Dice games, by their very nature, tend to rely much more on luck than skill. But playing the odds and calculating probabilities are definitely skills which can help you win these games. If you're looking for some quick, light fun consider adding them to your collection.
What's your favorite dice game? Share your thoughts here.
One of my favorite games, Liar's Dice (also known as Call My Bluff or just Bluff, and published as Pirates Dice in a Pirates of the Caribbean themed edition) goes in and out of print. Each player rolls five dice and keeps the result secret from other players. They then take turns bidding on the total results. (e.g. "There are seven 4s." or "I say there are nine 2s.") Great fun with good friends. Liar's Dice, a cousin of the public domain game Liar Dice, takes about 20 minutes per game.
2. Can't Stop
From the mind of extraordinary game designer Sackson comes this classic. The board is a series of columns, numbered from 2 to 12. Players roll four dice, then decide in which two columns they will improve their standing. Then the mind games begin -- do you stop or roll again and risk losing your progress? Can't Stop takes about 30 minutes per game.
To Court the King is a great dice game, bringing nice new twists to the genre -- such as special character powers. Players try to earn more dice and the ability to manipulate those dice so that they can impress the king by making the best final roll. Players who enjoy Yahtzee but find it repetitive and limiting should love this game. To Court the King is a thinking man's Yahtzee, adding new elements without diminishing the fun. To Court the King takes about 45 minutes per game.
Catan Dice Game is a quick-playing, lightweight game set in the popular Settlers of Catan universe. Players use six dice to roll for resources (brick, lumber, wool, grain, ore or gold) which are then used to build roads, settlements, cities and knights. There are multiple strategies to pursue, and although players who take big risks can dominate, they can also fail spectacularly. As with most dice games, the randomness factor is high. But if you don't mind that, you'll find that Catan Dice Game is a delightfully entertaining family game. Catan Dice Games takes about 10 to 30 minutes per game.
In Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age, players compete to develop the best civilization by rolling up to seven custom dice to build cities and monuments. Each turn brings some tough choices, and you will never have quite enough options to do everything you want to. This is a finely balanced dice game.
Collecting sushi is good in this game, but fish bones are bad. By the end of the game, you are likely to have some of both. The sushi tiles are worth 1 to 6 points, while the fish bone tiles are worth -1 to -4 points. At the start of the game, all 24 tiles (a dozen sushi and a dozen fish bones) are placed in the middle of the table, available to all players. As the tiles are claimed, it is possible to steal from each other as well as taking from the central supply. When the final tile is taken from the supply, the player with the highest score is the winner.
Pass the pigs is a dice game with no dice. Instead, players roll small rubber pigs. Seriously. Points are won depending on how the pigs land, and then players decide whether to roll again, risking the points they've earned if they "pig out." Pass the Pigs takes about 30 minutes per game.
8. Button Men
With Button Men, each player takes one character (pictured on a button, the kind you might wear on your shirt in a political campaign) and rolls dice to defeat the opponent. Each character is a little different, and a variety of character sets (Soldiers, Vampyres, Freaks, etc.) are available. Tremendous fun for a low price. Button Men takes about 5 minutes per game.
The grandfather of modern dice games, Yahtzee is available in a variety of editions including Deluxe, Turbo, Pokemon, and Mickey Mouse. You roll the dice, trying to get specific sets and thus earning points. The game Kismet is a close relative, as is the public domain game Yacht. Yahtzee takes about 20 minutes per game.