Orlando's MegaCon had a plethora of booths selling unique and geeky products throughout the weekend, but none was more intriguing than a pastel blue table lined with a collection of eye-catching drink-ware in varying sizes, towered by a monstrous jug called "The Growlin' D100" that was as intimidating as it was exciting.
From far away, it looked like yet another table selling etched glasses from every fandom until you were greeted by John "Hex" Carter, the brainchild behind Loaded Dice—a fun new way of playing tabletop games. With a giant grin and a rehearsed sales pitch, his voice was very telling of his excitement by his own product. This isn't your average goblet.
"Loaded Dice is a way to augment games, as a way to inject drinking into games," Hex stated. "For example, D&D, that's why it's styled around D&D, but we also joke that you can make any game a drinking game. Could you imagine Monopoly with a D6 drinking glass?"
Created by Hex and Mat Nicholson of Screech Dragon Studios, the concept is simultaneously genius and straightforward: each glass represents a different die from a D4 shot glass to a D20 pint glass and features markings on the back for each ounce, simulating a roll. Fill the glass up with your beverage of choice and start drinking. The more you gulp down in one shot, the higher your roll.
The glasses come in seven sizes, each representing a dice denomination at a reasonable price:
- Four-sided shot glass: $7
- Six-sided double shot glass: $9
- Eight-sized beer sampler: $10
- Ten-sided tumbler: $12
- Twelve-sized old fashioned: $12
- Twenty-sided pint glass: $15
- D100 mega jug: $30
At face value, these glasses do what any average 20-something does: create another drinking game. However, an alcoholic beverage is not required to enjoy this set, nor do they fully replace the usage of dice in a campaign. The intention is to compliment the game in a fun new way, and players are encouraged to find ways to incorporate that into the story.
"For those that already combine drinking and gaming, think of Loaded Dice as a tool to enhance that experience," Screech Dragon Studios said on their Kickstarter, suggesting that the possibilities of its usage are endless.
What Loaded Dice does immensely well is change the mechanics of rolling dice to be more skill-based instead of chance. Rolling a 20 doesn't require much effort, which is where this concept forces you to earn your roll. Take a sip and you can increase your attack by up to six damage with a D6 double-shot glass, but choose your potion wisely, for even the strongest adventurer may succumb to a twisted fate.
The company successfully funded their project through Kickstarter in 2016 with 266 backers pledging $20,191, doubling its $10,000 goal. Its popularity has since grown, completely selling out of the D12 glass halfway through MegaCon. "I didn't expect this much popularity!" Hex said with a humble smile.
The popularity of Stranger Things bringing back all the greatest staples of the 80's with their inclusion of Dungeons and Dragons, tabletop games have been making their way out of dark basements and into the light of Pop-culture. What was once a gathering of often bullied geeks and nerds, RPGs have more often been featured in television and film, changing the way society views them.
"I think there's this major table top renaissance that's going on and that's definitely putting more light on RPG gaming such as Dungeons and Dragons itself, and it's really exciting," Hex said. "It's becoming cooler and there's less of a stigma tethered to it as it used to be."
Hex is also hard at work preparing for his summer launch of another new game, ROBiTS, in partnership with Quick Simple Fun Games. The quick drafting card game lets you build a robot in bits and pieces, hence "Ro-bits," by drafting arms, legs, body, head, and so on.