National Dice Day
National Dice Day is a holiday that falls on December 4th annually and is a day on which people can pay homage to the history and importance of dice in gaming. Dice are tools that have been used for gambling and gaming since ancient times.
However, they are something few people think much about. Fortunately, on this holiday, everyone can change that fact and celebrate this day by breaking out their lucky pair of dice or playing a game that requires dice.
The History of Dice
If you asked most people how long dice have been around, they probably wouldn’t be able to tell you. When asked, most people give a vague estimate of this tool’s age—with some estimates being as short as only a few decades, while others are around a hundred years.
Most people would be surprised to learn that dice are almost as old as civilization itself. They date back to 5,000 BCE in ancient Iran. In ancient Sumeria, around 2,600 BCE, the pyramid-shaped d4 die was invented and played in the Royal Game of Ur.
It wouldn’t be until 2,000 BCE that the first cubical dice would be made in ancient Egypt. Approximately 700 years later, knucklebones—primitive dice made from the knuckle bones of animals—were used. The oldest d20 die was made in ancient Egypt during the Ptolemaic period, or about 300 BCE. Around the same time, a 14-sided die was being used by the Chinese.
In 150 BCE in Egypt, the d12 was being used. Other types of dice that were invented throughout history include 8-sided poker dice during the 19th century, 10-sided dice patented in 1906, plastic d20s patented by the Tokyo-Shibaura Electric Co. in the 1950s, and complete sets of polyhedral dice sold with Dungeons & Dragons games in 1974.
Some Random Facts on Dice
Want to know a few random facts about dice? We’ve collected quite a few of them and would like to share some of our favorites with anyone celebrating this holiday.
- Dice were originally made from the ankle bones of animals, hence the term “rolling the bones.”
- The dots on the dice are known as pips.
- Some die shapes used in some games include pentagonal, octahedron, dodecahedron, and icosahedron dice.
- Seven is the most common number when rolling two six-sided dice.
Observing National Dice Day
National Dice Day can be observed by playing games that require dice. These games include backgammon, dice ball, craps, crown and anchor, midnight, pig, drop dead, dice chess, Farkle, zombie dice, Yahtzee, Sic Bo, and, of course, Dungeons & Dragons. You can also take the time to add new dice to your collection and post pictures of them on your social media using the hashtag #NationalDiceDay.