18 November 2007

Review: Liars' Dice

As featured in the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie, Liars' Dice is a quick and easy game that can involve gambling. Or not.

Each person starts with five dice in his/her cup. Everyone rolls, but keeps his dice hidden so each person can only see his dice. Then, one person begins the bidding. The object is to guess how many of a certain number are there in the whole table. So, if you are playing a game with 6 players (30 dice) on average, there would be 5 of each number on the table (five ones, five twos, five threes, etc). The bids are passed in a circle until somebody challenges the bids. If player A says there are six fives on the table, then the next player can "call" it. Everyone reveals their dice and says how many fives they rolled. If there were at least six fives, the challenger must give up one die. If there were less than six fives, the person who placed the bid loses a die.

There is a fair amount of skill involved in this game, and a lot of luck. If you get four or five of a kind, you have a pretty good chance of skewing that number high. If you're good at bluffing, you can make other players believe you have numbers you don't have, which causes them to count on you when they make their bids.

This is a fun game that is great for large crowds. It can be played quite quickly, all depending on how many players you have. I've played with up to 13 people before. Bidding can get tricky because there are specific rules about it (you must raise the bid every time). A very, very fun, quick game!

Addendum: Bidding Rules
Each player must raise the bid on his turn or "call" the previous player. You may raise the bid by increasing the quantity of dice or by raising the number on the dice. Here is an example of a bidding round.
  • 4 threes
  • 4 fours (this person must say AT LEAST 4 of something. If he sticks with the quantity of 4, he must raise the number on the dice. He raised the number from three to four. He could not have said 4 twos).
  • 4 sixes
  • 5 twos
  • 6 twos (this person really wanted to keep the number two. The only way to do that was to increase the quantity).
  • 6 threes
  • 6 fives
  • 7 ones (this person did not feel comfortable with 6 sixes, but felt good about 7 ones)
  • I call you. Everyone counts the number of ones to see how many ones there are at the table. If there are at least seven ones, the person who called loses one die. If there are fewer than seven, the person who claimed that there were at least seven loses one.
I hope that makes sense. It's a fun, fun game!

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