I’m a sucker for unusual dice, so when Hasbro announced Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves Dicelings, dice that transform into monster figurines, I preordered immediately. Despite the preorder estimating that they would be shipped in March, I was pleasantly surprised to receive them early January!
Each of the dice is an oversized d20 approximately two and a quarter inches across, emblazoned with runes, and made of what feels like pretty durable plastic. Speaking of plastic, the packaging made a big deal about being plastic free except for glue and tape, which is a nice sentiment. All the packaging was made of cardboard or a material similar in appearance to waxed paper. Each die came with an instruction sheet on how to transform it as well as a small notice that the toy is not intended for children under three years old as “small parts may be generated”. More on that later.
The first thing I attempted to do of course was to transform all the dice into their monster form. While some of the pieces were hard to transform and it felt like the amount of force needed might break the toy, having fairly tough joints is good as they will get looser over time and you don’t want them getting too sloppy to hold a pose or shape. I had to consult the directions a few times but ultimately I got them all transformed:
The figures were surprisingly posable, with lots of articulation and ball and socket joints – especially the owlbear and dragons. They’re also fairly easy to balance, so making them stand up in a variety of poses shouldn’t be too difficult. I did have a slight mishap though. The owlbear’s foot fell off as I was transforming him (and again later as I transformed him back). Luckily, as you can see in the photo, it was simple to reattach. The foot itself is made of a soft plastic with a lot of give to it, so it was as easy to snap back on as it was to accidentally snap off.
Once I had transformed them into monsters, of course I had to transform them back into dice. The beholder was easy, but the other three were more difficult customers. Getting the position of the legs and feet just right so that the wings could properly close took a little time and experimentation, but I did eventually get them together again. One nice feature is a set of tabs and slots on the models to help guide the pieces into place and hold them there once they’re in position. This also provides a quite satisfying moment when everything lines up and literally clicks into place:
So, the toys are fun to play with and function well, but that still leaves the question that’s burning in all of our hearts: how do they perform as actual dice? That was the first thing you thought of when you saw them right? No? Just me? Well, first off, the numbers are difficult to read, especially the black dragon. However, if you wanted to use these as dice that would be as simple to fix as a paint pen for plastic, so that’s a minor issue. Despite the general poor readability of the dice, the 6s and 9s (along with 16s and 19s) are easily distinguishable. There is also a minor problem that rolling them too hard tends to slightly transform them, especially the beholder. They can be clicked back together fairly easily, but it limits the force with which you can roll them so you don’t get much roll out of them. That’s a matter of taste however. As far as how they roll, the beholder rolls poorly. It has a rounded twenty and nineteen side with protruding scales in the middle, making a one or two very hard to roll. In my test hundred rolls I got none of either. The rest of the dice roll surprisingly well. I was expecting them to be badly skewed by the weight of the figures inside but I saw no evidence of that. While I’m sure they are less fair than many other dice, they’re still table fair enough that over a set of a hundred rolls you can’t really tell… except the beholder anyway.
A note on power and what I mean by “table fair”: I frequently get comments on my dice articles that I use insufficient rolls to have truly powerful tests. This is a fair assessment, especially when I use the bare minimum roles to meet the criteria of a chi square test as I sometimes do. However, I’m not really interested in if these dice are truly fair (They’re not. No dice are.) but rather in if they seem close enough to fair for table play. ie: Are they fair enough so that within the context of a regular gaming session they seem fair?