Knuckle Bone Dice

Knuckle bones, also known as Shagai to the Mongolians, Astrogaloi to the ancient Greeks, and Tali to the Romans, were made from the knuckle bones of hooved animals and were used for games of chance, skill, and divination.


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There are as many ways to play as there were cultures that used them. The basic concept is the same throughout. Each bone can land on one of four unique sides, with unequal probability. Print four copies for Roman rules, more or less as needed for other games. See this article on Roman Board Games for the Roman rules  []. For a comprehensive history and rules of many games played with knucklebones, see the Wikipedia entry []. This paper  [] by Jenna Mortensen is a great summary of how these bones were used for divination.


Images are of a nylon laser sintered version, which feels and bounces just like real bone. Available from my Shapeways store:



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B688dcac9f6f89e36a749dcc81c2e1d5?default=blank&size=40TwentyThreeMillimeterHole added this to the Random collection ago
Mini 5640f0cd804a1aa6ae9a55dd058d9454Estefania Dark added this to the ñpñ collection ago
730a061596c420c8915d9f20bd5d89e1?default=blank&size=40Marcus Wolschon commented ago

So this is from a sheep?

Great, now I only need to find an Ox to

have the 2 "dices" for the extended rules of the Royal Game of Ur

(game replica and rule translation by the British Museum)

37a70d71586f9edc3d1f8cd227397df0?default=blank&size=40Nicole Lakusta added this to the Games collection ago
D0b14bcbad5b5a5ec9e798eb72481b5c?default=blank&size=40Jacob Burkett added this to the Collection collection ago
D089b61559744c3519a8a4098f7855b2?default=blank&size=40Misha Tikh published this design ago