If there is one thing that goes well with tabletop gaming, it’s snacks. Drinks and Cheetos are staples at any gaming table… Wait, that’s not right. Cheetos are actually a banned food. But drinks on the other hand, If fellow BGQ reviewer Brian couldn’t have a beer on game night, I’m not sure he’d still show up.
For those in the same predicament, I’ve got something new to talk about. The kind folks at Smonex (which apparently stands for “Smart One Box”) sent us some of their cool wooden products to check out. And since Level Up My Game is all about making game night even better, I figured it was a match made in Heaven (or maybe Asgard?).
First up are their coasters. Made of a combination of wood and acrylic they seek to be both aesthetically pleasing and also functional. Their unique selling point is that they are multifunctional. They have the standard coaster skills of holding your drink, but they also include a side caddy to hold a few dice. We tested them out at BGQ HQ and I’m happy to report that they hold up rather well.
Brian tested them both with beer bottles and a frosty mug, and no marks were left. More importantly, no liquids made it to the tabletop. For a bit more rigorous testing, I took a glass of ice water outside on a hot day here, and the condensation was flowing freely. The coasters held up to this test, with the wooden tops being a solid insulator. Just out of curiosity, I dropped some water on the coaster surface overnight to see what would happen. By morning the water was gone, and the coaster seemed no worse for wear.
The coasters sent to us are engraved with a double dragon motif. It’s probably not what I would have picked out, but it’s a cool design, especially for D&D fans. Even better though is that when you put your drink on it, as the water wets the engraving, you get a cool smokey smell. I’m guessing that after time, it will stop doing that, but that was a fun little surprise.
For the dice caddy on the side, it works fine. It’s a neat gimmick, although we didn’t use it all that much. I think for board gaming, where you are constantly rolling dice, it might be a bit of a hassle to put the dice back and forth after each roll. But for an RPG session, these would work great. You have an accessible place to put your lucky d20 between combat or skill checks. My only concern is just how close it is to the coaster, and I worry that my hand might bump the drink when reaching for a die. Obviously, that would be a disaster, so its probably best to keep it rotated to where that issue is minimal.
The Dice Tower
If nothing else, the dice tower looks really cool. It’s multi-layers of wood and acrylic. I think the acrylic doesn’t serve any other function other than making it look slick. One thing I do have to report is that a few of the acrylic pieces on the tower arrived cracked. While the tower was bubble wrapped, it must have gotten jarred too much during shipping. It’s not super-noticeable, but if you were buying this for a gift, you’d definitely want a replacement.
But the tower works as advertised. When you drop dice into the top, they come out the bottom all randomized. The inside has a curved step pattern, which should help with randomization. Dice towers are actually required in many skirmish games where positioning is incredibly important. If a random die were to knock a figure’s placement, that could affect the outcome of the game. So this dice tower passed the test: randomizing the dice and also keeping them contained. My kids actually love using the dice tower. They like to “help” on game night by rolling dice for me, so now I have them drop my dice into the tower. When I play games with them, it also helps them roll as they still kind of suck at rolling dice with their little hands.
The tower has a couple of other neat features. One of them is that the tray part is removable. This cuts down on the storage space; you can just drop the tower into the tray and slide it into any corner. The bottom of the tray also has a few inserts to change up the design. Ours came with a d20 design, a beholder, and a dragon (matching the coasters). I’m not sure if Smonex does custom inserts, but that would be really cool. I could see getting the BGQ logo on mine. Finally, much like the coasters, there are some side caddies to hold your dice. There is enough room for a full set of RPG dice, or a few lucky d20s and d6s.
Overall, these are solid accessories for any gaming table. Other than our tower arriving a bit damaged, it has held up well to our rigorous testing. The dice tower keeps dice in place, randomizes them, and even survived the beating my kids tried to give it. The dice tower is a bit pricey at $79.95, but it looks really nice and works well.
For the coasters, I’d like to see some more design options, but other than that they worked great. They look good, perform as you’d expect, and even have a nice little gimmick for RPG fans to enjoy. They come in packs of 5 for about $30.
If you are looking for something to either spruce up your gaming table, or gift to the gamer that has everything, these are definitely worth checking out.