As anyone who has looked for them knows, Fudge/Fate dice can be kind of hard to find. I was able to score three tubes at a mall game store that was going out of business, and I’ve backed the Thematic Fate Dice/Fudge Dice Kickstarter to get another four sets. Buying the random tubes from the game store was pretty much the same selection I was finding online.
But even harder than finding them, at least for me, is the name: “Fudge dice.” I know that’s always been their name, and in lieu of any better name I’ve used it just like everybody else. That doesn’t stop me from disliking the name. It’s horrible. So when I saw “Fate dice” in Fate Core for the first time, the verbal parts of my brain were kind of happy. Great, I though – I’m never going to have to say “Fudge dice” again. Plus, I don’t play Fudge, which never really clicked with me no matter how much I wanted to like it.
But it looks like that wording of “Fate dice” has ruffled some feathers among the die-hard Fudge community. Over on RPGGeek there’s some discomfort over the wording in Fate Core as well as Evil Hat’s decision to brand a version of the dice as Fate Dice. Their concerns are, to me, legitimate at least in terms of insuring that Evil Hat isn’t trying to bury Fate’s historical link to Fudge system. But suggesting that Evil Hat be forced to use the term “Fudge dice” is kind of not cool.
Evil Hat has the blessing of Grey Ghost Press to make this move. They’ve never denied Fate’s roots in the Fudge system, or tried to take credit for the 4DF mechanic or design of Fudge dice. As Fred Hicks has pointed out, Evil Hat are the ones who have created a successful brand for their games. If they’re making an investment to create a custom set of dice for Fate, they should reserve the right to brand those dice as they see fit. He has also said that the packaging will note the compatibility with Fudge. It’s win-win and should be good enough for anybody.
I don’t think anybody is being robbed of any credit for their creations because of this move. Evil Hat are well within their rights to use the term Fate Dice in their own game. Trying to force them into a position of either using only the term Fudge dice in Fate Core, or having to give double billing to their branded dice and Fudge dice, is intentionally diluting Evil Hat’s own creations and effort. It’s doing nothing but coddling a very few people’s pedagogic tendencies, no matter how well-intentioned those tendencies are.