A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that


Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Easily Pleased

I have been tinkering with some numbers and things for a possible game tweak, and I realised that what I really need for this is a 4-sided die or two - 2D4, in fact.

This caused me a little sinking feeling, since I have a few D4's, and they are the most user-hostile, unpleasant things to handle - they have sharp, jaggy corners and they absolutely refuse to roll in a satisfying manner.

It would be wonderful, I mused, if I could get some 8-sided dice marked 1,1,2,2,3,3,4,4 - they roll much better and are a lot more comfortable. I decided that if I could get some blank D8's (are they still D8's when blank?) I could mark them up myself. To my surprise I found an online shop that has blank D8's - good so far - but then I found that they also have 8-sided D4's! Hey!


Excellent (though that may be August's good break used up already). Anyway, I've ordered a couple - the firm is UK based, so the total hit on PayPal is about £3 - can't be bad. I realise that you may well have drawers full of the things, which  is why you are yawning, but I haven't seen them before - I had merely thought what a great idea it would be.


The online shop is new to me as well, but they look very impressive - worth a browse. Just the place to buy those weird dice you never realised you wanted. The Dice Shop - good name too, eh?

14 comments:

  1. Have you tried barrel dies? There less trouble than the pyramids.

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    1. Haven't seen those before - interesting - thanks for that. I have to watch this, since i am definitely a bit freaky about dice. There was a time when I used to hang around specialist education shops and buy secondhand custom dice from old, long-forgotten games. I had a shoe-box which eventually worried even me. I had a major chuck-out when I split with my first wife, and gave a pile of stuff away - I wouldn't like to say how much.

      You know what? - I really miss that box of dice and gadgets. Just love dice - I had some terrific dice that came from an old boardgame for the FA Cup or similar - they were different colours, so the Guards fired with navy blue dice in my games, veterans with red, raw troops with yellow - sorry - I was getting a bit emotional there...

      Those barrel dice are fun - they make me think of an old cricket game called "Owzatt!" that was sold in a tin about an inch and a half square - anyone remember that? There was once a bad moment in my youth when Gary Shieldhouse dropped one of the Owzatt barrel dice during Algebra, and it rolled right out to Mr Dawson's feet. Worst thing was I had a bowler on a hat-trick at that moment...

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    2. Ah Owzat! Played that game for hour - all illegal, usually during Maths or English Lit. Can't abide cricket though 😕
      The Dice Shop is. Great place, but very dangerous. Binned a lot of dice a few weeks ago only to acquire four more sets not long after. No sense or reason in it; I'm just a dice slut! 😋

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    3. Stoppit, stoppit about the Dice Problem - I'm not listening - lalalalalala...

      I was having a look at nice things like Fudge Dice and Scatter Dice and all sorts - ooooh - I might have to write some Major Tweaks to Commands & Colors to work these dice in, but it seems essential. I wonder what they're for? Who cares? - where's that order form?

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    4. Fudge Dice - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fudge_(role-playing_game_system)

      Scatter die are a 40K thing.

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    5. I bought "Owzatt" for a colleague in last years secret Santa.. :o) My regular opponent DG is also a sucker for a dice... despite having what must be thousands by now he rarely comes back from a show without another few.... :o)) The DiceShop by the way usually attend Salute - always worth a browse, but they haven't yet started producing micro D10's..

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    6. Edwin - thanks for another interesting link. 40K - I'm worried now - is that OK? I mean, not just for me - for the 40K people. I am the man who can spend an hour in a GW store without any of the staff seeing me (wrong kind of light).

      Steve - Owzatt is still available? - wow - can you still buy Ovaltine tablets? I could have a back-to-school weekend.

      I feel I ought to mention this, just as a penance - I have a friend who has a bookshop in Haddington, and he sells lots of good stuff apart from books - classy cards, old fashioned stationery, and high-quality kids games and garden sports stuff. He sells magnificent dice - wooden, white lacquer, rounded edges, 16mm, perfect - a joy to behold. One day, on impulse, though I already own a large proportion of the dice in Scotland, I bought 16 of the beggars and took them home in a paper bag. On the way home, I stopped and looked at them twice.

      I.... didn't....... need................. them.....................

      There - I feel better now. Cleansed.

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  2. That is a much superior solution to the D4 problem. For me, the traditional D4s never really rolled. They simply plopped.

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    1. That's right - worse still, they slide after they've plopped. Even in my classy, baize-lined dice tray they still slide.

      There is some optimal shape for dice. Too many acute angles and we have the plopping thing; too many obtuse angles and they roll right across the table and on to the floor [D(x), where x >= 10], or - even worse - they bounce off the bayonets of the 86e Ligne on the way.

      I have, I confess, two types of caltrop-style D4 - on one you have to read the number off the point at the top, on the other the important number is against the bottom edge on each of the 3 faces. That's agreeably quirky, but I still don't like them.

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    2. Completely agree with your D(x) >= 10 concept. D12s I can cope with but D20s..forget about it! D6, D8, D10; those are the sweet spots for me.

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  3. Thanks for the link Monsewer. I had to close the site sharpish as I was getting a bit ... sweaty. The 2D4 die is a brilliant solution to one of the most intractable problems plaguing person-kind. I also liked the fudge dice and the average dice and ... everything. The big problem now bugging me is what's on the last face of the D6 rock-paper-scissors-lizard-Spock die?
    As always, lots of new ways to think about randomising in one's home-baked rules.

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    1. Oooh - did you see the green Fudge Dice with the Elvish writing? Ossum.

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  4. I've had some 12-sided D4s for years. Of course they are huge; I suppose to keep you from mixing them up with the D12s.

    I've played around with using 2 Fudge dice for a casualty system. It's largely deterministic i.e. X number of figures at Y range, at factor Z , will cause W number of casualties +/- the roll of the 2 Fudge dice, so it ranges from (W-2) to (W+2), but probably W.

    The last face on the rock-paper-scissors-lizard-Spock die? Roll again. Lame, huh?

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    1. The 12-sided D4's are exciting - I like that. Surprised they didn't just replace the dumb caltrop-style D4.

      The fudge dice casualty system is nifty - you could start with a fixed table, like the old Arthur Taylor rules (without dice), and adjust. For low hit rates (because of low probability) the +/- 2 range gives a high proportional variance, which is not unreasonable. Good - I'll have to order some now - I'll have to pick a colour and style - hmmm.

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