# How do you roll dice in space? [closed]

Let's imagine you get to go to International Space Station and you like to roll dice. But they don't stop flying around the station because you're in space where gravity is not high enough. How can this problem be solved?

• Could you clarify whether this is an actual problem you're trying to solve or a pure hypothetical? – wax eagle Feb 3 '16 at 13:59
• Seems hypothetical, but interestingly hypothetical -- once. – Zeiss Ikon Feb 3 '16 at 14:11
• @ZeissIkon yes. But without a ton of information about what's available on the ISS, what's reasonable etc, it's just a hypothetical about dice in space with little actual relevance to RPGs beyond that it's about dice. Closing as too broad. – wax eagle Feb 3 '16 at 14:20
• @eirikdaude I don't think it has quite enough substance to be worthy of a migration. – wax eagle Feb 3 '16 at 15:19
• "space where gravity is not high enough" -- You have a fundimental misundrstanding of gravity. Weightless aboard the ISS is caused by being in a state of perpetual free-fall, just that you're orbiting at a specific velocity and height that you never actually hit the earth you are falling towards. Since the dice are falling at the same rate you are, they appear weightless as well. So, I'd st up high-speed camera attached to a pressure sensor strapped to the "table" Then throw the dice at the pad. The camera would catch the value of the dice as they hit. The question isn't about RPGs at all. – J. A. Streich Feb 4 '16 at 4:33

You use computers instead of dice.

Computers have pretty good pseudo-random number generators these days (assuming you're not using them for cryptographic purposes). I count at least a dozen free dice apps on the Android app store; I'd imagine there are at least a dozen on the Apple app store as well. It's also not very hard to write your own (less than 100 lines of code). Or if you want true randomness and have Internet access, there are services like random.org that sample atmospheric noise or use similar processes to provide actual random numbers.

If you're on the space station and there are no computers available, you probably have higher priorities than playing RPGs.

• But you might want to play Craps or Yahtzee. – KorvinStarmast Feb 3 '16 at 15:32
• @KorvinStarmast If the only aspect of the dice that matters is the numbers that come up then there's no reason you can't use a random number generator (you might not want to, but that's a personal problem). Only games that involve stacking the dice or where their physical position is relevant can't be handled with RNG. – Oblivious Sage Feb 3 '16 at 16:03
• I am aware of that, the contrast offered was that of RPG versus any other game that uses dice. For craps and yahtzee, the dice are the game. In an RPG, the dice are a tool to enable the game. – KorvinStarmast Feb 3 '16 at 16:33
• @KorvinStarmast You can always just shake your phone beforehand if it makes you feel better. :-) – Hey I Can Chan Feb 3 '16 at 18:35
• There are plenty of computers available on the ISS. Internet too. They can get apps trivially. – Beanluc Jul 25 '16 at 3:34

One way I can see to roll actual dice (carefully) would be to use a magnetic plate (alternating north and south pole domains, like flexible magnet tape) and steel dice. As long as you roll gently enough the dice don't bounce too high, you'll get an honest roll and the dice will stick to the plate.

Another method would be to use a ball bubbler mechanism, similar to the ones used in lottery drawings or bingo parlors -- these would work equally well in microgravity, though the dice and magnetic plate would fit better in an astronaut's personal items weight allowance.

A possible third way would be a vacuum surface -- like an air hockey table running backward -- with conventional dice. Less adhesion than magnetic table and steel dice, but more rolling action.

Try magnetic dice, available on Etsy, rolled on a steel tabletop.

• Magnetic dice would have poles, influencing the way the roll every time they're rolled. You'd need a magnetic surface and steel dice. – LegendaryDude Feb 3 '16 at 14:25
• @LegendaryDude - Ah, good point. – RobertF Feb 3 '16 at 14:39
• But try it! Next time you're roll-playing in extended free-fall. – Beanluc Jul 25 '16 at 3:35