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Updated June 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best dice games

Games appeal to people of all ages and interests, with excitement, competition, and strategy awaiting those who seek an engaging activity. In general, dice games are quicker and easier to learn and play than many board games.

These games use rolling dice as their central and sometimes only method of play. While there can be other components to the game, such as cards or tokens, the dice are the focal point. As such, many of these games are easy to carry with you, set up, and learn. Their simplicity also means they appeal to young players too.

Dice games take a lot of different forms, which means you have plenty of choices. There are games for kids and games for adults. Some require cunning or cooperation or simply chance.

dice games
The first dice games date back thousands of years. There is evidence that dice games of both skill and luck were enjoyed in ancient India, China, and Rome.

How to buy the best dice games

Complexity

Consider whether you want a simple game or something more challenging. While basic dice games almost exclusively use dice as the gameplay mechanism, others incorporate tokens, cards, a board, or other elements. These other components can make the game more involved, meaning it will take more time to set up, learn, and play.

The type of dice used also affects the game’s complexity. Most people are familiar with six-sided dice, but dice can have anywhere from a few to a hundred sides of equal size. No matter the number, all the faces have an equal chance of coming up. Plenty of these games have dice that feature signs or symbols instead of the more typical numbers or pips (dots). These are called “icon” dice, and they’re typically used in action or fighting-based games.

Age range

There are dice games for players of all ages. The simplest options are ideal for youngsters who are just starting to explore games, especially when playing with family members who can help them along. The most basic dice games, which rely to a large extent on luck, can even appeal to toddlers. There are more complex dice games for teens and adults that include additional components and incorporate strategy.

Pace

One of the appealing qualities of dice games is that many are relatively quick to play. Some basic games only take a few minutes to play. These are ideal for anyone who doesn’t have a lot of time to invest in a game, or anyone playing with young kids who may not have the attention span to play a more complicated game.

However, there are still plenty of dice games that require much more involvement, particularly those with additional components, which can last over an hour depending on the number of players.

Number of players

Some dice games are designed for two players, while others allow eight players or more. There are even some dice games that one player can enjoy as a solitary activity. When considering the number of players who are likely to play at any one time, keep in mind that some games have an ideal number of players that isn’t readily apparent before you play. For example, a game’s description may indicate that it’s appropriate for two to eight players, but you might discover that it’s best enjoyed when played by four. It might take some trial and error to figure this out for the game you choose.

Traditional six-sided dice have pips, countable dots that make the numbers easy to identify.

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What features should I look for in dice games?

Engine-building

While basic dice games involve a great deal of luck, especially those geared toward younger players, there are plenty of games that require strategy and cunning. Teens and adults might prefer those games that require careful planning and strategic play, such as engine-building games.

These games require each player to collect certain components and build an operation that leads to the collection of bigger, more important components and takes the player one step closer to victory. Engine-building games involve more than just dice, but strategic rolling is at the core of the game.

Role-playing

Most role-playing games involve a board, cards, and other components. The best-known role-playing game involving dice is Dungeons & Dragons, in which unique polyhedral dice are used to battle other players, level up, and progress on a mystical quest. Like many other role-playing games, each player assumes a character that they develop over time. They may gain skills, weapons, or other perks that are necessary to succeed later in the game.

Expansion packs

The makers of very popular games might later release expansion packs that increase the components and content for a more versatile, exciting game that offers higher replay appeal. You must first have the basic game in order to enjoy the expansion packs. However, there are some deluxe or comprehensive game packages that include the basic game plus any expansion packs.

Replay

Games that play out in the same fashion each and every time offer little in the way of replay and may not be worth the investment. The best dice games have various elements that make the gameplay less predictable and allow for different paths to victory.

dice games
DID YOU KNOW?
Dice have either sharp or rounded edges and corners. It’s generally agreed that dice with rounded corners spin and roll a little bit longer, especially in a smaller space.
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How much do dice games cost?

Inexpensive

The simplest dice games cost around $10 to $15. These typically cater to players of any age and are easy to play.

Mid-range

Most dice games cost between $15 and $45, with a wide range of options that allow for different numbers of players, ages, and components.

Expensive

The most elaborate dice games cost over $45. These typically feature additional components and strategic gameplay.

Don’t be afraid to tweak the rules as needed. Experienced players might be able to slightly change the game to make it harder or easier to keep the experience novel and fun.

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Tips

  • Ease into your first game. Learning a new game can take time, especially one that has a lot of rules and components. Play a non-competitive game first with the rules handy so all the players understand how it works before you play for real.
  • Test a game before you buy, if possible. Some dice games are expensive, so it’s worth trying out the game before you buy it if you can. Some game stores or cafes may allow a free practice session to see if you enjoy a particular game.
  • Invest in a dice tower. Dice are easy to lose, and they can knock over other game components. A dice tower tumbles the dice fairly for all players and shoots them into an enclosed area to keep them together.
  • Establish rolling rules before you play. Does a roll count if a die falls on the floor? What if it knocks over a game component? These are some of the common questions that players should answer together before playing the game to avoid confusion or frustration.
dice games
One of the best ways to determine the quality of a game is to read online reviews. These can give you information about replay and complexity.

FAQ

Q. Are dice games educational?

A. Many dice games include some educational elements, with the simplest calling for counting and basic math. Probability is also at the core of dice games. Younger gamers can learn dexterity, cooperation, and patience from any number of dice games as well. Young players can also experience both winning and losing. More complex options call for planning, decision-making, and strategy. Some dice games require that players cooperate, while others involve both cooperation and competition.

Q. Do dice games have themes or genres?

A. Dice games can include storytelling components, characters from popular culture, or unique themes and settings. There are plenty of games that incorporate a fantasy element with mystical creatures or medieval settings that follow a narrative. History and science fiction play large roles in dice games as well, particularly engine-building games. Often players are tasked with building a colony, civilization, or city sometime in the distant past or future. Licensed dice games might feature characters and settings from popular movies, comic books, or franchises, such as Star Wars or Harry Potter.

Q. What’s the difference between a dice game and a board game?

A. A dice game incorporates rolling dice as a main component of play and as a means to move through and win a game. Board games involve a physical board, though some people use the term loosely to describe any game that doesn’t involve electronics. Some dice games can be considered board games, but many board games don’t use dice at all but instead involve cards, tokens, or spinners.

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