on Dec 3, 2008
Here is a video (broken into two parts) from GameScience, where one Colonel Louis Zocchi makes the case that standard gaming dice are not very accurate (that is, not very random) and that his dice (this is part of a sales pitch, mind you) will perform better during play.
I love this guy. He’s the prototypical old-school wargamer: An opinionated, irascible old codger. He’s the kind of guy that inspired characters like Chuck from Chainmail Bikini and Gimli from DMotR.
- He asserts that the cheap dice are sometimes egg-shaped and thus do not roll true. He makes a pretty good case for why this would be so, but he never gives us any numbers. Just how far off are those dice?
- He claims that GMs are killing off characters prematurely with their egg-shaped dice, “because their dice can’t make saving throws.” Setting aside the fact that most players make their own saving rolls with their own dice, this still doesn’t make sense to me. On a standard d20, 20 is opposite 1, 19 is opposite 2, 18 is opposite 3, and so on. You can make a die give more / less criticals by making it egg-shaped, but I don’t see how you can make it roll higher or lower on average. If you increase the number of 19’s, you also increase the number of 2’s by the same proportion. That’s by design.
- The most pressing question – which I notice he never acknowledges, much less answers – is why in the name of Gary Gygax’s beard did they use “China Girl” for the intro music? (This song would be for more appropriate, and is in fact what I hear every time someone at the table tells me they’re rolling for something.)
I must say the crisp-edged dice he’s selling do indeed look fabulous. He makes a big deal about how his stuff is so much more expensive, but the prices on the website are actually quite reasonable and comparable to what you’d pay for the fancy dice at a typical gaming store.
I don’t know quite if I’m buying what he’s selling in terms of dice behavior, but I do see myself buying what he’s selling, if you see what I’m saying.
Shamus Young is an old-school OpenGL programmer, author, and composer. He runs this site and if anything is broken you should probably blame him.