Sunday, September 13, 2009

Dice

Few items are as representative of the hobby of gaming as a whole as dice. Apart from those few games that use diceless systems (such as Amber Diceless Roleplaying) or alternate systems (I've heard of a game based on playing cards, though I can't remember what it was called), every game requires the use of the SPRNGMs (Sacred Plastic Random Number Generation Modules, as a friend used to call them). The only other items needed are some books, paper, and pencil. None of which are unique to gaming. Some games require maps and miniatures, but most can get along fine without. So really, if there is to be a symbol of gaming, it should probably be those wonderful little polyhedrons.

Some have expressed surprise at my adoration of the little numerical blobs; as I am generally a proponent of story over combat, my friends seem to think that I would be anti-dice. But I'm not! I tend to love the look of them, and have a small collection (I tend to only add interesting or unusual dice, so it's nowhere near as impressive as the one detailed at The Dice Collector). I have a few d6s made from brass, some oversized ones, a small bag of twenty tiny (about 3mm across each) six siders, a d24, 2d7, two dice that are designed to be spun like tops rather than rolled (1d6 and 1d8), a d30, and a couple of dice-in-dice (one that is a small d6 inside a larger d6, one that is a small d10 inside a larger d10, and one that is two small d6 inside a larger d6).
My personal favourite is the d10, because it looks the nicest, and makes a great top! Although I'm fond of the d8 as well, just because I have a fondness for the d8. Although there's something to be said for the d4 (you have to love a die that can be used as a caltrop!). I continually fantasize about designing a game that uses an obscure type of die (I'd love to write a game based on the d30, or even better, the d14).

I once saw a video of Louis Zocchi talking about the science of dice and why most of the dice you buy at a game store are unreliable. It was very interesting, and the next time I have a chance (or the need) to buy dice, I'm going to try to buy his. I am a bit of a dice fetishist, I will admit. I even have an idea for a set of furniture either built from or designed to look like dice.

But that's my thought on the matter. I love dice. I'd love to hear your thoughts as well! Leave them in the comments below, and keep on gaming! Until next time,

Game on!

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