The Lie of Luck

From Games to Life. It’s not real…

Paul A. DeStefano


We must believe in luck. For how else can we explain the success of those we don’t like?

- Jean Cocteau

“Luck” and “randomness” are words that permeate our lives from work to play. One can be lucky in love, get a lucky break or best the luck of the draw.

With something so prominent in society, one would think there would exist a more precise definition of it. Luck has some sort of magical connotation that it is something that can be possessed or controlled.

Luck is simply a knowledge that reduces/raises the random nature of a given event.

Quantum science researchers and dark fantasy readers like to call it chaos. Luck is the old-school term. For the sake of tradition, let’s stick with that. Good luck seems to change the nature of an event favorably and bad luck somehow burdens the wielder with the short end of the random deal.

Which would point that the definition of luck may be intertwined in the definition of random.

Random and Luck are simply terms used to cover huge gray gaps of human knowledge and perception. It’s just easy to lump all of human shortsightedness into a blob we call random luck.

Roll two dice. The mathematicians and statisticians will shower you with the chances of what dice roll can show up.

In truth, there is only one way the dice can land and a whole bunch of educated and not so educated guesses.

Get a high speed video camera. Take your two favorite dice and roll them while video recording the results. Now, take that tape to a statistician and let them try to predict the outcome. They will give you ethereal values of what might be. Play the video. You will be 100% correct as to the throw of the dice, because you saw the outcome already. Just hold that thought. We’re not digging into predetermination. It’s just the fact that you know, without flaw, the outcome of what was previously determined to be luck - just chaos we cannot quantify.

At the given moment of the dice throw, there is only one way those dice could land. Watch the video again. The angle of your hand, the weight of the dice, the relative humidity in the room, the density of…



Paul A. DeStefano

Author, Board Gamer/Designer. Paul D’s Tainted Dragon Inn on FB for geeky stuff. Represented by B Swanson The Purcell Agency. Riftsiders.