Sunday, June 25, 2017

Custom Dials for To the Strongest! from dialdude - a Review

    When I was running my Egypt vs Assyria game with Simon Miller's To the Strongest!  rules at HAVOC, one of the players made a very astute suggestion. Both of these armies are very heavy on missile armed troops, and each unit can have anywhere from 1 (pila) to 7 (veteran archers) shots. What is more, ammo can be replenished from the Army reserve during the course of the game, not to exceed the original starting allocation. Keeping track of the ammo remaining on the roster sheets was both time consuming and easy to forget, and replenishing ammo made things still worse. Thus the gentleman in question suggested the use of dials to track ammunition for each unit. This seemed a very good idea to me.

    With my Historicon games fast approaching, I decided to check out some options. First I looked at the dials by Litko. They looked like excellent quality products, but I figured that I needed as many as 80 dials, so at a minimum price of $3/dial, the cost would be prohibitive. In addition the bright plastic construction just seemed like it would be out of place for Ancients games. Several years ago, Bob Jones had sent me some Napoleonic Themed dials from the Dial Dude, which were very nice. However, he has since passed out of business. Some Google searching lead to several threads on The Miniatures Page dealing with the Dial Dude, and a possible successor, dialdude.ca. As both the threads and dialdue.ca are clear to point out, this is a completely different operation from the original Dial Dude (present whereabouts unknown).

    The Dialdue.ca site promised quick production and delivery of the dials (important with Historicon then being about a month away), a design charge of only $5 for custom designs, to be applied against any order (so really free as long as you actually placed an order for a few dials), and the very reasonable price of $1 Canadian per dial, plus $5 shipping. An email or two to Jeff Black (aka, the dialdude) quickly arrived at a design (see below), and an order was placed for 80 dials. I received them yesterday, less than 3 weeks from the first inquiry. Hard to beat that!


Design #1 - Tan bow and Arrow on green field.


Design #2 - mirror image of #1 - green bow and arrow on tan field.


The tops - the tan bow is laser carved out of the surface of the green dial, while for the the tan dial the green is left in place for the design, and the rest etched away. 


The bottoms. I wanted a different color for each opposing army to reduce potential confusion, , and figured these colors would blend in unobtrusively on my green, tan, and /or brown table coverings.


The underside of the lids and bottoms - the black is magnetic sheeting. The numbers on the dials (or text, or whatever) are also completely customizable. As the dials arrived in a bag with all the parts jumbled together, at first I was at a bit of a loss for how these worked. A quick email to Jeff and an equally quick response clarified things. "The dial tops have a self adhesive magnet attached and the white material on the other half will attract a magnet.  You should be able to hold a magnet upside down with the top still holding on".  Make it so!

Here's what 80 dials look like - 40 each tan on green, and green on tan. 


Some dials with 28mm BTD Romans.


The dials are 1" in diameter.


Appearing at Historicon in less than 3 weeks; thanks, Jeff!


In summary: The website is a bit sparse, and  gave a bit of an impression that it might be inactive, but nothing could be farther from the truth!

Service: Excellent
Ease of Customization: Outstanding
Quality of Product: Excellent
Value: Outstanding

Hail, dialdude!

13 comments:

  1. Very impressive, it is a constant struggle for me to find what I want for casualty markers. these are pretty cool. And very well priced as you say.

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    1. Exactly, John. With the current US/Canadian/exchange rate being very favorable, that's like a 20% off sale, too! And of course it would business for a fellow countryman, too. :-)

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  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, Jon. Kudos to the player at HAVOC who had the germ of the idea. I imagine that a similar concept could be used for Impetus, and many other rules sets that require unit tracking.

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  3. What a great idea Peter. Sensational solution.

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    1. Thank you, Carlo. As a fellow TtS! player, I knew that you would particulalrly appreciate the idea!

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  4. How cool are those! :-) Very neat that they go up to seven, the maximum ammo for a veteran unit. I love the designs, too.

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    1. Yes, I'm very happy with them. The dials are completely customizable!

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  5. These look great. I ended up purchasing a copy of To The Strongest on your recommendation by the way Peter and found Simon an absolute pleasure to deal with.

    I just hope I get a chance to actually read them and get a game together with our group before Version 2.0 comes out, which seems to be a perpetual theme involving me and any new rules set.

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    1. Hi Lawrence, don't worry you'll have time! v2 is still quite some way out. :-) Simon

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    2. Hi Lawrence - I thunk you'll enjoy them. Once the key concepts sink in, it plays very quickly. Do a small solo game first - as few as 8 -12 units is plenty at first.

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    3. It looks like we have found ourselves a spring project then. Hopefully we will have a gaming table back by then!

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    4. Sounds good, Lawrence!Depending upon the size of your troops/grid, it can be played in a pretty small area. I use a 6" (150mm) grid for 28's,with the largest units being 6 stands of 4 pikemen (and war wagons). It is worth some careful consideration what size grid will work best.

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