Starting off with a brief rant on dice

Chance Dice

Size may not be everything but it is important.  Games such as 40K or Bolt Action rely on buckets of dice.  To get away with this a die must be large enough to see but not so large as to bodge everything else off the table.  I prefer a modest size die with a green background but clear pips so rolled dice blend in but are easy to see.  A dice tray or dice tower is best for rolling and I expect to be allowed enough time to check the dice before they are tidied up.  Some players roll the dice, declare the results and scoop them back up before there is time to see the results.  The GW preferred and darn fine protocol is to remove the failed dice and leave the successes for checking.


Some well behaved green dice sat in a dice tower

Most dice are labelled with numbers, usually as pips but Arabic, Roman or even Hindi (the old Arab style) make sense.  Alas there is a trend for special or commemorative dice to have 5 numbers and a symbol.  The symbol is usually on the 6 but may be on the 1.  An incidence of tournament cheating was linked to a player swapping between 1 specials and 6 specials as required to win rolls.  Even with the symbol probably being on the 6 it is usually  a single image that looks more like a 1 than a 6 confusing the unwary opponent.  It would be nice if gamers enforced dice of a reasonable size and clearly labelled 1 to 6 (only).

Is it a 1? No it’s a 6

Marker Dice

Here the dice is not a chance mechanism but used to mark orders or casualties.  It helps if the die is small and unobtrusive but dice than are too small can be knocked (changing their meaning) and are hard to see.  On the other hand a dice that is as big as the figure it is marking ruins the aesthetic effect of the game.

Some marker dice have text rather than numbers and these seem to be a nice little earner for the manufacturer.  Using self printed labels on adhesive paper gets over this at a modest cost.  Using self adhesive paper is a lot easier than regular paper and glue all over the shop.  This solution works fine for Saga where the dice symbol meaning is hard to guess.  Even worse in Saga a similar ‘shield’ symbol has a different meaning in the Norman dice to the Crusader dice.  Thankfully Saga produce templates of dice faces to print out.  In Bolt Action it could be possible to spend more on dice than figures.  This would be true of a Soviet army.  A dice is used to order a unit and the Soviets have the option to field a lot of units.  If an army is made from the relatively cheap Plastic Soldier Company army boxes it could easily cost less than the dice required.  It is some consolation that as Bolt Action has been around for a while enough orders dice are available on the secondary market to make some savings in dice outlay.


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