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A Dice Story/By Mary Hickey

Here is another quiz, designed specifically for people who like to change dice during live games, but it can apply with a few modifications for those who have issues with online dice also. The dice changer may be considered to be a baby step ahead of a mere whiner, since according to his (rather dim?) lights, he’s trying to do something about the problem. instead of just grousing about it.

Dear Dice Changer:

I don’t mind your asking to change dice, as long as it’s not during a game. I know James Bond did that once in Octopussy, but around here, it’s not a “player’s privilege” as he asserted. But though I always agree, with more than a little bemusement, to throw all the dice together and select new ones after as many games as you feel the urge, I have a few questions regarding the purpose of this ritual. Please bear with a skeptic for just a few minutes, and answer me these questions about dice and memory, if you can and would:

When you change dice, if you get at least one of your old dice back, does it remember how you were rolling? Does it tell the other one?

If your opponent gets both your dice, can your dice change backfire because they remember that you were due for some good rolls, and give them to him instead?

What exactly do the dice remember, anyway? That you haven’t rolled a 3 for a long time, or that you haven’t hit a shot in forever?

Perhaps they just remember in a general way that you haven’t had a joker for quite awhile. And speaking of jokers, how do the dice decide what a joker is? When they figure out what you need, do they take into account whether you will play it correctly? How do they know this?

How do the dice decide what is a good enough roll to make up for your backlog of bad luck? How well do they evaluate the current position? How many ply? Cubeful or cubeless? Do they take your error rate and/or your opponent’s into consideration? How about the match score?

If I change the color of my dice on one of the servers that permits this, will it change my on-line luck in the same way a dice change does with real dice?

If my opponent and I take a break for lunch, then come back, will the dice still remember whatever they remember? What if it’s tomorrow? Or next week?

What if I loan my board to someone else? Will the dice remember that I’m “due”, but give the good rolls I deserve to whichever of the borrowers gets the dice I was using? What happens if each of the players gets one of those dice? And what happens if one of them is “due” when they return it?

Thank you for your time and attention, and please don’t think that I harbor any ill-will toward you over this matter. I only ask these questions in the spirit of free inquiry, and my ceaseless quest for enlightenment in this present darkness. In fact, I sincerely hope we’ll be playing backgammon again, the sooner and more often the better!