The topic of gaming trophies comes up among my gaming group more often than you would think. We have our own little local Iron DM tournament every year, and one of our members helps run the Cthulhu Masters tournament at GenCon, as well as Novos Ordo Seclorum. When I was at FFG I was in charge of getting the Dragonstar RPGA events started and organized. So the topic comes up.
We talk a lot about what kind of prize is suitable for the winners of a role-playing tournament. The discussion usually begins with the idea that RPG games don’t need a trophy, that we’re in it for the fun and if you’re going to win anything some kind of gaming product is better. But we’ve also observed that any kind of RPG tournament with a trophy gets the most interest (Cthulhu Masters vs Novos, for example), or failing that whichever has the biggest prize.
Quest for a Trophy
A situation came up recently for which we wanted to get a trophy, only to discover that we literally couldn’t any kind of gaming-themed trophy anywhere. As far as we can determine, these just aren’t made. Thus if we really wanted a trophy with some dice on it, we’d clearly have to make it ourselves!
For this particular trophy, we were doing a board game theme so we wanted to focus on d6s. We went to a local trophy store (which was a nightmare to deal with by the way — just order one online and save yourself the hassle) and got a generic trophy with cups on it. We then unscrewed the cups to make room for our dice.
Now, if we were using a d20 for the trophy, life would be simple. We could just grab the giant foam d20, then paint it gold, and shunk it onto the post that the little plastic cup was screwed into — possibly also grabbing a washer and nut to hold the post in place (these posts are what hold the trophy layers together). But since we don’t have any foam d6 dice life got more difficult (and those foam d6s tend to have squared corners and no indents for the numbers so we wouldn’t want them anyway).
We grabbed a giant 75mm d6 from my collection (alas, these are no longer manufactured) for the top and two 47mm d6 for the side pillars. We clamped the dice into the drill press table and set it at an angle so we could drill directly into the corner of the dice. This is harder than it sounds. We then added threads to the holes with a tap kit, and found some threaded posts of the same diameter and thread as the originals so they could stick further into very heavy dice.
With the dice all prepped, we spray painted them metallic gold (spray one half, let it try for a day, spray the other half, dry for another day) and screwed them into the trophy with some epoxy. As a final touch we grabbed a tiny gold 7-dice set and superglued it around the base.
The final trophy is pictured here — it’s actually pretty ridiculously heavy and quite top-heavy, but it looks awesome. If we decide to make another in the future for a RPG award we’ll probably ignore the two side dice and just use the foam d20 on the top, which would be much easier and faster to put together. Anything to keep us away from the drill press calculations again.
New TableTop Trophy?
The purpose of the trophy? We decided to make it for the awesome Wil Wheaton show on Geek & Sundry, TableTop, which is a great demonstration of why table top games are so much fun. If you haven’t seen it yet, you should absolutely check it out. When we first saw the show we were understandably huge fans, but we thought the little cheerleading trophy for the victors wasn’t awesome enough for gamers, which is what finally motivated us to build the gaming trophy.
Of course, since then the cheerleading trophy has grown into a thing, but we went ahead and tossed this trophy into the mail and shipped it off to Geek & Sundry’s TableTop division just in case they wanted to use our version!