Riddle: Dodecahedra

(image is a link to a larger version)

...the riddle, of course, being "What are these?"

Since you can't pick them up and fiddle with them over the Web, I'll describe them more fully. It's a pair of dodecahedra, identical in every significant respect. About an inch in diameter. Transparent plastic, and hollow. Black dots on the faces.

Well, from that description, the answer should just be "Twelve-sided dice". But no. If you examine the pictures closely, you'll see that some of the faces are blank. (On the left dodecahedron, the blank faces are right and front; on the right, the blank faces are to the rear.)

Each dodecahedron has six blank faces; the other six faces are numbered 1 through 6, with the same dot-clusters you'd see on a regular cubical die. The blank faces form one "hemisphere", and the numbered faces form the opposite one. So each numbered face is opposite a blank face.

So what are they? No shallow answers, like "A twelve-sider that rolls zero 50% of the time". These are actual items, sold for an actual purpose, and their design fulfils the purpose admirably.

I'll give you one useless hint for free: I didn't buy them at a gaming store. (Nor at the dice-tables at Origins.) If I told you where I bought them, that would be a useful hint.

Have fun. When or if you give up, here's the solution.

Last updated August 2, 2000.

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