Dice facts: dice are defined as small, throwable objects with marked sides that can rest in multiple positions. Although a traditional dice has six sides, the record number of sides is a whopping 120! But that’s not even the most interesting thing about them. Turns out that they are so old that they pre-date recorded history!
“All dice are polyhedra (Greek for many-sided), but the D120 is a special variety called disdyakis triacontahedron. It features 120 scalene triangular faces and 62 vertices. That creates the largest number of symmetrical faces possible for an icosahedron and the biggest, most complex fair dice possible.”Wired
There are a lot of challenges that come with creating these crazy dice. You can read more about them on Wired, which is where I borrowed the wonderful image above from.
Origin of the Word
“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.”Viage
Not everyone agrees on the actual age of dice. But one of the earliest depictions of dice is from 3,100 BCE in Egypt. The hieroglyphs represented a two-sided piece used for randomization. Check out this amazing infographic from Awesome Dice.
The next three oldest findings include:
- 3000 BCE: Oldest confirmed dice found in a dig site in Turkey along with other game pieces. The date cited as “near” 3,000 BCE — could be a bit less. Source: Discovery News.
- 3000 BCE: Holes are found punched into clay floors in the Mexico Tlacuachero site, similar to modern dice game scoreboards. Source: National Geographic.
- 2600 BCE: Oldest confirmed dice. Pyramidal d4s found in the board game, the Royal Game of Ur from ancient Sumeria. Source: British Museum.
You can find the full list on Awesome Dice.
More Dice Facts
There is a national day for just about anything, so it should not come as a surprise that there is a national dice day. The USA celebrates this on December 4th by playing games that require dice! Never heard of national dice day? Celebrate it extra hard this year!
The numbers on the dice are always in the same positions. If you add the numbers on the opposite sides of the dice, you get the number seven! Also, the holes that make the numbers have an official name. They are known as ‘pips.’ Speaking of 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. Unless, of course, you are playing with loaded dice…
“In the gambling world or underground gambling, loaded dice are dice that have been weighted or loaded to cheat during gameplay. Whether players are simply throwing the dice and wagering with a group of friends or the loaded dice are illegally used at a casino, it allows the thrower to cheat. Several methods are used to load dice such as off-square faces and weights to lean the roll in the thrower’s favor.”United States Casino
It’s funny that loaded dice even exist, since it is virtually impossible to create a perfectly even dice. Check out how a loaded dice looks on the inside – photo from Alibaba.
Finally, before I leave you with a newfound appreciation for dice, let me point out that plastic is a relatively new material and wood isn’t nearly as durable. Naturally, dice used to be made out of animal bones. Ankle bones, in particular, were a popular choice although tusks, hooves, and bones from other parts of animals such as sheep were used to create dice!
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Dice aren’t just fun to play with, they can make great jewelry! Check out some dice earrings and necklaces in my store, Everyfelt.