DICE+ wants to team with screens and usher in an era of powered board games (hands-on)

DICE wants to team with screens and usher in an era of powered board games handson

We learned about DICE+, the digital chance cube, just before E3, and today we finally got to give it a few rolls and find out a bit more about DICE+ from the folks who made it. It's an inch-sized cube with a soft-touch rubbery finish that's packed with a Bluetooth radio and a rechargeable battery. For now, it juiced up via microUSB, but an induction charging version is also in the works. Its power cell grants up to 20 hours of continuous rolling, or a little over a week for non-gambling degenerates. Speaking of, the cube's maker, GIC, said a major point of emphasis in the cube's design was getting the balance of the thing just right to ensure the randomness of DICE + results -- and it's even spoken with casino companies about their tolerance requirements in that area. While DICE + may find its way onto craps tables eventually, for now, its maker's focused on what it calls "powered board games."%Gallery-157624%

You see, while we're all familiar with board game mechanics -- roll a die/spin a wheel and move your game piece accordingly -- they don't translate well to the digital realm. People don't trust a computer to give truly random results, and tapping a screen to "roll" dice gets boring quickly. That's the beauty of DICE+, players get all the advantages of a digital board game, like animations and greater interactivity, without the aforementioned downside because it engages them in a satisfying, familiar fashion. Join us after the break for our impressions, and a bit more info about this throwback gadget.

DICE wants to team with screens and usher in an era of powered board games handson

We played several of GIC's games with a Transformer Prime and a single die here on the show floor and found that, as advertised, it did make for a more interactive and pleasing experience. We started out with a two-player, Twister-style game for your fingers, where DICE+ determines how many fingers you've got to get touching the screen at once. Next up was an interactive charades game where rolling the cube determined the category we had to imitate. The last game game was a race to 21 -- players roll, and the number on top can be added to your own score, or subtracted from your opponent's. Granted, the 5th-gen prototype we played with was set up to require longer rolls than the pedestal we were playing on would allow. This gave us an inordinate amount of 'bad' rolls that didn't register with the game at first (we eventually learned a method that got it to work reliably), but we were assured that this setting can be reprogrammed through the microUSB port, and was set as such to prevent cheating.

For now, GIC is in talks with both hardware and software developers to help DICE+ make it to market, and we were told that the response from the public and potential business partners has been overwhelmingly positive. Naturally, this means that we don't know exactly when you'll be able to buy a DICE+ of your very own, but we do know the company's aiming for a $30 price point that'll include several compatible games.