10 June 2011

Beer, pretzels and random elements

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!

Interim logo
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.

BattleSchool logo

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

Roll bayonets!

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