Physical Dice vs Digital Dice

Physical dice vs Digital dice

In this day and age, so many things are digital. More often than not we choose to read or watch the news over picking up a newspaper like the good ol’ days. In the last few years we’ve seen many RPGs move from the tabletop to the online table, using fantastic services such as Roll20 for a full table-top package experience with just 1s and 0s. Whether we’re playing our beloved RPGs on the table or on the screen, one element remains the same: the dice.

Like everything that’s seen a rise in digital versions, dice are no exception, and the usage of both the physical and the digital grace the scenes on most tabletops. I’ve personally used both in different situations, but what makes someone choose one over the other? We took it to the streets and asked both hardcore and novice tabletop gamers.

  • Physical, because I like the way real dice look and I can show off all these different colours and designs during play”
  • Physical, because I don’t want to pay for a digital app version or use one with ads. Plus, digital dice would ruin the whole feeling of Tabletop RPG.”
  • “I haven’t played in a while, but physical dice is my preference since I like the rolling action. It’s like playing Warhammer, or craps in Vegas”
  • “Definitely physical. They’re more convenient, fun and tactile, and I’m a very tactile person.”
  • “I would use physical because it’s just tradition”

Not a lot of hope for digital dice so far, so I reached out to a few players who I know use digital dice.

  • “I choose to use a digital dice app because it’s much easier for me. I play a character that rolls a lot of the same types of dice, and I don’t want to lug around a big dice bag just for that. The app I use also has my character sheet and spells, so it’s all in one place. When I need to cast fireball, I tap the fireball button and it rolls the dice, uses the spellslot, and everything I need to otherwise do physically with paper and dice. It streamlines my playing so people aren’t waiting for me to make my rolls”
  • “I’m a definite all-digital player. I play on the table with my friends but everything I play with is digital: character sheet, spellbooks, dice rolling. It’s so much easier”
  • Digital dice for sure. I can’t read and add up all those numbers that quickly. I’ll need a calculator or something. I don’t want to make people wait for me to do basic maths.”
  • “I have physical dice but I don’t use them because they’re all collector items. So digital dice for me when it comes to actually playing the game.”

And some who are a bit of both

  • “Well as an avid dice buyer and collector, I love to use physical dice. Then I have something to get mad at. I’ve used digital dice once or twice in the early days of digital tabletop, but I’ve never used digital when we were physically together playing games.”
  • Playing in real life? Physical. Playing online? Digital. I like physical dice on the tabletop because it's part of the experience of us all around the table rolling dice and holding our breath. But I definitely us digital dice online because it's faster and there's no bias.

So there we go. I personally use both depending on the situation. What do you prefer?


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