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I like card games. I like social interaction games. And yeah, I like board games. But there’s something special about dice games, isn’t there? The cool feel of plastic as you roll, followed by the satisfying clack-clack-clack, and that tense moment as you hope for that one winning result.
Dice games may not be heavy, and they may not even be deep, but they’re great for lighter fun with a dose of socialization when you just need to relax or pass the time. Here are some of the best dice games to consider for your own personal collection.
It’s like Pandemic except your dice rolls determine which actions you can do. The “board” is now condensed down to the six major continents, and there are infection dice that determine where outbreaks happen. It’s just as cooperative as the original game, but faster paced and more tense!
The original Bang card game has horrible pacing. But the dice version? So much better! The same roles are in play (Sheriff, Deputy, Outlaw, Renegade) and players choose characters with special abilities, but the gameplay is simplified: roll to see what you can do, plus two re-roll chances for dice you don’t want. The fun of the deduction element is still there, but you can end the game within 20 minutes instead of two hours.
3. Dice Town
Each player starts with five poker dice and some money. Every round, players simultaneously “draw a hand” by rolling their poker dice (in a cup), setting one result aside, and repeating until a full hand of five dice are drawn. Players compare their hands and may take various actions depending on how they stack up against everyone else.
Quarriors is a light-medium-weight deckbuilding game—except instead of cards, your “deck” consists of various kinds of dice. Everyone starts with the same set of dice, but each player’s dice pool evolves in different ways based on their choices in the game. It’s fantasy-themed and playable within 30 minutes. What’s not to love?
I offered The Castles of Burgundy as an alternative to Settlers of Catan, but you may want to opt for the dice version instead. In short, it’s a territory building game that uses custom dice to determine which territories you can claim. While the original game is more toward the medium-heavy side, the dice game is lighter and easier to play.
Roll for the Galaxy is the dice version of Race for the Galaxy, one of the more popular board games to come out in the last decade. It’s an economic strategy game in space, where your dice represent your workers. This medium-weight game needs a bit of commitment to play, with an average play time of 45 minutes.
7. Zombie Dice
It doesn’t get any lighter than Zombie Dice: on your turn, you roll three of the custom dice which have Brains (one point), Footsteps (optional re-roll), and Shotguns. After you roll, you can choose to accept your current score or roll an additional three dice. The catch? If you roll three Shotguns, you forfeit all points you would’ve earned that turn. Push your luck, baby!
Do you like Yahtzee? Then you’ll love Qwixx.
It’s a roll-and-write game where everyone plays their turns simultaneously. Players have score cards with the numbers 2 to 12 in each of four colors: red, yellow, green, blue. Each round, a set of shared dice are thrown: two normal dice, and one die of each color.
The dice determine which boxes can be marked off on score cards, but here’s the twist: once a number is marked off for a color, you can’t mark off smaller numbers for that color in future rounds. If you can’t mark off any number in a round, you get a penalty. After someone has four penalties, the game ends.
It’s a fun family game. Note that the score cards are one-time use, so you will eventually need to order some replacement score cards for Qwixx.
In Blueprints, players attempt to complete various buildings by taking turns picking dice of different colors from a shared pool. The fun part is that the dice need to be arranged according to the shape on the building’s blueprint card. At the end, players tally up their points to see who wins.
10. Liar’s Dice
Everyone has five dice that they roll and conceal under a cup. The first player starts with a bid: a face value between 1 and 6 and a count of how many of that face value are face-up under everyone’s cups. The next player can increase the bid (a higher face value or a higher count) or call “Liar!” on the previous player. It keeps going until someone is called out, then all dice are revealed. It’s light, it’s fun, and good for families.
You don’t actually have to buy anything to play Liar’s Dice, as long as you have five dice and one cup per player. But if you don’t have that many dice, or any usable cups, this set of dice and dice cups is a great way to start. Games are a lot more fun when you have quality components in hand.