Back with confidence! Now that we've funded, you know that Knot Dice will be made and you will get your reward.
These are Knot Dice - they are games, puzzles, and artistic inspiration. They are a way to get everyone making Celtic knots. They're not just for monks.
The paths on each die are continuous over all of the faces. By connecting several dice side by side, you form intricate Celtic knot designs. Knot Dice combine some of the best elements of dice and tiles in twelve games and seven puzzle types in the printed rulebook.
Hello! My name is Matthew O'Malley from Black Oak Games, and I'm a tabletop game designer (Between Two Cities with Ben Rosset, Diner, and The Princess Bride: A Battle of Wits). I've been designing games for years, and I've participated in several Kickstarter campaigns, but Knot Dice is my first campaign in the driver's seat.
I have been working on (and playing with) these dice for years. They've gone with me to Gen Con, Unpub, Metatopia, BGG Con, and more, and I have finally found a way to manufacture them so that I can get them out into the world.
Knot Dice are larger-than-usual dice, molded of a forest green pearlized acrylic with debossed (indented) silver lines. The designs are continuous around the entire die.
They are 20mm square, about 3/4 of an inch, much larger than a standard 16mm die (nearly twice as much material). The larger dice make for much more attractive designs, and allow them to be stacked easily as well. They have a nice weight to them, and roll well on any surface.
One face has lines extending off one edge (an end, or "A"), three faces have lines extending off two edges (a chain, "I", and two corners, "L" and "J"), one face has lines extending off three edges (a side, or "T"), and one face has lines extending off four edges (a center, or "X").
One box of Knot Dice contains:
- 18 Knot Dice (20mm dice). You can make solid Celtic knot designs up to 3x6 or 4x4, or two 3x3 designs, and play all of the included games and puzzles.
- Rules to twelve games (four stretch goals unlocked!) (described below under Games).
- Rules to seven different types of puzzles (three stretch goals unlocked!) (described below under Puzzles), with several puzzles of each type.
- 8 wooden discs with silkscreened designs (two stretch goals unlocked!) (16mm x 4mm, two each in black, white, blue, and yellow, see the designs under Stretch Goals). These tokens are sometimes used to track scores, sometimes used as playing pieces. A scoring track and a grid for use in some of the games and puzzles are printed in the rulebook.
As more games and puzzles are designed (by me and other game designers), they will be available on the web.
The box itself can hold up to 36 dice if the insert is removed, so you can combine several boxes or add dice to create much larger designs and increase some games' player count.
- The Nerds' Table
- Theology of Games
- Game and a Curry
- Thematic Solitaires for the Spare Time Challenged: Exploring the Borderlands of Games and Puzzles
- Inquisitive Meeple interview
- Go Forth and Game interview
- Meeple Mechanic interview
- Club Fantasci interview (video)
Here are a few words about Knot Dice:
"We play tested these amazingly beautiful dice and really enjoyed the puzzley games they inspired." - David MacKenzie, Game Designers Clubhouse
"I've never seen dice as gorgeous as #KnotDice. That they come with real, fun games and at this price proves the labor of love." - Jay Treat
"If you're lucky you'll get tangled up in #KnotDice." - Benny Sperling
"Knot Dice are one of my new favorite components. The games and puzzles Matthew has created already using them are great and I can hardly wait to see what he invents next! I've enjoyed them for 5 hours already with no end in sight!" - Doug Levandowski
"I wish I knew somebody who had a copy so I could play." - Jason Funk
Included in the Knot Dice box are rules for all of these games, appealing to a wide variety of interests:
1-3 players, cooperative
This is a good introduction to the dice. Start with several rolled dice. Each turn you roll and add a new die to your pool, then you choose one of your dice to add to the shared central design. To win, you have to complete the design with no more than 2 dice discarded from the entire table. The more compact the design, the more points you score.
Kells: The Book
1-3 players, cooperative
Players familiar with Kells can advance to the Book. Play is similar to Kells, but you can create several separate designs with your dice. Once all of the dice have been placed, you score the Page, and any dice that were not in completed designs are lost from the game. Then you restart with the remaining dice and create a new Page, until finally all of the dice are lost, and you determine your score for the entire Book.
Kells: The Abbey
1-3 players, cooperative
The Abbey is another variation on the Kells game. Play is similar to Kells: The Book, but you use the sides of the dice rather than the top, and you build your designs vertically on a wall.
Knot So Fast
2 players, real-time competitive (additional dice allow for more players without adding time)
Start with four dice each and roll them simultaneously, picking up and re-rolling as many dice as quickly and as often as you want. When one player creates a single complete design using all of their dice, they take another die from the central pool and both players start again. Once the dice run out, the player with the most dice wins. This is a real-time game that actually requires some decision-making, because there are several different possible designs with every number of dice. Part of the game is figuring out which design to pursue and when to change your path.
Knot So Fast Too
3-4 players, real-time competitive
This is a round-robin tournament real-time game. The first pair of players start with nine dice each and roll simultaneously until one player completes a single design using all of their dice. That player scores 1 point, and the next pair competes. However, when players with uneven scores compete, the player with more points must take the point difference in dice from their opponent before the match begins. The tournament ends when all players have played an equal number of matches and one player reaches 5 points.
2 players, turn-based competitive
Players take turns rolling single dice and attaching them to a shared central design. Each turn, after placing your die, you must move one of your two tokens over a path formed by the knots on the dice, which must include the die that was just placed. The objective is to get your two tokens the furthest from one another.
Osbox - designed by Cameron Browne for his Osbo dice
2 players, turn-based competitive pure strategy game
Each turn, you select a die and set it to any face, then slide it one space in from one of two sides of a 4x4 grid. The slide can move other dice, but it cannot push any dice out of the grid. If a completed knot is formed that extends onto more than a single row or column (an "L" shape would work but an "I" shape would not), that knot is scored and then removed from the grid. Play continues until the grid is filled.
A Celtic Yarn - designed by Bonnie Neubauer
2 players, turn-based competitive
In A Celtic Yarn, you are a worker in a yarn factory trying to free a strand of yarn from a huge tangle (a 3x3 square of dice). You push a die in from one of your sides of the tangle, and the winner is the first player to get a continuous strand over at least 4 dice and reaching from one side of the tangle to a second side.
Trí na Coillte - designed by Ian Reed
2 players, turn-based competitive
In Trí na Coillte, your token is a child chasing another child through the forest (a 4x4 square of dice), and the first child to catch the other wins. There is a shared “chase” die which determines the speed at which you can move, and an individual “tree” die which you slide into the forest, changing all of the paths (and giving your opponent a new tree). You also have the option of replacing the current chase die with your tree die and rolling your new die to change things up.
Minarets - designed by Cardboard Edison (Chris and Suzanne Zinsli)
3-4 players, turn-based competitive
Minarets is a real gamer’s game. The partnership play is based on Between Two Cities (you work with two partners to build two separate structures but only score the lower of your two), and there are also some cool innovations in turn order and scoring. Each turn, you choose one of the dice in front of another player to play on one of your structures--the next player is the player whose die you chose. There is a good bit of playing the other players, because you have to figure out what objectives they have for their structures, what dice they will want to use, whose turn will be next, and what is the best die for you to choose based on all of those factors.
Knot the Whole Story - designed by Jay Treat and Doug Levandowski
2-4 players, storytelling
In Knot the Whole Story, you tell a story with your friends using the dice to determine the structure of the storyline. You weave together the threads of the story, and the dice cause twists and decision points, closing off plot lines or opening up new ones.
Snakes - designed by Bonnie Neubauer and Matthew O'Malley
2 players, turn-based competitive
Snakes is a push-your-luck style game in which two players compete to move their snake the farthest. Each round, you roll five dice at the same time as your opponent and place at least one (if you can), then you can reroll the rest or stop and save your movement. If you don't roll any dice you can place, you lose all of your movement this round. When a new round starts, you collect back up to five dice from your remaining loose dice and from the back of your snake. Whoever's snake is furthest after six rounds is the winner.
For those of you interested in the number of players each game can handle with different numbers of Knot Dice, here's a handy chart:
Download a DRAFT version of the Knot Dice game rules for the first six games (prior to the stretch goals). Changes are still being made for clarity. The final rules will have professional diagrams, be laid out by a graphic designer, and will go through additional editing.
Knot Dice games have been playtested at Unpub3, Unpub4, Unpub5, GenCon's First Exposure Playtest Hall, Unpub at BGGcon, Metatopia, Table Treasure Games, Game Designers Clubhouse, and numerous smaller events. I want to send out a huge THANK YOU to everyone who playtested Knot Dice over the years. The games are so much better for your help.
In addition to the games in the printed rulebook, I plan to release more Knot Dice games by a number of different designers on the Black Oak Games web site in the future.
Seven puzzle types are included in the game box. Some of these puzzles are similar to those I created years ago for a flat puzzle, while others rely on the unique qualities of dice for their solutions.
- Completion Puzzles 1 - move dice from a preset arrangement to a completed design without changing the orientation of the dice.
- Completion Puzzles 2 - move dice from a preset arrangement to a completed design, with the ability to change the orientation of the top face of the dice.
- Transformation Puzzles - change one completed design to another by moving dice as in the completion puzzles and also altering which face is upright.
- Creation Puzzles - given dice with certain faces, create symmetrical designs.
- Building Puzzles - arrange the dice into three-dimensional shapes with completed designs on all the exterior faces.
- Wall Puzzle - find a complete 4x4 design using dice that can be taken and stacked into a 4x4 wall in another complete design, without rotating any of the dice in any direction.
- Oxvo (designed by Cameron Browne for his Osbo dice) - starting with 15 dice in a 4x4 grid, try to form the longest possible path in the shortest number of turns.
Download a DRAFT version of the Knot Dice puzzle rules. Changes are still being made for clarity (and the stretch goals will be added). The final rules will have professional diagrams, be laid out by a graphic designer, and will go through additional editing.
We have passed two puzzle stretch goals, so now the printed rulebook will contain twelve Completion Puzzles 1, twelve Completion Puzzles 2, twelve Transformation Puzzle designs (which result in huge number of puzzles), sixteen Creation Puzzles, six Building Puzzles, the Wall Puzzle, and the singular puzzle Oxvo.
I need your help to get these dice made. The money raised on Kickstarter will go toward the molds for the dice, manufacturing the dice, printing and manufacturing the box and rules and tokens, graphic design and editing for the rules, putting it all together, and shipping.
- Make it happen - Without your help, these dice won't get made.
- Make it better - If we can get enough support, we'll be able to improve some of the components that will come in every box of Knot Dice.
- Backers come first (by a long shot) - You will be sent your copies of the game before regular distribution copies of the game are shipped (by freight) to the United States. (Remember, retailers can be backers too.) EU backers: Your rewards will be sent by freight to the EU and then directly to you.
Please participate with both your pledges and your voices. Do you have a friend who loves dice games or Celtic culture and history? Please share the Knot Dice project with them!
Each backer level below includes a reward. Additional copies of the rewards can be added by increasing your pledge by the appropriate amount (see the Add-Ons section). They make great gifts as well.
- $15 - 9 DICE (HALF SET) - nine Knot Dice to play and puzzle with, along with a pdf of sixteen 9-dice puzzles. This level does not allow for add-ons or include stretch goals, nor does it include any printed material with the dice.
- $29 - KNOT DICE BOX - the complete boxed set including 18 dice, a printed booklet with game rules and puzzles, wooden tokens, AND all stretch goals. This level is eligible for add-ons.
- $55 - KNOT DICE DELUXE - the complete boxed set with everything from the Knot Dice Box reward level, plus a bag embroidered with the Knot Dice logo, and 18 extra dice (for a total of 36 Knot Dice). This level includes all stretch goals and is eligible for add-ons. The additional dice form larger designs, allow for simultaneous puzzle solving, and increase the player count to four in several of the games.
$350 - KNOT DICE & WYRMWOOD (photos below) - a signed copy of the deluxe level PLUS a hand-crafted artisan Knot Dice Vault / play & display piece by Wyrmwood Gaming.
The Knot Dice Vault holds 36 dice for storage or display. The lid is held on by magnets just like Wyrmwood's famous dice vaults, but the rest of the piece is custom-made for Knot Dice. The interior of the lid contains a track for use with the wooden tokens, and the interior of the base contains a grid on which several games can be played with the dice, and which fits 36 dice perfectly with a storage slot for the wooden tokens. In addition, the exterior of the base has an indentation so that the vault can be inverted and used as a display stand for the dice.
The wood is Bolivian Rosewood, and the entire piece shows Wyrmwood's exceptional craftsmanship.
This level includes all stretch goals and is eligible for add-ons. PLEASE NOTE: This level will be shipped from the U.S., because I will be signing the cardboard box and Wyrmwood is located in the U.S.
Knot Dice & Wyrmwood Photos
To add rewards to your boxed pledge level, just add the dollar amount of any add-ons to your pledge. I will collect specifics from a Kickstarter survey after the campaign concludes.
- $10 - Add an Embroidered Bag - add a large black faux-velvet bag embroidered with the Knot Dice logo that can hold 36 Knot Dice with room to spare. This bag will not be sold separately in retail stores after the Kickstarter. The bag can be added to any pledge that already includes a copy of the boxed Knot Dice.
- $13 - Add 9 Dice - add a set of 9 Knot Dice to any pledge that already includes a copy of the boxed Knot Dice (the box can hold up to 36 dice total if the insert is removed). Each set of 9 dice allows for one additional player in several of the games.
- $29 - Add a Knot Dice Box - add a second/third/fifteenth box of 18 Knot Dice to any pledge that already includes a copy of the boxed Knot Dice.
- $55 - Add Knot Dice Deluxe - add a second/third/fifteenth Deluxe set to any pledge that includes a copy of the boxed Knot Dice. The Deluxe set includes the entire contents of the box, a total of 36 dice, and the embroidered bag.
The boxed copy of Knot Dice is complete from the start. It includes the dice, wooden tokens, and rules for the games and puzzles. The stretch goals are improvements for every boxed copy of the game.
If you share the Knot Dice project with others who might be interested, we'll meet more stretch goals and get more in every box!
WORLDWIDE SHIPPING IS INCLUDED in the pledge prices.
- Non-EU backers - your rewards will be shipped directly from China even before copies of the game intended for normal distribution are freighted to the U.S.
- EU backers - your rewards will be shipped to the EU by freight, and then shipped to you from within the EU.
This saves time and money for international AND U.S. backers, because I won't have to ship everything by freight first to the U.S., and then finally to you. This is not subsidized shipping to international backers. This is simply a quicker shipping solution for everyone, and a much less expensive international shipping solution.
This shipping method doesn't work as well for larger games, which is why it isn't commonplace, but the smaller size of these packages is perfect for this.
There are no U.S. customs charges for shipments under $200. If you are in the U.S. and would like to back for more than $200 but are not interested in the Wyrmwood level, please contact me directly.
Wyrmwood Backers - Wyrmwood level rewards will be shipped by air to me in the U.S., combined into one package with the Wyrmwood Dice Vault, and then shipped directly to you from the U.S.
I want to support game stores by offering the items available on Kickstarter to retailers. If you're a retailer, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org for pricing information, and then you can make your pledge in full through Kickstarter during the campaign.
Celtic knots are part of a rich tradition of Celtic art and culture. The looping design patterns now known as Celtic knots are found in art from nearly 1,400 years ago, though repeating interlacing patterns can be found even earlier.
The most famous examples of Celtic knot work are the Book of Kells (ca. 800), the Lindisfarne Gospels (ca. 700), and the Book of Durrow (ca. 650). These illuminated (decorated) manuscripts were made by monks in Ireland or Britain. Other examples can be found in manuscripts and carved stone monuments across Europe, primarily in the northwest.
Some general information about these manuscripts is available on Wikipedia (Kells, Lindisfarne, and Durrow), and the entirety of the Book of Kells (give it a moment to load) is available from the Trinity College Dublin Digital Collection.
Celtic art, music, and culture often have a strong presence in the lives of those who trace their ancestry to the Celtic peoples, but people of all cultures and traditions can appreciate the beauty of Celtic knots and the intricate designs created by Knot Dice.
The design elements on the faces of the dice are based on the Celtic Knot Font, created by Daniel Isdell. If you're interested in creating Celtic knotwork, check out his font!
All photos on this page taken by Matt Grosso. Graphic Design by Christine Santana. Music in the video by the Bog Band. Immeasurable help and patience by Margaux, Anna Grace, and Peter O'Malley.
Risks and challenges
I have spent several years preparing for this project--finding a manufacturer for dice with designs that reach to the very edge (harder than you'd think), studying up on Jamey Stegmaier's Kickstarter Lessons, and speaking with a huge number of project creators and publishers to make sure I have all my ducks in a row.
While I have done everything I can to avoid problems, things can go wrong. Strikes, shipping issues, and manufacturing delays are always a possibility. If that happens, I will be up-front and open with you about them, and always let you know if anything could impact the final delivery date.
Quality: I have already had high-quality samples made (at my expense), so I feel confident in my ability to get these manufactured.
Cost: I have already sourced and priced all of the items, so there should be no surprises there.
Timing: I will do everything I can to make sure they will be ready by my projected delivery date. While delays can always occur, I have built some extra time into the schedule so we should be able to make that goal. Samples have been made, and the manufacturer is ready to start on the final molds as soon as the campaign is successful. There isn't a great deal of additional art necessary, and the rules and puzzles are close to finished, so it will primarily be time laying them out in the book.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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