It began modestly enough. I wanted to hold a relaxed beer-and-pretzel event with no admission fee. The goal was to bring players from Montreal and Ottawa together for a day of ASL. A spot about halfway between these cities would be ideal. Mention was made of a community centre in Hawkesbury. Ho, hum. Then my brother-in-law, and some time ASL player, suggested a microbrewery near his home in Vankleek Hill. Sold, to the man with the beer stein!
This would be the first ASL event of its kind to take place inside a brewery. In spite of this, I wanted to do something extra special for the event. I wanted attendees to return home with a keepsake, but no ordinary keepsake. I sought the advice of a noted ASL artist. Time was tight. We were unable to reproduce a high-quality version of the interim BattleSchool logo. I had created the logo in a hurry because I needed something to use on the poster for Battle at Beau’s. The result was far too poor due to the quality of the original image. I needed to start over.
When I returned to the drawing board, I did so with the thought of creating a logo that would work well on souvenir items such as shirts and glasses. I sourced some good quality, cotton-poly golf shirts. The hope was that people would be more inclined to wear something if it was comfortable and smart looking. I went with white. I needed an uncomplicated design that could be readily embroidered. Once I had a design that I was happy with, I supplemented it with “Battle at Beau’s 2010.” I was happy with the result. I nonetheless felt that a more unique memento was needed.
The year before I had purchased an elegant wooden dicetower from Steve Pleva. The dice that came with Beyond Valor worked fine in the tower. But you know how it is. Buy a new sofa and suddenly the old, but entirely serviceable, throw cushions just won’t do anymore. I liked what Schwerpunkt—a producer of ASL scenario packs—had done several years ago. I had picked up a few of their dice sets in Cleveland in 2007.
|Engraved Schwerpunkt dice|
However, I had been interested in acquiring precision dice for some time. I found a supplier and ordered some backgammon-style dice. I was impressed. The colours were vibrant and the weight was less than I expected. They sounded marvelous as they tumbled inside the tower and onto the tray. My wife couldn’t get enough of them. Several times a day she would drop the dice into the tower and listen to them tumble. But as cool as these dice were, I wanted something that would really turn heads.
I got in touch with the supplier again and asked if we could order customized dice. The answer was yes, followed by the proverbial but. I would need to order a minimum of 100 of each colour. There was also a set up fee for the design. This was fast becoming an expensive proposition. But I was excited by the prospect of owning custom precision dice. Clearly I could not afford to make a set of dice solely for Battle at Beau’s. Moreover, I intended to push the boundaries by replacing the one-spot on each die with a design. The manufacturer had never done this before, but was curious to see how it would turn out. In the end, I decided to go with two “matching” pairs: black and white, dark-red and white. The design would be created using foil, hot-stamped onto the surface of the die. This is the same method used to apply monograms to casino dice, so I reasoned that it would be good for our purposes. I went with silver foil on the coloured dice and black foil on the white die. And that’s how our ASL BattleDice came to be.
|Original BattleDice with BattleSchool logo|
At the end of the day, everyone who showed up at Beau’s left with a complimentary pair of black and white BattleDice. Those who had pre-registered also left with a handsome, embroidered golf shirt, and a Beau’s beer glass. Moreover, everyone left with a renewed desire to play more ASL—no one more so than the newbie who played his very first ASL game in a brewery.
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