Jon David Faeth
Non-Random Setup Option
I came up with this variant based on comments that I've received from players here and there. In fact, I'm not 100% sure I came up with it. More like 60% sure. So really, it could very well have been someone else's idea, and I just forgot who said it first.
Instead of rolling the dice to determine their starting positions, players may decide on how many pips they may start with. Generally 10, 11 or 12 pips per player seem to work pretty well. Players then set their starting numbers so that the top faces of their dice add up to the agreed upon number of pips.
Example: Hank, Aaron and Junior sit down to enjoy a game of Dicefest. Before they get started they decide that 11 pips each should make for a good start. Hank sets his dice (1, 4 and 6) and places them at the corresponding starting points. Aaron rolls his dice to 2, 4 and 5. and Junior places his dice at 2, 3 and 6. All three players have 11 pips showing on the tops of their dice, and the game can start.
This also can be modified to handicap some players. Players who tend to win more often can be made to start with more pips than less experienced players.
Here's a little something else to change things up a bit. Instead of all dice starting with the highest-numbered side always facing left, players can face one die with the highest-numbered side to the left, one to the right and one forward (or backward).