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How to load a die?

To load a die is a term used to indicate that a die has been modified in order to make it more likely to land on a particular number or side. There are several ways to do this, but remember – whichever method it is, this could very easily be considered cheating!

The basis to load a die is to make use of gravity – one part of the die is heavier than the others and will naturally point towards the ground.

When the die is made, it can be made to be heavier on one side internally. This can be done by adding a weight to one side of a hollow die, or by simply only hollowing out half of the die. The heavier side is more likely to land facing down, so the opposite side of the die to the weight will be the side that lands facing upwards.

An alternative way to load a die is to do this is on the outside of the die. By sanding or milling down all the faces except the one you wish to land facing down, the other 5 faces become lighter. This of course makes the un-sanded side the heaviest, causing it to land at the bottom most often.

A similar procedure can be performed on the edges of the die, with the heaviest edges dragging that face towards the ground. The corners of a die can also be modified with weights or sanding, in order to give the die a bias that often gives the desired result on a roll.

You may find that dice you purchase already have a bias on them, but this is usually not intentional. During the course of mass production, mistakes and errors do happen, and so it is possible that new dice purchased from a store may not be as evenly balanced as they could be.

However, if you buy your dice from a magic store, you may easily find pre-rigged loaded dice in order to present an effect in a magic trick. This is not considered particularly deceitful, as a magic show is for entertainment, and this sort of thing is expected. It would be worse if the “magic” didn’t work when you went to see a magic show!

However, if these dice were to be used in a gambling situation, there could be repercussions to face, especially if a large amount of money were to be involved. Therefore it can be very profitable to load a die.

While the repercussions would be less if these dice were used in a game of Ludo for example, it might be best avoided even if all the players use the same dice. Sometimes you need a 1, sometimes you need a 6 – if the die is consistently coming up with the same number, much of the fun of the game is taken away.

The whole point of playing a game that involves dice is the inherent randomness that the dice bring to it. Weighting the dice to always get the result you want is not the way to play, as at best it is boring and predictable, at worst it is cheating in order to gain an advantage.