~1 week in July 2022
Games Workshop is a company known for its high-quality 28 mm scale miniatures in both science-fiction and fantasy lines. Under the umbrella of these two product lines, known as Warhammer 40K and Warhammer Age of Sigmar, respectively, Games Workshop has designed a number of thematic standalone board games. Among these games include Space Hulk, on which I have written a previous clog, Blood Bowl, a fantasy version of American football, and Warcry, a skirmish game set in the world of Warhammer Age of Sigmar.
My older brother is an avid Warcry wargamer, and he wanted me to create a set of Warcry dice trays for him and his gaming buddies. It was his birthday coming up, and I thought it would be a fun challenge to create, so I took him up on the project proposal.
1. Warcry Gameplay
2. Designing the Dice Trays
3. Creating the Trays: CNC
4. Creating the Trays: 3D-Printing
5. Project Update (Dec. 2022) and Project Files
The rules of Warcry can be difficult to distill down into a couple of paragraphs, but I’m try my best to cover the essentials. Warcry is a quick tabletop two-player skirmish game in which each player controls a warband consisting of several fighter miniatures. Each fighter has a fighter card with specific attributes, including movement, attack, and health points.
At the beginning of the game, setup includes dividing up each warband into three smaller groups (termed Dagger, Shield, and Hammer) and choosing a battleplan that details the terrain, warband deployment, and victory conditions for that particular skirmish. Example victory conditions include wiping out a particular group of units, control of territory, or exterminating the entirety of the enemy Warband.
The game of Warcry is contested over several battle turns. At the beginning of each turn, the Initiative Phase, players roll 6 initiative dice (6D6) to see who goes first that round and what special abilities players can use that turn. The player with more non-duplicate (single) dice wins, and a tie goes to a roll-off. The remaining dice get sorted into duplicates – doubles, triples, and even quadruples that can be used for special abilities. In addition, there is a wild dice that can upgrade a double into a triple or a triple into a quadruple.
What follows is the Reserve Phase, which players might introduce a group of their warband held in reserve, conditional on the warband deployment details of the specific battleplan.
The Combat Phase of the turn then occurs. Players take turns picking fighters, and each fighter can make two actions. These actions include moving, attacking, disengaging, and waiting. A fighter can make the same action twice.
After all fighters of each player has made their actions, then the round ends, and the next round of Initiative, Reserve, and Combat phases begins. Those are the Warcry basics, though of course I skipped over the nitty-gritty gameplay details – case in point, there are more than 30 warbands from which to choose!
Below are some of the miniatures from my brother’s Warbands:
I had never played Warcry before designing the dice trays, so I took inspiration from online designs I found on Thingiverse:
My brother was interested in a dice tray that had the capability to display turns, victory points, wild dice, doubles, triples, and quad dice. He noted that while it is possible on rare occasions obtain three triples in one turn, the likelihood is low, and that it would be better to have two triple slots and two quadruple slots.
I found another design from Chimeric Designs that even added in a score counter, though it had only one triple slot.
The design aspects I like include its clean engravings and the slotted troughs for multiple dice.
However, my gripes with the design include an unnecessary singles slot and the alignment/positioning of the slots themselves.
With these thoughts in mind, I booted up Fusion360 and went to work. I knew the physical dimensions of the dice in the game, so I simply added a millimeter or so of extra clearance in each tray. From the previous designs I saw online, I worked to adjust the alignment of the slots. I came up with three designs – the second with skulls in the slots and the third with an hourglass for the turn, a sword for victory points, and a Warcry symbol for wild dice.
My brother wanted a mix of all three designs – basically, Design #3 without the skulls.
For the material, I used a nice piece of scrap furniture with nice grain patterns I found from the streets of New York City. I purchased a circular saw for use in a previous project, and I used it to cut out the dimensions for the tray based off of the design.
I used a round nose bit to mill the troughs, and then I painted the insides of the troughs red. After the paint dried, I then proceeded to engrave the lettering and symbols using a 45 degree V-bit. I used a brush to fill in the lettering on the top surface before sanding away the excess.
For a final seal, I used a polyurethane spray to coat over each tray a few times.
I tweaked the design slightly for the 3D printed trays. For one, I was no longer limited to a certain tray height, so I decreased the height of the design to limit material waste and save on printing time. Furthermore, given that the original CNC dice trays were a little snug, I tweaked the measurements of the dice troughs by tenths of a millimeter to obtain the proper fit for the dice.
When I sent my brother the pictures of the trays, he asked if I could swap out the symbol associated with the Wild dice and instead add in symbols of specific Warband factions. These Warband symbols were easy found via an image search and incorporated into the design.
The last design change was for ease of painting: it would be easier to paint the 3D printed trays if the text and symbols stood proud of the surface rather than carved into the surface as with that of the CNC routed trays. As the dice would then sit on the symbols within the troughs, I increased the depth level for the turn, victory point, and wild slots to compensate. I also added in dice support corners for stability
I printed each tray on my Ender 3 3D printer. The printing process was straightforward, and I was able to print all three designs over the course of a few days.
My brother opted to paint the 3D printed trays himself, so I packaged up the goods and shipping it to his home in Texas.
Over the holiday break, my brother asked for a slight redesign of the Warcry Dice Trays. He suggested that I make the top surface flush, recessing the text, so that the letters would not get damaged from handling. He also asked for several more designs with alternate symbols for other warbands.
Over the holiday break, my brother asked for a slight redesign of the Warcry Dice Trays. He suggested that I make the top surface flush, recessing the text, so that the letters would not get damaged from handling. He also asked for several more designs with alternate symbols for other warbands. Below is a link to download these designs as .stl files.
While I preferred the aesthetic and warmth of the wood dice trays, my brother gravitated towards the 3D printed trays, probably because the dice fit better in the slots compared with those of the CNC routed trays.
Overall, the project went well – my brother and his Warcry colleagues all thought that the dice trays were useful. However, I find that hindsight magnifies mistakes and forgets achievements. Here are some additional changes I would make to the 3D printed dice tray:
1. Stackable trays: This can be done by modelling four small cylindrical feet at the corners of the tray base, with corresponding circular divots at the top surface of the dice tray.
2. Raised borders along tray slots: I felt that there was a lack of contrast between the top surface and the tray slots, painted slot borders would serve to differentiate doubles versus triples versus quadruples.
3. Magnetic trays: Magnetizing the bases of miniatures makes for easy, safe storage and transportation, so the same could be accomplished with these dice trays as well.
4. Skulls: I think adding in the skulls would have looking better, but to each their own.
I used both subtractive and additive manufacturing processes in creation these dice trays. Looks like additive won out in this case!