DICE DRAMA! Traveling Dice Box "Crafty"

This was the second traveling dice box that I joined, and I was tremendously excited for a couple of different reasons. The first was that we were doing something truly unique which was also directly aligned with what I thought made CraftyBastardGamer the CraftyBastardGamer. For this box, we weren’t trading random dice sets, this was going to be something intentionally CRAFTED just for us. The second reason was that I knew what some of the other participants were capable of and I knew that some high-quality swag was headed my way.

At the time, I was really trying to grow as the CBG but I did not have a workshop or the tools necessary to create the items that I really wanted. But, the CBG is all about craft workarounds whenever possible, so I had a few ideas of what I wanted to contribute and commenced to working on them for a couple of weeks. I decided to include two smaller items, one was a prototype series and the other was just a fun crafty element.

The initiator, CW, was going to start things off. We would go down the line from #1 to #10, then back up the chain from #10 to #1 so everyone would have to ship twice, but it was completely cool with everyone involved. We knew that this was not going to fit in a prepaid box, so we estimated $15 for shipping each way, which was also satisfactory for everyone. Some of the smarter participants realized they could send only what was traveling to the people after them as it would travel both ways, to lower the overall shipping cost. It took a little time, with the initial posting happening on January 28th, but CW finished her dice and sent out the box on March 30th.

I was participant #6 in this line-up with a total of 10 participants, with #10 living in Germany. Participant #9 happily agreed to work something out with #10, so that the whole box would not have to go to them or be delayed internationally. Within 10 days, the box had already arrived at participant #3’s home, so we were excitedly chattering back and forth with each other as the dice box moved at such a swift pace. We shared life stories, geeked out over each other’s hobbies, and bonded over similar interests. I felt very lucky to have been offered a spot in the rotation as these were mostly established people within the community, some of which who ran their own Etsy stores and had really cool merchandise that we could take a peek at. Others kept their crafty creations a secret until the box began to arrive to the next participants house.

In a fun twist, the participant before me in a previous box was also the participant before me for this Crafty Box, we'll call her VL. We commiserated with each other, both of us feeling overwhelmed that our additions were not on par with the quality of stuff that others were contributing. But in the end, we decided to just let it be fun and not worry about how our additions would be received. VL was fun to chat with and I was glad to know someone who I could bounce ideas off of.

On March 29th, participant #9, who we will call TH, mentioned somewhat out-of-nowhere that she was glad to be at the end of the box because it appeared like it was going to be heavy. Then on April 3rd, TH stated:

Finally got what I needed for mine. but realized I only have to have one made since the box comes back to me if we are going back up the list, right. Less weight since I'm sending it farther.

I received the box somewhere about April 28th, 2016. Sorting through what was made for me and choosing between the options that were open grab only took me one night. However, the paint on my dice had flaked in a few places, so I needed an extra couple of days to redo a few and work on a different coating solution. The delay took a little longer than I had expected, but I got the box assembled and shipped it out on May 15th. Somewhere in the proceeding few weeks, our traveling dice box hit some turbulence. In mid-August things began to unravel. On August 10th, we received an update from TH.

Ok I have the box. Need to see how much it's going be to send, as I just got back from vacation and pretty broke. Last package I sent out of the USA was over 20.00 N that's was just to Canada. So I'll check it out asap.

Point of Clarification: Before the box had ever shipped out, TH had posted that she was sad she could not make it into this box, as it filled up quite quickly. She ended up being added at the last second when two other participants decided to bow out for various reasons, and two new participants were accepted, including TH. So once she was on board, she was the only person who was worried about money. Repeatedly, people had offered to make adjustments and accommodations for her, even keeping the back-half of their items withheld to make the package lighter. She took the participant #9 spot and would only have to send to participant #10 his items, keeping the shipping rate reasonable. Seven days later on August 17th, we received the following message and photo.

This is what I woke up to this morning. I have the box ready to go. But my roof collapsed, and I've been dealing with that. I’ll know tomorrow what it's going to cost. I’ll get the box out asap sorry for delay but things happen.

Dice Maniacs’ Club is full of supportive people, so several members gave their sympathies and were prepared to help her however they could. Among the other 9 of us in this box, we knew that one of us would graciously help her out of this trouble, paying for her to get the dice shipped back out at the very least, and for her shipping costs sending her stuff back into the group going the opposite way. Then suddenly another person, who was not even a participant in the box but a member of the community, felt the need to call TH out. They started the following series of comments back and forth between themselves, TH, and the group at large on August 18th.

CLFP - TH, if I'm not totally wrong, you've had that box for at least 16 days until this with your roof happened. You had been asked if it was ok for you to ship the box to Germany, also if I'm not totally wrong. So please get it moving. If you cannot come up with the money for shipping, just say so, I am sure there can be found a solution. And yes, things happen. To everyone. But you knew that this box would come to you, you agreed to ship it, and you had time for that. So please, tell those involved what you will do or what they can do. And don't get me wrong, I have nothing to do with that box, and this is not supposed to be an open bashing. If you can handle the situation, please do so. Otherwise let people know what they can do to make everyone involved happy.

TH - And like I said it came the day I got back from vacation. Things happen. It will be sent. Its addressed and ready to go. So glad your life is perfect. And u never have to wait for something.

JC – (Also not a participant) TH, no one's life is perfect, that's a childish remark you made out of anger, which is not becoming. You certainly must know you have been cut an incredible amount of slack in the boxes you have participated in. You bring more drama to them than most other people. I suggest you consider yourself lucky, rather than making endless dubious excuses. But that's just my opinion. And as soon as you have had time to see this comment, I will be blocking you. Not my circus, not my monkeys.

TH – It’s on the way.

CLFP - I'd still have to see that one person whose life is perfect. It was not about living a happy life or having to face circumstances. Everything can happen. But some things you have in your hand.

TH – It’s on its way.

MWS - A point of clarification...she posted she had received it on the 10th. Yesterday, was the 17th. So, 7 days. Not 16. Not trying to take sides in what appears to be some sort of ongoing feud (why else would CLFP and TH comment on a box they are not participating in?) but, another person had it for a couple of months and as far as I could tell ended up sending it on without putting anything in it. (I absolutely apologize if I am incorrect about that but, I couldn't identify a die that would have been his). Still, sometimes things don't always work out as we planned. I'm not angry about it. This is not the first box I've participated in that moved slowly. Sure, it's frustrating but can we just remember that these things are supposed to be fun.

CLFP - Then I have to apologize for mixing up the date, sorry. And there is no "ongoing feud" here. I just don't like it when people know what they will face and then come up with statements like having been in vacation and being broke. You know that you have to pay shipping, if you participate in such a box.

On August 22nd, the initiator of the box checked in to see how things were going. Over the next two weeks we learned that TH had likely never sent the package. She also left the Dice Maniac’s Club and deleted her messages, effectively disappearing. I was unaware of any preexisting issues with TH, although other group members of the DMC had more to share.

SMW - Well that's an interesting development. Also, it's the second time this has happened.

NC - One box never made it to her, theoretically stolen by USPS driver. Winter Swap [traveling box] never made it to her partner and she couldn't provide tracking information for that one either. Would either of these be the first one you're referring to, or did I miss another one? This kind of nonsense is why I'm neurotic about boxes lingering too long in one place.

On September 17th, participant #10 in Germany confirmed that he never received anything and was never given tracking information. I even tried to reach out to TH via private messages, taking a passive and kind approach. I was hoping to win her trust and offer to pay for shipping myself, or even to send her more swag to make it worth her time, but she never responded. Others tried what they could, even CW who started the whole thing had attempted to barter with TH, to no avail. One person stated that they thought TH was being vindictive about the situation, but was harming the wrong person, and others believed it was just a quality of TH's personality that she would make up excuses because she did not have the money.

Everyone was willing to do what they could to produce more items to make up for what TH had stolen, but unfortunately several participants said they only had supplies for what they made in the first shipment. Another participant realized they accidentally put everything in the box instead of waiting for it to come back around but would try to make more items if they could. It was a strong group effort, coordinating shipping between 10 individuals, to most effectively ship out items between everyone.

Fortunately, we were able to get the whole thing moving again in a short amount of time. By November 22nd, it was already back in my hands and getting routed back up the chain within a week. Although there were a few other short hitches due to the holidays, CW finally received the box back on February 9th 2017.

No one seemed to have the clearest story about TH and she never fully admitted to anything. Participant #10 got the worst of it, with his whole package being stolen. Additionally, TH had gotten all of her items for free without contributing anything back. People who had been friendly with her in the past were equally ignored, so the whole matter was just left with a very unsatisfactory feeling. TH had been in at least four previous traveling boxes, even starting one of her own that appeared to be successful.

I did some digging and found instances in almost every previous box where she tried to guilt the group to leave a certain set of dice for her with comments like the following:

I so want that ghostbuster dice. No way it will still be in the box when I get it though

I want one of these! (the person replies, “I'll have a couple in next weeks sale :3”) Would be nice but no funds.

She was always looking for a handout, begging for people to “donate” dice for her numerous needs. Sometimes she would claim it was for her nephew, who was allegedly “sick” for years, and he had very specific needs such as only tiny dice, or only casino dice. When other group members would find for her super cheap options and listings on the internet, she would say she couldn’t ever buy anything online, but would then post stuff from her phone frequently.

She was all about the freebies and I believe that was part of why she did these boxes and other trades. Most of the trades I saw were of semi-equivalent nature, but if a traveling box arrived to her and she did not find enough good things to keep, she would complain and pout. People offered to send her free stuff all the time, but she would never offer the same. In one instance, she basically begged for people to help complete her Speckled: 4th of July 7pc set, which was on Out Of Print set by Chessex, valued around $50-$60. It was all so strange because she was something of a Conversation Starter, posting daily or weekly with pictures of her recent purchases. You would expect that she would know better and be a more thoughtful member of the group.

TH also had money to buy dice from the thrift store on June 9th and June 16th, 2016. She bought a pig shaped jar to store her pink dice on August 5th and she bought a gumball machine around August 7th to store some of her d6’s. She bought some black dice on August 14th, as she was assembling some sort of black dice collection. So, between the date of the Traveling Crafty Dice Box on August 10th, and her alleged roof issues on August 17th, she was able to buy more dice for herself, but never send the box back out. Suspicious.

Lastly, TH was directly accused of not sending dice in a 1-on-1 trade, or something to the effect one year prior in December of 2015. The poster said TH claimed not to have received dice, then miraculously found them. Then she was asked when she was sending the trade and TH replied that she was too busy and would get around to it when she could. After a month there was no additional word. The poster claimed that TH had lied about sending dice, would never provide tracking info, and insinuated that dice had a way disappearing from the box that she never admitted to taking.

If I owe people dice, I send them. If I do a dice box I swap and send. I don’t appreciate being slammed over what like 4 or 5 dice. If they got lost in the mail it is not my fault. Ask the few people I’ve done boxes with they got sent out to the next person. Just traded some dice bags with someone for dice and they got them. So, stop slamming my name over something so stupid.

A couple of other group members came to TH’s aid, remarking that they had traded with her before and had nothing but a positive experience. The dice in question were ultimately never received and no receipts for tracking were ever provided. For these situations and a few others, TH should have been blacklisted from traveling boxes, but she still slipped through after being a part of other boxes that were successful and was a ticking time bomb, waiting to explode.

So what all was in the box???

1. CW – She was already know, for some of the dice she created by hand, including little clay dragons suspended crystal clear resin. But for this box, she chose to create several sets of dice, which I believe were unique to our box. One set was the wooden dice, burned with the DMC logo, as well as two clear dice, one with black and one with reddish-black custom fonts. You can tell why she does this for a living.

2. MN - She starting by working on a hand knitted d6, but switched her projects completely when she had issues with the interior lining and foam. Instead she made large d20 candles of various colors. She used Crayola Metallic crayons in the mx which gave the candles a really cool iridescent sheen. I believe they were unscented, as I have yet to set mine alight!

3. LM – I cannot tell exactly how she made these, but they were cute little d6’s with a delicate little flower on one side. The dice were of a clear resin and were super shiny. The whole thing glows in the dark and is quite professional looking. I cannot seem to find it in my collection anywhere, and I think I ended up adding it to a traveling box so someone else can enjoy it more than I would.

4. MSJ - She said her first idea did not turn out as cool as she wanted and would move on to something else. Instead she painted little wooden cubes bright pastel colors and added Swarovski crystals. She even ran out of her clear crystals and had to use more expensive colored crystals on a few sets. The paint itself is glow-in-the-dark. Very ornamental!

5. VL – While she alluded to making actual dice and requested everyone’s favorite color, VL actually made custom coasters. They had a really cool splotchy inky design, with a d20 decal. Did I forget to mention that our names were on them too? This was definitely one of my favorite things in the whole box!!!

6. CBG – I made what I called Treasure Dice, which included three dice; one Bronze, one Silver, and one Gold. Each d6 would have a two-digit number, which would serve as something of a random number generator. For example, if you were running an RPG and wanted to quickly decide how much money was found in a bag, you would choose at random between 1 and 3 of the treasure dice, and roll to get a unique amount. I made sure that each die face started with 1 through 6, so they would still work generally as a normal d6 if required. This was a proof of concept, as I imagined that this idea could grow into an entire polyhedral set. I included a set of instructions to explain how they worked. My little craft addition was a small plaster skull, painted rich dark colors, with 6 pips drilled in the top. I considered them a little accent piece.

7. JS – He was working on a solid chain-mail d6, which he showed us lots of pictures of and they looked damn cool. However, he switched to custom dice boxes with the DMC logo, which were even more awesome and perfectly holds a standard 7pc set. This is an item I use to this day, super handy for ornamental storage or gaming on the go.

8. MWS – I do not remember reading much about their item or their process as they appeared to keep it a secret, but MWS handmade little clay dice, with swirls of color, each one different from the next. She even made a few longer dice, which would be good for tumbling. While none of them were perfectly balanced or intended for gameplay (just like MSJ’s dice), they were a very unique and thoughtful addition to the box.

9. TH – Contributed nothing. Didn’t show pictures or even share what she intended to share.

10. CS - He had cast a set of dice, although they felt light like they were 3D printed. These dice were very digital looking, which looked something like the pieces of circuit board. They sort of reminded me of Tron and I would make a very handsome full set.