The Fortune-telling Cube




About: Retired from biotechnology company, PhD in Biochemistry (MIT).

Intro: The Fortune-telling Cube

The Fortune-telling Cube can create 3456 possible, full-sentence fortunes! It has the same appeal as the famous Magic 8 Ball and Ouija Board. However, the Fortune-telling Cube is far more sophisticated and more entertaining. The Cube doesn’t have to be solved, but simply randomized. (The Cube is lots of fun, but, sadly, the fortunes are no more accurate than those of the Magic 8 Ball!)

The Fortune-telling Cube is a "phrase-randomizer" based upon a Rubik's Cube mechanism. One of 24 possible starting phrases is combined with one of 6 possible middle phrases and with one of 24 possible ending phrases to make up the 3456 possible grammatically-correct sentences.

Here's how it works:
   1. Randomize the cube.
   2. Without looking, select one of the RED edge faces -- the starting phrase of the fortune.
   3. Follow the pointer to the WHITE central face -- the middle phrase of the fortune.
   4. Follow the pointer to the BLUE corner face -- the ending phrase of the fortune.

Sometimes the phrases will be topsy-turvy, but easy enough to read. (See the supplemental photos for several examples.)

Step 1: What You Will Need

   Rubik's Cube
   Avery-type Labels, 2-2"x4" labels per 4"x6" sheet

   Your fingers
   Color Printer

The materials should cost less than $20.

Step 2: Peel Off the Colored Stickers

Take your Rubik's Cube and remove all of the stickers! Just peel them off to make an all-black cube. You may need to use some solvent to get the glue residue off, then clean and dry the cube.

Step 3: Print the Fortune Stickers

There can be many different "themes" for your Fortune-telling Cube.
I have created the following as examples:

Yes/No/Maybe (Shown here in the photos.)
   e.g. Sorry, but the answer is now "no."
   e.g. Everyone knows the answer will soon be "yes."
Preteen Party (PG)
   e.g. The one next to you is certainly good looking.
   e.g. One of your friends will soon be telling a lie.
Teen Party (PG-13)
   e.g. The one you kissed wants to be holding your hand.
   e.g. Everyone appears to be telling your secrets.
Adult Party (R)
   e.g. The one you love is now sleeping around.
   e.g. Someone new only pretends to be in love with you.
In the Workplace
   e.g. One of your workmates appears to be sucking up to the boss.
   e.g. One of your managers is sabotaging your projects.
It's All About You
   e.g. Sadly, you used to be good looking.
   e.g. I think you will soon be talking too much.
Love, Love, Love (This one makes a GREAT Valentine's Day present!)
   e.g. My love for you is always growing stronger.
   e.g. Our relationship will forever be one of a kind.

I'm providing links to pdf and Word files containing all of my labels. You may use my fortune labels or else you can create your own labels (see Steps 7 & 8, below). You will need to print two label pages (using two blank label sheets) for one Fortune-telling Cube. Set up your printer for printing 4"x6" sheets (like for photos), turn off "shrink-to-fit", turn on "borderless prints", or ??? (Each printer is different.)

Step 4: Cut Out the Stickers

Use a sharp pair of scissors (or a paper cutter)  to cut out the individual stickers. When finished, you will have 24 red-bordered stickers, 6 white stickers, and 24 blue-bordered stickers.

Step 5: Stick on the Stickers

Take the 24 red-bordered stickers, one at a time, peel off the backing, and stick them onto the 24 edge faces of the naked Rubik's Cube. Place them so that the pointer points to the corresponding central face. It won't matter which label goes where.

Take the 6 white stickers, one-at a time, peel off the backing, and stick them onto the 6 central faces of the cube. The orientation, and which goes where, doesn't matter.

Take the 24 blue-bordered stickers, one at a time, peel off the backing, and stick them onto the 24 corner faces of the cube. Which goes where doesn't matter, but place it right-side-up when it's in the bottom righthand corner. (That way the middle and ending phrases will have the same alignment.)

Now your Fortune-telling Cube is ready for action!

Step 6: My Fortune Scripts

These are my tables for the fortune scripts -- the 24 starting phrases, the 6 middle phrases, and the 24 ending phrases for seven different "themes". I've included a link to pdf and Word files, which contain all of the fortune tables. In the Word document, you can edit the fortunes to suit yourself ... or you can make up your own forturnes, from scratch (see Steps 7 & 8).

Step 7: DIY Fortune Scripts (optional)

Creating your own fortune scripts is a lot of fun. But it's not as easy as it seems -- if you aren't careful, your fortune sentences won't come out right.

The starting phrase is usually the subject (with modifiers). It's important to stay consistent with the subject. Make them all: 1st person singular ("I"), 2nd person singular ("you"), 3rd person singular ("he/she/it"), 1st person plural ("we"), 2nd person plural ("you"), or 3rd person plural ("they"). If you pick 3rd person singular, try to avoid "he" or "she" by using "He/she" or "The person", "Someone", "One of you", etc. Start with a capital letter.

The middle phrase is usually a version of the verb "to be" (with modifiers) selected to match the subject form in the starting phrase. E.g ."The person / is often / ..."; "The person / will soon be / ..."; "The person / wants to be / ..."; etc.

The ending phrase is usually a restatement of the subject that was used in the starting phrase. This can be an adjective (e.g. "The person / is / smart.") or a noun (e.g. "The person / is / a jerk."). End with a period.

If you put in negatives like "not", decide where you are going to use them and use them only there. E.g.  use "not"s only in the ending phrase -- "The person / is / not a jerk.." If you use them in two different places you can wind up with nonsense when the parts are randomly put together -- "The person / is not / not a jerk.."

I'm providing a blank work sheet, both as a pdf and as a Word file. Good luck!

Step 8: DIY Fortune Labels (optional)

Once you've composed your fortune scripts, it's time to make your fortune stickers.

I usually do this by pasting the phases from the fortune-script tables into a sticker template. I have included my blank templates below as Word documents. The font will have to be pretty small. I usually use Tahoma at 7 points, bold, and make it this way in the table first, then past the text into the text boxes one at a time. (Arial Narrow , 8 point, bold, might also work well.)

Now you are ready to make your one-of-a-kind Fortune-telling Cube. Have fun!

Step 9: The Digital Version

If you're not a hands-on type of person, you can still enjoy playing with the Fortune-telling Cube. Here is the digital version. I actually use this Excel file to work out my fortune-telling scripts. Enjoy!

(Note: This Excel Program uses some sophisticated functions and may not run correctly on all computers. If it doesn't work for you, try going to "Tools" in Excel, clicking "Add Ins...", then checking the box that says "Analysis ToolPac". Good luck!)



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    43 Discussions


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Hey BUddy, that's a cool idea. At first I thought it wouldn't work at all with a 4x4x4 cube. I thought the sentence structures would have to be too complicated. But it could work with the same 3-part sentences. The instructions would be slightly more complicated. Something like: "Randomize the cube, then, with your eyes closed pick any red face for the start. Go to the adjacent white central face for the middle phrase, and then go to the nearest blue corner for the ending phrase." (See picture 1.) Or you could still use the little pointers, but for the ending phrase you would sometimes have to go across the cube to the far side. (See picture 2.) Now you have 48 starting phrases, 24 middle phrases, and 24 ending phrases for 27648 possible fortunes! Of course the stickers would have to be resized. Next you're going to ask me about 5x5x5 cubes.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the reply! I was just wondering because I have one here. :P Though now I am curious, have you thought of how a 5x5x5 cube could work?


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    OK, you asked for it. Here are my thoughts for making a 5x5x5 Fortune-telling Cube. See my diagram (click to enlarge): This will make 4-part gramatically-correct sentences. With 72 starting phrases, 48 first-middle phrases, 6 second-middle phrases, and 24 ending phrases, this will give 497,664 possible fortunes!


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I know that you will hate me for this but for a 6x6x6, would that be too much? :P


    4 years ago

    Hey DHagen, YOUR. IDEA. IS. AWESOME! I love it! This a good way to entertain at a party.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    A very entertaining Idea/concept. This should be marketed by the Proprietor of the cube-design. I'm sure that it will be financially rewarding.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for suggesting an improvement. You could protect the sticker paper by applying a clear plastic layer. Do this after printing the labels in Step 3, and before cutting them out in Step 4. I found that 2" clear packaging tape works great for this. (Avoid wrinkles by first sticking one end of the tape down on a table, then aligning the label sheet under the raised portion of the tape.) You could also use the clear sticky plastic sheets used for screen protectors.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Duuuuuuuude. You may very well be onto something huge. If you could come up with the right combination, and put it on one of those mini-rubik's cubes, this could totally be the ultimate dungeon-master's randomization die. Pretty sure nobody has anything like a 3456 sided die. Not that I'm a geek or anything... O.O

    3 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Great idea for a new application! Here's how to make your 3456-sided die (I think): For the Starts put: 1, 2, 3, ..., 24 (24 total). For the Middles: + 0, + 24, + 48, ..., + 120 (6 total). For the Ends: + 0, + 144, + 288, ... + 3312 (24 total). The smallest value will be 1 + 0 + 0 = 1. The largest value will be 24 + 120 + 3312 = 3456.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Also, I failed to mention earlier, there are lots of combinations possible other than the 1D3456 described above. You can make these other combos by doubling up on the numbers (e.g. Starts could have 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, etc.) and then applying the same sort of mathematical logic for the rest of the cube.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    But also the thing is somebody could see what moves they had to do from the current number to the one that they need, you cannot on a regular die.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    What are the dimensions of your cube? different manufactures use different sizes.


    8 years ago on Step 6

    hey that awsome, can i put number on the cube and match it on table list

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks, Jose. Numbers will work (see my answer to Javin007 in the intro page), but I'm not sure about your "match it" part. Also, you can try things out with the Digital version (see Step 9).


    8 years ago on Step 8

    Profetional rubic cube player


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Cool 'ible ! By the way , Where did you get the sticker template ?( or you made it yourself? )