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Commands & Colors: Ancients» Forums » General

Subject: Dice Symbology & Meanings rss

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John Rogers
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Hi all,

What is the significance, if any, of the circle, triangle, square, and x symbology (apart from obvious in-game use)? I’ve seen these same symbols used in sports and on PlayStation controllers. Just curious if there is a common historical, military, or any other meaning.

Thanks.
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Tim M-L
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I don't know of any underlying symbology. I think distinct shapes are used here and elsewhere to facilitate use by those who might not be able to distinguish the colors.
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Mark McG
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Samurai Battles uses the same symbology, and I'm not seeing any connection between the two periods, so I think there is no historical reason.

Going back a way, BattleLore uses the Red, Blue, Green for unit strength as well, but used coloured helmets that were visually identical except in colour. In low light, Green and Blue were very hard to tell apart, particularly once the dice started to wear. I ended up adding a dot to the blue face with a texta so I could tell them apart. Also Red/Green colour blindness is quite common.

So I would guess that the circle, triangle, square were added to overcome those issues in Ancients, and have worked well, and were replicated in Samurai Battles and I expect Medieval as well.
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John Rogers
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Minedog3 wrote:
Samurai Battles uses the same symbology, and I'm not seeing any connection between the two periods, so I think there is no historical reason.

Yes I had forgotten their use in SB. I’m quite fond of the geometric symbols and prefer them over the symbols used in the other iterations. I just found it interesting to see them used elsewhere and felt their might be some connection to military tactics.

Minedog3 wrote:
In low light, Green and Blue were very hard to tell apart, particularly once the dice started to wear...So I would guess that the circle, triangle, square were added to overcome those issues in Ancients, and have worked well, and were replicated in Samurai Battles and I expect Medieval as well.

I used to own the VG dice for Ancients (a) (and have the wooden VG dice for Nappy as well) but they started to wear badly. I eventually upgraded to Dan Berry’s dice (b) and they have since become my favorite set.

a


b
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Robin Reeve
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If you link the number of sides of the symbols to numbers, you have :
- circle 1 side
- triangle three sides
- square four sides

So, they could express a gradation from light, to medium, to heavy.

And GMT thought of colour blind players, for which the different forms (rather than the colours) are the best way to distinguish between unit types.
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Peter Cooper
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I originally thought that they were paying their respects to that recent archaeological discovery of an Ancient Roman PlayStation, but, thinking about it, Robin's answer sounds more plausible.
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Giulio
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Robin wrote:
If you link the number of sides of the symbols to numbers, you have :
- circle 1 side

Actually, the circle has infinite sides...but zero corners, if this is what you meant.
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Robin Reeve
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g1ul10 wrote:
Robin wrote:
If you link the number of sides of the symbols to numbers, you have :
- circle 1 side

Actually, the circle has infinite sides...but zero corners, if this is what you meant.
But nobody has been able to demonstrate the squaring of the circle.
So rather than rely on maths, I note what I see : one single side, as there are no angles to separate it from another one.
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Steve Duke
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It's Satan.
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John Rogers
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sduke wrote:
It's Satan.

Oh dear lord.
 
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StevenE Smooth Sailing...
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I initially thought the OP’s question was a little silly.... How or why would anyone really care how the dice symbology came to be... well it started to eat at me... there must be some reason for the colors and shapes... so I had to ask, and I am glad I did.

[Note: RB’s first passion for gaming was Napoleonic miniatures. Even though Battle Cry was first to be published Napoleonics was the target for his system. As titles were published the system morphed and grew until he was ready to present Napoleonics. The system has since evolved further... and into the future.]

Richards explanation of the dice evolution:

“In history Red is usually the color of elites (Grenadiers)
Blue is usually regular or line
Light infantry uniforms are usually Green

In some games (especially BattleLore) the number of sides of the symbol relates to the number of dice that are rolled for a unit.
Actually over time we drifted away from this…

We could not use the color yellow or white because (yellow chicken) (white surrender) for a flag which relates better to unit that must retreat.”



So there you have it, mystery solved... Satan was not involved, however is probably the reason poor roll results happen at the worst possible moment...

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Mark McG
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huh? what sides?

BattleLore dice
 
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Read the rulebook, plan for all contingencies, and…read the rulebook again.
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In John Warry’s _Warfare in the Classical Age_, formed foot units are represented by rectangles and squares; mounted troops by triangles; and light foot by swarms of tiny circles.
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