7 Simple, Fun Dice Games Perfect For Beach Days and Bar Crawls
'All you need is some friends and some 6-sided dice to have some fun'
Here you are at this fine online dice shop… surrounded (virtually) by all these pretty dice…
Acrylic, stone, gem, glass… sharp edge, rounded… heavy, mini… ooo that one has a bear on it!
But being the responsible adult you are, you ask yourself the financially reasonable question:
“What would I use the dice for? I mean, it’s not like I have a casino table in my basement… so… monopoly I guess?”
You could… but there are a lot of other lesser-known games out there that require dice.
And this blog post is going to introduce you to the best of them.
Table of Contents
Why Dice Games are Unique
Ship, Captain, Crew
Going to Boston
Why Dice Games are Unique
Let’s first talk about what sets dice games apart from other tabletop games.
What are dice games?
Dice games are any type of game that features dice as the main pieces needed to play the game.
Obviously they are different from video games and sports. And though they are featured in a lot of board games (like Risk), war games (like Warhammer), and role-playing games (like Dungeons and Dragons) …
In general, there are 5 things that make dice games special:
- Dice games are cheap.
Most dice games require one thing: dice.
There is no subscription… no annual release… no updates… not even any board… just dice!
And of course, like anything, dice can be expensive. You can buy handmade gemstone dice worth well over $100.00, or dice made out of solid metals.
But you can get a batch of pretty, quality, unique dice for the price of a latte.
Acrylic resin, especially when produced in bulk, is pretty affordable.
And when dice is the only game piece your game requires, dice games become your cheapest tabletop gaming option out there!
- Dice games are skill-less and social
Dice games are fun because you are always pitted against someone else.
But here’s what makes the competition in dice games so special: even though you are pitted against others, you don’t defeat your opponent due to your own smarts or skill…
You won because you got lucky.
For some people this is a huge let down… some people want to spend time learning all the rules and strategies of a complex engine building board game.
But for a lot of people they just want a fun little silly game to unwind with.
And games of chance do exactly that: they are pure leisure and recreation… no sense of superiority for winning or despair over losing. Just a simple opportunity to laugh and have some fun with a friend!
- Dice games are great for kids
Speaking about simple… dice games are so simple even kids as young as 5 can play them.
Only shoots and ladders and Candyland can boast players that young… and in those games the parents are only pretending to have fun.
But not only can children and parents have fun playing dice games together…
They are also learning opportunities for kids.
Most dice games demand some understanding of mathematics from their players. A few involve complex equations of probability… and I think we can all admit those are probably outside the reach of your toddler (no matter how high a percentile they score in).
But the vast majority of dice games involve just simple addition and subtraction. And if a child is struggling with math in school, as soon as you get them in the competitive spirit, those neurons might start firing a lot faster than they do in the classroom.
- Dice games can travel
Dice are small and durable, which means dice games can be played just about anywhere.
Unlike most tabletop games, which literally require a flat tabletop surface that is protected from the elements, most dice games can be played:
in your tent on a rainy day while camping…
or on a towel during a sunny day at the beach…
or even on the tray table of an airplane…
But not only can dice games be played anywhere, they can also go anywhere.
No bags of tokens…. No fragile miniatures… no cardboard box that begins to fall apart after a few uses…
Just tiny math rocks that fit easily somewhere in your car, purse, or backpack.
You could even pack them in your carry-on on the next business trip for the slow happy hour after the daylong meeting.
And speaking of happy hour…
- Dice games pair well with drinks and money
Dice games are often associated with gambling, and there’s a good reason for that…
Historically speaking, they were almost always used for gambling.
In fact, nearly every game on this post can be turned into some form of gambling and or drinking game. They are super casual, perfect for playing at a bar or brewery.
And while of course you could use them to get very drunk, these aren't the games being played by frat boys across the country.
It’s not like we are talking about the Beer Dice Drinking Game.
When paired with a little ‘social lubricant’, even the most skeptical or grumpy of adults can have a lot of fun playing a simple dice game.
They are games you can learn in 5 minutes one evening… forget the rules… And then in 6 months learn again in a minute and pick right back where you left off.
Already know you need some new 6-sided dice? Scroll and shop Bryce’s amazing selection
Simple Dice Games Fun for Both Kids and Adults
Dice games are affordable… they can travel… and they are so simple a child or inebriated friend could play them.
And most importantly… they are fun :-)
Here are some uncommon dice games that only require some dice and some friends for a little bit of fun!
Ok… that last one was made up… no one calls it “Binky”...
A lot of these games are fine with a handful of players, but Bunco is best with a crowd… you need AT LEAST 4, and some say that 12 players on 6 teams at 3 tables is best!
But here, we’ll just explain it with 4…
In Bunco, you divide into teams of two, and sit across from your partner.
One at a time, players take their turn rolling 3 dice. They roll until they stop scoring points, which then forces them to pass the dice to the player on their left.
First team to 21 points ends the round.
There are three ways to score points:
- A) One point if any die matches the number of the round.
- B) Five points if all three dice match a number different than the round.
- C) Twenty one points (a “bunco”) if all three dice match the round.
Here is an example of a round:
It’s round one… Player 1 rolls the three dice… one of the dice is a 1, so they get 1 point and keep rolling… on the next roll three of the dice are 2’s, so they get 5 points and keep rolling… the next roll none of the dice are a 1, so they pass the dice to their left.
It’s still round one… Player 2 (on team 2) rolls three dice and gets no 1’s… their turn is over.
Still round one… Player 3 rolls the three dice… gets a 1 (one point), and keeps rolling… the next roll gets no 1’s, so their turn is over.
Still round one… Player 4 rolls the dice and gets three 1’s! They have a Bunco, worth 21 points, and the round is immediately ended.
Both teams combine their points: Team 1 had 7 points, and Team 2 had 21 points.
Round 2 begins… Team 2 goes first … and because it is round 2, the “point/Bunco number” is 2.
At the end or 6 rounds, count up all the points… the team with the highest number of points wins.
Fun fact: when this game was imported to the US through San Francisco, it became so popular that people began opening “Bunco parlors” and during prohibition cops busting speakeasy’s became “Bunco squads”.
Adult Version: Add a shot for the losers after each round, or place over/under bets on how many Buncos will be rolled in the game.
Tenzi Dice Game
Of all the dice games, this one is undoubtedly the simplest… no rules… no score keeping… no score really!
But it also requires the most dice: every player NEEDS their own set of at least 10- dice (get them cheap in bulk here).
But the game is incredibly simple… someone says “1,2,3, go!” and:
Whoever has all their dice as a 6 first wins and yells “tenzi!”
So why is this game fun?
Because it’s a panic-filled, mad scramble.
Your own speedy rolling is made all the more frantic as you hear your kids/friends handfuls of dice clickity-clack across the table.
Just make sure you keep one eye open for cheating…
Adult Version: This one’s a little tricky.. Uh… last one to get all 10 dice the same number has to take a shot?
This game is the reason you should have a single die in your car or backpack at all times. It is incredibly easy… yet can get CRAZY intense.
Game goes to 100 and any number of players can play.
Players just roll the dice again and again, adding up the totals.
What’s the catch?
If they roll a 1, the player loses ALL THEIR POINTS.
For any given roll there is a 16.75% chance of rolling a 1.
So if you roll a 1 first roll… no biggie… didn’t lose anything.
But… if you have rolled nine times and gotten three 6’s in a row… technically you still only have a 16.5% chance of rolling a 1… but it feels like you have a 100% chance of getting screwed.
It’s SERIOUSLY fun… even when you lose everything!
With every roll your brain is having the argument of “You’re doing great, cut your losses!” but also “Just one more…”
So exciting that I took a break from writing to play for a little bit… by myself …
I got to eleven rolls… 50 points … then rolled a 1 and lost it all…
And I had a BLAST.
Adult Version Everyone puts some money in the pot… first to 100 gets the pot. And not sure you should be having drinks with this one… it might get TOO intense.
Ready to give one of these dice games a try? Shop 6-sided dice now.
Ideally every player needs 3 dice each, but you can get away with a single die each and two dice that everyone will roll on their turn.
Each player rolls two dice.
The first player can roll up to 3 times, but must take the final roll.
Other player are allowed to roll as many times the first player roll
Whoever has the lowest dice roll loses the round.
If two players tie, they roll again.
The player with the lowest roll loses a point.
Players start at 6 points and lower their score by turning their individual die down to a lower number (ex: from the “6” side to the “5” side)
Actually, if you are REALLY pressed for dice, two will do: the single die is just for keeping your own “score”, which can be accomplished on your phone or pad or napkin.
The last player to end a round with remaining points is the winner.
Adult Version: Known as “Mexican”, instead of points all players start with $25. Players wager a certain amount of money at the beginning of the round. Whoever gets the lowest score puts the money they wagered in the pot. Winner with points left at the end
This is the game they played in “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest”. It involves five 6-sided dice and each player needs a cup.
And yes, the cup is absolutely necessary, because when you roll your dice you either keep them in the cup or cover them with the cup…
Similar to poker, players are playing both their dice (which they can see) and their opponents dice (which, covered by the cup, they cannot see).
After everyone rolls their dice in their cup and takes a peak, the first player “starts”:
Player 1 announces:
- A) A certain face value
- B) How much of that face value are under EVERYONE’s cups
(ex: “there are six 4’s under all the cups”)
All the other players have three choices:
When a player challenges, all the dice under the cups (and the truth) are revealed. Bidder wins if they were telling the truth, challenger wins if the bidder was lying
Whoever loses has to discard one of their dice.
Whoever loses begins the next round (in the example, becomes “Player 1”).
Play continues until all of one player loses all of their dice.
Now, before you say “It’s all just lucky guessing” or “Oh I’ll be great, I’m a people person”, know that those who are very smart and very good at educated guessing would be able to beat you each and every time…
So long as they have the following formula memorized:
(I have no idea what any of those symbols mean, but Wikipedia says it’s the equation for making good plays in Liar’s Dice)
Though if you wanna throw off the equation, just make the “1”s wild… counting as whatever number is being bid.
Adult Version: Each player puts an equivalent amount of money into the pot… final player gets the whole pot.
But thankfully, you do not have to gamble years of service on a derelict ocean zombie ship… you can bet normal stuff… like pennies or M&M’s… or just play for fun.
Ship, Captain, Crew
Muppets Treasure Island… the best pirate movie ever.
The point of the game is to get your “ship” (6) a “captain” (5) and “a crew” (4) so that it can transport “cargo” (the amount of the remaining dice).
Why the strange order?
Because you need to roll each of those numbers in order.
Players are handed five 6-sided dice… each player has three chances in a round. Players need to roll a 6 first… then a 5… then a 4…
So if the first roll you get a 4 and a 5… but no 6… then nothing counts.
And if they roll a 6 and a 4… but no 5… then only the 6 counts.
Once you have rolled your “ship, captain, and crew” (6, 5, 4), whatever the total of the final two dice is your score for that round. If you have one or more chances left, you can keep rolling but must take the final roll.
What rolling two 6’s for cargo feels like
This final amount will range from 2-12 points. Whoever has the highest total of cargo wins the round
Adult Version: Players start with the same amount of cash (ex: $5) and place a dollar in the middle for each round. Players play until they can no longer contribute money to the pot. And just throw in some grog rather than a craft beer.
Going to Boston
Perhaps the simplest of all the dice games… perfect for children wanting to learn math or a long happy hour after a hard week.
Also known as “Going to Town”, all it requires is an equal number of dice to people playing (usually 3 or more).
The game works in “rounds”. Here is how each round works:
Player 1 rolls all three dice…. Takes highest.
Player 1 rolls remaining 2 dice… takes highest.
Player 1 rolls remaining die… takes result.
Player 1 adds totals together.
Player 2 repeats the process.
Once player 2 is done, player 3 repeats the process.
Whoever has the highest total wins the round.
You can choose a number or rounds someone needs to win to win the game or just play a round by round basis.
Adult Version: Lose a dollar/ take a drink every time you lose a round. And bonus points for doing so in your best/worst Boston accent.
Excited to play some dice? Go here right now to shop Bryce’s amazing 6-sided dice selection! Tons of colors and styles, many of which you can buy in bulk!