Friday, July 15, 2011

Introducing: the BOX O' DEATH™

I can't take credit for this idea; someone offhandedly referred to a box of death on one of the Battletech blogs I follow (Giant Battling Robots or Paint It Pink; I can't remember), and a bit of Google-fu led me to a description on one of the BT message boards.

Basically, the idea is to save time when you need to roll a whole bunch of dice (not to mention prevent those suckers from flying all over the place, knocking down minis, rolling under the table, etc.).  Instead of making a series of single dice rolls (like when an assault 'mech fires off a dozen medium lasers at once) and tallying up the successes (usually on your fingers), you just shake the BOX O' DEATH™ and read off the results.

Since Starfleet Wars spaceships each get ten percentile die rolls for their Close-In Defense Systems, which translates into a lot of dice rolling, I decided to make my own BOX O' DEATH™ to facilitate gameplay when I run SfW at the South Texas Mini-Con.

As you can see, I took your typical compartmentalized plastic hardware storage box and filed it with percentile dice.  I also labeled each chamber with a letter to keep everyone on the same page when it came to the order of counting die rolls (the red dot is for any "special" roll that may take place).  I plan on using the BOX O' DEATH™ for any game action that requires three or more percentile rolls.  Here are the instructions for operating the BOX O' DEATH™:
  1. Pick up BOX O' DEATH™ and shake it hard four or five times.
  2. Place BOX O' DEATH™ on a flat surface.
  3. Read each roll in alphabetical order, starting with compartment A.
  4. Blacks are always 10s, whites are always 1s.
  5. If additional die rolls are needed, repeat BOX O' DEATH™ procedure.
Hopefully, the instructions will eliminate uncertainty about which set of dice to start with, as well as speed up the game.  Not only that, but I can switch out dice for different games.  Has anyone else used something like this as a time-saver?


RavenFeast said...

We called it the "Box o' Headaches", as that was the ultimate result of 15 minutes of gaming with it. If you play games that require such a contrivance to speed up play, then find a better set of rules. :) If none are available: get a cheap laptop and download a free randomizer, or get an app for your phone. You're less likely to piss off all the surrounding tables at a game store or convention. YMMV.

Matgc said...

Perhaps it's just me, but I don't think I could go without handling the dice on my bare hands during a game, so the Box O' Death is definitely not for me...

EastwoodDC said...

1) It wasn't me, but thanks for the link. It does seem familiar tho.

2) This is brilliant!

When I roll multiple dice in Battletech, I am in the habit of reading the results in "color order" (Red first, then white, then blue) because the order of damage does make a difference sometimes. In tournament play I would write this down so my opponent can see I'm not fudging the order.

The Box'O'Death keeps the dice nicely organized, keeps them from rolling off the table, and even lets you pick them up without disturbing the result. More importantly, this probably gives the dice a better "shake" than you can get when cupping lots of dice in your hands. Very nice indeed.

I can see there might be some noise issues, but that could be reduced with a bit of felt/foam padding - tho you would need to open the lid to read results.

Thanks for the idea - I think I'm stopping by Michael's to do some Box'O'Death shopping on my way home tonight. :-)

Mo D said...

Yes, this is quite noisy

Jim said...

Nicely done!