How to Roll Dice Like an MIT Nerd




About: I've been posting Instructables since the site's inception, and now build other things at Autodesk. Follow me for food and more!

Lost your d6? Flip three visually distinct coins, and use binary.

This Instructable is another cool way to substitute for a standard 6-sided die, and reminded me of the extremely geeky method we use. A great teaching tool for kids, too.

Step 1: Acquire Coins

It happens all the time: you open your favorite board game, and the die is gone. What to do?

Coins are readily available.
Just find three visually distinct coins: I've got a dime, nickel, and penny here, but you could mark up three of the same coins with a Sharpie to distinguish them if necessary.

Step 2: Understand Binary

This is pretty easy.

Designate one coin for each of the following:

20 = 1 (assigned to the penny)

21 = 2 (assigned to the nickel)

22 = 4 (assigned to the dime)

Heads = yes, tails = no.

Flip (or shake and dump) your coins and add the values to figure out the value of your roll.

Step 3: Scoring Examples

Remember: dime: 22=4, nickel: 21=2, penny: 20=1

H H H = 4 + 2 + 1 = 7 (discarded- reroll)
H H T = 4 + 2 + 0 = 6
H T H = 4 + 0 + 1 = 5
H T T = 4 + 0 + 0 = 4
T H H = 0 + 2 + 1 = 3
T H T = 0 + 2 + 0 = 2
T T H = 0 + 0 + 1 = 1
T T T = 0 + 0 + 0 = 0 (discarded- reroll)

(For a d8 the TTT=0 is considered an 8, and none are discarded.)

Check out the examples below, then go roll dice like an MIT nerd.



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    46 Discussions


    2 years ago


    And you can replace the other dice like D8, D12 up to D100 with some more coins. I'll improve this method with coloured plastic coins with 0-s and 1-s on their sides. Colours for the order, 0-s or 1-s for the binary value.

    Congrats and Fhtang:-)!


    7 years ago on Step 2

    woohoo, binary dice made from coins

    Ooh, big deal. I was programming in BASIC in the fourth grade. Real programming, not that spaghetti code bull most beginners write.


    7 years ago on Step 3

    thank you! your instructables has helped me in my life!

    canidaich bin ein pyro

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    You mean both of them? :)
    I saw the other one yesterday morning, and was reminded of this trick. I don't think there's a secret Illuminati dice plot.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Reminds me of an xkcd comic where a biologist says into a voice recorder:
    "The eagle has left the nest."
    *khhhkht* "Roger that, eagle has left the nest, alert the agents." *khhhkht*
    "Will you stop that?"