Tag Archives: dice

When the dice hate you

This is a subject I think we’re all familiar with. Sometimes the dice just hate you. Maybe you didn’t get them a card for thier birthday, or you didn’t sacrifice enough (chocolate) bunnies, or whatever, but they despise you.

For me, it’s usually just a bad roll here or there. But recently I enjoyed a streak of it in one game. Playing my chaos marines I needed to make 4 morale checks (one of them a re-roll, one a regroup check) all in the space of about 2 turns. Being from shooting, they were at Ld10. So there’s only a 1 / 12 chance of failing any given one of them.

Well, I failed 3 in a row to kick things off. The odds of getting those rolls? Something like 1,728 to 1. And, being chaos marines, we are well aquiainted with fear and decided to take our slightly-below-half unit with attached HQ running off the board with no chance to rally. And this was the evil mean Khorne marked squad, too. The havoc squad ran too, however, they got thier heads back in the game on the next morale check to rally.

We weren’t done fleeing in terror before the awesome might of the space faries and thier magic wands (of DEATH) – I mean, Eldar. Not long after Some termies decided enough was enough and made tracks as well.

The lesson here? Icon of Chaos Glory is my new best friend!

also, sacrifice more chocolate bunnies on the altar of diciness (also known as my mouth). It may not work, but it’ll taste good!

Do your dice seem to roll a lot of 1’s?

I came across an interesting forum post over at Warseer. In short, a college type did a project to test that theory and the normal Games Workshop dice came up with about 29% 1’s out of 1000 rolls. Check out the full post here

Now, is this post for real? Honestly, I couldn’t find anything official with a quick bit of looking. But it did provide some sound reasoning. If a die has airbubbles in it, it can affect how it rolls. Likewise, rounded edges might have an impact. Therefore, they suggest using only clear corner edges dice like Las Vegas.

But it got me wondering, are my dice showing patterns? My little black GW dice have always seemed friendly to me… So I’m doing my own little experiment.

I rolled my 32 GW dice. A lot. First seperately by color at least 300 rolls of a die for each color. A Statistically small sample, true, but as sample size grows abnormalities should only decrease. Each face should come up an average of 16.67% of the time. The results were pretty close to that, with the highest being less then 19%. A far cry from the 29% claimed in the forum post.

But, we’ll give the benefit of doubt, so I tried then rolling all 34 of my GW dice together several times (netting over 700 rolls total). Again, pretty close to average. In fact, when compiled together with eariler rolls of the same dice this is what I got:

Grand totals (out of 1328 rolls):
1 – 16.9%
2 – 15.6%
3 – 17.4%
4 – 16.6%
5 – 16.6%
6 – 16.6%

As more rolls were added, it kept getting closer to the mathematical average. No massive deviations. It’s interesting to note that the original post tried squaring off the edges and it had a great effect in reducing the errors.  It’s also interesting that not even a single person was able to reproduce the huge 29% result for any single facing.

My conclusion? They probably just had some bad dice. It’s a matter of quality control vs cost, and for simple table top wargames cheaper is typically better. Vegas, on the other hand, uses very preciely made dice that roll very consistently with the mathematical averages. Those dice are also a lot pricier.  It’s the difference between store-brand batteries and Duracells.  Store brand is a whole lot cheaper and will generally do fine, but Duracell will always be consistently good without any weak ones in the mix.

Still, if your dice seem to betray you a lot on the table, it could be worth your time to roll them a couple hundred times and see if it’s just your imagination, or if you might actually have some shoddily made dice that slipped through QA.  It’s human nature to remember the bad rolls more frequently after all, so sometimes it’s just a matter of perception.  At any rate, enjoy your gaming 🙂