Go First Dice Now Available

Posted: September 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

Have you ever rolled dice to see who goes first in a game, and three people rolled a “6″?  So you roll two dice, and three people roll a “7″.

Eric Harshbarger makes custom dice at his website, which range from Alice in Wonderland themed dice to Pentominoes dice.  Recently, he has announced “Go First” dice.  From the website…

his is a very interesting set of dice, the concept of which was first suggested by my game-designing friend, James Ernest, of Cheapass Games notoriety. I studied the idea for a while, but it was then another friend of mine, Robert Ford (a mathematician), who devised this specific configuration of numbers on four twelve-sided dice.

So, what is special about them? Well, imagine that you want to play a game with 2-4 players, and you need to randomly determine who goes first. If you each simply roll a standard die, there is a good chance there will be ties; you’d have to re-roll… and no one wants that. These dice solve that problem.

The carefully arranged numbers 1-48 on the four d12s guarantee the following properties when used to see who will go first (each player will take one of the dice and they will roll against one another):

  1. First, there will never be a tie.
  2. Second, and here was the tricky part in designing the dice, regardless of what subset of dice are rolled against one another, each player will always have an equal chance of rolling the high number (and thus being the “starting player”). Put another way, two, three, or four players may each take one of the dice, roll it, and each will always have a 1/2, 1/3, or 1/4 chance, respectively, of having the highest result.

Bravo, again, to Dr. Ford who came up with this configuration by hand(which I then checked the validity of with a computer program).

GoFirst dice are available for $15 (plus shipping) for a set of four. They are white or ivory color and consistently inked in the following way: Black 1-die, Red 2-die, Green 3-die, and Blue 4-die.

Update! It turns out, after further analysis, the above dice are actually better than originally thought. Not only can the set (or any subset) be used to determine First Player, but the rolled numbers may also be used to determine all starting positions (the 2nd highest number can be the Second Player, the 3rd highest the Third Player…) The chances of all permutations of any given subset of dice are equal, so there would never be the chance of a particular subset favoring some ordering of the players. If you had already bought a set of the dice before this was known, no modifications are necessary! They are just more useful than originally thought.

Check out the website to get the dice, and never have an argument about who goes first again!

from GameSalute.com http://www.GameSalute.com/?p=32904


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