Monday, November 2, 2009

1.21: Know your Gamer - Dice

I kind of aim this blog at fledgling gamers and people that might be interested in games and gaming, or could be if given a nudge. People that, for the most part, have only bought boardgames from conventional retail outlets such as WalMart, Target, or Toys R Us. The goal is to expose these people to the larger gaming world; I throw around and explain a lot of terms, and try to explain the social and ritual aspects within the gaming community. These "Know your Gamer" articles are going to aim at this last idea, explaining gaming concepts and social/ritual aspects of gaming. If you're interested in gaming, it helps to know the jargon, and like going to one of the many possible multi-cultural/religious ceremonies, you don't want to do something that would embarrass you.

With that said, let's start off at a familiar yet wholly foreign gaming accessory--dice.  I'm going to make the statement right now that this may be a strange post.

"Hand me that dice on the table."

"Dice, I've seen those before, the white cubes with black dots."  
"How many dice do you need?"

STOP RIGHT THERE.  Firstly, let's talk grammar before someone impales you onto a pile of d4.  Dice = plural; Die = singular.  Read aloud, and never forget this.  "I have one die."  "He has two dice."

Next, a point of terminology.  Well, let's first utter a phrase from the mouth of a new gamer looking down at the gaming table, "What are those?"  The answer, dice.  Look at the picture on the right.  Beyond the standard six-sided dice, you'll see a number of non-standard dice in a plethora of colors:  4-sided, 8-sided, 10-sided, and more.  As a result, there had to be an idiom, a simpler way to state how many and what type of dice to roll.  You may have noticed I used the phrase "d4" in the paragraph above--the number after the "d" refers to the type of die; in this instance it refers to a 4-sided die.  Putting a number before the "d" indicates a quantity of dice.  Thus, the "correct" way to state "Roll ten 6-sided dice" is "Roll 10d6."  Simple.  Now you know what I'm saying if I say 4d8, 2d20, or 15d1.  Okay, maybe not that last one is a little strange.

As for that last statement, "How many dice do you need?"  Let's just say you shouldn't ask this question, as it's marginally rude.  Asking how many a gamer has is perfectly acceptable.  Gamers can be weird about dice, which we'll get to in a minute, but most will have a good number of dice and possibly a "dice bag;" some gamers purchase dice regularly--once a week, a new set for every new game they play, a new set once the old one has started having problems.

Which leads us to the really weird stuff.

Gamers deal with problem solving, logic, strategy and a bunch of other multi-syllable words as a hobby.  However, when it comes to dice, that's all out the window.  Die keeps rolling bad, it must be tired, give it a rest.  Your set of dice causing problems?  Simply line all the dice around one of the offenders, and smash it with a hammer--the other dice will get the hint.  How to get rid of "cursed" dice?  Burn them, freeze them, smash them, ritually skewer them--just don't let them touch any of your other dice.  And heaven forbid you touch someone else's'll be lucky to escape with all your fingers.

Akward ending and transition!  Because I'm tired!  And have other things to write!  See below!


Before anyone says anything, yes, I missed one Halloween post; it was mostly done, so it may make an appearance in the future--oh, 12 months from now?  Ultimately I was busy and other things got in the way, like my daughters' boogers; we've got to have priorities.  As for Arkham Horror, that will be reviewed in the future as well; it's a great co-op game, but when attempting to refresh my memory, I downloaded the 24 page rule book and looked at my metaphorical watch and decided that I wanted to do something else with the 17 hours it would probably take to read and recall the game we played.  I do recall that we were facing Chuthulu and we still managed to win, so there. 

And, speaking of priorities, this blog is one, but November brings with it the madness of NaNoWriMo!  One 30 day month, one 50 thousand word novel, piece of cake.  Yes, November is a busy month, but NaNo's opinion on that:  You're already doing a million and one things, what difference does one more make? 
Blog posts should be on time, but don't be surprised if they're a little shorter than normal--these posts don't count toward my daily novel  word count.  Also, as I finish this, it's day 2, and I'm already 3k words behind, so that need to be amended.  If anyone is interested in joining, NaNoWriMo is free, it's all on the honor system, a great personal challenge, and it's fun to boot.  Or glove.  So you're a few days behind--so am I.

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