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I’m not the first to have noticed that a set of common 6/6 dominoes closely mimics a 2d6 roll. It is not exact, of course, because you have the 0/0 & 1/0 tiles and also but perhaps more importantly, because when a particular combination comes up in dominoes it is used. Dice can roll the same thing over and over – it’s just unlikely that they would.

Macabre Tales has already done a great job of this for a particular setting.

This feature of use a ‘roll’ and it is used until a reshuffle has intrigued me. It means that you are certain the distribution will be fair, because the ‘dice’ cannot be improperly weighted.

Imagine if you could choose the roll for a certain situation. Most people would say they would get a 12 (or 20 or 00) every time. But where’s the fun in that? Where’s the drama? What if you could choose the roll from a limited set, and once that roll is used it is lost until some other event? This now adds a new dimension to your play. You are no longer rolling and wishing for best. Now you are choosing which activities you will succeed in, and which will fail. Given the distribution of dominoes (assuming you use a full set) you know that you will definitely get a great result (6/6) and definitely get a crap result (1/1) at some time in the session. How do you make a story out of that?

Imagine this applied to a 2d6 system like Traveller or Dungeon World or Uncharted Worlds (and many others). Exact same adds and subtracts can be applied to get a result towards a target, but instead of rolling you choose the result you want from a restricted, limited refresh set.

Here is my proposed system, one day for a play test.

  • Every player has a set of 28 dominoes and two bags (say one black and one white
  • Player puts his dominoes in [white] draw bag, shakes it up, and draws three tiles – these are the dice rolls he has to choose from. Probably best if this is kept secret from the other players just to keep the tension up
  • When it comes time for an event resolution where dice would normally roll, instead select one of the three tiles and declare that to be the roll. Normal adds and modifiers occur
  • When the GM has to roll, he draws a tile at random from his [white] bag – no choosing
  • All results are applied exactly as in the rules of choice
  • When a tile has been played it goes into the [black] discard bag, and a new tile is drawn from the [white] bag bringing the player’s hand back up to three
  • When anyone draws and declares a double-nought (0/0) all tiles are retrieved from the [black] discard bags and shuffled into the [white] draw bag
  • The 0/1 tile can be handled one of two ways: the first is that if drawn it can immediately replaced for another random tile as if it had been played. The second is that it can be added to another tile, effectively giving a one-off +1 to any roll
    • In fact, now that I think about it, there could be lots of uses for a wild card
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