Dragon Con and GenCon, they were made available to the wider public in October 2021.
Wave 5 comprised of one new Borealis colour, two Festive, one Gemini, one Lustrous and one Vortex design. The dice, like their predecessors from wave 4, came in test tubes with a 16mm pipped d6 that had “Lab Dice” on the 1-face and a flask logo on the 6-face.
Borealis Rose Gold
I daresay these are Leaf Copper meets Borealis Icicle. The dice have a clear translucent base with metallic copper swirls and blue-purple glitter mixed in. They also have the luminary particles that glow in the dark. The ink is blue.
Opaque dice that have white, yellow, green and blue swirled together with green and blue dominating the look. The set has blue ink.
An opaque swirly set with a white base that has a fun rainbowy look of green, blue, yellow and orange-red swirls, reminiscent of those kaleidoscope toys. These also have blue ink.
Gemini Plasma Green-Teal
A half-and-half mix of actually three colours — one half a milky, almost neon yellow, the other half a translucent mix of green and teal (the same mix used in Gemini Translucent Green-Teal). The yellow part has luminary particles mixed in that glow in the dark. The ink is a dark orange.
This set doesn’t photograph very well, but is actually really pretty if you get a good mix with nice swirls. The base is a pearly dark teal with subtle metallic swirls of silver, gold and copper. The set has dark orange ink.
Opaque red dice with swirls of black and bright yellow. They are inked in yellow. Who knows why the paper slip is purple…
Lab Dice Wave 6
Wave 6 was first announced in the July 2022 Chessex Scoop newsletters. Wave 6 is comprised of two new Lustrous, three new Borealis and a new Nebula colour.
Lustrous Azurite looks to be a semi-translucent blue material with gold or copper metallic swirls and gold ink. Lustrous Sea Shell is a pearly white base with red and teal swirls, perhaps a bit of a mother of pearly sheen, but hard to tell from the product photos. Sea Shell contains luminary particles that glow in the dark.
Three of the six new Lab Dice wave 6 sets are from the Borealis line. The long awaited and much requested colour yellow is finally being added to the Borealis line-up with the name Borealis Canary. Chessex is also remaking an orange colour that looks similar to the limited edition Borealis Orange set from way back when, called Borealis Blood Orange. The third set is a bit more varied in colour, looking to have a clearer base with teal and dark green swirls and glitter, called Borealis Kelp. Like all currently in print Borealis designs, these three also contain luminary particles.
The sixth design is a Nebula set called Nebula Black Light Special, thankfully without luminary particles. The dice are a clear base with neon pink and purple swirls inside that light up brightly when under blacklight.
The street date that was announced by Chessex for official availability of the wave 6 sets is Nov 02, 2022.
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 were going to go into full production. However, Nebula Spring would undergo some design changes, as per Don R. it was “not a bad colour, but it was supposed to have more orange in it.” Nebula Nocturnal was going to get an ink colour change as well — from teal to blue. These five designs got a full release in March 2021.
The full release versions were given new product codes and were sold in the regular plastic bricks with black lid and a regular Chessex paper insert.
Nebula Nocturnal: CHX 27557
Nebula Oceanic: CHX 27556
Nebula Spring: CHX 27555
Nebula Red: CHX 27554
Nebula Wisteria: CHX 27545
More Lab Dice were fully released in May 2022, Gemini Gel Green-Pink and Gemini Translucent Red-Yellow. Pictured below is the original Lab Dice packaging, but the full release versions were given new product codes and were sold in the regular plastic bricks with black lid and a regular Chessex paper insert. No changes were made to the Lab designs for the full release.
Gemini Gel Green Pink: CHX 26464
Gemini Translucent Red-Yellow: CHX 26468