How It Works
This first step is to add together the numbers on the joined sides and index into the alphabet. For example, if a 4 is glued to a 16, you get 20, which is a "T". Having done this, each set of dice is a word. Together, they spell, "YOU MUST BREAK THE CODE".
There isn't much of a code except for the dice that spell "code".
A literal interpretation of the message indicates that these dice are to be broken apart. What's this?
A tiny piece of paper, hidden in a hole drilled through the central d6.
I had a goal this year of creating a puzzle on the easier end of the scale, and hiding things inside of other things is kind of my shtick. I had some dice laying around, put two and two together, and had a puzzle.
In early playtests I made no effort to ensure each type of die was the same color. Although no one fixated on that too much, I decided it would be best to make the dice more uniform. This was the only significant change to the puzzle throughout playtesting.
Dice are not inexpensive. The first few sets made for playtesting were Chessex dice, which even when purchased by the pound are not cheap. I finally found a math/science supply store online that sold dice in bulk and got the cost down to around 20 cents per die.
Unfortunately, supply problems at that store forced me to purchase additional d20s at a second store about a week and a half before the event and pay for expedited shipping. These d20s, I discovered, did not have the useful property where opposite sides add up to 21. I hope this did not adversely affect any teams too much.
Construction itself was straightforward. The dice are super-glued together. For the hidden message, I drilled a hole through the d6, inserted the paper, placed a small square of Scotch tape on both ends to seal it, and then super-glued. Once I got the process down it was about 20-25 minutes per set.