When would you reroll the dice in a board game?

A story I posted in the stupid arguments thread in MPSIMS got me thinking about an argument I had on this subject once and I’m curious what other people think.

Imagine that you’re sitting at a table with two or more other people, playing a board game that involves rolling a standard-issue six-sided die. Under what circumstances should a roll be ignored and repeated? Also, if the game involved two dice, would you reroll both if one of the circumstances applied to one die but not both or would you leave the uncontested die alone?

Uncontested die are left alone; die are contested (and rerolled) if they are not fully horizontal when stopped or if they’ve rolled off the table. Note that if you’re playing in a room with a rug or carpet, the die on the floor will not be fully horizontal; in many houses it is also pretty easy for an escaping die to roll under a piece of furniture, so that by the time you can read it you don’t really know whether that was the original result (assuming the floor under the piece of furniture was flat). Better to make the rule “on the floor, reroll” than to open the door for rules lawyers trying to bring a level into play… (and is that level calibrated, hm?)

The only time you should reroll dice is if the die doesn’t land on a flat surface with a single face on top. Essentially, the roll always “counts” if you can read it. Don’t pick up a die off the floor to reroll it unless the die doesn’t land flat with a single face showing.

In the rare event a die should be rerolled, only reroll the ones without a clear result, NOT the whole group of dice.

I play a lot of board games, many of which involve dice.

The rule that most of my friends generally play with is that any time any of the dice 1) go off the table and land on the floor, or 2) land in a “cocked” position so that they’re not perfectly flat on the table (say, one of them lands partially on/off a drink coaster), you reroll all dice.

That’s what I would do, though. If someone else felt really strongly about only re-rolling the problem dice, that’s cool. I’m also happy to accept a “cocked” throw – yes, I giggle every time I use that term – if the person who rolled the dice wants to keep it, but some people have strong opinions about this sort of thing. I’m a pretty easygoing gamer, though.

I usually tried to avoid that problem by using a dice rolling box. Dice in the box? Good. Dice out of box? Re-roll.

Dice that land fairly are not re-rolled.

Another option I forgot to add to the poll: If a player picks up the dice too quickly for everyone to read them, do you demand/ask for a reroll or take it on trust?

A re-roll is also called for when the dog swallows one of the dice.

I would demand a full reroll. There are some people I’d be extremely surprised to find cheating and others who seem incapable of not trying to - it’s as if they’re playing a different game, one of “let’s see if I can cheat without anybody noticing”. Forcing full rerolls for those cases discourages lying on rolls and IME people who were just overenthusiastic don’t take offense.


The only answer I find acceptable is if there is no number clearly on top. Otherwise, you play it as it lies.

In games like Champions, where you often roll many dice, if some dice end up cocked or on the floor, you can either reroll the cocked die/one(s) that landed on the floor, or re-roll ALL the dice. However, as GM I usually require players to state ahead of time whether they shall be re-rolling all the dice or just the offending ones, because I have seen the look of “wow, that’s a really good roll, except for this one on the floor…”, or, playing D&D, as they reach down to pick up the 20-sider, they say “Oh, hey, it’s a 20. How about that?”

Ah, I still remember my first improvised dice box fondly…it was the lid to my D&D Expert Set box.

All dice must land flat in a designated rolling area (box, area of table, whatever). Otherwise all are rerolled together.

The die lands on the floor: It calls into question what the number was, since typically only the person getting it sees what it was.

The die doesn’t land level, no number is clearly on top: If the result is unknown it isn’t valid.

Something else should force a reroll: Confusion about the rules (so the entire action is being performed again, dice and all), or on rare occasions the results violates the rule that “games should be fun” and they are re-rolled under the “that was stupid; screw the rules and roll them again” principle. These are rules from when I was a teen dungeon/gamemastering Dungeons and Dragons and similar games however; something of a special case.

The most important thing is that the rules on when to reroll are clear before any dice hit the table, they’re consistent, and they’re objective.

For example, some of my gaming group, including myself, will reroll any die that’s even the slightest bit cocked. We reserve the right the sigh when we’re rerolling results that were good for us. On the other hand, some of our group will never reroll a cocked die if the result is clear. A few players will let a roll stand if you can place another die on it without it sliding off. All that really matters is that you can’t decide what the rules are after you’ve seen whether or not you like the result.

If the game rules specify what counts as a roll, then that.

Otherwise, roll with it. It’s not like bouncing off someone’s elbow makes it not random.

For the currently 13% who did not select The die doesn’t land level, no number is clearly on top., what do you propose instead of rerolling?

Side note: for people who wish to use unmarked Crystal dice, so that you have to pick them up to read them: I have crayons. You will use them to fill in the numbers. Failing that, I have extra dice you are welcome to borrow.

If the player was misinformed as to what he was supposed to be rolling for. For instance, if he thought he was supposed to roll high, but was actually supposed to roll low, and he rolled high, he gets to roll again. Or if he needed a six to win, but thought he needed a five, he gets to roll again - even if he rolled a two. It’s very important that players be allowed to give their dice the proper psychic instructions.

I almost checked only one box. Thus they might have thought one could only check one box, and some other example was more important.

I picked that one and on the floor.