Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: May 18, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971935 | Print ISBN: 9781412966702 | Online ISBN: 9781412971935| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Dice are one of the most common elements of chance in games, and one of the most ancient. Dice have been revered as divine messengers that offer a glimpse of the future, and reviled as the source of gambling, cheating, and ultimately spiritual decay. Legal and moral concerns aside, dice are, at their core, random number generators. The numbers that can be generated by a set of dice depend on the markings, faces, and number of dice thrown. The most common modern die is six-sided, with sides numbered one through six by means of painted indentations that have come to have a set, recognizable pattern of positioning. In gambling, dice are commonly thrown in pairs, but in other games, especially war games, a player may be required to throw as many as 20 dice on a turn. Dice are thought to have evolved from the astralagus, a fortune-telling device made ...