Set of small cubes (each called a die) marked on each face with from one to six spots and used in gambling and in various social games by being shaken and thrown down to come to rest at random on a flat surface. The combined number of the spots on the topmost surface of the tossed dice decides, according to the rules of the game being played, whether the thrower (or “shooter”) wins, loses, or continues to throw. In numerous board games the thrown dice determine the player's moves. Dice, which may be traced back to prehistory, were in many cultures magical devices used for the casting of lots to divine the future. In the modern era they became associated with the playing of games of chance, including craps.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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