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1974 Dungeons And Dragons Sells With A Set Of Polyhedral Dice

Each year on December 4th, National Dice Day recognizes an ancient gaming tool. Many games incorporate dice as a way to add random challenges or obstacles to the objectives.

  • Players typically throw dice onto a flat surface from their hands or a cup. The uppermost face of the die after it comes to rest determines the value of the throw. One popular dice game is craps where wagers are made on the total value of the throw of the dice.
  • Frequently used in board games, players use dice to randomize their moves, commonly by deciding the distance a piece will move on a board. Favorite board games using dice include backgammon and Monopoly.
  • Players originally made dice from the talus (ankle bone) of hoofed animals.
  • They also used ivory, wood, and plastics in making dice.
  • Dice also come in many shapes and colors.
  • For most games a six-sided die (yes, that’s the singular!) is used. The sum of the opposite sides is always seven (6+1, 5+2, 4+3). Dice with fewer (four) or more (up to twenty) sides exist as well, but are used less.
  • The number seven, it isn’t all that lucky. Due to there being so many number combinations that add up to it, your odds are actually good for rolling a seven. Two and twelve, on the other hand, are the least common.
  • The oldest known dice were actually discovered at Burnt City, a site of an archaeological dig in Iran, found to be part of a Backgammon set that was 5,000 years old!
  • The word ‘dice’ is derived from Old French and Latin. It is a combination of the words ‘dé’ (French) and ‘datum’ (Latin), which means ‘something which is given or played’. Over the years, those words evolved into the term dice.
  • ‘Alea iacta est’. This famous quote by Julius Caesar has become a common expression and Latin buffs, including politicians, love to use it in many contexts. The meaning of the quote? ‘When the dice are thrown, there is no turning back.’
  • The dots on each side of the dice are known as “pips”
  • A Disdyakis triacontahedron Dice has 120 sides! While it has never been handmade it can be created with a 3D printer and is said to have the largest number of possible faces on a fair dice.
  • The world’s smallest dice could fit on the end of a pencil! Manufactured by Iriso Seimetsu Co., Ltd.
  • The world’s most expensive dice cost £13,583! ($17,925). To be fair this is no ordinary dice. It was an incredibly valuable Roman glass gaming die sold at auction by the famous Christie’s auction house. It was deep blue-green in color and had twenty-sides each with a distinct symbol on its face.
  • There is such a thing as a spherical die!  You might think that is simply a ball covered in dice characters, but in reality, also has an internal cavity in the shape of the dual polyhedron of the desired die shape and an internal weight. The weight will settle in one of the points of the internal cavity, causing it to settle with one of the numbers uppermost. For instance, a sphere with an octahedral cavity and a small internal weight will settle with one of the 6 points of the cavity held downwards by the weight.
  • 5000 BC: We Have a Die.  Sumerians play with knucklebones, the primitive form of modern dice.
  • 2600 BC: The Royal Game of Ur. The Royal Game of Ur is played with four-sided pyramid-shaped dice.
  • 1950: D20 Dice. Tokyo-Shibaura Electric Company patents the first plastic D20.
  • 1974: Polyhedral Dice. “Dungeons and Dragons” is published and sells with a set of polyhedral dice (any die that has multiple faces, all of which are equal in size to each other).


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