Bringing the Mountain to the Masses
The limited Deluxe version of Dice Miner included a plastic mountain made of polyvinyl chloride plastic (PVC). We have had many requests for the plastic mountain as an upgrade to the regular game's punchboard mountain, but we were determined not to use PVC again because of its environmental impact. In fact, our desire to make a sustainable version of this mountain was a big motivation for launching our Replay Workshop!
After being told that the mountain mold was specifically engineered for PVC, and given reasons why recycled materials were not an option at the original factory, we decided to bring our injection mold to the United States and either find a local manufacturer willing to experiment with 100% recycled materials or figure out how to do it ourselves. And we have succeeded! Working with Updog, LLC of Somerset, Wisconsin, we will soon have a full production run of 100% recycled mountains offered for sale through our usual channels of retailers and distributors, as well as our web store.
From trying different recycled plastics and color schemes in our experiments, we have numerous usable prototypes that we are offering for sale in the Replay Workshop web store right now. Some have been made with commercially available 100% recycled polypropylene pellets (with color added); a smaller number were made with HDPE (speckled white) and polypropylene (amber/orange) that we ourselves collected and processed from materials that were otherwise going to local landfills. We shredded pill bottles and medicine vials with labels attached, so you can see tiny bits of paper embedded in those mountains for extra recycled authenticity. (The main production run will be that kind of plastic, but with some black recycled material added to color it gray.)
Proving this product commercially viable is, we hope, just the start of a major move to recycled material for plastic game components. We intend to do more of this going forward. We also hope to help our colleagues in the tabletop game industry do the same! We would love you to buy one of our recycled mountains today, but it also is great if you can spread the word -- let your favorite game store know that the recycled mountain is on the way soon, and that it matters to you to see recycled material adopted in our hobby.