Compleat Gamester: Basically Dice


William Moore

Beetle

Players will be individually constructing a beetle.

Number of Players

The game may be played with two or more players.

Set Up

  • Something to write with and on for each player
  • 1 six-sided die

Roll the die to determine player turn order, rerolling ties.

Game Play

Each player takes a turn rolling the die. When they roll one of the following they draw that feature of the beetle, including the maximum:

  1. Eye, which there are 2.
  2. Antenna, of which there are 2.
  3. Leg, of which there are 6.
  4. Wings, of which there are 2.
  5. Head, which there is 1.
  6. Body, which is 1.

Winning the Game

The first player to complete their beetle, wins.

Chicago

Chicago is a fun party game.

Number of Players

The game may be played with two or more players.

Set Up

  • 2 six-sided dice
  • Something to keep score with

Determine the starting player by rolling the dice and the player with the highest goes first. All players agree upon the total number of rounds.

Game Play

Round 1 has a target score of 2. Round 2 has a target score of 3. And so on.

The acting player rolls once to get the target score of the round. If they get it, they earn that many points. The acting player then passes the dice to the player to the left. The round ends when all players have rolled once that round.

Winning the Game

The player with the highest score wins. In case of ties, roll dice to determine who actually wins.

Drop Dead

Drop Dead is a dice game of trying to roll the highest result before your turn ends.

Number of Players

The game may be played with two or more players.

Set Up

  • 2 six-sided dice
  • Something to write with and on

Players determine turn order in some fashion, preferably by rolling the dice and the turn order goes from highest to lowest or, alternatively, from lowest to highest.

Game Play

The acting player rolls their dice. If the total is 2 or 5 or any of the dice results are individually 2 or 5, the player “drops dead”, doesn’t record the result of those dice, and ends their turn. Otherwise, record the resulting total. Once the player ends their turn, they total their rolls.

Winning the Game

Once all players have taken a turn, the player with the highest score wins.

Betting

If the betting option is included, all players place wagers into the kitty. The winning player gets the kitty. If there is a tie, the kitty moves on to the next game.

Drinking

If the drinking option is included, the losing players take a drink at the end of the game.

Going to Boston

A game of getting the most points.

Number of Players

The game may be played with three or more players.

Set Up

  • 3 six-sided dice
  • Something to record scores with

Players agree to a certain number of turns.

Game Play

Players take turns rolling the dice, choosing the die with the highest pips. If there are multiple dice with the same pip, choose only one. Repeat with the remaining two, choosing the die with the highest pips. Finally, roll the last one. This is their score for that turn. Add this to the player’s score.

Winning the Game

Once all players have reached the number of turns, the player with the highest score wins.

Mafia

The goal of this family friendly game is to get rid of all your dice before the other players.

Number of Players

The game is best played with 3 to 5 players.

Set Up

  • 5 six-sided dice per player
  • 5 tokens per player

Game Play

Before each round begins, each player rolls 2 dice to determine play order. Play continues from the starting player clockwise or counter-clockwise, which is the choice of the starting player.

The acting player rolls their dice, removing any that roll 1 from play and handing all 6s to the player to their left. When the first player has no more dice, all remaining players roll a die. The player with the highest roll loses one token. Return all dice to the owning player.

A new round begins with those players that still have tokens.

Winning the Game

The game ends when all but one player has lost all their tokens.

Midnight

The goal of this game is to get the highest score from dice rolls.

Number of Players

The game may be played with two or more players.

Set Up

  • 6 six-sided dice

Players determine play order somehow.

Game Play

Each player takes turns following the predetermined play order. The acting player rolls all 6 of their dice and sets aside one. Reroll the remainder. This is repeated until there are no more dice to roll. If a 1 and a 4 are not set aside, the acting player does not score. If they do set aside a 1 and a 4, the remaining dice kept are totaled for their score.

Winning the Game

The player with the highest score wins. In case of ties, roll a six-sided dice until there is a winner.

Drinking

Like many games, there is a drinking aspect. Once the game is over, all but the winning player takes a drink. The drinking rules do not allow for tie resolution. In case of ties, those players do not drink.

Gambling

Like many games, there is a gambling aspect. Each player puts in an agreed upon wager into the kitty. The winner of the game takes all wagers from the kitty.

Pig

You’re a big, fat pig eating food. Which player will eat the most food?

Number of Players

The game may be played with two or more players.

Set Up

  • Something to keep score with
  • 1 six-sided die

Roll the die to determine player turn order, rerolling ties.

Game Play

Each player takes a turn rolling the die. If anything other than a 1 is rolled, add it to their score for the turn. If a 1 is rolled, the player’s turn ends and all points for the turn are lost. At any time, a player may stop rolling and add the score for their turn to their total score.

Winning the Game

Once a player reaches 100 points in their total score, they win.

Variants

Big Pig

The difference between pig and big pig is that there are now two dice and when two 1’s are rolled, the turn ends for the player. Furthermore, if doubles are rolled, add twice the value to the score for their turn.

Hog

Before play starts, players decide on the maximum dice. Each turn the player chooses up to the maximum dice and must stick to that each the entire turn. If a 1 is rolled at any time, the turn ends and the player does not add the score for the turn to their total score.

Put and Take

An old game that inspired the Hannukah tradition of dreidel.

Number of Players

This requires at least 2 players, but a minimum of 3 will make the game better.

Set Up

  • 1 “put and take” teetotum
  • An equal number of tokens distributed among all players

Determine who goes first through any method and play continues clockwise. Next, every player puts one token into the kitty.

Game Play

Each turn, the player spins the teetotum. If AP is the result, all players put in a token into the kitty. If TA is rolled, the spinning player takes the kitty and the game ends. If a result is spun that starts with P, the player adds the number to the kitty. If a result is spun that starts with T, the player takes the number from the kitty.

Winning the Game

When all but one player remains with tokens or TA is spun, the game ends with that person winning and adding the kitty to their tokens.

Ship, Captain, Crew

An old game using dice where players assemble, in order, a ship, a captain, and a crew by rolling for them.

Number of Players

The game may be played with two or more players.

Set Up

  • 5 six-sided dice

Determine player turn order somehow.

Game Play

Players take turns.

They roll their dice. If a 6 (ship) is found in this roll, set it aside. If a 5 (captain) is also found, set that aside, too. If a 4 (crew), set that aside, too. If none of this in-order combination is found, roll again up to a maximum of 3 total rolls. Once a ship, a captain, and a crew are set aside or on the same turn, the player’s turn ends and the remaining dice are their score. If a player does not get a ship, a captain, and a crew on their turn, their score is 0.

Winning the Game

The player with the highest score is the winner.

Traditions

A few traditions are found in this old game. They concern mostly terminologies and ways to add “flavor” to the game.

Terminologies

If the player is last to roll their dice, they are called the “hammer”. The current winning score is the “point”. A player that rolls two for the scoring dice, it is called the “minimum”. A player that rolls any sixes in the scoring dice has rolled “boxcars”. A player that rolls two “boxcars” for the scoring dice, it is called “midnight”.

Betting

There are ways to add betting to these games. Betting is used with tokens, such as poker chips or money, into the kitty. Players will bet through any kind of betting method (e.g. anteing or blinds). Another way is for the players to try for a minimum score. The winner is the player who achieves the highest score. If no player gets the minimum score, the kitty stands for another round.

Drinking

When a winner is determined, all players but the winner takes a drink. Another approach is for the winning player to determine who drinks (e.g. by being rude and naming a player outright or by rolling a die to see who drinks).

Who’s Making the Soup?

A comical game of cooking up some soup from a particular recipe.

Number of Players

The game must be played with two or more players.

Set Up

  • A six-sided die
  • A 52-card deck of cards

Shuffle the deck of cards and lay, one at a time, six cards. Do not rearrange the cards! Next, determine play order using any method desired. Next, determine what recipe will be concocted using the cards below. A card may be used multiple times. Finally, agree upon the number of turns the players will take.

Game Play

Each turn, the acting player rolls the die. They then record which card was rolled. If they have not rolled all cards as prescribed by the recipe (e.g. if the recipe calls for 5 Aces and only 4 has been rolled by that player, record 5. otherwise, do not record any). Play continues by handing the die to the next player in the turn order.

Winning the Game

Play continues until the recipe is completed by a player. If the maximum turns have been reached, calculate the score of the cards rolled. Pips are worth their face value. The court cards are worth 11. Aces are low and worth 1. The player with the highest score wins.

Zambales

Zambales is a dice game played by peoples of the Zambales region in the Philippines and first recorded by William Alan Reed. Who can pair the dice in the allotted number of rounds?

Set Up

  • Two six-sided dice

Historically, the dice used for this game may used by the Zambales people had sides of “I”, “II”, “III”, “X”, “+”, and “#”. However, any six-sided dice, such as poker dice, may be used as long as they have equivalent faces.

Roll one six-sided dice to determine player turn order. Reroll any ties.

Game Play

Each player has 5 turns to get a single pair of faces on their dice. Once the pair is made, their turn is over.

Winning the Game

The winner is the player who has after no more than 5 turns rolled a pair of faces. If there is a tie, the person with the highest value of pair wins. If there is still a tie, roll a six-sided die to determine the winner.

Betting

Historically, wagers were made using small things like a kind of sweet potato, cigars, and tobacco leaves. However, any kind of betting mechanism may be used, as long as it’s agreed upon by the players.