On a standard pair of dice, which number is on the opposite side of number 6?
And the answer: 1. The opposite sides of standard dice always add up to seven. So on the opposite side of six you'll find the number one.
You might not realize it during your game of Yahtzee, but dice are some of the oldest game pieces known to man. While a number of Ancient Greek philosophers – including the famed Sophocles – claimed that the pieces were invented by other Greeks, archeological evidence points to a much earlier inception. In fact, long before Ancient Greeks, societies used bones as early forms of dice to play games like senet (or sometimes try to predict the future, but that's a story for a different day).
Throughout the course of time, dice have been made of everything from bronze to porcelain to marble. Cuboidal dice have been discovered in Chinese excavations dating back to 600 BCE and in Egyptian tombs reaching as far as 2000 BCE. Needless to say, dice have been created and tossed long before recorded history – in fact, the pieces are said to be dotted rather than numbered because they came into use long before written numerals.
The term "dice" derives from Old French and Latin. It is a combination of the French dé and the Latin datum, which in one translation means "something given or played." Over the years, those words evolved into dice.
While a six-sided die is the most common, there are many other varieties available to us today depending on the game. Unusual shapes used to create dice include an octahedron, pentagonal trapezohedron, dodecahedron, and an icosahedron (now say that back three times fast). Oddly shaped dice are often used in popular games such as Dungeons and Dragons.
Even Julius Caesar played dice! It was he who coined the famous phrase, "Alea iacta est," translating to: "When the dice are thrown, there is no turning back." So true, Julius.