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Pirate Adventure Dice

  • Object:

    Dice game

  • Place of origin:

    China (manufactured)
    Great Britain (designed)

  • Date:

    October 2014 (manufactured)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Waldron, Hannah (illustrator)
    Starsinsky, Inca (designer)
    Laurence King and Partners (publishers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Wood, printed; paper, printed

  • Credit Line:

    Given by William Newton

  • Museum number:

    B.39-2017

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Pirate stories have been popular with children for more than two hundred years. They offer the appeal of romantic and exciting adventures across the seas to mysterious lands, fighting dreaded rivals and obtaining rich treasures, with pirates playing the roles of heroes, anti-heroes, or outright villains. Over time, the content of children’s pirate stories became increasingly sanitised and stereotyped, removing fictional pirates from their unsavoury historic origins.Children’s pirate stories tend to make use of a number of similar themes and elements, and this object distils them into a single game, whilst adding the modern twist of enabling the player to gain superpowers. Story dice are designed to encourage imagination by linking the images displayed on the upturned faces into an adventure story.

Physical description

Set of nine dice, with instructions, in a box. The dice are of wood and are printed on each face with an illustration. Eight of the dice are story dice, with mainly black pictures; the ninth is a special 'superpowers' die, which is printed in red. The illustrations are:

1. skeleton, storm, red swirl, shark's fin, female sailor, treasure map
2. ship on a large wave, jail, anchor, pirate ship, sea monster, captain
3. lady in danger, crocodile, sailor boy, crowd of pirates, message in a bottle, walking the plank
4. magnetic body, supernatural strength, long-distance vision, swimming underwater, talking to animals, time travel
5. compass, whale, octopus, parrot, rowing boat, one-legged sailor
6. seagull, pirate flag, shipwreck, musket, islander, cutlass
7. fishing rod, treasure chest, spade, red swirl, fishing net, palm beach
8. barrel, spyglass, sailor watching from the mast, cannon, red swirl, helm
9. mermaid, dolphin, dog, friendly ship, rope, pirate

There is a small printed paper book containing a picture list and rules of play. All is contained in a printed card box with a separate lid.

Place of Origin

China (manufactured)
Great Britain (designed)

Date

October 2014 (manufactured)

Artist/maker

Waldron, Hannah (illustrator)
Starsinsky, Inca (designer)
Laurence King and Partners (publishers)

Materials and Techniques

Wood, printed; paper, printed

Dimensions

Height: 3.4 cm box, Width: 9 cm box, Depth: 9 cm box, Width: 2.5 cm dice

Object history note

Given to the Museum in 2017 by William Newton, who purchased the dice in the V&A Museum of Childhood's shop.

Historical context note

Pirate stories have been popular with children for more than two hundred years. They offer the appeal of romantic and exciting adventures across the seas to mysterious lands, fighting dreaded rivals and obtaining rich treasures, with pirates playing the roles of heroes, anti-heroes, or outright villains. Over time, the content of children’s pirate stories became increasingly sanitised and stereotyped, removing fictional pirates from their unsavoury historic origins.

Dice originated before recorded history, the oldest confirmed examples date from around 2500 BC. They are usually used in games as devices to generate random numbers, for purposes of gambling or to indicate the number of moves a player may make in a table top or board game. Their randomly-falling nature means that special picture dice are available that can be utilised for story games, where the elements of the story are decided by a roll of the dice.

Descriptive line

Set of storytelling dice, 'Pirate Adventure Dice'

Materials

Paper; Wood

Techniques

Printing

Subjects depicted

Sailors; Ships; Chests; Skeletons; Whales; Captains (military officers); Crocodiles; Mermaids; Skull and crossbones; Pirates; Dogs; Compasses; Octopus; Rope; Sea monsters

Categories

Games

Production Type

Mass produced

Collection

Museum of Childhood

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