"The Best Thing to Happen
Since the Doubling Cube!"
The Meyer Dice Tube is the solution to every dice-related problem or nuisance in the game of backgammon.
This clever, yet simple invention:
Imagine a world where the dice never touch the playing surface or the checkers.
How is this possible??
Backgammon is the oldest known recorded board game in history, and for thousands of years the rolling of dice in backgammon has not changed . The dice are tossed out of a cup or a hand onto the playing surface. That's just the way it's always been...until now! Now it's time to think "outside of the box", and think inside of the tube.
Backgammon players simply accept the fact that dice will occasionally bounce off the board and onto the floor. Sometimes a die will bounce over the bar. Dice sometimes land on a checker. Dice occasionally land cocked (leaning against a checker, against the interior of the board, or against each other). We know that when these things happen we have to retrieve the dice and re-roll. We also accept the fact that dice sometimes land in places where they interfere with the movement of a checker. We know that when this happens we have to reach down and carefully slide the die (or dice) to another location of the board so that we can move a checker. That's just part of the game.
We also accept the fact that dice sometimes hit one or more checkers on the board, knocking them out of position. When this happens, a dispute may follow as to where the checkers were before being hit. Unfortunately, it is also a fact that some dishonest players have developed dice-rolling skills that give them an unfair advantage over honest rollers.
We no longer have to accept any of those facts.
The Meyer Dice Tube takes the dice off the board.
The board is for the checkers, not the dice!
The Meyer Dice Tube is a 9" tall, clear tube constructed of the highest quality extruded acrylic. A single length of "surgical-grade" latex tubing is laced through 26 drilled holes to form 13 "rods" which run through the center of the tube. These "rods" are positioned so that they form a helix, spiraling exactly 360 degrees.
When it's your turn to "roll the dice", you simply flip the tube over. The dice tumble down this "spiral staircase" and fall onto the landing surface at the base of the tube. The design of the Meyer Dice Tube guarantees an absolute random outcome every time!
The tube is used on the table beside the backgammon board, not on the playing surface. The tube stays on one end of the board (to one player's right & the other player's left). This leaves the table space at the other end of the board for other items, such as clocks and/or score boards. It is recommended that after you flip the tube for your roll, you place the tube on the table so that it is closer to you than your opponent, so there's never any confusion about whose turn it is. Once the dice have settled and you've made your move, you tap the top of the tube with your hand. Tapping the tube means your play is over (just like tapping a clock button after a move). Your opponent then grabs the tube, flips it over and sets it on the table (closer to him), and play continues. (See "The TAP" below for more rules on using the Meyer Dice Tube)
Not only does the Meyer Dice Tube solve all the problems mentioned above, but it also eliminates the need for dice cups.
There are 2 vesions of the tube:
(1) With the SEALED Meyer Dice Tube, you select which 2 dice you want in your tube, and they are sealed inside the tube forever! The caps are permanently bonded to the ends of the tube. The SEALED version is more popular with Monopoly players than Backgammon players. However, Backgammon players who play on a casual (non-competitive) level, or those who want one to use at home against "bots" (see below for more on this) love this version because it meets their needs and costs less than the model with removable caps.
(2) The REMOVABLE CAPS model is the one you want if you play competitive Backgammon. Both end caps can be quickly and easily removed and replaced to allow you to place the dice of your choice inside the tube. Most competitive Backgammon players already own precision backgammon dice, which means all you need to order is this version of the tube and use your own dice. If you would like to order precision backgammon dice with your tube, I have them available for purchase (provided by Carol Joy Cole).
So, what about the opening roll??
The opening roll is the reason why the Meyer Dice Tube uses two dice of different colors. When you order your Meyer Dice Tube, you get to choose the colors of the dice you want in your tube. Ten different colors of STANDARD dice and seven different colors of PRECISION dice are available for you to choose from (see "Choose Your Dice"). Some people select dice that match the colors on their backgammon board or their checkers. Some simply choose their two favorite colors. Some even choose colors that represent their favorite sports team. It's your tube...choose the colors you want! But let's assume the tube contains a red die and a blue die. For the opening roll, one player selects one of the dice colors, then the other player turns over the tube.
Here's an example:
Steve and Bob are ready to begin a game. Steve selects the red die, then Bob turns over the tube. When the dice settle, there's a blue 6 and a red 1. Since Steve selected the red die, Bob was the blue die, and since the blue 6 is the highest number, Bob wins the opening roll and moves a 6-1. After Bob makes his move, he taps the top of the tube. Steve then flips the tube and play continues.
For the first game of the session, the owner of the board being used chooses the color for the opening roll. For the rest of the games, the winner of the previous game chooses the color for the next opening roll.
NOTE: It is acceptable, if both players agree, to decide which die will represent which player for every opening roll for an entire match or session.
You have flipped the tube and placed in on the table, outside of the board, closer to you than your opponent. Once you've made your move, you tap the top of the tube with your hand (similar to tapping a clock button). Once you tap the tube, your play is over. If your opponent wishes to "roll", he reaches over and grabs the tube from where you placed it, flips it over, and places it on the table, closer to him but on the same end of the board. Once he flips the tube, that is his roll and it's time for his checker play. If he is considering cubing, the tube remains where you placed it while he thinks it over. If he cubes, and you drop, he hasn't touched the tube since you tapped it to indicate your turn was over. If he decides to cube, and you take, (or if he decides to not cube) he then reaches over and grabs the tube from where you placed it, flips it over, and places it on the table as described above and play continues.
Tapping the tube is required by both players, even if one player has a checker on the bar and is closed out.
Here's an example:
Steve and Bob are playing and Steve just hit Bob's checker, sending it to the bar while filling in his home board (Bob is on the bar and closed out). After his play, Steve must tap the tube, even though Bob can not play. This tap means that Bob now has the opportunity to cube or challenge the legality of Steve's play. If Bob agrees that Steve's play was legal, and Bob does not wish to cube, he taps the tube to indicate that Steve may flip the tube for his next play.
Another HUGE advantage of using the Meyer Dice Tube is that once a player taps the tube after his play, the dice have not been disturbed. Therefore, if a player thinks his opponent made an illegal play, the dice are still there as evidence of the numbers rolled.
NOTE: If using a clock, tapping the tube is not necessary since tapping the clock button indicates the end of your play.
Rules Concerning Flipping the Tube:
When it is your turn to flip the tube, here is how to do it properly:
Grab the tube near its center with your hand already inverted. Lift the tube approximately 1" to 3" from the table. As you are lifting the tube, quickly rotate the tube and immediately begin lowering the tube gently back onto the table (slightly closer to you than your opponent). As soon as the tube is replaced onto the table, remove your hand from the tube.
The intent is that the action of flipping the tube be part of the physical motion of setting the tube onto the table.
Flipping the tube must be a quick and deliberate action, taking no longer than 1 second to complete. You are NOT allowed to flip the tube slowly.
Occasionally (approximately once every 100 or so flips), a die will land cocked in the bottom of the tube, or (very rarely) the dice will land stacked, one on top of the other. If this happens, confirm with your opponent that both dice did not land flat and playable, then flip the tube again.
Using the Meyer Dice Tube with "BOTS":
Many Backgammon players use computer programs ("bots") such as eXtreme Gammon™ to improve their skills. Players often argue that these bots cheat, in that the dice rolls are not random and in fact favor the bot over the human player. These programs offer an option (usually under "settings") of entering the dice rolls manually. This option allows the human player to physically roll a pair of dice and enter the resulting numbers into the program by use of the computer's keyboard for each roll (for the human's moves and the bot's moves). This is a great feature, in that it eliminates any suspicion of the bot not rolling random numbers. However, this is a cumbersome process, in that the player has to physically roll an actual pair of dice onto a nearby table or into some sort of tray for every play, then retrieve the dice, replace them into the dice cup and roll them again for the next move. Think about how much easier this process would be using the Meyer Dice Tube! You simply flip the tube over with one hand and enter the resulting numbers with the other hand for each move.
The Meyer Dice Tube is constructed of the highest quality extruded acrylic. The tube is 9 inches tall and 2.25 inches in diameter, with an inner diameter of 2 inches (1/8" thick walls). Due to its size, it easily fits into virtually all full-size backgammon cases. The spiraling helix is formed using "surgical-grade" latex tubing. The 13 "rods" are progressively angled at 30-degree intervals (twelve 30-degree intervals from the first "rod" yields exactly 360 degrees, one complete rotation). The ends of the SEALED tube are sealed using 1/8" acrylic discs, which are sealed to the tube with a specially formulated clear acrylic cement using a capillary sealing method.
The REMOVABLE end caps are machined from one solid piece of "Museum Quality" cast acrylic. A groove is cut around the circumference of the cap's insert. Finally, a neoprene o-ring is stretched into this groove to ensure a snug fit into the tube's ends. The end caps are designed to fit snugly enough so they don't fall out of the tube during play, but so they also can be easily removed and inserted. You may find that twisting the cap will assist in removing and inserting the caps.
Due to the high quality materials and the construction methods, the Meyer Dice Tube is virtually indestructible, so don't worry about it breaking if it falls off the table. This product is built to last forever!
The interior surface of the end caps (the "landing pads") are circular adhesive sections of Velcro® hook material (the plastic part, not the fuzzy stuff). This provides just enough bounce when the dice land to virtually eliminate any possibility of cocked dice once they settle in the bottom.
The STANDARD dice are high-quality, 16 mm translucent dice (with recessed pips) imported from
PRECISION BACKGAMMON DICE (provided by Carol Joy Cole) ARE AVAILABLE AS AN OPTIONAL UPGRADE. If you want PRECISION DICE, click the drop-down arrow above the "Add To Cart" button on the appropriate purchasing page, and select the Precision Dice option.
Additionally, each Meyer Dice Tube is shipped in a soft, black fleece drawstring bag. If your backgammon case is too small to accommodate the tube...no problem! Simply loop the cord of the drawstring bag over your case's handle, and your Meyer Dice Tube will gladly ride along on the outside of your case.