Ok, a little while back, I saw a post on the BGG about a free dice tower. I sent off a reply and was one of the lucky ones, so I'm finally getting around to talking about the tower in full. First off, the point of a dice tower is two-fold. First the thing should "roll" the dice such that it would be impossible for someone to cheat. Secondly, it should keep the dice confined so that they aren't flying off the table or across the board and disturbing the pieces. Beyond that, a dice tower is really just for show. So, how well does the cardboard "Dice Turret" work? It works well. The cardboard is sufficiently thick and scored such that folding and assembling the thing is pretty easy. The instructions are a bit hard to follow at first, but the designer put together a youtube video that shows how easy the thing is to assemble and it really was. It handles a load of dice well and keeps everything in play (though I didn't drop a D4 nor a D20). All in all it works well. Should you get one? They cost $10.99 including shipping. If you don't have a dice tower and play games with dice, this is a good choice. It's white cardboard, so you can decorate it however you like. Measurements are: Tower - 8 1/2" H x 3 5/8" W x 3 5/8" D, Tray - 9" x 4 1/4". Basically, not too big and not too small.
If you don't want one of these, what other options do you have? Well, you can just get a dice tray. I have one of those too - a tray from Deluxe Yahtzee that I picked up at Goodwill. This works fine for keeping the dice in place, but isn't as cool as a tower (and technically would allow a "dice handler" to cheat - not really a concern for me). If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know that I've made a couple towers from foam core. I liked these - they are pretty easy to make and sound pretty decent. I went out and bought a sheet of foam core to see how much cost and effort it would be to make one again. The tower I made was large: Tower - 10" H x 4.25" W x 4" D, Tray - 10.24" L x 4.25" W. Though my dimensions aren't much bigger, the size difference is a lot. The sides are taller too, which I found to actually be a disadvantage - its harder to see the dice. Cost-wise, my tower cost about the same or slightly more (foam board, felt pad, toothpicks, texture paint) and it took me much longer to put together since I had to measure everything, cut it out, poke holes, etc. Is mine "nicer"? Sure, but again, there is a level of effort that a lot of people just don't have in them. Also, the design of my foam tower is such that it doesn't come apart. A lot of towers come off the tray and rest in it, making it easier to tote around.
There are a couple of other commercially available towers that I know of. Blue Panther has a couple of wooden ones you can get. The under $10 one has almost no tray to speak of - I think I'd skip this one. Their other is about $13 wooden guy measuring 7.75" high by 3.75" wide by 3.75. I'm not clear if you have to assemble this one or not, but the price doesn't include shipping (unless you are buying $150 worth of games from B&B). I might order one of these to see what it is like. Chessex still makes a clear plastic dice tower for around $15+. I've seen this one and while it certainly works, I didn't care for the way it looked (it looked cheesy - please forgive the slight pun). It was also dinky. There are some expensive custom ones you could go for - wood, legos, etc. I'm not going to get into those at the moment. Anyway, for the Dice Turret, if you are interested, you can find them for sale on the BGG. They sound nice, work well and are really pretty quick and easy to put together.