Dice games were known very early on throughout the Orient, as well as among the ancient Greeks and the Egyptians. Even the first Roman Emperor Augustus is said to have been a passionate dice player. Cubes of bone with round numbers stamped on them that have been unearthed during archaeological excavations date from at least 3000 BC. be backdated. Mankind has indulged in gambling with dice for so long, and dice games have lost none of their popularity to this day.
The most popular dice games
There are now many great dice games that are always popular as a boredom killer on dreary days or at a cozy game night with family and friends. The best-known and most popular dice games are Kniffel, Yahtzee and Knobel , which are very similar in terms of gameplay and rules and basically just have different names.
In the meantime, however, there are also a large number of other dice games in which pure luck with the dice decides. Dice games always put you in a good mood and there are some games with dice that even younger children can play and find great. We want to introduce you to the best and most popular dice games here.
Kniffel, Yahtzee and Knobeln
The dice game Kniffel was launched in 1956 under its original name Yahtzee. The game is played with five dice, a dice cup, and a score pad ( you can find printable templates here ) and can be played with two or more players. The aim of the dice game is to roll certain figures for which there are different points. Pasch, Kleine Straße, Große Straße, Full House – all terms that can be found in Kniffel, Yatzy and Knobeln.
The results rolled are entered in the game pad. If you are not lucky enough to roll one of the patterns given on the Kniffelblock or Knobelblock three times per round, you must cross out one of the squares and receive no points for it. Whoever has the highest number of points at the end of the round, as soon as all fields have been filled or deleted, is the winner of the round. If you play over several rounds, the results of the individual games are accumulated and the winner is the one who was able to achieve the highest number of points at the end.
Meiern – Many names, one game
Meiern is one of the most popular dice games that is often played as a drinking game. Most people are familiar with Meier dice under this name, even if it is called differently from region to region. There are even different spellings, such as Mayern, Meyern or Maiern, and the dice game is also known as Mäxchen, Mäx(le), Lügen or Einundzwanzig (21).
Meiern is played with at least four participants, two dice, a dice cup and a beer mat or something similar, to pass the dice face down in the cup. The die with the higher number rolled always forms the ten, the one with the lower one. For example, three eyes and two eyes result in the value 32, four eyes and one eye result in 41, etc. The double, i.e. two dice with the same number, has a higher value than two dice with different numbers. The combination of 1 and 2 eyes results in a so-called Mäxchen, which cannot be topped by any other combination of dice.
Pretty clever – dice game by Schmidt Spiele
One of the dice games is pretty clever, in which you have a block of results, similar to the Kniffel, on which you have to fill as many fields as possible with points. The game was nominated by the expert jury of the association Spiel des Jahres eV as Kennerspiel des Jahres 2018. It’s quite clever about a strategic dice game that requires a lot of brains.
Depending on how you use the results rolled, clever decisions can trigger chain trains that earn you points. However, the other players are also involved in every throw, because unused dice are more or less served to them on a silver platter and they can use them. If you don’t want to give the other players a template, you always have to make smart decisions and not just focus on your own game sheet. Here you can play and try out quite clever online for free.
The game 12er Jagd is one of the older, maybe almost forgotten dice games. It is played with two or more players and requires a standard six-sided dice, paper and pencil. The dice game proceeds clockwise in turn. Everyone must (!) throw the dice three times and add up the numbers. In the case of lower numbers, the dice can also be rolled a fourth time. Whoever comes closest to the 12 with the completed throws may write down the value. However, if you get over 12, you have to subtract the value from your currently written, cumulative value. The game wins whoever gets to 100 first.
Ten Thousand is one of the dice games that, like Mäxchen and Kniffel, are known by numerous other names. Volle Lotte, Macke, Farkle and Michel said… are the most well-known designations along with ten thousand. As a Windows freeware, the dice game can be found under the name Chicago. You roll five or six dice – it varies from region to region. Since the rules are simple and easy to understand, playing does not require long preparation and you can start right away. All that is needed are at least two players, five (or six) dice, paper and pen, and optionally a dice cup.
Players take turns rolling the dice. On each throw, the ones and fives are counted. One stands for 100 points, fives for 50. You put these dice aside and the dice are rolled until you don’t roll any more dice with the right number or end your own round. At least one die must be set aside for each throw. When all are used up, you can continue playing and the newly rolled points are added.
A double (three or four) also counts towards the points, but must be proven . That means you have to roll a one or a five in the following roll. Only then can you write down points for the double. 3 of a kind with twos 200, with threes 300, with fours 400 and so on. 1000 points may be written down for the three of a kind with ones.
The following applies to doubles of four: 2s = 2000 points, 3s = 3000 points etc. For four ones you can note down a whopping 10,000 points. If you can continue playing with all dice afterwards, you can even get another double. But this has to be proven again. The dice combination of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 gives 2000 points. The first player to reach 10,000 points wins the round.
Shut the box
The popular classic Shut the box (folding board game) has been played since the 19th century. It can be played with 1 to 4 people, each taking a place on one of the four sides of the folding board. Any number of rounds you want to play is set in advance. The goal is to be the first to close all ten numbered flaps by adding or subtracting the numbers of two dice.
You have the option of using the eyes of the individual dice or adding the result of both dice together or subtracting them from each other. Example: You roll a 5 and a 3. Now there are three possibilities: close flaps 5 and 3 or close flap 2 ( 5 – 3 = 2 ) or close flap 8 ( 5 + 3 = 8 ).
Then you can continue to roll the dice and close more flaps. The turn ends when you have no more success and can no longer turn down wooden flaps. Write down the remaining points. Then it is the next player’s turn. Once everyone has had a turn, the round ends and you can open all the flaps again. After all predetermined rounds have been completed, the winner is determined from the values written down. The one with the lowest number is the winner.
Similar to Ganz schön clever or Kniffel, the dice game Quixx requires a game sheet to be filled out with dice results. Quixx, from Nürnberger Spielkarten Verlag, was nominated as game of the year 2013 and has secured a huge fan base since it was released. So far, more than 1 million copies have been sold over the counter. It is one of those dice games where there is no waiting time because all players are kept busy throughout. With Quixx it is possible to benefit from other people’s misses and thus complete one’s rows. An absolute plus point is that you can also play Quixx during the break, because a game round only takes about 15 minutes.
Just like Quixx, the exciting dice game Knister comes from Nürnberger Spielkarten Verlag. As the name already suggests, every round of the game crackles with excitement. The game is played with at least two players, two dice and the block. The course of the game and the rules are explained simply and quickly. As with dice bingo – crackle is the new edition – all players enter the numbers rolled into the 25 fields on the sheet of the game block – but each one for himself and nobody knows where the neighbor makes his entry.
As with the trick, it is important to form combinations such as full house, straights, three of a kind, four of a kind, etc. and to fill the 5×5 field on the playing block. Depending on where you place the results in the grid, there are valuable points to be won. There are no waiting times at Knister, because you are acted on every throw, even that of another player.
Easy dice games for school kids
Some dice games are perfect as small arithmetic exercises for first and second graders or for elementary school children in general. Here are some clever examples of how to roll dice with kids.
For example, adding small numbers is practiced in the game Dice Race. All you need is three dice, a piece of paper and a pen, and players take turns in clockwise order. You can play the game alone, but it’s more fun with two or more people.
Each player may throw the dice ten times in a row. The goal is to achieve the value of the third die in one of the throws from the sum of two dice. For example, you roll a 4, a 1, and a 3. You calculate 1 + 3 = 4. For every perfect arithmetic problem that you roll, you can draw a line on the paper. It is played for ten rounds. Whoever has the most lines at the end is the winner of the dice race.
In a slightly modified form for slightly older school children, one calculates with the number on the underside of the die. The value of the eyes shown above and those on the bottom is always 7. Example: If you roll a 1, the 6 is at the bottom, if you roll a 3, the bottom is a 4, if a 5 is at the bottom, the 2. This variant is a bit more difficult, but still manageable for smart kids.
Roll house numbers
When rolling house numbers, you need three dice and the aim is to roll the highest possible house number. The game is played with at least two participants. The dice are rolled clockwise. You take all three dice and make your throw. You can now put one of the dice aside and the number of pips results in the hundreds. Then play continues with the other two dice. You also take one of these aside to make the ten. The last die may also fall again and its number equals one.
Example: You roll 4, 2, 1 and take the four out = 400. On the next roll of two dice, a 5 and a 1 fall, taking away the 5, making the first die 450. The last die shows a 3. The house number 453 has been rolled. Whoever gets the highest house number out of the round is the winner of the round. Of course, in this game it makes sense to always set aside the highest number. You can also play house number dice the other way around, where the smallest house number wins.
The game can also be played with just one dice by deciding with each roll which position of the house number the number of spots should take. It is better to use high numbers for the hundreds place, low ones for the ones place. Sometimes you’re unlucky, for example you take a 5 for the hundreds place and then you roll a 6. In this case you can’t swap, but the 6 can at least be used for the tens place.
Many people are more familiar with the game Einundzwanzig (21) as a card game. But here we want to describe the eponymous counterpart of the dice games. It is played with at least two people and you need three dice. In the game you have to try to get to 21 with three throws. If the number of points on the first roll is already quite high, you can put one or two dice aside on the second roll.
If the added total is still too low after the third roll, you can take the risk and roll the dice a fourth time. But beware! Anyone who exceeds the value of 21 is eliminated completely. If neither player hits the twenty-one, the player with the next lowest total wins the round.
three of a kind
The dice game three of a kind, sometimes called triplets, requires three dice and two or more players. It is important to throw a three-of-a-kind with three throws. If you get two identical numbers on the first roll, you take them aside and try to complete the double with the remaining die. The one who scores the double with the highest number of points is the winner. If nobody makes it out of the round, the roll with the highest value is considered the winner.
The Dice Pyramid is a fairly simple dice game that even young children can play as long as they can count and read numbers a little. It is played with 2 or more people. You need a dice, paper and pencils. Everyone draws a pyramid of numbers on their sheet of paper, with 1 at the top, 2 twos underneath, then 3 threes, 4 fours, 5 fives, and 6 sixes. Now the dice are rolled in turn. The number rolled may be removed from the slip. The first person to cross out all the numbers in their pyramid is the winner of the round.
Plus and minus dice
This is one of the dice games that bring a bit of practice, especially for beginning arithmetic in the number range up to 20. You need a cube and at least two participants. A value of 20 is set as the target, which is to be achieved. It is good if an adult is present as a game master and can check the final results. It is also practical if the results of the dice are written down one below the other so that the children can calculate them again later. The dice are rolled alternately. All even numbers are added in the head, odd ones are subtracted – each player individually. Once the 20 has been ‘scratched’, the game round is over. The results are now compared and recalculated if necessary.