Rambling a bit about dice. We’re all gamers, so I am assuming others can relate to the desire to collect things. I feel like it is an innate thing in many gamers: the need to collect. To that end, let’s take a look at one of the things I collect. I swear, I don’t have a problem. Dice.
Dice are one of the simplest and oldest components as far as gaming pieces go, and also the most versatile. The exact origin of dice is not known, because they have been around that long. They are mentioned by Socrates in some of his writing and various other ancient scholars. Given that they have been around a little while, it is understandable that there have been some variations on the original design in the form of number of sides, materials, colors and size.
The cube is always a good go to. The trusty six sided die. We all know it from our early games as kids; it is a great mainstay. Personally, I have no preference between dots or numbers although some do- to each their own. Different sizes and colors of six-sided dice can be fun. Pocket sized (as if they are not already small enough to roll under furniture and get lost) and jumbo add a little bit of variety to any game one is playing. Jumbo are not always practical when one has to roll a handful of dice, but I like the heavier weight and they are great for display.
Speaking of heavy metal… and wooden die. Okay, heavy and potentially lighter. I like a more substantial die. The feel of something more in your hand just feels better to me. The downside is that they tend to be louder in use, and when being thrown too hard (we all have that one gaming friend who likes to send the die flying across and subsequently off the table) they have the potential to ding or damage some game components. They also do not roll as far. I have a red and orange with gold metal set recently acquired from Metal Dice Set Company. On the lighter side- wooden dice. They can look gorgeous, who doesn’t appreciate some great woodworking, but they can be inconsistent or off balance. Wood varies in consistency of density more so than plastic, polymer or metal resulting in essentially loaded die. But they do make a beautiful display piece.
We all have our favorite colors, and a dice set is a great way to show that off. Maybe you like to go classic old school with black and white, maybe you are a nature person and you like greens, or you like yellow or blue; maybe you like chartreuse our mauve, who knows. My first full set is the best color (red) and was actually a compilation of individually acquired dice. Since then my addictio.. I mean my desire to collect die has led me to buying a wide variety of sets. Variety is the spice of life, I believe they say. They also say hunger makes the best spice, but I am not sure what that has to do with dice. Anyway, I now have a variety of themed and colored sets. I think two colored sets where the colors are swirled together are my favorite. The swirl means your dice will be unique. I like that. More commonly, and still cool looking, are half and half die. Even mixing and matching off colors can be fun for the random look of your set then. I recently started adding stripped die to my collection, too. I have one particular set that is tricolor. Yes, I know how stripes work, just hear me out. They are a white base with a black stripe through each die in the center and dark silver highlighting the black. They look pretty cool. I do not remember where I have bought all my dice, but in recent years I have bought some of my sets from Gate Keeper. I also like to go to hobby shops and conventions, when possible, and buy grab bag type of loose dice to further feed my addict- I mean further supplement my collection. I may have a problem. I always end up spending more than intended, even if when really did not have a budget in mind, and still leave wanting to buy more. There are so many cool effects and variations: see through, glow in the dark iridescent, translucent, sparkly, shiny, crystalline, mirrored, the list goes on. I WANT THEM ALL!
A few of the variations I have in my collection are crystal dice, bone dice and dice with symbols on them. Often dice with symbols on them belong to a particular game so they are not open to general use, but others have a symbol only on the 20 of a D20 or mayhap the 1 depending on the die. A countdown die will often have this feature. My bone dice are D6s that have pronounced corners. Unfortunately they are plastic, so if anyone has a beat on some dice made from actual bone please contact me. I ask for a friend. For those of you not familiar with crystal dice, they are shaped like a crystal- think a raw piece of quartz. Or, think of a cylinder that someone seriously screwed up when they made it. See the picture. Anyway, they are fun and catch other players’ attention when you start rolling them across the table. It is fun to flex and show off your favorite, unique and snazzy dice and these definitely fit the bill.
Unnecessary but fun additions to your voluminous collection (I am assuming the rest of you have the same proclivity as do I) are bags and dice towers. I have a leather pouch a friend made for me years ago, and a cloth one with a dragon embroidered on it. One is not enough to hold all the loose die in my collection. Don’t judge me. Dice towers are helpful in that they ensure that one cheating bastard friend does not try to ‘toss’ die in a way to achieve a particular result. If they have a catch tray they stop dice from going everywhere or landing on non level surfaces. We’ve all had arguments about if it was a 2 or 6 because the die was leaning partway on the gameboard or something. I have a cat themed dice tower I got from Broken Token at GenCon last year that I love because it also folds up. No, I do not carry it around. Really.
Okay, so I have a problem. But I love collecting dice. I am not going to stop anytime soon as evidenced by recently adding a red and milky white set found on Amazon to my growing mountain of glorious polyhedral statistic deciding totems. They are so much fun and are used in so many games. If you are designing your own game, they are one of the easiest ways to add some chance and random number generating to the action. There is a reason they have been around for as long as they have, and will be for years to come. Finally, the answer to your burning question: … you totally forgot didn’t you? Is there such thing as a two sided die?
Yes! It’s called a coin. HA!