Exclusive: Hands-On With The Crazy Dice That Roll Themselves
In the 7,000-year history of dice games, dice haven't changed all that much. They get made from new and different materials, but the basic design remains the same as it's always been: six sides with a different number of dots on each side.
An inventor named Nimrod Back decided that it's time for dice to get a makeover with a little help from modern technology. The result is Boogie Dice, the world's first tabletop dice that roll themselves. That's right: Boogie Dice actually roll entirely on their own.
These sound-activated, motorized gaming dice are bigger than ordinary dice, measuring about one square inch. Place them on a hard, flat surface and you can do one of three things to activate them: clap your hands, snap your fingers or hit the table. The dice instantly come to life and roll themselves to a new set of numbers.
I got some hands-on time with one Boogie Die recently, and even though it was a prototype, I can report that it worked exactly as promised. To turn it on, you bang one corner on the table six times in a row. From there, place it on a table or flat surface and play.
The first time I did it, I couldn't stop laughing (fortunately, no one else was around). Something about watching it come to life just made me giddy.
I gave a good, loud clap near the die, and it instantly jumped into the air and began spinning wildly. Even when it came back down and hit the table, it continued to flail and twist for several seconds until it settled. I did it again, and it brought up a different, random roll. I kept at it, and while there were a few times when I didn't seem to clap quite loudly enough, it still worked properly and landed on a different number each time.
I've never been particularly good at finger-snapping, so, next, I tried hitting the table. This worked even better. No matter how hard I tapped or pounded on the table, I got a response from the die every time. My kids soon arrived home from school and were only too eager to give it a try. They had even bigger reactions than I did, and spent a good 10 minutes pounding on our dining room table and clapping while giggling maniacally in a "Now that we have Boogie Dice, we can plot world domination" kind of way.
The dice are charged via a special USB cradle, and Boogie Dice (the company) says that a full charge will power about 500 rolls. The dice require about 40 minutes to fully charge. For those feeling more adventurous, a smartphone app lets you reprogram them to change things like how many seconds a single roll lasts or the LED color they flash.
I haven't had a chance to try my Boogie Die out in actual board game use yet, but I definitely intend to. From the wild bouncing I experienced during testing, I'm thinking it'd be better to roll them off to the side of the board rather than on top of it. Still, I'm sure it's going to be a blast.
Boogie Dice has today launched a Kickstarter campaign for a tabletop game made specifically for these dice called Bots Battleground. This is the only way you can get a pair of Boogie Dice of your very own for now, but the dice will undoubtedly go on sale elsewhere following the Kickstarter campaign.