So Frankly...

So Frankly...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Dice Bowling, or Dice Bowl?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  The Luck o’ the Irish brings to mind Notre Dame Football (Go Irish!) and those little cubes that are found in so many games: dice!  I will stick with the latter topic and save the flame wars for ESPN.

For those of us who grew up on Risk and Monopoly, there is a certain amount of nostalgia in chucking dice.  There are fond memories of rattling those bones around in your hand, hoping for that one roll you needed to miss that run of hotels, or hold out just a little bit longer in Siam.  How many times, though, did you manage to roll the dice right into the opposing armies, stopping the game until everyone could agree on how many armies were in each country?  At least in Monopoly, the center of the board is pretty open for rolling dice, so it’s not as big a problem.  In some games “dice bowling” can be a disaster.

Growing up, we used the box lid for a lot of dice rolling.  This kept the dice generally contained, though they occasionally did bounce out.  It was a cheap and readily available solution.  The problems with this solution were two-fold:

  • The box lid was frequently half the size of the board, so it still took up too much space.
  • The repeated handling of the lid had a tendency to tear the corners out, so that the box stopped staying shut.

There are a few solutions I will suggest…

Image from Kaplow
The first option is to purchase a dice tray.  These can be bought for $10-$20 (USD) either online or at a gaming store.  The larger ones are particularly nice looking.  They contain enough space for a good roll, but with a felt bottom inside and decent sides, the dice stay in the tray.  There are only two drawbacks to them: the cost and size. (The one pictured is 10 inches across.)   Particularly for games with big boards, there still may not be enough table space for one of these great trays.  Furthermore, I am not wild about spending half the cost of a game on a small accessory. 

One could always use a cigar box, but those are getting harder to come by.  The size is decent, and the cost is zero.  They may not look the best, but that could be fixed by someone with some crafting skills.

Then there is my favorite solution.  One day I was playing a solitaire game of B-17: Queen of the Skies, and got tired of having to get up and go around the table to chase down dice that had rolled over the edge.  I had received some handkerchiefs for Christmas, and the wooden gift box was lying around just holding keys.  It made perfect sense as a dice tray; it’s made of wood and looks nice, it’s small enough to fit some tight spot on the table, plus it already has felt on the inside!  And it’s free!  Well, it was almost perfect.  Because my new dice tray was small, the dice did bounce out at times.  I adjust my rolling technique to hitting the side of the tray first, not the bottom, and that solved that problem. 

If your group has trouble containing dice, keep an eye out for something to use as a dice tray.  It can be a huge help, particularly for children who have small hands and large motor skills.  The purchased ones are beautiful, but there are around-the-house options too.  I, for one, can always use a few more handkerchiefs. 

I have a couple other suggestions to help with dice rolling, but I will cover them soon in another post.

Keep rolling along!

No comments:

Post a Comment