Speaking of Dead Man’s Chest, in it, the pirates play a game called Pirate’s Dice. You can buy this game in your favorite toy store.
“Pirate’s Dice” is actually a rethemed version of the game Liar’s Dice, which is itself a commercial version of a traditional dice bluffing game (it’s related to the game “Perudo” as well.)
I enjoy Liar’s Dice, but considering it only consists of a board (which the Pirate game doesn’t seem to use), some cups, and a buncha dice, and considering that I already have a buncha dice, I decided to make my own set, which mostly involved making my own board. Here’s the design:
Before I get into the specifics of my set, I’ll tell you how to play the game.
Liar’s Dice is a game of betting and bluffing. Everyone starts with five dice, which they roll and then conceal under the cup. They will then go around the table making a guess about all the dice, even though they can only see their own.
Let’s say there are four people playing and I’m going first. My dice are 1, 3, 3, 4, 6. Ones are wild. So right now I know there are three 3s on the table, the two I have plus the 1, which is wild. There are 20 dice out there total, so I’m going to guess that at least three more of them are threes as well. I declare “Six threes.” A marker die with the 3 side showing is placed on the 6 spot on the board to show where the bet now stands.
At this point I can either keep my dice under my cup or reveal any number of my dice (you can’t reveal all your dice; at least one has to stay hidden at all times.) If I choose to reveal any of my dice (which don’t have to be the threes), I re-roll any I don’t show and keep them under the cup. Let’s say I show my 3, 3, and 1, and re-roll the others.
The next player then has to decide whether to increase the bet or call it. Suppose she’s looking at three 6s under her cup. Those, plus the 1 I have showing (which is wild) mean she knows there are at least four of them. She’s guessing there are four more. She ups my bet to eight 6s and the marker die is moved accordingly. She opts not to show any of her dice.
The next player has, let’s say, 1, 2, 2, 4, 5. He doesn’t really like this, because all he really knows about is 2s. The wager has to keep going up, so if he wants to bet on 2s, he’s got to claim there’s 9 of them. He doesn’t feel comfortable doing that. However, remember that 1s are wild. He’s got one and I’m showing one. The spaces with the stars on them are for tracking 1s. Since they…well, you know…, the odds for them are a little different, so they don’t get bet on like the other numbers. Instead of bidding nine of some non-1 number, he can up the bid to five 1s. He knows there are two out there. He does so, and shows the one he has.
So it goes. Eventually someone makes a claim that the next player just can’t believe. Say the bidding gets up to eleven 6s. That’s someone claiming that over half of the 20 dice out there are 6s. Let’s say Al made the claim and Sean doubts it. Sean calls shenanigans and lifts up his cup, revealing his dice. All the other players follow, and the number of 6s (and 1s, which, as you recall, are wild) is counted.
Al said there were eleven 6s.
If there are fewer 6s than Al claims, then Al was lying. He has to lose a die for every one he was short. If there were only eight, Al loses three dice.
If there are more 6s than Al claims then Sean was wrong. Now he has to lose a die for every one over. If there were twelve 6s, Sean loses one die.
If there are exactly as many dice as Al claims, then Al is spot on, and everyone other than Al loses one die. (Note: if you’re already down to your last die, you can’t lose it this way. You can only lose your last die as a result of your own mistake, not someone else’s.)
If you lose all your dice, you’re out of the game. Otherwise, it starts over, but now there are fewer dice out there. Last person with dice is the winner. I have seen a person with one die bluff an opponent with four left out of them, one by one.
Here’s the set I made (click for a bigger pic):
The board was designed in Paint Shop Pro. I printed it out on label paper, stuck it to foamboard, and sprayed it with Krylon clear coat. The dice are from a game I got at a thrift store that was loaded with dice. The cups are toddler sippy cups, bought for 3/$1 at a dollar store. Unfortunately they’re more translucent than I thought, meaning you have to shield your cup with your hand. I’m going to make some stickers to go on them that will make them more useful.
I took the set over to James’ yesterday for a test run. I was the only one there that had played before. The game was a hit, and the board was well remarked upon. I’m really pleased with it. Once I get the cups fixed, I’ll have a nice, fun, homemade game to be proud of.