How does a sphere work as a six sided die?

Originally published at: How does a sphere work as a six sided die? | Boing Boing




I had some spherical dice when I was a kid. They were extremely cool for about five minutes and then the meandering take-your-sweet-time top face resolution aspect of their operation confined them to the bottom of the dice bag forevermore.


Why are square cube-shaped dice so popular when sphere and skew dice like the ones above look so much cooler?

Sharp corners make better throwing weapons for when things… well, let’s just say they call it “getting dicey” for a reason.


My D&D group uses the “One-sided Die”. I painted a 1 on a marble. The typical use is in response to an absurd player proposal, such as, “I eat the dragon”, or “We cast Charm Person on Charlie so he’ll bring more crisps.” The typical response is whatever the DM wants 1 to be.


Why are square cube-shaped dice so popular when sphere … like the ones above look so much cooler?

Because they are cheaper to make - they do not need precise hollow insides and an extra ball-bearing?

FFS! :roll_eyes:


I think a marble technically counts as a one-sided die.


They were cool for five minutes…

Came here to posit that surface stability is a prime factor in adoption. Thanks for confirming! :smiley:


Those funky Skew Dice look fabulous; like the dice version of caricature car art.


addendumdumdum “A D120 is the Largest Mathematically Fair Die Possible” …hmm, i remain unconvinced, for any sense of “fair die” i can conjure.


Not just that. As mentioned above (and visible in the video), it takes round dice an annoyingly long time to settle down so you can see what the result is (and they roll for longer distances, too, so if you’re freely rolling some dice on a table, flat-sided dice will stop in a reasonably short distance while the round ones will continue off the side). This is doubly annoying when you have a lot of dice to roll. When the round dice first became widely available, all my gaming friends bought some for the novelty value - and then never used them.


Fully agreed.
Of course, one possible solution would be a super-dense and smaller ball bearing to make it settle down more quickly. Shouldn’t add too much to the price, once R&D have figured out the design. :wink:

Or, you know, solid cubes.

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I think it’s theoretically impossible to make round dice that aren’t annoying. If you manage to find the exotic matter required to make the ball bearings dense enough to sufficiently slow their roll, you’ll probably end up having to awkwardly roll several pounds worth of dice… all you can do is trade one annoyance for another.

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Yeah - you’re right. That did occur to me after I’d posted my sarky comment. Edges work - for a reason!

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Ah yes, the glorious Zocchihedron … every geek should own one of these. They’re a pet for the insane.

In 1985 a man named Lou Zocchi invented the 100-sided die or “Zocchihedron.” You know, because two D10s were just so damn heavy to roll in tandem. Well, this die certainly rolls — it rolls and rolls, which makes sense, because it has a hundred sides, or almost enough to become a perfectly round sphere. Good luck finding out which number it’s actually landed on. Is it 2, or 57? You won’t know. You won’t goddamn know because the die rolled off your table. The D100 almost has to rolled in a box, or the padded cell that you should be kept in if you insist on using this. I think any die that needs an enclosure isn’t a die, it is a pet for the insane.

There is a fair bit of engineering (and revisions!) that went into getting this thing to… stop… rolling.

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