I will be recording a special episode of the Armchair Dragoons Mentioned in Dispatches podcast in the very near future where we will discuss dice in gaming. At the risk of looking like a poser (because I know I am far from a true dice fanatic) I’m posting my dice collection for reference during the episode – and (hopefully) for your viewing pleasure.
The 2021 RockyMountianNavy Dice Collection
Role Playing Games
I’ll Take My Chances
Since 2d6 is so common in wargaming, it is helpful to understand the odds when rolling. Marc Miller in the rules for the Traveller 5 RPG goes way into depth on the the topic with an entire appendix, The Dice Tables.
As quick as many people are to dismiss the Traveller 5 RPG (“too complex” is a very common remark) there is lots of good design inspiration within what is admittedly more a toolkit than a simple set of rules. One dice use that has inspired me elsewhere is Flux where you use 2d6 to create results from -5 to +5. Useful for a random modifier? Hmm….
My dice collection shown above EXCLUDES dice that come in the many games sitting on my shelf. Within those many boxes I can find everything from the standard d6 to d10 and even the occasional d20. I also have specialized dice like the Battle Dice in the Commands & Colors series from GMT Games, Compass Games, or Days of Wonder. There is also the specialty dice found in the Birth of America/Europe series from Academy Games. Heck, even the latest Conflict of Heroes game from Academy Games, Storms of Steel, uses a specially marked d10. Even Root (Leder Games) has a special combat die.
Which raises an interesting question I hope we dig into during the episode; What is the best use of dice in a wargame? The hobby started with the d6. Once RPGs came along the d20 became popular which actually led to the availability of polyhedral die like the d10 (where 2d10 can actually make a d100). Some wargames replace dice with cards (for example see Tank Duel! from GMT Games) while others make the d6 the centerpiece of the game (Table Battles from Hollandspiele). Lowered manufacturing costs also allows publishers to enable designers to use special dice (Commands & Colors, etc). What do you think the future of dice are in wargaming?
It’s not the best organized but it is MY collection. Here are a few ‘shelfie’ photos of my wargame / boardgame collection. As a general rule I do not ‘display’ games on the main levels of the house. This is a condition I set for myself; I don’t want to take space away from Mrs. RMN and her cherished displays (her china cabinet is very nice) or displace family pictures or the like. We also moved our library to the main floor so the books are prominently displayed.
I keep games in four locations; basement, family room, loft, and storage. You will be able to tell that games have to share space with our family’s plastic model hobby as well as toy storage; although my boys area older Mrs. RMN tutors younger students so we keep the toys on hand to encourage creative play for them.
Like many gamers I have too many games I am challenged for storage. As you will quickly see, I need to double-stack many games to get them onto my allotted shelf space.
Let’s start with the WARGAMES!
At this point the collection starts to transition from wargames into boardgames….
Although most games are kept in the basement we do keep some upstairs. Most of these titles are used by Mrs. RMN and her students. We also keep one or two ‘hot’ family titles on hand here too.
Not shown is the medium cube box full of my Star Fleet Battles / Federation & Empire collection. Also not shown are several bookshelves of RPG’s and wargaming periodicals (from back when that was a thing).
A comment on the order of games; over the years I tried several different variations but finally settled on a scheme for my wargames of alphabetical by publisher then in order by stock number. I previously used a ‘by timeperiod’ arrangement but found it lacking. The order I have keeps the various publisher titles together (I find it easier to find a game that way) and then the stock number order shows a form of ‘history’ of my hobby. My boardgames are arranged in a somewhat random manner with Mrs. RMN’s student games earning a further set-aside so she (or her student) can quickly pick one when it’s needed.
The obligatory question that usually comes at this point is, “Are you going to get rid of anything/” Well, I have a few items noted as ‘For Trade’ in my BGG collection. This year I tried to use the BG Stats app to better track my plays across my entire collection. Maybe I will do some data analysis at the end of the year to try to make some ‘data driven’ decisions.