Friday, 27 March 2015

Tales from a Dice Addict #1 - Introduction

I love Dice!

As a Polyhedral Whirling Fanatic I can safely say that there is no other feeling like picking up a tonne of dice, shaking them, feeling the plastic injected moulds in the hand, the bounce as they hit the table and the anticipation of a pretty high number or the disappointment when rolling low.

In the coming series I will be talking about the various kind of different dice mechanics you'll find in various boardgames and how those games actually play. 

You'll see games like Seasons, King of Tokyo, Dice Masters and more.

But first of all I'd like to talk about the 6 main varieties of dice that you'll find out there in the world of gaming and RPGs.

Dice History

Dice have been used since before recorded history, and it is uncertain where they originated. The oldest known dice were excavated as part of a 5000-year-old backgammon set at the Burnt City, an archeological site in south-eastern Iran.

Dice were originally made from the knucklebones of horse and other hoofed animals, leading to the nickname "bones" for Dice. These were four sided and a game was played where you would roll the bones and depending on how it landed you would score a variety of points.

Later on they would be crafted from such materials as ivory, wood and plastic.


Otherwise known as the Tetrahedron.

Each face has three numbers and they are either arranged so you take the top number from the roll as seen in the green dice in the above picture, or taking the bottom number as in the white, black and yellow dice.

You would find yourself rolling these if you have to make a choice between 4 different decisions or for rolling damage for smaller characters weapons like dwarfs or halflings.


Otherwise known as the Cube.

The MOST common Dice you'll see. A variety of boardgames uses this dice like Monopoly, Munchkin and Yahtzee. They come in a multitude of colours and sizes, companies print them for advertising as seen in above picture for the Dead Rising zombie videogame and a lot of various games replace the 1 on the Dice with their logo.

A lot of companies also use the cube as a basis for their games, completely ignoring the numbers and going with characters and power like in Dice Masters or Attack, Heal, Energy and victory points like in King of Tokyo.

The sum of the numbers on opposite faces comes to seven.


Otherwise known as the Octahedron.

The very first time I got to play with one of these was playing an awesome boardgame called Key to The Kingdom. I think this was where my love of dice first started as I had normally used only D6s in games before. This was something new, it had a whole 2 more sides!

The sum of the numbers on opposite faces usually comes to nine, but that can change because some D8s have the numbers 1-4 on one half and 5-8 on the other, or odd numbers on one half and even numbers on the other.


Otherwise know as a pentagonal trapezohedron. Each face is in the shape of a kite. With the dice featuring numbers 0-9, the 0 normally counts as a ten when rolling this dice alone.

The sum of the numbers on opposite sides is normally 9 for dice numbered 0-9, or 11 if the dice are numbered 1-10.

One of the most common usages of the D10 is rolling for percentages, in which you roll two of them, one with the numbers 1-9 and the other going up in tens and you add them together.

This is useful in RPGs for working out Arcane Spell failures or the Dungeon Master uses it to generate treasures and traps working from the various tables in various Roleplaying rulebooks.


Otherwise know as The Dirty Dozen, is an American hip hop group from Detroit, Michigan. D12 has had chart-topping albums in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. D12 was formed in 1996, and achieved mainstream success after Eminem rose to international fame. D12 released the album Devil’s Night in 2001 and D12 World in 2004, spawning numerous hits such as “Fight Music”, “Purple Pills”, “My Band”, “How Come” and “Shit on You” throughout that period. Since 2006, Eminem’s hiatus and the death of the member Proof resulted in them being less active in subsequent years.

I like to think they also enjoy boardgames and roll dice.


Otherwise know as the Dodecahedron.
Each face is a regular pentagon, the sum of the numbers on opposite faces is usually 13.

Sadly it's one of the least used Dice out the six main roleplaying dice, but you'll roll one of these bad boys if you're a Barbarian for your Hit Points or if your character is wielding a great axe you'll roll one of these for damage.


Otherwise know as the Icosahedron.

The sum of the numbers on opposite faces is 21.

For RPGs especially, D20 rolls take on a whole new meaning. Every roll you make is something your character is choosing to do - performing some kind of skill, checking your surroundings using your senses or attacking with a weapon. 

Each roll, whether successful or a failure puts a lot of superstition into those dice rolls and they start to become a character all on their own with you either praising or cursing the dice on how well they perform. 

What is YOUR favourite dice to use out of the six?

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