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"Pop-A-Matic Dice Roller - Save Figures and Models!" Topic

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Ditto Tango 2 101 Apr 2008 10:44 a.m. PST

Some of you who were kiddies or had them in the early 70s may remember a game called trouble, which was a parchesi sort of game on a plastic board that featured a clear plastic bubble with a metal bottom that you'd press and the single die inside would pop up and roll. It was called Pop-a-Matic Trouble.

It would be really neat if you could come up with something similar with multiple dice you could put in yourself. I suppose it wouldn't work with systems that use the buckets of dice approach (like the Peter Pig ironclad rules, Hammerin' Iron which we play), but with a max of 4 or 5 dice, it might.

I was thinking of a way to save some of the nice terrain set ups where at critical moments, a rolling dice smashes through a line of troops, moves a house that is a critical LOS blocker, or even rolls off the table. I have a nice 8 inch square wood box I use as a dice roller, but the pop-a-matic thing would be way cool, especially if you could somehow quickly add/remove dice to it…

companycmd01 Apr 2008 10:57 a.m. PST

There's no need to look any further. Goto hardware store. See clear plastic keepers with lids for screws and nuts and bolts.

Put dice in each cubby hole. Close lid. Shake container to roll dice.

Cost usually $1 USD

pphalen01 Apr 2008 11:00 a.m. PST

Get a self contained 2x2 plastic containter. Add multiples of 6mm dice in vasious colors. one red, two blue, three green, 4 brown, 5 purple, 6 black, etc. up to how many max you would need for the game, plus the realization that you can "add colors" to get to the totals needed.

So, the example above could handle up to 21 total dice, and any combination in between.

adub7401 Apr 2008 11:49 a.m. PST

Or… Go to a grocery store and buy a jar of peanut butter. Feed family peanut butter sandwiches until entire container expended. Wash. Insert dice, close lid, shake when needed. Open lid and replace dice if different dice required. If you have the cash, buy more then one jar of peanut butter if more then one sets of dice (i.e. tank vs. tank, tank vs. infantry) are required for game. Expert gamers have even been known to print out a QRS for the dice, cut it out, and paste it on the lid.


Ditto Tango 2 101 Apr 2008 12:38 p.m. PST

Good stuff, but really, guys, have you not ever experienced the joy of pressing the pop-a-matic bubble and the click-KLUNK-rattle it makes?

I haven't touched the game since 72 or 3, but I seem to recall it was strangely satisfying to do.

Any of the very good alternate methods described above would certainly work, but the peanut butter jar can roll across the table, etc. With pop-a-matic, it would just be safely sitting there, to be pressed. grin



tima113 Supporting Member of TMP01 Apr 2008 12:45 p.m. PST

My wife still has a game of trouble in the house, but if I tried to take the pop-o-matic there could be a terrible incident in my future.

Doctor Bedlam01 Apr 2008 1:19 p.m. PST

…or, just learn how to roll dice. I haven't put a die anywhere I haven't meant to in years.

Zagloba01 Apr 2008 2:03 p.m. PST

I saw a pop-a-matic bubble available separately in a local parent-teacher store. The bottom looked like it was held on by screws, so you could probably add your own dice. So check those types of places.


mweaver01 Apr 2008 2:10 p.m. PST

I loved my pop-o-matic.

adub7401 Apr 2008 2:34 p.m. PST

Silly as it is, it makes better sense then dice towers. And you could put a little chip in it that would make cool sounds when you popped it--like machine guns and cannons and dive bombers and stuff.

adub7401 Apr 2008 2:36 p.m. PST

But wasn't there some issue with its randomness? Some issue about it returning the same result too often (i.e. the die didn't roll us much as hop up and down).

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP01 Apr 2008 2:59 p.m. PST

I have a ox full of little plastic organizers and I always build shaker boxes whenever I run a game.

Mark "Extra Crispy" Severin
Owner, Scale Creep Miniatures

Check out the new rules directory at

pphalen01 Apr 2008 3:01 p.m. PST

I play the "new" version of trouble with my kids ALL OF THE FREAKING TIME!

Certainly, seems like sixes don't come up very often, but that might just be sour grapes.

pphalen01 Apr 2008 3:02 p.m. PST

RE: Tim:

You want a freaking pop-o-mating, just buy the game and use a reciprocal saw and extract the freaking thing!

pphalen01 Apr 2008 3:02 p.m. PST

make that "pop-o-matic"

Not sure what dad is doing "mating" again…

mweaver01 Apr 2008 3:58 p.m. PST

pop-o-mating… oh, dear.

Steve Hazuka01 Apr 2008 5:20 p.m. PST

My friend put a 20 sided die in one he had from one of those board games. He used it when we played D&D. It worked great. They actually open up easily if you can get ahold of one.

Steve Hazuka01 Apr 2008 5:22 p.m. PST


found one

Steve Hazuka01 Apr 2008 5:23 p.m. PST

oops it's a wooden dice shaker.

raducci01 Apr 2008 7:16 p.m. PST

Tim I applaud your plea to use advanced technology and drag wargaming into the new millienium. The pop a matic is cutting edge, sure.
However apart from the difficulty many of our elderly colleagues may have in adapting to this state of the art dice rolling I would also say it cuts out the tactile and viceral experience of using the hands God gave us for the express purpose of rolling dice.

Personal logo Stosstruppen Supporting Member of TMP01 Apr 2008 9:21 p.m. PST

and throwing them out the door when they repeatedly come up with poor numbers at critical times

Randall01 Apr 2008 10:13 p.m. PST

This is an interesting idea to be sure. I wonder why you can't get the pop-o-matic separately? A quick search online revealed this "automatic dice roller" (though it's not clear to me how it works--it looks like it might spin/tumble the dice):


I'm still searching for true pop-o-matics, though.

Ah, here's a keychain version (don't know how useful it would be):

How did the pop-o-matic work, anyway? I assume the "popping" was created by a convex metal or plastic plate. I don't have one in front of me that I can look at/take apart.

I love the idea of multiple pop-o-matics with replaceable dice though….

Robin Bobcat02 Apr 2008 3:15 a.m. PST

Actually, if you want the really easy version, go to a supermarket, and buy one of those cheap little capsule toys. Leave the toy on top of the vending machine for whatever kid happens along. He'll be thrilled. The capsule, however, can hold a couple dice easily. You can add a patch of felt in the bottom to help deaden the rattle, but it works nicely.

pphalen02 Apr 2008 5:21 a.m. PST

You can add a patch of felt in the bottom to help deaden the rattle, but it works nicely.

The rattle is part of the thrill of rolling!
Having people bowl over your figures on the table, not so much…

captain arjun Fezian02 Apr 2008 8:14 a.m. PST

I made one using half a Christmas-decoration transparent plastic globe thingy glued over a round wooden base. Put two black dice and one white one inside so you could have results for 1d6, 2d6, and 3d6.

Problem was we had a tendency to slam the thing onto the table too hard…

Sane Max02 Apr 2008 10:54 a.m. PST

I made a set of 'TravelHulk' by coulr-copying the board illustrations from 2nd edition Space Hulk, and mounting it on cork-board and using epic figures mounted on drawing Pins, for use on a trip to Games Day.

The Pop-O-Matic was carefully cut open, stuffed with all the dice needed and resealed. Worked a treat.

Popomatics rule.


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