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"What are Average Dice" Topic

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7,453 hits since 20 Nov 2009
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Fred Ehlers Inactive Member20 Nov 2009 9:15 a.m. PST

I have gamed for over 40 years and have never heard of Average Dice. A rule set I found on my computer that I don't remember downloading (a whole different senior story) titled The Natives are Restless Tonight… calls for the use of 2 Average Dice. Any idea what they are?

Plynkes Inactive Member20 Nov 2009 9:19 a.m. PST

They are D6s but with different numbers on the faces. 2, 3, 3, 4, 4, 5; if memory serves.

I own some, because some system or other I bought needed them, I think it was a Vietnam game. Never seen them used for anything else, or found a use for them since.

Grizwald Inactive Member20 Nov 2009 9:20 a.m. PST

"I have gamed for over 40 years and have never heard of Average Dice."

You surprise me. Never played any WRG rules then?

Standard "cubic" dice (i.e. with 6 faces). Faces numbered: 2, 3, 3, 4, 4, 5.
Available here:

Personal logo Swampster Supporting Member of TMP20 Nov 2009 9:20 a.m. PST

6 sided dice, with sides numbered 2, 3, 3, 4, 4, 5. Gives less of a spread.
Can modify a standard dice by painting out 2 dots on a 6 and adding two dots to a 1.

Hastati Inactive Member20 Nov 2009 9:21 a.m. PST

Average dice are nothing special.

Fred Ehlers Inactive Member20 Nov 2009 9:26 a.m. PST


But lets be more speedy next time I have a question. That took over 4 minutes to get the answer. :-)

If I have played WRG I don't remember that either.
Thanks again.

Sysiphus Inactive Member20 Nov 2009 9:31 a.m. PST

Gush's Renaissance rules required them; important for Gendarmes and such; "…axe, mace, two-handed cutting weapon.." grin

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian20 Nov 2009 9:42 a.m. PST

Playthings of the Devil!

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP20 Nov 2009 10:03 a.m. PST

I have gamed for over 40 years and have never heard of Average Dice

Blimey !

How is that possible ?

They seemed compulsory for just about every ruleset I bought in the seventies/early eighties.

Opposite sides still add up to 7 but extremes of 1 and 6 are removed. Faces numbered : 2 3 3 4 4 5

Ping Pong20 Nov 2009 10:07 a.m. PST

I always thought Average Dice was a weird term.

doc mcb Inactive Member20 Nov 2009 10:09 a.m. PST

I believe LOOSE FILES AND AMERICAN SCRAMBLE uses them for some troop types' movement -- Hessians, maybe.

I still have mine from WRG days.

Personal logo Doctor X Supporting Member of TMP20 Nov 2009 10:19 a.m. PST

Average dice are a throwback to older rules sets. I can't recall seeing them used in anything that wasn't publsihed 25-30+ years ago but I might be wrong.

dmclellan Inactive Member20 Nov 2009 10:49 a.m. PST

I can't recall seeing them used in anything that wasn't published 25-30+ years ago

The only recent game I've seen use them is Beneath the Lily Banner (early 1700's rule set). And it only uses them to determine quality ratings for commanders in the game.

I'm not sure why they chose to use averaging dice. A D6 would do if you made the four results occurring on 1, 2-3, 4-5, 6.

Grizwald Inactive Member20 Nov 2009 11:19 a.m. PST

"I'm not sure why they chose to use averaging dice. A D6 would do if you made the four results occurring on 1, 2-3, 4-5, 6."

In the old WRG Ancients rules you rolled 2 average dice, one plus, one minus, to get a result between -3 and +3 with the middling results more likely.

I've also seen average dice used in randomised movement systems e.g. move nD6 inches, but you use nDAv for regulars and nD6 for irregulars.

RudyNelson20 Nov 2009 12:44 p.m. PST

Back in WRG Ancients this made the classification as Regular important. For regular troops you used Average dice and for Untrained irregular troops you used normal d6.

This made combat results among regular troops steady while the performance of irregular troops could erratic.

A concept that has been lost by all the new game designers rushing to use only norla d6.

I can imagine the effects of a regular classification for DBA (or Big Battles version)and the affects on combat.

vtsaogames Inactive Member20 Nov 2009 1:01 p.m. PST

Nice idea, Rudy.

The recent 'Twilight of the Sun-King' Marlburian rules use only average dice.

Martian Root Canal20 Nov 2009 1:17 p.m. PST

My dice always seem to roll average.

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP20 Nov 2009 1:17 p.m. PST

Ah, paragons of my youth. I was pleased to see them called for in UtLB.

RavenscraftCybernetics Inactive Member20 Nov 2009 2:35 p.m. PST

damned hard to roll a 8 with

Last Hussar20 Nov 2009 3:54 p.m. PST

Troops Weapons and Tactics use them. As Mike said sometime 2 were rolled one up, one down- and they were often sold in pair with one red, one green.

I like them, because they do what they say- you don't get those extremes. More games should use them- d6 are fine for cossacks and hussars, but dragoons should be a bit more dependable! Games where dice are added together may benefit from some units being allowed to use them (as opposed to games where say 6=2 hits, 4,5 = 1 hit). Something (first example in my head) Legions in Warmaster for command rolls.

Wonder if anyone ever experimented with d8, removing 7 and 8 for repeating 3 and 4

CeruLucifus20 Nov 2009 3:59 p.m. PST

I remember back in the early 80s my hobby store owner telling me about some new RPG that used an Average Die. The conversation went like this:

Owner: And for this test, it's a 2-5 results table.

Customer: Oh, D4+1, eh? How odd, why don't they just number the chart 1-4 and roll a D4 straight?

O: No, this is an Average Die.

C: Oh, got it, a pair of dice for a bell curve distribution. But 2-5, what is that, flip a coin for a D2 and add it to a D3 which is really a D6 over 2 rounded up? Goofy and awkward, I wonder what they were thinking?

O: No, this is an AVERAGE DIE. I have them right here for sale next to the game book. You see, it's a D6 but numbered 2,3,3,4,4,5.

C: You're kidding. I have a huge box of dice at home but to play THIS game I have to buy different dice just to play it and as silly as that sounds, it's even worse because they look just like my other dice but roll different so I'm going to get them mixed up all the time?

O: I guess the designers didn't think of that.

C: This RPG isn't selling that well, is it?

O: Actually, no, it's not.

Wolfshanza20 Nov 2009 4:43 p.m. PST

My dice are usually sub average :(

Bunkermeister Supporting Member of TMP20 Nov 2009 9:31 p.m. PST

My friend Jim used them for at least a year when playing our rules set. A one and a six are important hit locations.

He is no longer allowed to bring his own dice to the game.

Mike "Bunkermeister" Creek

Personal logo mmitchell Sponsoring Member of TMP Inactive Member21 Nov 2009 8:43 a.m. PST

I'd seen them before and had no idea that's what they were called. Heck, I think I even played a game with them once, and still had no idea… maybe I shouldn't drink so much whiskey while gaming?

RudyNelson21 Nov 2009 8:56 a.m. PST

BVack in the 1970s they were distinguished from regular d6 by having numbers and not pips. Back then regular d6 only had pips and specialty dice had numbers.

In several systems used used one normally red for the negative dice and one green for the positvie dice.

Now with regular d6 having numbers too, the average dice can often be mixed with average dice. I have had opponents do this in some DBA games, By accident as they brought up the fact that the game had lasted longer because he had not yet rolled a 6! We then checked the dice and he had the wrong set.

gweirda Inactive Member21 Nov 2009 10:01 a.m. PST

"…maybe I shouldn't drink so much whiskey…"

For shame! -I wondered why I felt uneasy an hour ago…thoughts like this roaming the ether are quite upsetting, you know: you should be more careful in the future.

vtsaogames Inactive Member21 Nov 2009 10:18 a.m. PST

Yeah, I make of point of having my regular D6 with pips and my average dice with numbers so we don't mix 'em up.

RedAce Inactive Member14 Dec 2009 4:22 p.m. PST

Once tried playing Ludo with 'em. Booooooooring.

Sobieski Inactive Member15 Nov 2014 5:18 p.m. PST

I used them for years. They were a pretty good idea, given the rules we used to fight by. Miss 'em.

Pontius25 Jun 2015 2:32 a.m. PST

I have a set for use with the old Newbury Napoleonic rules (which I probably haven't used since the mid 80s). If I remember rightly regular troops used average dice for reaction tests as they were less likely to produce extreme results, while irregulars used normal dice.

Warspite111 Aug 2017 9:12 p.m. PST

Average dice are still alive and kicking but seem more popular in the UK.

They are still available on Amazon and you can pick them up at most wargame shows from dice dealers.


Last Hussar14 Jan 2018 2:30 p.m. PST

They're nothing special.

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