Dice Tower


  • '13

    Hey everyone, didn’t know where to post this so ill put it here.

    I’m going to make an axis and allies inspired dice tower.

    However, i dont want this to be an ordinary dice tower. Anyone have have any elaborate ideas on making an advanced one with some features that can help in an axis and allies game?


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Sounds like a cool project.  I don’t have any suggestions on the specific point of making it A&A-related, but one recommendation I’d have would be for you to make sure that the tower design gives you good randomization.  A tower typically contains some felt-covered angled platforms which change the direction of movement of the dice as they fall, thus (supposedly) randomizing their movement.  The problem is that the felt (which is very necessary to muffle the sound) can cushion the dice and reduce their tendency to bounce, with the result that the dice might slide from one platform to the next without rolling very much.  Part of the solution is to make sure your tower is reasonably tall (short ones aren’t as effective).  A further idea is to use an internal scrambling mechanism that gives more random bounces than simple platforms – for instance a maze of felt-covered dowels dense enough to produce lots of strikes on the way down, but also open enough to prevent jams.  The tower that I built for myself has its interior walls lined with small-sized plastic self-adhesive coat hooks projecting at various angles into the centre; because they’re made of soft plastic, they don’t damage the dice and they don’t make as much noise as hard wooden platforms, so I didn’t need to cover them with felt (although the interior wall surfaces themselves are felt-covered).

    A good receiving tray at the bottom is a must too.  Its rim has to be tall enough to prevent dice from flying out when they shoot out of the tower base, and its inside has to be felt-covered to reduce bouncing and to absorb sound.


  • '13

    Hey man, thanks for the well thought out post.

    My tower will be reasonable size, but i also want some creative features to go with it. I will be making it out of hard wood and paint designs on it. Would super glueing the felt be a bad idea, or will that work?

    This will be for 1940 global too so if anyone has some advice on some things to paint, that would be cool.


  • 2020 2019 Sponsor 2018 2017 '16 '12

    @Quintus:

    Would super glueing the felt be a bad idea, or will that work?

    Get adhesive backed stiff felt.  Take it from experience, that’s the way you want to go!

    http://www.dickblick.com/products/quick-stick-felt/?clickTracking=true&CAWELAID=520010530000084085 : This is what you’re looking for.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @IWillNeverGrowUp:

    Get adhesive backed stiff felt.  Take it from experience, that’s the way you want to go!

    Yes, definitely.  The vertical part of my tower is made of aluminum; the felt which I used to line the interior is self-adhesive on one side, and for good measure I put some double-faced tape on the inner walls of the tower before applying the felt.  It’s held up fine and has never given me any problems.  The receiving tray is made of wood, and here too I used self-adhesive felt to line it.  I can’t recall if I bothered adding double-faced tape to it because the tray isn’t subject to any stresses, so the felt doesn’t need to stick in a particularly solid way.  By contrast, the felt inside the tower had to stick strongly because one of its functions is to help hold in place the plastic coat hooks which serve as dice randomizers – so it has to be able to absorb those repeated small impacts without pulling away from the walls of the tower.

    When you design your tower, you should consider making it in such a way that it can be broken down for easy transportation if you’re going to be gaming outside your own home.  I’ve seen some very neat designs in which the tower can be laid horizontally into the receiving tray to save space.  Mine doesn’t do that, but it does break down into three components.  Most tower assemblies have just two parts (the tower and the tray), but I had to make mine in three parts because of the limitations within which I was working.  I don’t have the tools or the talent to do any kind of woodworking, so I built my tower by adapting various inexpensive things I purchased at a local hardware store.  The tower itself is a square aluminum tube, open at both ends.  Dice towers typically have a slot cut out of their base on one side, to serve as an exit route for the dice when they hit to diagonal ramp at the bottom of the tower – but in my case, I didn’t have the necessary equipment to cut the aluminium to make the slot.  So I made the ramp separately, as a cube-shaped component.  The tower sits in the ramp cube, and the ramp cube sits in the receiving tray.  I jokingly refer to the three components as the vertical randomizer, the lateral deflector and the horizontal receiver.  The colour scheme is silver and black, so the design looks sleek and modern, but in reality the whole thing was cobbled together very cheaply.  I actually much prefer some of the professional-looking wooden towers I’ve seen on the Web, especially the ones made of dark-stained varnished wood.


  • '13

    Sounds good.

    Anyone know what wood to buy? i want it to look nice but it can’t be too expensive.


  • 2020 2019 Sponsor 2018 2017 '16 '12

    We build ours out of knotty pine.  It’s easy to work with, inexpensive (so when you make a mistake it’s cheap to fix.  lol) and takes a stain very nicely (if you want to go that route).

    Oak and Maple are absolutely beautiful but more expensive.

    Poplar would be a decent hardwood choice.  Slightly more expensive than pine but very nice looking (stained or not) and hard.


  • '13

    Alright, got some poplar, and also got the felt. Cutting it tomorrow and  ill start to put it together later in the week. I plan on having the tower fold into the tray as well. Painting will probably start next week.

    Sorry for all the questions since this is the first time making a dice tower and painting it. What kinda paint works well with poplar? I’m not painting the entire thing, just nations on it.


  • '14

    anyone know of a Canadian retailer that sells the sticky felt?


  • 2020 2019 Sponsor 2018 2017 '16 '12

    @wartorn:

    anyone know of a Canadian retailer that sells the sticky felt?

    Michaels craft stores sell it. Be sure to buy the stiff kind for best results


  • '14

    thanks IWNGU 🙂


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