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Table Top Feature: Wyrmwood Gaming

One of the many dice trays available from Wyrmwood Gaming.
One of the many dice trays available from Wyrmwood Gaming.
Photo courtesy of Wyrmwood Gaming, used with permission

With the release of the Fifth Edition of “Dungeons and Dragons,” many believe that the game has regained new life. With that new life, those who had fallen out of touch with the game are now coming back. Of course, these players will need to dig up some of their supplies like dice and other gaming paraphernalia.

What if that time has been so long that they can’t find any of it? Well have no fear. Not only does Wyrmwood Gaming have you covered, but they have you covered in style. Even those who still have some of their gear may want to check out this local gaming supply company for their beautiful, hand-crafted products.

If you were at PAX East 2014, then Wyrmwood Gaming should be a name that sticks out. They were located in the table top area. Their well-designed, wood-crafted products caught the attention of many gamers. So, what does Wyrmwood Gaming make that’s so special?

Wyrmwood gaming makes custom deck boxes, cases for your dice, and dice trays. Even better, most of their products are made from different kinds of wood material such as Maple, Black Walnut, Mahogany, Cherry, and Douglas-Fir. This is just small example of their selection.

Boston Games Examiner caught up with the Ed Maranville over at Wyrmwood Gaming to get an inside look at how it all started and where they want to go with their craft. Here is what he had to say.

Boston Games Examiner: So tell us the story of how all this started?

Ed Maranville: Doug and I have been friends most of our lives - one of the first things we had

in common growing up was gaming, particularly Magic: The Gathering, which we got into during middle school. It stayed with us both a long time, obviously. Fast forwarding a bit, Doug got into woodworking, apprenticing in fine furniture making and developing a skillset in design as well. I had a degree of experience in the field, but much less. We ran into each other after a number of years apart, and one day got to talking about the idea of combining our love of gaming with fine woodworking skills and respect for craftsmanship, and that was the basis for the company. We realized that there was a lot of overlap and natural synergy between fine handmade goods and gaming. As gamers, we spend a great deal of time working on and perfecting our skills. Magic and CCG players illustrate this perfectly. It takes a great deal of time and care to make a good deck, and even more to tune and perfect it. Why not have a deck box that reflects all that loving attention to detail?

Beyond that, there was the fact that we were both growing older and maturing, along with all of our friends. Our tastes, aesthetically, had changed, even as our love of these games remained. But there seemed to be almost no tabletop accessories that reflected the fact that not all gamers are kids - everything is garish colors, over-the-top fantasy art, and the like. And, to be fair, all that stuff is cool... but it looks a little out of place in a nicely furnished living room. Our products don't. We're proud that they can be brought out for game night, but left out as a conversation piece afterwards.

We launched our company with all this in mind, and immediately found that our values and aesthetic struck a chord with people, and we've been pushing forward ever since. Our "big break" occurred with our Kickstarter for our latest product, the Dice Vault dice case, and we've since been fortunate enough to appear at PAX East in Boston, and are currently preparing for GenCon 2014, where we've been awarded a marketing fellowship.

Boston Games Examiner: You obviously take great care in the material you use for making your product. What kind of decision making goes into your selection?

Maranville: Good question! The quality of our raw materials are central to our brand, and we consider carefully what we use. We source most materials semi-locally, from leather suppliers and lumber yards across the New England region. As far as the wood selections, we began with only a few, and have greatly expanded our offerings, to our current line of 14 wood species. When choosing woods to stock, we consider a number of factors. Appearance is of course crucial - not just attractiveness, which is rather subjective, but is it interesting to look at? Is it unique among our line with regard to grain and color? Does it bring something distinctive to the table? Name recognition also plays a role. Does the wood have a history of use and popularity? Availability is a major factor - if a wood is only available sporadically in small quantities, it isn't a good choice for us as a regular offering. We also have to consider the temperament of the materials. Some woods look beautiful, but are very hard on tools, or difficult to work with. Others are prone to splitting, warping and twisting, and require special treatment and care to work. With small products like ours, these drawbacks can be disastrous, so knowing these properties ahead of time is crucial.

Boston Games Examiner: What’s your full line-up of products look like?

Maranville: Currently, we have three products, each of which is available in various sizes or options. All are available in all 14 of our woods. In total, we have 140 unique items!

Our Deck Box is available in 4 sizes:

  • Slim: 60 sleeved cards, 40 double-sleeved cards
  • Standard: 75 sleeved cards, 60 double-sleeved cards
  • EDH: 100 sleeved cards, 75 double-sleeved cards
  • XL: 100 double sleeved cards, 120 sleeved cards

Our Dice Tray has a rolling surface available in three different colors of suede (Black, Coffee, or Cream), or premium oiled leather. These are made to order, with the customer choosing their surface at time of order.

Finally, the product we launched on Kickstarter, the Dice Vault. It's available in two sizes - standard, for a set of 7 RPG gaming dice, or Expanded, for a set of 10 d10 dice (or a set of 7 RPG dice with 3 extra d6 dice!).

Boston Games Examiner: Is there anything you don't make, but would like to add to your line of inventory in the future?

Maranville: The short answer to this is a resounding, "Yes!" We have a number of potential products that we'll be finalizing design work on as soon as we possibly can. Being a rather small company has many challenges, but one advantage it grants us is the ability to be flexible. We have ideas, but we want to design and offer the products our customers want and ask us for, so we often solicit suggestions. Based on this, we have a couple strong contenders - a dice tower, as well as a Magic storage solution, are at the top of the list. We particularly have those that maintain a Cube in mind for the card storage product.

Boston Games Examiner: What kind of prices should your customers expect to pay for your products?

Maranville: The price points are based on a couple of variables. First, the material, which is of course chosen by the customer. As a rule, widely available domestic woods like White Oak and Cherry will be less expensive than imported stock like Mahogany and Bolivian Rosewood. More exotic still are woods like Quilted Maple - highly figured, choice pieces of Maple with stunning grain patterns - and our top of the line, pure black Gabon Ebony, which is the benchmark for ebony and one of the most sought after - and expensive - woods in the world.

But the material cost is only part of the story for us. Since our goods are handmade, we have to factor in the amount of labor involved - how much work it takes us to make each piece. Handcrafting a deck box out of wood is a very different process from a machine mass producing 1,000 out of plastic. We need to take that into account when setting prices.

All that said, the base price for each product in White Oak or White Ash - our most inexpensive selections - are as follows:

Standard Dice Vault - $20

Expanded Dice Vault - $22

Slim or Standard Deck Box - $40

EDH or XL Deck Box - $45

Dice Tray with Suede surface - $55

Dice Tray with Leather surface - $65

Boston Games Examiner: Do you ship everywhere?

Maranville: We ship worldwide! Many of our customers are from outside the US, and we're very happy to have them.

Boston Games Examiner: What is the best way potential customers can acquire your products?

Maranville: Our website is the best way to order from us.

Turnaround varies based on our current workload, but it can range from about a week to a month or so. It very rarely goes beyond this, except in extreme circumstances (which we're careful to note on the main page and in order receipts).

We're also looking to hit the road regularly when and where we can; PAX East 2014 was our first big convention appearance, but we'll be at GenCon 2014 in August, as well, so anyone attending, please say hello and check out our items firsthand!

Wyrmwood Gaming will be at Gen Con 2014. Here are the details of where you can find them:

GenCon, August 14-17, Indianapolis, Indiana

Wyrmwood will be in booth 2827 (part of Entrepreneur’s Avenue).

Exhibit Hall hours are: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM Thursday-Saturday, 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM Sunday