$10k Gaming Table: Dice Not Included

Tired of playing on an old television box covered with discarded tablecloth? Ready to roll the dice on a table made of real wood rather than on some odd, discolored melamine surface the neighbors threw out in a rainstorm?

Well, for just shy of ten thousand dollars, The Sultan can be yours:

The Sultan gaming table, from http://www.geekchichq.com

I think every gamer, whether a role player or a wargamer—minis gamers are, of course, a different breed, just wanting as much flat surface as they can get, upon which they pile their meticulously crafted trees and mountains and crumbled building ruins—has dreamed of the ideal gaming table. When cost is no object, we conjure up tables with built-in counter trays, cat-proof covers for games in progress, and of course, drink holders, since never should a beverage have greater gravitational potential energy than easily soaked game equipment. People spend large sums on such frivolities as pool tables and ping pong tables, so why not a dedicated gaming table?

The people at Geek Chic understand that need, apparently, and seem to have thought of everything, including:

Two Dice rolling trays, lined in your choice of velvet and capped with pointed rubber to ensure randomness of throws. Rubber is removable to give you the option of using bay for storage.

At $9,650 delivered and installed, The Sultan isn’t for every gamer, or even for many, and at that price, I might opt to have a custom-built table tailored for my specific needs instead, but it’s good to have benchmarks, and to have proof that this dream, that all gamers share, can be made real.

(Image from Geek Chic)

Game Artifacts: The Twenty-Sided d10

Twenty sides, ten numbers.

While inventorying my game collection, I opened up a recently acquired copy of Fantasy Games Unlimited’s solitaire-friendly Star Explorer (1982) to verify the contents.

Map? Check. Countersheet? Check. Log sheets and rulebook? Check. Two six-sided dice? Check. One twenty-sided d10? Um, check?

I’ve worked with all manner of odd polyhedron in my time, from oblong d3s (which have more than three faces) to those hundred-sided “Zocchihedrons” that never quite stop rolling. But a twenty-sider that serves as a d10? New one by me. Silly me—I’ve always used a ten-sided die for a one to ten random distribution.

The typical twenty-sided die, in the shape of an icosahedron, caries the numbers one through twenty, one number per face. The twenty-sider in Star Explorer carries the numbers zero through nine, each number appearing on two faces.

The oddity of this die required special rules for its use in Star Explorer:

1.2 Game Equipment and Scale


6) Dice. Two six-sided dice and one twenty-sided die are included. The twenty-sided die is labelled 0-9 twice. When a roll of 1D10 is required by the rules, players should roll the twenty-sided die, treating a roll of 0 as a roll of 10. When a roll of 1D20 is required by the rules, players should roll the twenty-sided die and a six-sided die. If the six-sided die roll is 1, 2, or 3, the twenty-sided die is read from 1 to (1)0. If the six-sided roll is 4, 5, 6, the twenty-sided roll is read from 11 to (2)0, creating a range from one to twenty. (Players also have the option of coloring in one set of numbers on the twenty-sided die with a fine point felt-tipped marker and reading the colored numbers as 11-20, while the uncolored numbers are read 1-10.)

Ostensibly, providing a single twenty-sider (albeit with oddly numbered faces) to serve as both d10 and d20 proved less expensive than providing a separate d10 and d20. Indeed, SPI stopped providing any dice at all with their games at one point in the 1970’s, blaming the “world-wide petro-chemical shortage,” but likely owing to cost [1]. Whatever FGU’s reason, this little die provides for a great bit of rules verbiage, even if I will break out my own d20 and d10 when I play Star Explorer.

[1] Balkoski, Joseph. "The Perils of Youth: The Lighter Side of SPI." Strategy & Tactics: 128 (Origins 1989), 48-49.