ORACLE

2/21/2011

Poll Closed, Looks Like Zocchi Dice Are In... Barely

This one was closer than I had anticipated. I wanted to find out if including the use of so called 'Zocchi dice' in a game would be viewed as a good thing or as a bad game design decision. The votes are in, and it looks like those who voted "Yes, I like the idea of getting to use an array of cool, funky dice!" won... but just barely, with 24 votes (24%). While those whose voted "No, I would rather not play this type of game! Using all these dice will make the game more complicated and cost me more down the road." came in with 20 votes (20%).

I would be inclined to call this one a tie, especially with 15% of the votes being, "Zocchi dice? Who needs 'em? I will make due with the dice I have.", and 13% being, "Well, kind of... It seems like a fun idea, but I'm not thrilled about having to drop the extra cash."

Some of the comments people left were pretty interesting, and good arguments were raised on both sides of the issue. Personally, I have a soft spot for dice, and I would like to play a game that uses Zocchi dice, but only if they were implemented in a way that brought something cool to the game. If the use of these dice does not make sense or feels ham-fisted in any way then I would not be interested.

Also, if I were the game designer I would not include the use of either the d7 or the d14. The reason for this is that, as far as I can figure, there is no easy way to simulate them unless you have the actual dice. Other Zocchi dice can be simulated using a standard dice array and a bit of creativity.
An example: A d16 roll is required, and an actual d16 is not available. Simply, roll a d8 as the primary dice, and any other dice (say a d6) as the secondary. This second dice is read as odd or even, with odd representing low (1-8) and even representing high (9-16). So, if you roll an 8 and the secondary dice is an odd number you count the result as an 8. If the secondary dice is even then the result is counted as a 16.
This same technique can be applied to any other Zocchi dice, except a d7 and a d14. Even a d30 can be simulated with a d10 as the primary dice and a d6 as the secondary. In this case the d6 is rolled, with 1-2 (low) representing a result of 1-10, 3-4 (medium) representing a result of 11-20 and 5-6 (high) representing 21-30.

As you can see it would take a bit of practice to run this type of game smoothly without the required Zocchi dice, especially for new players. It is altogether possible, but there would be a bit of a learning curve, even for experienced players. Eventually, if a game requires these dice to play, the players will want to buy them instead of wrestling with the added complication of not having them. This means there is an added investment for the player, which in this age of gaming ADD, not to mention the way our global economy is at the moment, might lead potential gamers to decide it might not be worth it in the end.

Sorcery & Super Science! is out now, and Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG will probably be released this year. Both games use Zocchi dice. I am very interested to see what people think about these games, especially after playing them for an extended amount of time. It will be interesting to see if folks will tend to house-rule the use of Zocchi dice out of the game, or if the trend will be to stick to the rules as written.
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