How to Play Dice - Rules Before Rolls

If you want to learn how to play dice games, then I’ll make you a deal: This site will deliver free dice games,instructions, and tips on a variety of the best games. You bring the enthusiasm. The dice will provide the excitement.

They always do.

These games are fun. The dice game instructions are easy to learn too. You'll find a list of free dice games at the bottom of the page under the section Let the Games Begin!

Like beer making and fantasy sports, playing dice qualifies as one of the popular guy hobbies. Dice inspire men to create countless beer drinking games too.

Don't get me wrong. Ladies love dice too. Case in point: Bunco's popularity among women is impressive. All I'm saying is that when you learn how to play dice, you and your buddies will have something to do while enjoying your latest home brew.

Keep reading to find helpful information on how to play dice, including: dice game instructions and the answers for the questions below. I’ve sprinkled in definitions for some fun words to answer the following questions:

What happens if they are cocked?
Or a player tells you to flop?
Or someone asks you for a box?

Cup with Colored Dice rolling out.

Basic Dice Game Instructions

Always agree upon the basic rules before playing a game. Games are fun. Arguments are not.

Here are widely accepted basic dice game rules for all games that will help you learn how to play dice quickly:

1. The results of a roll must land flat on the table or playing surface.
2. If they fall off a table or lean against an object, they are said to be “cocked”. They must be rolled again.
3. “Stacked” means one die landed on top of another after being rolled.
They must be rolled again.
4.. Each player “flops”, or rolls, one die to determine who goes first. The highest number wins.
5. Players can change these rules as long as other players are in agreement.

TIP: The last rule is worth re-reading. Rule variations can add to the fun, but everyone must agree to them first.

Rules for individual games may alter these common rules too.

Game Supplies

1. Type to Use

Most games can be played with the novelty or board game type. Put a pair in your pocket for fun anytime. You never know when you can make a new friend by teaching him or her how to play dice!

"Precision dice" are required by casinos for gambling games, like craps. These are made as perfect as humanly possible. The goal is to give an equal chance for any side of a die to land face up when rolled.

Casinos don't like them imperfect, crooked or loaded.

2. A Dice Cup (also known as a “box”)

Depending on the game, you may need one per player. Almost any cup will work as long as it isn’t clear. I don’t recommend glass cups. Players tend to slam the cups down on the table during the game. Hard.

3. Counters

If you’re gambling, these are called poker chips or money. Otherwise, a counter could be anything. Each player needs an equal number for certain games.

Some of the games you'll want to play require them for scoring. Here are a few fun household items you could use:

  • Bottle Caps

  • Buttons

  • Dried Pasta

  • Dry Beans

  • Jelly Beans (but they tend to disappear)

  • Pebbles

  • Pennies

  • Pretzels

  • Pull tabs from cans

  • Sunflower Seeds

  • 4. Scoring Sheet

    Many games just require a pencil and paper to add up scores. Some have more elaborate scoring sheets. It will depend on the dice game instructions. Whenever possible, I’ll provide a scoring sheet for the free dice games listed on this site.

    The Rolling Question: Cup or Hand?

    You should use a cup to roll, if:

  • You are rolling a lot at one time (too many to hold in one hand)
  • You need to conceal the results of your roll.
  • You should use your hand to roll, if:

  • You are rolling 1, 2 or 3 at one time.
  • You want to try using "dice control" to influence your roll.

  • Some dice shooters--a nickname for people who throw them, so you are one too-- claim that it is possible to influence a roll based on grip, arm motion and other techniques. This is called dice control.

    The subject is a bit controversial.

    If true, this means throwing is a skill that can be practiced after you've learned how to play dice. It also means that winning gambling games, like craps, involves skill and not just luck.

    Two Common Ways of Scoring Games

    Scoring is important when learning how to play dice. Many games can be grouped into two categories: Score Keeping and Best Hand.

    “Score Keeping” games often require a pen and a score sheet. These are the most enjoyable for kids and families too. The first player to reach a set number of points wins.

    “Best Hand” games are often based on poker hands, like Three of a Kind, a Straight or a Full House. The player who rolls the best hand wins the round. Or, the player who bluffs the best wins.

    The losing player(s) puts a counter into the pot or loses 1 die. The winner is the player with the most counters or dice at the end of the game.

    Let the Games Begin!

    Take it from me: These games are great fun. The element of chance keeps everyone on their toes. Many of the score keeping games are easy for children to enjoy and win.

    Watch out Mom and Dad! After learning how to play dice, your son or daughter may soon be celebrating with a victory dance. And don’t ruin their dancing fun by telling them this: Some games are very educational too.

    10 Dice Games in 1 Box

    To help you learn how to play dice, I’ve included a written description, rules, and a supply list for each game. Free printable scoring sheets are available for download, if needed.

    If you are a visual learner, video demonstrations are available too. Isn't the Internet wonderful?

    I’ve only just begun! This list of free dice games will grow. Please bookmark and visit again.

    Score Keeping Games:

    Bunco Dice Game
    Lumps - the Elf Coal Dice Game*
    Greed dice game, also known as Zilch or 5000
    Matterhorn Dice Game
    Cosmic Wimpout Dice*
    Dice Baseball
    Yacht (commercially known as Yahtzee)
    Pig Dice Game
    Drop Dead Dice
    Farkle, also known as 10000
    Shut the Box Dice Game
    Golf Dice Game
    Toss Up Dice*
    Blisters Dice Game*
    Bull Craps Dice Game*

    * = Super fun but not free.

    You should also consider buying a complete box of dice games, which includes 20 dice to play with and rules for 62 fun games.

    Best Hand Games:

    Blackjack Dice
    Poker Dice
    Indian Dice
    Liars Dice
    Aces in Pot
    Help Your Neighbor
    Ship, Captain, Crew

    If you don't see a game your looking for, visit this site for additional information on how to play dice.

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    Dice on Display

    Blue and Green Gemini Dice

    History of Dice

    Dice Art

    All About Dice Home Page