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Subject: Some Are Jinxed at Rolling Dice -- Myth? rss

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Mario Lanza
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I for one am very happy to have stumbled onto the phenomenon that Eurogames are becoming, namely because most Eurogames do not rely heavily on die rolling.

I for one am convinced that certain folks -- myself included! -- are destined for crappy die rolls. The funny thing is that I am not a superstitious person. My rational mind says there is no sense in this. Yet, while playing numerous games that required die rolls over the past several months -- Silverton, Pirate's Cove, Die Macher, Viking Fury, and surely a few others -- people have come to believe that I am indeed jinxed. They've laughed out loud in disbelief at my horrible string of luck. I'm am very much convinced that the dice have not evened out over the long haul as statistics say they must.

I was further convicted when playing Talisman this past weekend and watching my friend Shawn who is similarly jinxed repeatedly lose fights against inferior monsters. It was incredible how poorly and consistently he rolled low numbers.

Clearly some of us must be jinxed. What else could the explanation be? I am beginning to wonder if it has something to do with the hand-shaking/rolling techniques we use?

Because of my poor die-rolling history, I have developed an aversion to playing games that are heavily dependent on die rolling (like Risk), but will play games with limited die rolling (like Die Macher). In most cases where dice determine outcomes, I play defensively seeking superior advantages where the odds are better than even up in my favor, usually much better than even up. Have you formed a similar aversion to dice-fest games?

Are there others out there who believe that when it comes to rolling dice some gamers are jinxed? Any anecdotes to support your position? Isn't this nuts!?
 
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Nick Larson
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When you get the roll you want you think nothing of it. But when you get the roll that can mess you up, you remember it. This is probably because it didn't turn out how you expected it. Like the lottery. I know I'm gonna lose and am just wasting my money. I think nothing of it when I lose, because that is what i seriously expected. When you play a game and you need that double 6, then you get a 5 and a 6, it is easy to think that you are cursed, but in reality, your chances are just 1/36 to get the double 6 and twice that to get the 5 and 6. This may not make too much since, because I was rambling, but it should.
 
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Marshall P.
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Any anecdotes to support your position?


I think anecdotes are the problem here. If you want to make a convincing case then record every die roll you make during your games and get back to us. I suspect selective memory is at work here, which is no knock against you, we all do it. That's why, when arguing in matters of statistics, it's best to have actual data rather than anecdotes.
 
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Alex Rockwell
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Quote:
Are there others out there who believe that when it comes to rolling dice some gamers are jinxed? Any anecdotes to support your position? Isn't this nuts!?


Yes its nuts...
You are believing that you can predict the results of future random outcomes, based on past events. (If die rolls werent random, then it could make sense, but we know the are).




I think this feeling comes about when people have strongly memorable instances of very good or very bad rolls of strings of rolls. 'Average' results tend to be ignored, while future extreme results reinforce this belief.

Even if a player truly has suffered from consistentl bad rolls over the course of their games, on average, this still does not indicatethat they will suffer in any future rolls. After all, some very small percentage will roll really really well or really poorly over a large number of rolls. But this doesnt have a bearing on their future die rolls. (Unless of course, it was caused by rigged/crooked dice, or something like that).
 
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I agree with the above two comments but I know that in my circle of gaming friends the Dice Jinx myth is very strong.

My husband is convinced that one of our friends always rolls well when playing Risk so he must attack him all the more in order to have a chance at making a dent.

I find for myself that some games I roll well, while other games I roll like crap... which would tend to show that the statistics do average out, they just do so over many games rather than durring the same game.

As for how you roll the die... the great "belief" in our group that has cause problems is whether rolling "in the box" rather than "on the table" makes a difference. The belief is that hitting the sides of the box makes a difference. (Hopefully towards the better rolls)
 
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Brian Schlichting
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I think it can be attached to people
And in that game, when you need a 3 or higher, and you roll snake eyes, you DEFINITELY remember it. However, I believe that there is something to some people rolling better than others always. I think there's some sort of subconscious uber-dexterity explanation, as opposed to curses, but I simply do not win dice games. I have a friend that almost never loses them.

This has been consistent for many years. Most other people, it comes and goes like normal statistical odds. In college, I would have people in fits of laughter at my ability to lose every possible battle in Risk. Once in awhile, my roommate would make attacks that he had no chance of winning, because with me, he had a chance of winning. I hate that game now.

After years of frustration, I have purged my collection of games that fit these two criteria at the same time.
1) more luck than strategy AND 2) the luck is based on dice. I don't mind dice if they are unlikely to decide the entire game regardless of all other factors. A mindless game of luck doesn't bother me if it's not dice.
 
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Mario Lanza
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I had considered your point before, That it may be simply a matter of most remembering the failed outcomes. However, as I mentioned, I rarely ever engage in a conflict where the odds are not stacked heavily in my favor, and still I roll crappy.

Just this past weekend I played Viking Fury and Die Macher.

In Die Macher when I rejected the $50K bribe (the largest bribe) and had the opportunity to roll for extra party members I gained only 2 -- FAR below average.

In Viking Fury when raiding a city I rolled 3 times in a row and never rolled over a 2. Needless to say, my raid failed miserably. The others agreed at my poor luck. This wasn't the only instance of bad dice that game.

Still your point is probably valid. I'll certainly pay closer attention as I play more dice games.
 
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It's a combination of factors...
A) hand shaking and die roll-out techniques tend to randomize the dice and provide a better average of numbers rolled.

B) Memory serves up negatives on a platter. If your hand techniques are up to snuff (there's a joke in there somewhere for many of you) and "C" below is not at fault, then you probably rolled the higher numbers at points where the result wasn't critical and so not memorable.

C) Dice are imperfect. At least board gaming dice. Injection-molded out of plastic, they are not all equal. Some dice, particularly D20, D10 dice have imbalance issues due to hidden pockets of air or spots where the material is more dense. This throws the particular die off permanently.

D) Some people are just losers and they think too frickin' much about stuff like this. It's my view that indecision and worry about die rolling results actually have a visceral effect on small inantimate objects like dice. Indecision is tension. tension is palpable. Tell me dice aren't going to be affected by palpable tension and I'll game with you anytime so long as you put me in charge of creating tension in the game.
 
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Marshall P.
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If this is true then you could win $1 million
If any of this bad rolling stuff is true (and you're not using a loaded dice) then you could easily win the one million dollar paranormal challenge from the James Randi Educational Foundation. Simply go to this link and apply:

http://www.randi.org/research/index.html

You don't have to explain how you are able to roll so poorly you simply have to demonstrate that you can do it.
 
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Alan
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Quote:
people have come to believe that I am indeed jinxed.


Aha! This is what everyone should be looking at that is downing your theory and saying stuff like "oh, you just remember the crappy rolls and yadda yadda". They have no clue. You are on target here. I do believe some people are jinxed with dice. My gaming group laughs at me and goads me when it comes to dice games because they know I suck at dice. Regardless of how I hold the dice, flick the wrist, pray to the gods, dance around the table, shake them, etc the dice are not kind to me.

You see, you aren't the only one that has noticed this about you, there are others. Thus you have a good theory here. It would be different if there were not witnesses to your dice rolling.

I still like to play dice games, I just know my chances of winning are not as great, and thus I have to use more strategy and become less dependant on the dice.
 
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Nick Larson
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It is possible to roll out a desired outcome with dice, if you practice a lot. There are techniques that you can use. If you could do this, you could pretend you are cursed and get a million dollars! Of course, I can't do that! O, my horrible luck!
 
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Neil Palfreyman
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As someone...
...who just got completely stuffed at my first ever two games of Heroscape tonight due to abysmal dice rolling (okay, and some bad tactics) I have to agree!
 
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Scott Russell
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I understand probability and statistics fairly well, but still have a friend that is cursed with dice.

 
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Seth Owen
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Generally don't buy it , but ...
Most wargames have a fair amount of luck involved (after all, war itself is notorious for wild swings of fortune) so my gaming career has been exposed to a lot of this kind of discussion. Generally, it tends to even out, especially if you play a game with lots of die rolling (ASL, block games, War at Sea/VITP, Storm Over Arnhem/BreakouT Normandy).
But I did have a wargaming friend that did seem to have exceptionally bad dice. For many years he was my anecdote for the Theory of Jinx, but recently I have reconsidered. Now I wonder if his style of play was to really to blame, in that I think he tended to take a lot of risks. If you take a lot of risks in your playing style, you're increasing your exposure to bad luck. And in most games, bad luck will have more of an impact on your chances of winning than good luck will.
So I think he made his own bad luck, rather than being truly jinxed.
 
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Valdir Jorge
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Don't have this problem at all
When I play Axis & Allies my dice rolling evens out perfectly well in the same gaming session: all my AA guns roll 6's and all my tech rolls are 1's, they balance out perfectly...
 
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Jonatan Lind
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Randomness of dice
If you simulate enough dierolls you should get roughly the same amount of numbers rolled.
Regarding someone who is jinxed, some say that eventually it will even up for that person. If that person rolls the dice 10 000 times in a row, it just might. But consider a very long game of RISK involving 1000 of dierolls. The randomness of it all can also affect who rolls best since there are several players who rolls the dice. And this can also be true for entire lifetimes, for example I have a friend who "always" (of course he doesn't) rolls good dice. Another friend is a crappy dieroller. But can't this also be randomness?
I mean, in our gaming group there will be a finite number of dierolls in our collective lifetime. It's only logical that the randomness of dice makes one of us roll better than another. It's not about the supernatural, it's all about the randomness of dice.
Or maybe it is the twilight zone... surprise
 
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Stephen Tavener
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The overtext below is true.
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The overtext above is false.
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"Great Strategist, Lousy Die Roller", it says.

Anyway, objectively it isn't true. I tracked the stats for a while, and I get the same spread of numbers as everyone else. My problem is timing. Example; settlers, 4 player. Player to my left rolls something that gives me loads of cards, player across from me does the same, player to my right rolls a 7.
 
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Paul Kidd
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I think what many people don't understand about probability is that the expected outcome is actually quite rare.

Consider: if you rolled a six sided die 360 times, you would expect to get:

60 1's
60 2's
60 3's
60 4's
60 5's
60 6's

But getting precisely that distribution is actually extremely unlikely. It would be very easy to get something like:

64 1's
65 2's
58 3's
61 4's
55 5's
57 6's

This would be quite near the middle of the bell curve, but might be enough to lose you a game of RISK.

Assume that you are fifty percent likely to get worse than average roles through a whole game. That means that if eight people play three games each, one, on average, will get worse than average roles in all three games. If you do that, human nature being what it is, you will get a reputation for bad dice rolling, and that will stick despite subsequent evidence. From that point on, all bad dice rolls will be "proof" of the phenomenon, while good ones will be odd exceptions.



No-one is jinxed.

Relax.
 
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Derek H
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It's not how many... it's when!
The "all die rolls eventually average out" is, for a sufficiently large number of rolls, of course true. The problem I have is that of rolling the wrong number at the wrong time. In situation A I need a 6, and roll a 1, but in situation B I need a 1 and roll a 6. The averages work out, but the "luck" does not.

So, yes, I think I am jinxed; but I think too that this results from my own preconception that the "luck" will not pan out for me...

Have a look at:
http://novaspivack.typepad.com/nova_spivacks_weblog/2005/01/...
 
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A.N. Onymous
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needing good dice rolls
Nothing personal, but in my opinion "needing good dice rolls" most often equals "bad tactics". To give an example: in a recent game of Hammer of the Scots I pitted Braveheart (4 CV) against two English infantry (5 CV total). My opponent threw 4 ones with 5 dice, killing Braveheart in one stroke. Was he lucky? Certainly. Should I expose my best unit to this risk, however small? Definitely not. I got overconfident and had to pay the price (and lost the game, by the way).
 
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