Gamers love dice, and game-makers love to sell us dice, from very standard six-sided dice to the iconic polyhedrals of D&D to even stranger fare. Obviously dice are most often used as randomizers, but that’s not the only use that can arise from their design.
For example, Avery Alder’s brilliant The Quiet Year uses dice as countdown clocks: you place dice on the map to represent long-term community projects, and tick them down turn-by-turn until they are completed—or something derails the project to set it back or destroy it entirely.
I also know a couple games that call on players to stack dice into towers and see how high they can go before they fall. Icarus has a teetering dice tower that represents the fragile achievements of a decadent civilization. (You can listen to me playing the game on the podcast Bored Ghost here, where we tell the story of a collapsing Martian colony.) My own game Victory Garden is a solo journaling game where you’re stacking a dice tower higher and higher to represent the plant you’re growing to send off to war.
What other ways to use dice have you observed? What else can we do with dice beyond rolling?