Polyhedral Dice

Polyhedral dice are popular in all sorts of board games. They are most frequently associated with Dungeons & Dragons. According to Bombard Games, the set most players know is the Dungeons & Dragons Holmes Polyhedral Set from 1977. There was an earlier set of dice made by Creative Publications in 1972, but the dice were considered less sturdy than the Holmes set. Today there are dozens of board games that use one or more polyhedral dice to allow players to role for strength levels, 

Polyhedral dice come in five shapes where the sides are all equal to one another and the adjacent angles are also equal. These five shapes are known as platonic solids or regular polyhedra. They include the tetrahedron (4 sides), the cube (or hexahedron – 6 sides), the octahedron (8 sides), the dodecahedron (12 sides), and the icosahedron (twenty sides). Many games include a Pentagonal Trapezohedron (10-sided die) however, this is not a platonic solid. Although the sides are all the same size and shape the adjacent angles are not equal and the sides of each face of the solid are not all the same length.

Platonian Solids

Plato associated these 5 regular polyhedral solids with fundamental principles of the universe

  • the tetrahedron = fire
  • the octahedron = air
  • the hexahedron = earth
  • the icosahedron = water
  • the dodecahedron = the Universe