December 4th is National Dice Day, a chance for us to take a break from the busy holiday season and settle down to a fun game of chance. Dice most likely originated in ancient Asia, long before recorded history. The oldest known pair was excavated in south-eastern Iran at the Burnt City and are belieed to have been part of a 5000 year old backgammon set. Early dice were made from materials like bone, ivory, and wood. They were a favorite among gambling Greeks and Romans, and a favorite pasttime for knights and ladies alike during the Middle Ages in France. Today they are most commonly used for gambling games like craps and family-friendly tabletop games.
When I was really little my family went through a phase where we were obsessed with Yahtzee. I can barely remember it now, but I have sort of hazy recollections of us all sitting on the kitchen floor (the best place in our old house for dice rolling!), hoping for our chance to yell “yahtzee!”. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure my mom was the most successful player. I haven’t played many dice games since then, other than board games like Chutes and Ladders or Monopoly.
To celebrate National Dice Day Chris and I decided to buy Yahtzee while we were out running errands. When I mentioned possibly getting the game for today’s celebration Chris was really excited and said he’s always thought it was a lot of fun. We were pleased to find it on sale at Target, which was great considering the small fortune we’ve spent at home improvement stores over the past few days. Once we returned home we spent several hours replacing the facing around our fireplace — a project we’d thought would go a lot faster than it did. Between finishing off the slate and assembling our new mantel we took a break to play Yahtzee. Just as I expected, Chris slaughtered me with 220 points vs. my 190. Neither of us got a “yahtzee”. I feel like Yahtzee would be a very dangerous game to play with a statistician since it does require you to make decisions regarding which category it would be best to allocate your dice to. After Yahtzee we used our new dice to play a quick game of true dice, also known as 10,000 dice. Then, it was back to work. But at least we got a nice little break to play a game and boost Chris’s ego since he love’s kicking my ass every time we play anything!
That’s okay… maybe tomorrow I will learn some stealth ninja skills to make him pay for his many victory dances — tomorrow is International Ninja Day!