Funky Dice

To all the people who posted up on Jeff’s Gameblog and said that the fact that Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG requires funky dice (d3, d7, d14, etc) puts them off from being interested or wanting to buy the game.

To all who say that using weird dice is silly, when your regular dice work just fine.

And to all who share that sentiment, but haven’t commented or yet seen the post.

Think on this, as food for thought.

This is what non-gamers think when they look at the dice we use for D&D, and other games which require d4, d8, d20 and the other dice we think of as “standard” and “ordinary”.

I think that Joseph Goodman, in his own way, has thrown a mirror up to our own perceptions and preconceptions. Good on you, sir.

After all, I could post the same survey up about D&D, and ask the selfsame questions to non-gamers. Here you go.


  1. Of the set [d4, d8, d10, d12, d20] how many of these dice do you own?
  2. If you own any of them, which ones do you have?
  3. If you wanted to get some or all of them, where is the first place you would look?
  4. Does the need for these funky dice change your opinion about trying the D&D rpg?


Food for thought, indeed.

17 Comments on “Funky Dice”

  1. Not exactly the same thing.

    Dont get me wrong – I do see your point… however it isnt quite the way I see it:

    1. DCC is – in the final analysis – just a D&D variant – back in the day it was basically D&D or nothing, gamers didnt have a choice about whether to get the “funky D&D dice” or not. Now there are simply
    too many alternatives that use the same dice that virtually every game already owns, making DCC pretty much a nonstarter for many people,
    2. The dice used for D&D have been pretty well standardized for over 30 years.
    3. A new set of zoccihedrons from gamescience costs 30 dollars ! – a pretty steep price that will undoubtedly present a significant barrier to newcomers to the hobby. Even supplying a substandard set with the beginners box (as B/X and BECMI D&D did) set will increase the price by at least ten dollars – probably more.
    5. Any current roleplayers probably has a standard set of polyhedral dice.. in my case I have several sets – and I am not interested in spending so much as one more dollar buying new dice – that are required to to play just ONE of the 20+ rpgs I already own.

    In short; While DCC looks great and held interest for me and my gaming group – it just isnt either revolutionary enough (as D&D was back in the day); nor quite interesting enough for any of us to want to pony up 30 dollars for dice plus the cost of the game itself…. so we will pass on this. Also -none of us have any interest in going through the etra steps to either simulate the funky dice with standard polyhedrals by rerolling or using charts either… just too cumbersome.

    Thanks goodman…. but no thanks

  2. I think you make an awesome point. When I first picked up D&D with friends in the 80s the thing that really held my attention was the crazy looking dice. I think they’re used well in the beta, and I’ll be looking to pick up some at some point.

    @enemymouse – See that shelf of RPG books? Take $30 worth of those which you *may* pick up once every few months, and spend it on dice that you can roll any time you play DCC. The math works for me. Plus crazy looking dice are awesome.

  3. Good point. I don’t understand why buying dice has become a sticking point to people in a hobby which caters to dice collectors. I already own the Zocchi dice and am looking forward to using them. Also the complaining that this is just another d&d variant? When has that mattered? All games are just “variants” on other games.

  4. This is why whenever I start thinking about what an easy first timer RPG would require I keep going back to five six sided dice, a deck of 54 cards, and poker chips for Luck points. I know that all of these things are available at my local CVS and so a new player wouldn’t have to go find a specialty hobby shop to get these things.

  5. I think the point that everyone is missing is that paying $30 for the dice isn’t justified. DCC simply doesn’t offer anything that is different or innovative enough to make an initial $65 (book and dice) investment worthwhile.
    This is not even close to being comparable with the introduction of D&D. As someone else stated D&D was pretty much it when it came to this hobby for quite a while. It then made those funny dice an industry standard. That will not happen with DCC. Even within our niche hobby DCC is part of an even smaller niche. The number of people that will know about and play DCC is not even a drop in the bucket of the number of people that have played or at least know that D&D exists.
    Ubiquity, another game that only a small number of people play, uses ubiqity dice. You can buy them for under $10. My wife got mine for $5. DCC uses dice that are $30+ per set or $5+ each, that’s not justifiable. If you like it and don’t care about it, then support the game and I hope you have tons of fun. But its not fair to criticize people who don’t want the dice and who don’t see anything in DCC that makes it worth the additional cost.

    Let’s say I was in the mood to play old school and you released a retro-clone/retro-style game that used the gaming dice that I already own and that work with the dozens of systems I already own. Then someone else released a game that uses dice that costs as much as your book and then on top of that I have to buy their book. Both games offer retro-style gaming and the one with the higher initial cost doesn’t offer anything that is any more innovative than yours since it uses the same OGL as yours. Which one would make the most sense to buy?
    I think that is the point that everyone is missing. I’m not skipping DCC just because of the dice. I don’t like the game and if offers nothing I want that I can’t get somewhere else. The additional cost of the dice, basically doubling the cost of the game, is just another black mark against the game.
    I’m not picking a fight, I’m just trying to explain the other side.

    1. I agree with you there – paying $30 for a set of dice is a significant cost hike.

      Heck, I wouldn’t pay $30 for a set of regular rpg dice, and there’s plenty of sites out there (including gamescience) where it’s easily possible to hit that mark :)

      What I hope is that the final version of Dungeon Crawl Classics includes Appendices which offers alternative ways to roll on the tables. As the current Beta is entirely Appendix free, I expect this will be the case.

  6. Since this discussion began I have heard rumors that Goodman will be selling the dice on his site. The buzz is that Goodman will sell them for a bit less, though I’ve heard no numbers. He may not even sell full sets just the additional dice.
    If I remember correctly you can’t even buy a full set of the Zocchi dice that has all of the ones “needed” (d3,d5,d7,d14,d24… I think) for DCC. I’m pretty sure that 12pc $30 sets have some of them(d3 & d14?), but not all. I think the remaining dice for DCC have to be purchased individually. So this could raise or lower the initial cost of the game depending on how chose to handle the dice situation.
    You could get by using one of your sets and then purchasing the remaining 5(?) Zocchi dice for $5.50 each. But if you are like a lot of us and you prefer to use a uniform set of dice (you know how gamer OCD is), then you would pay $30+ for the 12 pc set and an additional $5.50 for the remaining 3 dice.
    I’ve only done a cursory check on all of this and it is completely possible that I missed something on the site, but from what I saw it would be the $34.99 for the book and then whatever initial costs you incur due to the dice.
    Now if they include a chart with alternatives using the dice you already own, that would be a smart move on their part.
    I still don’t want the game, but either way I wish them the best of luck with it and hope everyone has fun. Me, I’m sticking with my 2e and Pathfinder.

    BTW Greywulf, it was not my intention to use your comments as my soapbox. I’ve just seen a lot of negativity and infighting over the dice and I was just trying to explain the reasoning behind the decision. As I see it anyway, I obviously can’t speak for everyone.
    I’m sure there are people who won’t play DCC and are criticizing it just because of the dice. Those same people do that with everything, so that should come as no surprise. They think they are the only authorities on gaming and that the rest of us should not only follow their lead but do as they say. So seeing “those people” bitch and moan about the dice is just par for the course.
    I’m speaking from the perspective of those who looked at what was offered, weighed the pros and cons and then decided it just wasn’t worth the cost. There are too many books that I want for systems I am already playing, that I could buy with that money.

    1. @Geek Gazette, I appreciate your input, as ever. Feel free to use as big a soapbox as you want :)

      My own take is that this is a game which feels retro, without being yet another clone. It takes the ethos of early D&D, adds in the lightest sprinkling of Third Edition OGL rules and a few unique twists of its own. I applaud it because it’s not trying to be Holmes or Moldvay but is it’s own beast entirely. I like that.

      What I don’t understand is the surfeit of grognards (is that the collective term? If not, it should be) who are moaning about this in much the same way they complain about Fourth Edition D&D. Because it’s not come from their back yard, it’s worthy of mockery and nothing more. There’s no pleasing some folks, I guess :)

  7. I think it goes without saying that people have the right to make up their own mind about things. Everyone has a sticking point or personal preference. It will be interesting to see what actually happens to this game after the beta testing. If it’s not as popular as hoped for how much is Goodman willing to change?

    Also, I just noticed that my Zocchi D-Total die does all the dice except for d14 and it’s $20. So there’s that option. ;-)

  8. I wonder how many 4e or Pathfinder players have NOT spent $70 on gaming equipment?

    Even if Goodman/Gamescience designed DCC intentionally to sell wacky dice, if the game was good enough, I’d consider buying it.

    The many hours of entertainment we get from rpgs means we pay pennies per hour for them. Few think much of spending $60 for video games with 20 hours of play in them…

        1. Oh, that’s a good idea. You could pro-rate it by game used, possibly on an amortization schedule. So take the dollar that I paid for my d20. I bought that for an M&M game around 2004 (Before 2nd edition came out but not too much before). Assuming a value of 25% the total value the first year and then decreasing around 23% each following year (25%, 19.25%, 14.8%, etc) gets us about ten years worth of active value out of my d20. I’ve been playing with my Pathfinder group since (looks up blog post) early 2010 prior to which I played M&M almost exclusively except for the occassional Convention game and even some of those were M&M.

          So 25+19.25+14.8+11.4+8.8+6.7 ≈ 86 cents of M&M
          and 5.2 + 4.0 ≈ 9 cents of Pathfinder with approximately 5 cents left for whatever game I’m playing over the next 2 years.

  9. Exactly nothing of which has to do with the incontrovertible fact that if you want a nice new matching set of gamescience zocchihedrons to play DCC you WILL be out 30+ dollars.

    On the other hand – if I want a nice new matching set of standard dice for .. say Hackmaster advanced or pathfinder I would be out about 6 bucks.

    Sorry but I know which games me and my group will be playing !

    My pathfinder DM buys the players each a new set of dice when he starts a new Pathfinder adventure path – Just so we have dice that are unique to the character we will be playing – color and style are our choice – we can piece them together from the bins at the local FLGS or get a packaged set of 6… to the tune of about 6 dollars per person – with 4 players in the group that means he spends 24 dollars on us about every 12-14 months. Cant IMAGINE him ponying up 180 dollars !!!!!! (4×30).

    Needless to say, If DCC used standard dive (wothout and gyrations of game slowing mental gumnastics to get the numbers from other methods, thanks very much) we may have been interested in trying it – generally at least one of our players will DM a different system or campaign during the adventure path campaign just to give the DM a break from behind the screen – and without the funky dice design decision DCC would have been in the running as our alternate system…. not now though.

  10. @ enemymouse

    Well, you never know. If enough people are turned off by the dice factor maybe they’ll change things. It certainly can’t be argued that they NEED to have that many flavors. It seems that this game’s gimmick is to be outrageous, IMHO.

    Quick shout out for Hackmaster. I’m very interested in that one for sure. (“standard dive” “wothout mental gumnastics” ;-) )

  11. i know, i know – plenty of typos… in my defence my keyboard is old and the letters are worn.

    SHOULD read (of course):
    “standard dice” and “without mental gymnastics” LOL

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