There are already plenty of gimmicky dice on the market — any gaming show you’ll ever go to will have booths filled with as many kinds as you’d like — but the SnapDice Kickstarter is one of the rare times anyone has come up with a way that may actually be better.
The product itself is actually more like a dice platform, since both the tray and the stainless steel dice have to work together. You throw your dice against the wood, they hit the back of the tray, and then snap into place when they hit the magnets embedded in the wood. It’s a strange effect you have to see to really appreciate.
The company claims that the rolls themselves are random, and they’ve gone to great lengths to make sure that’s the case.
“SnapDice are carefully engineered to keep the center of gravity within .001mm of center,” the page states. “The pips are each machined at different depths so that the result is a perfectly balanced dice with completely random rolling results.”
They’ve even provided the math:
D = X - sqrt((Q^2 - 2*Q*X)*Z*N + X^2*N^2)/N where X is half of the dice width, D is the depth of the dependent holes (which are to be optimized), Q is the independent hole depth, Z is the number of independent holes on the dice & N the number of dependent holes on the dice.
And this has been tested, right?
“Yes, we rolled the dice thousands of times to test them and recorded the results,” Mark Baker, co-founder of SnapDice, told Polygon. “The numbers were pretty even from the beginning but as we continued rolling they got closer and closer, which is exactly what should happen if they are balanced right and truly random.” He didn’t have the data to provide to us, but he planned to do it again with an even larger sample size to prove to the community that they work.
“The math was put together by an engineer who we partnered with to help us design these,” he continued. “By removing the exact same amount of mass from each side of the dice, we are able to ensure that the center of gravity of each dice is nearly dead center. Plus, we are using a [Computer Numerical Control] process that allows us to be very accurate in taking the CAD designs and making it into a real, tangible balanced dice.”
The pledge calculator allows you to put together how you’d like your set designed, from size and type of wood to how many dice you’d like to buy with it. Be warned that things can get expensive quickly, and the polyhedral dice won’t be as well-balanced as the six-sided design. The company has also staggered the expected delivery dates with numbered batches, which means the earlier you order, the earlier you should get your system.
This is a pretty neat idea, and as of this writing the Kickstarter has raised $14,675 out of a $75,000 goal.