Dice Games for the Whole Family!
Beetle is a simple but creative dice game of rolling and drawing.
Alternate Names: Bug, Cootie
Object of the Game: In turn, players roll a die to determine which body part of a beetle (or bug or cootie) they are allowed to draw. The first player to finish drawing their beetle wins.
Equipment: One 6-sided die, Pencil and paper for each player
Number of Players: 2 or more
How to Play Beetle: Randomly choose a player to begin. That player picks up the die and rolls it. They then draw a body part of a bug on their paper depending on the number rolled.
1 — Body
2 — Head
3 — A leg
4 — An eye
5 — An antenna
6 — The tail
There are some restrictions on when each body part can be drawn: You must draw a body first, then a head, so the legs, tail and head cannot be drawn until the player has rolled a 1 and drawn the body, and the eyes and antennae cannot be drawn until the player has rolled a 2 and drawn the head.
If a number is rolled that matches a body part that cannot be drawn or that the player has already drawn (e.g., the player rolls a 1 but they have already drawn the body) then the player’s turn ends.
Once a player has rolled the die and has drawn any beetle parts, they pass the die clockwise to the next player who then takes a turn. Play continues in this manner until somebody wins the game.
Winning: A completed beetle will have a body, a head, two antennae, two eyes, six legs, and a tail. The first player to draw all parts of their beetle is the winner. A completed beetle would look something like this:
Rules and Scoring Variations
Beetle Bits: Each time a player rolls the number of a beetle part they can actually draw, they draw that part and then roll again. A player may continue rolling as long as they successfully roll body parts that they are allowed to draw.
Speedy Beetle: Each player rolls two 6-sided dice on their turn instead of one and uses the result on each die.
The Colony: Each player scores 1 point for every body part that they draw. Track scores over a series of games, and the first player to reach a predetermined score (e.g., 30 points) is the winner.
Evolved Beetle: Before the game begins, decide on a more complex beetle to draw. For example, a beetle could have three body segments with four legs on each segment. Or it could have two heads, or six eyes, or four antennae, or any other combination and quantity of body parts. Also, you can change the body part that corresponds with each number. For example, 5 could be for wings instead of antennae.
Going to Boston
Also known as Going to Town, Newmarket, or Yankee Grab, the object of this little dice game is to win the most number of rounds. You’ll need three or more players and three, 6-sided dice.
How to play Going to Boston
- The game is played in an agreed-upon number of rounds.
- Each player in turn has three throws of the dice.
- On the first throw, the highest number is put to one side. If two or more of the dice show the highest number, only one is kept. The remaining two dice are thrown and once again the highest-numbered dice is put aside. The final dice is then rolled and the total of all three dice is the player’s score.
Winning the Game
When all players have had a turn, the player with the highest score wins the round. Ties are broken by additional rounds of rolling. When all rounds have been played, the player who won the most rounds is the overall winner.
Yes. One variant is called Multiplication. It’s played the same as Going to Boston, except instead of adding the total of all three dice, a player’s score is determined by scoring the sum of the first two dice multiplied by the third.
The LCR dice game is a fast-moving game that anyone can play. It requires 3 or more players and can be played with both small and large groups, so it makes a particularly good game for family gatherings. Like slot machines or Bingo, LCR requires no skill or decision making of any kind. But, also like those games, it’s simple to play and provides plenty of excitement.
Object of the Game: Players start with a few chips and then take turns rolling the dice to determine which direction they should pass their chips.The object of LCR is to be the only player with any remaining chips.
- Three 6-sided dice
- Small plastic poker chips or counting chips, enough for 3 per player. Or you can substitute regular poker chips, glass stones, play money, buttons, chocolate coins, or any other collection of similar items. Alternatively, you can wager quarters or dollars.
Number of Players: 3 or more
How to Play the LCR Dice Game: Ideally, all players should sit around a table that provides a surface for rolling the dice, but any type of seating arrangement can be used as long as the players are in a circular formation. The middle of the circle is the center “pot” where chips will be placed during the game.
Before the game begins, each player receives three chips. Choose a player to be the starting player. This can be the youngest player, or the oldest player, the player who won the previous game, or any other method of your choosing.
The starting player takes their turn, then players will continue taking turns in clockwise order until the game ends.
On your turn, roll the dice. How many dice you roll depends on how many chips you have.
- If you have 3 or more chips, roll all 3 dice.
- If you have 2 chips, roll 2 dice.
- If you have 1 chip, roll 1 die.
- If you have no chips, don’t roll any dice.
After the dice are rolled, you must take actions based on what is showing on the dice.
In the retail version of the game, one side of each die has an L, one side has a C, one side has an R, and three sides have a single dot. However, you can use any regular 6-sided dice to play by using the following substitutions:
- 1, 2, and 3 are dots
- 4 is L
- 5 is C
- 6 is R
After rolling the dice, look at each die one at a time and take an action based on what was rolled.
- If you roll an L (or a 4), you must give one of your chips to the player on your left.
- If you roll a C (or a 5), you must put one of your chips in the pot in the center.
- If you roll a R (or a 6) you must give one of your chips to the player on your right.
- If you roll a dot (or a 1, 2, or 3), nothing happens.
After rolling the dice and taking actions, pass the dice to the next player. Example: If you had 5 chips and rolled an L (4), a C (5), and a dot (2), you would give one chip to the player on your left and put one chip in the center pot. You would then have 3 chips remaining.
If you lose all your chips, you aren’t out of the game but you don’t roll any dice or take any actions on your turn. Other players can still give you chips however, and if it comes back to your turn and you have chips again then you take your turn as normal.
Game End and Winning: If at any point only one player has chips remaining, that player is the winner. They get to keep all the chips they have in front of them as well as all the chips from the center pot.
Mafia is a great little dice game in which you win by being the first player to lose all your dice. You can play with between 2 and 8 players, but 3 to 5 is best. You’ll need five 6-sided dice and a stack of poker chips, or any substitute, for each player, and paper and pencil for scoring. One or more dice cups are nice to have but not required.
How to play Mafia: The game is typically played in a series of several rounds or for a specified time period. Before the game begins, players should decide how many rounds they will play.Each player starts the game with a number of points. These points can be noted on a score pad or represented with poker chips. If playing for stakes, a player’s points should equal the amount put into the pot. Otherwise each player can start with the same number of points, such as 50 or 100.
To begin the first game, each player rolls two dice. Ties are re-rolled. The player with the highest roll starts first. Play proceeds clockwise or counter-clockwise. The first player decides the order of play before beginning the game.
Each player in turn rolls all the dice in their possession. Every 6 that is rolled is passed to the next player (in play order). Every 1 that is rolled is removed from the game.
The game continues until one player has no dice left. Each of the other players then rolls all of their own remaining dice and adds up the value. They must pay the winner this number of points or chips.
If a player runs out of points or chips, they are out of the game.When a round has ended, all the dice are brought back into play and 5 dice are given to each remaining player. The winner of the previous round then begins the new round.
Winning the game: The winner of each game is the player who runs out of dice first.The winner of a series of games is the player with the most points or chips.
Pig is a simple dice game which in its basic form is playable with just a single die. You win by being the first player to score 100 or more points.
To play you’ll need 2 to 10 players, one 6-sided dice, and a pencil and some paper for keeping score.
How to play Pig Dice: Choose a player to go first. That player throws a die and scores as many points as the total shown on the die providing the die doesn’t roll a 1. The player may continue rolling and accumulating points (but risk rolling a 1) or end his turn.If the player rolls a 1 his turn is over, he loses all points he accumulated that turn, and he passes the die to the next player. Play passes from player to player until a winner is determined.
Winning: The first player to accumulate 100 or more points wins the game.
The number seven is often thought to be a lucky number. But in this dice game, rolling seven is considered a bad thing. You’ll need three or more players and six, 6-sided dice.
How to play Sevens: The game is played in an agreed-upon number of rounds. In each round, all players take a turn rolling the dice.
One player is chosen to begin and then play proceeds clockwise around the table.Each player in turn rolls six dice and removes any combination of numbers that add up to seven. The aim is to score the highest possible total by adding together the numbers shown on the remaining dice.
The first player has the option of rolling up to three times on their turn. After each roll, they remove sets of dice that add up to seven (one or more sets may have to be removed), and all these dice are set aside and are not used again during the player’s turn. Then the numbers on the remaining dice are used to calculate their score. The first player can either accept the score or they can choose to roll again. If they choose to roll again, and subsequently roll any combination of dice that total seven, those dice must be removed as well. The player may then keep their score after two rolls, or risk rolling one more time to increase their score.
All the following players take their turns in the same manner except that they are then limited to the same number of rolls, or fewer, that the first player took.The round ends once all players have had a turn. The player to the left of the previous first player begins each new round.
Example: Tim, Steve and Jennifer are playing a friendly game of Sevens. Tim goes first and rolls a 6, 2, 1, 1, 1, 2. He removes the 6 and a 1 (which add up to seven), and then decides whether to score 6 points with the remaining dice (2+2+1+1=6) or roll again and try and score more points. Tim chooses to roll the remaining 4 dice again, and this time he rolls a 6, 1, 6, 6. He removes another 6 and 1 and sees that he would score 12 points with the remaining two 6s. He could choose to throw a third time with the remaining two dice, but since he’s already scoring the maximum number of points for two dice (12) he chooses to score the 12 points and end his turn. Tim’s total score for his turn is 12, so Steve and Jennifer each have up to two throws on their turns to try and score better than Tim.
Winning the game: Once all rounds have been played, the player with the highest score wins.
Yahtzee is a classic dice game that uses five 6-sided dice. It’s easy to learn, quick to play, and accommodates any number of players. There’s a reason it’s been so popular for decades!
Object of the Game: The object of Yahtzee is for each player to roll dice and fill out their score card over the course of a series of rounds, trying to obtain the best rolls they can in 13 different combinations. The player with the highest score at the end of the game wins.
- Five 6-sided dice
- A Yahtzee score card for each player
- A pen or pencil for each player
- A dice cup (optional)
Number of Players: 1 or more
How to Play: Choose a starting player by any method (oldest player, youngest player, highest roll of the dice, etc.)
Beginning with the starting player, players will take turns one at a time in clockwise order. The game consists of thirteen rounds and at the end of the thirteenth round then the game will end. (All the categories on the players’ score cards will be completely filled in at that point.)
At the start of a turn, the player takes all 5 dice and rolls them. They can then roll some or all of the dice up to two more times, setting aside any dice they’d like to keep and rerolling the rest. The dice can be scored after any of the rolls, but scoring the dice ends the player’s turn. Setting dice aside after one roll does not prevent one or more of them from being rolled again on any subsequent roll if the player so chooses.
Each player’s goal is to try and score as high as they can in one of the thirteen categories shown on their score card.
To score the dice, the player selects one of the categories on their score card and writes the score into it. Each category can be scored only once per game (except for the Yahtzee category). Categories can be filled in any order. A player must score the dice on their turn even if it turns out that there are no good categories remaining to score in. Once a category is filled it may not be changed.
A player may write a score of zero in any category if they have rolled no point-generating results or if they simply choose to do so. For example, a player could put a roll of 2–4–5–6–6 into the Ones category even though it would score zero points.After marking their score on their score card, the player’s turn ends and play proceeds to the player on their left.
The categories on the score card are divided into two sections. The categories in the Upper Section are:
- What is needed to score: Ones
- How many points are scored: Receive 1 point for each 1 rolled
- What is needed to score: Twos
- How many points are scored: Receive 2 points for each 2 rolled
- What is needed to score: Threes
- How many points are scored: Receive 3 points for each 3 rolled
- What is needed to score: Fours
- How many points are scored: Receive 4 points for each 4 rolled
- What is needed to score: Fives
- How many points are scored: Receive 5 points for each 5 rolled• Sixes• What is needed to score
- What is needed to score: Sixes
- How many points are scored: Receive 6 points for each 6 rolled
Ultimately, each player will want to try and score a grand total of 63 or more points in the Upper Section by the end of the game. If they do so, they receive a 35 point bonus.
The categories in the Lower Section are:
Three of a Kind
- What is needed to score: Three dice of the same number
- How many points are scored: Add up all the spots on all the dice. (For example, rolling 2–2–2–3–5 would score a total of 14 points.)
Four of a Kind
- What is needed to score: Four dice of the same number
- How many points are scored: Add up all the spots on all the dice
- What is needed to score: Three dice showing the same number, and two dice showing another number.
- How many points are scored: 25 points
- What is needed to score: Any four consecutive numbers (for example, 3–4–5–6)
- How many points are scored: 30 points
- What is needed to score: Any five consecutive numbers (for example, 1-2-3-4-5)
- How many points are scored: 40 points
Yahtzee (or Five of a Kind)
- What is needed to score: All 5 dice showing the same number
- How many points are scored: 50 points
- What is needed to score: Any combination of dice
- How many points are scored: Add up all the spots on all the dice.
It’s possible that a player will end up with a combination of dice that could be used in more than one category. For example, a roll of 3–3–3–4–4 could be scored as threes or fours in the Upper Section, or as a Full House or a Three-of-a-Kind, or Chance in the Lower Section. The player has the option of scoring the dice in any one of those categories as long as they have not been used previously in the game.
Special Yahtzee Scoring
If a player rolls a Yahtzee on their turn but they have already filled in the Yahtzee category in a previous turn, then special scoring rules apply:
If the player has already filled in their Yahtzee box with a score of 50, they receive a Yahtzee bonus of 100 additional points. However, if their Yahtzee box was previously filled in with a score of zero then they don’t receive the Yahtzee bonus.The player then selects another category (other than the Yahtzee category) to score the dice as normal.
- If the category in the Upper Section that corresponds to the numbers in the Yahtzee is unused, then the player must use that category.
- If the corresponding box in the Upper Section has been used already then the player may choose to score one of the unused boxes in the Lower Section. In this case, the Yahtzee that the player has rolled acts as a “Joker” so that it can be placed in the Full House, Small Straight, and Large Straight categories if the player so wishes, even though it may not meet the standard requirements for those categories.
- If the player can’t use a box in either the upper or Lower Section, they score zero points.
Winning the game: Once all players have taken thirteen turns (and subsequently filled in all the categories on their score card) the game ends. Players add up their scores in the following manner:
Upper Section: Mark the total sum of the Upper Section score in the corresponding total score box. If a player scores 63 or more points in the Upper Section then they receive a 35 point bonus.
Lower Section: Mark the total sum of the Lower Section score in the corresponding total score box. Add 100 points for each check in the Yahtzee bonus box.
Grand Total: Add the total sums of the upper and Lower Sections together. This is the player’s total score for the game.The player with the highest total score is the winner! In the case of a tie, all tied players share the victory.
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