I like the idea of each metal game piece being empowered by the totem it ends up wearing. Totems are determined by a throw of the dice.
The totem consists of a paper headpiece that shows from the front and a paper back piece that hangs down in back.
Here are some ideas for the dice. I want the dice to be made of Femo or possibly air-dried clay built around a small stone or chicken vertebra. The qualities of the totem give movement possibilities to the figures as they move around the board. Another set of dice determines how many spaces a figure can move; when the figure lands on a space, what the figure does next is determined by its particular totem. Next job is to figure out the game board. All of this is, of course, subject to input from and discussion with my collaborator.