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Subject: Senary dice. Am I missing something? rss

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Paul DeStefano
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So there's these binary systemic based dice which allow you to roll 4 6 sided dice and yield a result from 1 to 1296 in a linear probability. (knucklebones.biz)

The dice cost $12.

While this may be a really intriguing math trick and very clever indeed, at some point in development, why didn't someone point out that 4 10 sided dice will yield a random number from 1-10000 and cost maybe $2? Greater usability and less cost.

Here we have an extremely specific use (goes to 1296?) and its expensive.

What the heck am I missing? Why in the world would these be useful? Why not use 4d10s or modify the highest die as needed (d4/d10/d10/d10 to not go all the way to 10000 or something).

This seems like running a car with a steam engine. It isn't efficient, it would be expensive and probably useless in all but a few situations but interesting in a science kind of way.

Can anyone shed light on why these make sense?
 
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Lacombe
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Plus, you could accomplish the same thing as these dice with any four d6's of four different colors (count a 6 as a "0", or just get dice with 1-5 and a picture for the 6 [count the picture as "0"] or even 1-5 and a 0 [these exist, too]), assigning a different color to each digit position.

One thing that is interesting is the prevalence of the number 6, and numbers built off of it, in game design. Obviously, you have the 6-sided die, perhaps the oldest known gaming device still in use today. You've also got the pair of 6-sided dice, providing an interesting probability distribution to work with. Then, you have the 60-card deck, which is used fairly often because it provides equally distributed hands for anywhere from 2 to 6 players. You've also got the abundance of hexagons in game design, arguably an even more popular topography than the square.

Your method of using d10's certainly provides a wider range of outcomes, but there is some charm to using base-6 dice. The smaller variance between successive powers of 6 might also prove useful. Being able to randomly generate numbers between 1 and 6, 1 and 36, or 1 and 216 is a nice range for the number of possible outcomes. 1 and 10, 1 and 100, or 1 and 1000 are a bit more extreme. It's unlikely anyone would ever need to generate a random number between 1 and 1000, certainly not between 1 and 10,000. You've only two options below that with base-10 dice. If you use base-6, however, you have three very reasonable ranges right off the bat.
 
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Paul DeStefano
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There's just so many reasons that someone during the design phase should have said "Why?" and I'm amazed they didn't.

However, as an entry to the math fair, it rocks.
 
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Andrew Moore
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If you toss two cubes the likelyhood of any two faces showing is the same regardless of what is printed on the dice.
 
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Lacombe
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asm_zero wrote:
If you toss two cubes the likelyhood of any two faces showing is the same regardless of what is printed on the dice.


Yes, but if you print different things on those cubes and interpreted those things in a particular way, you can have a totally weird probability distribution of events. Suppose you had a pair of dice, only both of them had all 6's on all faces. The probability of any given pair of faces wouldn't change, but there'd effectively be no probability distribution for the "results" of the roll, numerically. You'd always get 12's, regardless of the probability of getting any given pair of 6's.

 
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Andrew Moore
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They are comparing a roll of 2d6 with a roll of 4d6 and saying the 2 dice produces a bell curve and the 4 "radix" dice are a perfect random number generator. It isn't a good comparison. A d6 and a d10 can produce a reasonable random number between 1 and 255 simply by assigning hex letters to the d6 and calculating it out after the die roll.
 
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Lacombe
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asm_zero wrote:
They are comparing a roll of 2d6 with a roll of 4d6 and saying the 2 dice produces a bell curve and the 4 "radix" dice are a perfect random number generator. It isn't a good comparison. A d6 and a d10 can produce a reasonable random number between 1 and 255 simply by assigning hex letters to the d6 and calculating it out after the die roll.


Quite. See the first part of my first post.

I think I misunderstood what you were saying.
 
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Kevin Reynolds
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It's cool that there isn't a curve with the dice, and perhaps these kind of dice will be useful in games like Axis and Allies if you rework the charts some, but I think most games take into account the bell curve of throwing multiple dice when they are designed.

I personally don't see its application in crypto, since 0-1296 is too small of a number to be very useful.

The dice are expensive AND they use stickers, whats with that? For the price they should give you engraved and painted dice.

Also, the use of these things will probably bring any game to a crawl as more complicated math has to be done every roll.

Sure, they are kinda neat, but I can't imagine them being too useful.
 
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Andrew Moore
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Buy them. Peel off the stickers. Buy a pack of dry erase markers.
Universal Dice only $11.95 shipping included.
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You can't handle the truth?
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Geosphere wrote:
There's just so many reasons that someone during the design phase should have said "Why?" and I'm amazed they didn't.

However, as an entry to the math fair, it rocks.


I am reminded of a story that occurred during the space race.

There was much concern of recording information while in space, and NASA spent a huge pile of money to develop a 'Space Pen', that is, a pen that will write in the weightlessness of space. They were very proud of themselves, and bragged to the Soviets, that they have solved one of the toughest problems that could be faced. Now our astronaughts can write in space.

The Soviets replied, we worked out that problem from the start. We are sending our Cosmonaughts into space with pencils...
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