Dice in the Pacific


Victory In The Pacific

No Anne, Dice at Sea is different from Dice in the Pacific. One takes place in the Atlantic and the other the Pacific. Besides, Dice in the Pacific is part of a college curriculum, or so Siri tells me. Bob and I have played this game so many times that we can almost play it in our minds:

“I’m one task force looking for you.”
“I’m one task force looking and one hiding.”
“I find your lookers and your hiders.”
“I don’t find you.”
“I call day.”
“I call night.”
“It is day then night.”

We can riff like this all night long. After all, we’ve done it for almost thirty years. These mind games do tend to go off the rails, when we start to air guitar the actual dice throws.

I mentioned that Dice has been incorporated into a curriculum. It is viewed as a useful teaching aid on the history of World War II in the Pacific. As this genre of strategy games goes, it is relatively simple. A typical game only lasts a few hours, as opposed to weeks. In the vernacular, it is a so-called beer and chips game. [Note the beer bottles] As simple as it is, it is also quite an elegant simulation of the high stakes gambling that carrier warfare was in the Pacific.

All of the major carrier battles turned on fate, or luck. There are so many what ifs that could have turned the course of history. What if instead of you seeing me first, I saw you? This is abstracted by me rolling a one and you a six. Yes luck is a factor, both in the game and in the real life that it attempts to model. The game actually does an amazingly accurate recreation of real life events. It is just that finely tuned. Bob and I have played this game so many times that we have effectively overlaid a Monte Carlos simulation over the original game.  

I guess that explains why Bob almost always wins. You see Bob always plays the Allies and I always play the Japanese. And as any student of history can tell you, the Allies won. Dice wouldn’t be a very good simulation if the Japanese won, even once in like the last ten years, now would it? Over the years, I have toyed with the idea of switching sides and playing the Americans, but that would be like crossing the streams. No, it is safer to just stay with the status quo.

I’m not one to monkey with the course of history. Who knows how things might turnout otherwise? Bob will be here this one night only, but I’ll be here all week folks.

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