The Oddball Dice Series #3

For the next two weeks, I will make daily posts where I’ll spotlight unusual or lesser known dice that I have in my collection that I hope are interesting for everyone to see and learn about. Each day I’ll cover a different theme, I hope you enjoy this series.

Chessex Design Tests

Sometimes you buy dice lots, and they very much surprise you when they get there. I will admit that I purchased most of these fairly early on in my dice journey when I didn’t even really know how special they were.

These are modern mould Chessex dice I would categorise as “Design Tests”. The acrylic ones, I can only assume were design tests they ended up selling at cons or putting in PoDs at some point in the past. Some of these are also pretty screwed up, that black and purple d10 has incredibly scuffed outer edges. I got most of these in a second-hand dice lot and some from a fellow collector who said they bought them at the Spiel convention over a decade ago.

This looks like a test for Chessex Gemini Translucent Green-Yellow. It was purchased over a decade ago from the Chessex booth at the German Spiel convention.

A pearly green d12 that might have been a one-off for a Pound o’ Dice or maybe a design test. It’s reminiscent of the Velvet design, although clearly different from the released Velvet Green line.

This swirly pipped d6 is definitely a design test, I purchased that one at the Chessex booth at the Spiel fair in 2019. We can only assume this test design didn’t go anywhere since Chessex never released anything remotely like it. They were also available with white ink.

Interesting are also the Speckled dice. The d10 is a design test with somewhat different urea material that looks like the granules are much smaller than usual. If you look closely, the die also uses a more unusual mould that has a 10 instead of a 0. I know there are also white with red versions of these out there.

In terms of the 16mm pips, I have some light blue uninked Speckled design test dice that never made it into production. (I have confirmed with the factory that they are not PoD randoms.)

An uninked pearly red and white Gemini-design 16mm pip, but the red looks like a darker and deeper red than what was used in the full release version of Gemini Red-White w/gold (d8 on the right for comparison).

The other uninked pipped 16mm in amber and blue might or might not be Chessex, but the glitter looks very much like old glitter, and I haven’t seen any other company use this kind with somewhat chunkier flakes. It’s possible this was a design test for a mix of Borealis and Gemini, the kind we ended up seeing in Gemini Blue-Magenta that’s a mix of Borealis Magenta and the blue pearl material used in other Gemini dice.

I have some more uninked acrylic Chessex d10s that are likely design tests, such as a version of Phantom Black that uses much darker black material than what ended up being the full release version of Phantom Black, a pearl design in green that has some milky white material mixed in, and a raw Gemini d10 with one blank face that’s pearl white and pearl teal material mixed together.