I'm writing a game manual where there are a lot of random tables with events. A good game session should make them unique, instead of repeatable (i.e., occurs only once).

If I had cards, the solution would be to shuffle the cards and deal the first X cards. Problem solved. But I have just the printed tables (in the book) and the dice.

I thought about two solutions (assuming 36 different values in the table):

  1. Throw the dice X times. Remove duplicates. You should have a list of the events sorted: "21 - 14 - 35 - 03 - 16 - 39". The player would follow this order.

  2. Throw the dice each time you need an event. Write it out in a separate sheet the number (e.g., "21"). If you throw the dice and get a marked number, throw it again.

I prefer the first solution, but both needs extra notekeeping that I would like to avoid. Any further solutions?

  • I would disagree on a good game session needing unique events instead of having the ability to repeat them. Also need to consider the ability to manipulate the mechanic used such as being able to get certain results with dice.
    – Joe W
    Commented May 12, 2023 at 20:55
  • 5
    Do you need a memory aid? Normally, if the events are important and distinctive enough to be worth weeding out duplicates, I'd expect most players to remember whether or not a given one has come up before.
    – Cadence
    Commented May 12, 2023 at 22:27
  • 1
    Why the need to throw a die, when there is a list of events in the book to follow? Each time you play the game, you use the next set of tables. Commented May 13, 2023 at 10:28
  • Is X known? Or at least the range of values X can take. Commented Jun 6, 2023 at 15:24
  • @JackAidley, yes, suppose I have an island area that the player(s) deal(s) with 7 events. Every time the game is played, a random table with 36 events is presented for this island, and so each time the player(s) would get 7 events, probably different ones.
    – Chaotic
    Commented Jun 11, 2023 at 3:36

1 Answer 1


To choose 7 discrete events from a table of 36:

  1. Roll two dice to choose the first event. The first dice chooses a cluster of six events, the second chooses the event from within those 6.
  2. Each time you want a new event, roll a dice and add it to the event number to choose the next event. You could obfuscate this by having each event list six possible next events if you wish.

There are two potential issues with this. Firstly, it technically doesn't quite guarantee uniqueness: there is 1 in 46656 chance of duplicating the first event, personally I'd just live with that YMMV. Secondly, although you can start in any position in the table and thus any event can happen before any other event, events within the sequence can only occur in certain orders and whilst the chance of any event occurring in a game is uniform the chances of particular events occurring together is not.

  • "whilst the chance of any event occurring in a game is uniform the chances of particular events occurring together is not." - worse than that; once the first event is chosen, the chances for each subsequent individual event are not at all uniform. Commented Jun 12, 2023 at 10:16
  • @KarlKnechtel: That's another way of saying the same thing. Whether that matters or not is up to the asker. Commented Jun 12, 2023 at 10:21

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