RPGaDay: Dice, virtual dice, diceless or other

It is August and they are having another RPGaDay event. This will be my second year participating. This year, the event is hosted by BrigadeCon.

RPGaDay 2016

The first question is “Do you prefer to use real dice, a dice application or program, or use a diceless system?”

I’m an eclectic gamer and I enjoy using a variety of tools. I prefer real dice over digital dice applications. I’ll play either dice or diceless games. I enjoy playing rpgs which uses cards.

I prefer real dice over digital dice applications due to the tactical aspect. It’s easier to recognize something when you can touch it and manipulate it. It also helps in games where you give your dice to someone when you help them. I find it is a powerful psychological effect which you can’t quite capture in the virtual environment. In a diceless game, you can capture such effect by having tokens to represent your resources which you collect, spend, and give.

I prefer cards over dice because cards have memory while dice doesn’t. What is memory? In a deck of cards, if you play the 7 of diamonds then the deck remembers that there no more 7 of diamonds until you reshuffle it back in. While dice, you don’t have such memory, if you roll a 5 of a d6 then next time you roll, you can still get that 5. There’s no probability change when you have the same roll with same modifiers.

Another aspect of cards which I enjoy is you can establish strategy when you have a hand of cards. You have a variety of options available. You can attempt to plan a bit ahead. You get greater agency with a hand of cards then with merely rolling dice. You basically get given a random list of options which you decide which ones to use.

In the end, all the various tools are valid and fun to play with. What do you prefer? Why do you prefer it?


One thought on “RPGaDay: Dice, virtual dice, diceless or other

  1. Hey, Eric,
    Interesting comments about digital dice, and I totally agree with you about the use of cards and memory. That said, the problem I have with games that use cards are the ones that require multiple decks. And I don’t use real Tarot decks for games, so… 🙂


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