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The 5 MOST popular Dice Games & Mechanics of all time

Lukas Wagner

Lukas Wagner

unidice with logo on a pile of dicedice
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Dice Games are a part of Human history

Since long ago, dice games have been a part of mankind’s history. They were not only used for entertainment, but also as tools for Divination and eventually even became educational tools. The history of dice can be traced as far back as  3000 BC to the Egypt dynasty, ancient Greece and even China. Let’s have a look at the most popular dice games and how they have evolved into the dice we all love and adore today!

5. Dice Poker: Know your Dice Game Rankings!

How to play Dice Poker on the unidice

First of all Dice Poker, an all time favorite amongst dice games, has never lost its charm. The set-up? Simple and Easy: You only need five dice. And all you need to know: The hierarchy of seven Dice combinations. 

RULES:

Each player can reroll three times and is free to set aside as many dice as they want during their turn and reroll the rest. After every player has gotten their turn, whoever has rolled the highest Dice combination, wins.

Many adults have at least once in their lives come across this popular dice game or its variations, such as the Liar Game. Tons of bluffing fun! During your turn you announce your ranking hand after rolling – and the other players have to figure out whether it’s a bluff or not. 

Even Reiner Knizia, a famous German game designer, implements Dice Poker Rankings in Los Banditos. And here are some exclusive news for Knizia fans: there will be a Los Banditos app game you can play with the new digitized die- unidice. Instead of five dice you use five digital displays, each simulating a die of its own.

4. Score the Highest Points in your dice game!

scoreboard for dice games like yahtzee

Another classic dice game mechanic is about scoring points with dice results. As you can see in the sample sheet above, this system is all about gathering the highest amount of points. Most of these Dice Games use around five to six dice to roll winning combinations. In addition, players need to keep in mind that they can check every Dice combination category only once. Simple rules like these can already add more decisionmaking elements to the classic dice games.

3. Dice Games with fumble mechanics

Other popular dice games can feel completely different to Dice Poker, though. In common fumble based dice games players can reroll as often as they want but there is a catch: You can also fumble if you don’t score any points in a roll and lose everything you have gathered in your turn. The winner? Whoever gets to five or ten thousand points first. Additional rules can also include piggybacking on the previous player’s winnings at a higher risk.

This type of  fumble dice mechanic has inspired many game designers to create their own versions with more complex rules. One way is to introduce a scenario, like accumulating an army until they are strong enough to fight off a terrifying threat, which can also be represented by an extra die. Another variant is to add player characters with unique abilities or stats to manipulate the dice in your favor or avoid fumbles.

Top Dice News! Knizia takes Classic Dice Games into 2023 with Caesar!

Caesar by Knizia Games

The latest Knizia dice game takes the classic variants to a new level. Caesar, which will be released as an app for the unidice, implements elements of the classic scoreboard system. But Knizia spices up the game by adding new dice type results:  Senators and swords! In order to win, you need to be combine different dice types. To keep it short: You can go the diplomatic way and reach for the Senator seat or take up your weapons and become Caesar! Definitely a fun dice game to look forward to with the release of the unidice.

2. Let the Dice decide your actions, resources and encounters

Over the last years, a lot of exciting developments have happened in the tabletop & boardgame world. Game designers keep coming up with new innovative concepts for dice game mechanics. Dice are used for countless actions – from deciding how many tiles you move to rolling resources, events, battle encounters or more! In recent variants it has also become popular to place dice directly on the board, as figures, actions or skills.

More Dice News

Human Punishment- The Beginning” has already gotten its own unidice digital dice set to match the Sci-Fi setting! This Social Deduction 2.0 board game utilizes dice to decide monster spawns, locations and actions. Beautiful board game and token designs are combined with game mechanics that make every match feel like a new experience. 

And this is only the first one to join the Dice Game Revolution.  A lot of game designers have shown interest in implementing the unidice into their projects, coming up with new creative ideas of their own.

unidice skin for Human Punishment- The Beginning

Dice games with pictograms and icons

unidice board with cute tile game render
one of our unnamed Dice Games

In the golden age of tabletop dice, game designers have started to go back to  traditional styles: Pictograms and icons. Instead of using plain numbers, images can help both with simplifying the game and drawing the players into the gameplay visually. Some even turn dice pictograms into an essential element of their game.

One famous example would be Story Dice. The die sides show pictures you can use for inspiration to spin unique stories with your friends & family. Another hype is  to combine dice with different types of actions you can use on tile boards. Pictograms on the dice show what actions become available during your turn, which the player uses to move, attack, defend, summon and more.

Quick Hint for dice game lovers & designers

If dice lovers want to go further than pictograms, the unidice display resolution (240px x240px) expands your options greatly: Using matching assets from your board games on a customizable, digital die elevates the visual gaming experience to a new level. Furthermore game designers can explore dice from anew, as the unidice can simulate even impossible dice on each of its displays.
Feel free to browse our unidice skinworlds for a first impression. You can also check out the first artists’ experiences on “3 Tipps on how to create your own digital dice sets” for creating your own unidice art.

1. Polyhedral Dice meet RPG adventure

As you know, polyhedral dice games have gained a lot of attention ever since RPG games decided to go with these oddly-shaped dice.  They have now become one of the key trademarks of the TTRPG industry. Versatile in their use, dice can simulate anything from sword fights, casting powerful spells, to simple deciding if you end up with a hangover. 

Roughly the gameplay consists of two parts: Roleplaying and fights. The idea of using polyhedral dice for encounters is not entirely new. They have been used before to simulate battle scenarios for educational purposes in the 20th century. But in TTRPG dice also decide the consequences of your roleplay. Players roll checks and have to score higher or lower than a set value to succeed or fail. Players pick unique traits, talents or skills for their character to improve your dice chances. Because of the random dice element, roleplaying feels a lot like improvised theater – managed by a Game Master. The charm of this type of dice game are the unexpected, hilarious interactions, turning into an unforgettable adventure with your friends, as you explore the world. Together.

Fights routinely involve a complex set of rules, with some RPG parties adding battle map visuals for a more immersive experience. There are tons of ways to create your own immersive adventure, which is why this niche has expanded into many sub genres. Sci-Fi, Steampunk, Japanese TTRPGs with intuitive dice game mechanics, investigative adventures, society based campaigns: As long as there is imagination, every adventure becomes possible in the pen & paper industry.

And the next step in evolution of Dice Game mechanics?

As it turns out for the dice loving community: Nothing can replace the fun of rolling dice, and the random surprises they bring to the table. And now, in the age of digitalization, our dice will evolve yet again into something new – the unidice. A programmable, customizable smart die expands not only the visual options of dice games, but also introduces haptic functions – e.g. Tilt, Roll, Shake and Spin. The unidice can even sense its position and tell top and bottom apart. Imagine what it might be like to spin or roll a die and affecting the board game events differently depending on your action! For gamers and designers alike – the time has come to explore new dicey ways to interact with games on a new level.

For example the unidice team is also currently developing a Pen&Paper app for the unidice to enhance the classic dice game experience. The goal: Automate rules and implementing them directly into dice results to create more immersive roleplay for both veterans and beginners. And this can also be the case for future board games. Simplify the rules by having your die explain the game as you go. Furthermore gamers can already look forward to more dice features like GIF animations and sound triggering, elevating the digitized dice game world to new heights!

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