We were contacted by Hibercon, who asked if we wanted to review their new D&D Dice app, available in the Apple store ($2.99). As someone in the middle of an ongoing 13th Age campaign, I volunteered to do the review. I’d rate the product overall at 3.5 stars. It’s mostly good, but there’s one rather major flaw I discovered during the game.
The D&D Dice app allows you to flip a coin and roll a d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, d20, and d100 (2d10). It automatically sums your total, records a history, and allows you to reroll the same dice you previously rolled. It’s a very simple, straightfoward interface.
The app is gorgeous. It has 3D animation, so it appears the dice are actually rolling within your phone. The dice behave like actual dice. There’s a nice theatrical look to the overall design. I found using it aesthetically-pleasing.
It’s easy to use. Tap the die, it’ll roll. Tap for as many dice as you need. Then it’ll sum them all up for you.
Because it’s a paid app, there are no ads or popups.
None of these are problems per-se, but I think they should all be noted for anyone considering the purchase.
The first is an issue with any die roller. It requires unlocking your phone each time you roll (assuming your phone auto-locks after a minute, like mine). Not a difference from my free dice app, but something I noted when substituting it for dice in my game.
Then there’s the issue of the animation. The 3D is almost too good. When the die rolls, the animation will keep it rolling, bouncing off other dice, etc, until it comes to a stop. A coin may spin on its edge or a d8 on its point for as long as a real one may spin on your table. If you’re using it as a literal dice substitute, this won’t be a problem, but if you want numbers fast it may be annoying (wasn’t an issue for me).
The history doesn’t show every single die roll if you roll more than 4 dice. You can see them all while they’re on the virtual table, but if you need to look up exact numbers for some reason, you can’t. However for 1-4 dice, it’ll show you the exact numbers.
You can’t turn off the sound of rolling dice on a table. Not an issue for me, but something that may influence the decision to buy.
This was a little thing which I already emailed to the developers: the language difference means that the developers wrote “dices” any time they meant the plural of die. This has no impact on the actual use experience—it appears in the header/footer before the first die is rolled and each time the board is cleared—I only note it for the super nit-picky who may have an issue. After the first die has been rolled, the header shows the numbers and sum and the footer shows the type of dice (1d20, etc.). It’s also possible that this may be solved soon. Based on their phone number, the company appears to be based in Belarus, accounting for the issue with one of our odder English words.
The One Flaw
When I dealt a great deal of damage in one attack, I had to roll a proverbial handful of dice. On the one hand, the app saved my bacon here. I didn’t have to pick out a group of d8s from the pile of communal dice. I just tapped it to roll 6 of them.
But then something which I’ve reproduced below happened. You know how I said the 3D is really good? It’s probably too good at this point. It actually hit a scenario which might happen on the table, where one die ended up propped on the others. The error message read “wrong state.” Here’s the good thing, however: I could just hit the reroll button and get the same dice to roll again.
It happened twice in the long gaming night and then I played with it after to reproduce for the photo below. One the one hand, this is exactly like having a die hop off the table, fall on its edge, etc. So you may not care. It’s very easy to reroll. Hopefully the same error wouldn’t occur a second time. But it’s also an issue that dice roller apps which are more like random number generators manage to avoid. I had to use multiple dice types above to make it work for the image above, but it happened with d8s the first time.
I think it’s something to be aware of when purchasing the app and why I took off a star. The other half-star was for the condensed individual rolls in the history, which is a feature I appreciate when rolling on the Wizards site.
If you are looking for a dice roller app which generates numbers for your game, this is not the app for you.
If, however, you want to feel like you’re carrying dice around in your phone, if you like the dramatic flair with your games, and if random number generators feel too cold to you, you’ll probably want this app.
I’d like to see the developers solve the one big flaw and add a full list to the history, but neither is necessary for most of my gaming experience. Without the reroll button, the major flaw would be much more annoying, but the reroll button got me an error-free roll each time. If you can accept it as a part of the game just like having a die skip off the table, then it won’t bug you any more than that does.
The D&D Dice app is available for iOS at this time.
Disclaimer: This review was not compensated, except that a free copy of the app was provided for review.