Created by Michael Petty

Here's a light strategy game that gives everyone a chance. These first rules require twenty-eight dice - fourteen in two different colors. I really like playing it with dice, but there's a variation described below that will easily allow players to play using as few as one die if necessary.

Also, you'll need an 8x8 checker board.


The object of Hanga-Tanga is to score the most points by arranging your dice in "lines".


Board - An 8x8 checker board. The board in this game "wraps around". That is, the last square in a row on the right is adjacent to the first square of that row on the left. Columns and diagonals are all extended logically in this fashion as well. This applies to lines and captures in any direction.

Combo - Any five dice of one color arranged in a line.

Group - At least three dice of one color arranged in a line with equal values. Three dice in a line showing the number "5" on top would be a group.

Hand - The (usually) three dice available for a player to use on a turn. A player's hand remains in front of the player in full view at all times.

Line - A straight line on the board of at least two of one player's dice adjacent to each other either horizontally, vertically or diagonally.

Reserve - All of the other dice available to a player, but not yet in the hand.

Series - At least three dice of one color arranged in a line with values in ascending or descending order. Four dice, in order, with the values "3", "4", "5" and "6" on top would be a series.

Starting a Game

Each player requires fourteen dice of a single color, different from his or her opponent. All but two of the dice start in the players' reserves.

Players start by rolling these two dice. These dice become the first two dice of their hands. The player with the highest total showing on the dice in his or her hand goes first.


On a turn, a player must choose to either place a die or score a line. Scoring a line will be described below.

If the player chooses to place a die, he or she begins by rolling one die from the reserve and putting that die with those already in his or her hand, forming a hand of three dice. The player may then take any die from the hand and place it on any open space on the board. There are occasionally some restrictions to these choices.

First, if the value just rolled matches at least one of the other values showing in the hand, then the player must place one of the dice showing that value. For example, if a player has a "3" and a "4" showing in her hand, and then she rolls another "3", she must place one of the "3's" on the board this turn.

Secondly, a player may not block or capture an opponent's line unless the value of the die being placed is equal to or higher than the value on the opponent's die adjacent to it in the line being blocked or captured. This has nothing to do with just placing a die next to a single die belonging to the opponent. It only applies when a die is being placed so as to restrict an opponent from extending a line in a certain direction or to capture a line. See below for the complete details of captures.

If a player has no dice in the reserve at the start of a turn, he or she MUST roll a die from the hand. That die must then be placed on the board.

Scoring a line on a turn

Players must choose when one of their lines is to be added to their score. There are usually two times a player can make this decision. First, at the start of a turn before any die is rolled a player may chose to score one of his or her lines already on the board and thus end the turn. Note, this option is not available if the player has no dice in the reserve at the start of the turn.

Secondly, a player may choose to score a line after he or she has added a die to that line on the same turn. In other words, no line can be scored once a player has rolled/placed a die unless the die is added to that line on that turn. If the player adds a die to the board that extends more than one line simultaneously, then any or all of them may be scored at that time.

Any time a line is scored, the value of the line (see below) is added to the player's current score. The dice from the line are removed from the board and placed back into the player's reserve. If the player has less than two dice in his or hand at this time, a player should replenish the hand back up to two dice by rolling and adding them to the hand.


A player's die or dice are captured if they are "sandwiched" between two dice of the same value belonging to the opponent. For example, if player A's line is blocked on one end with one of player B's dice showing "5", and player B adds another "5" to the board at the other end of the line, player A's line is captured.

Note that if a line is sandwiched between two of the opponent's dice with different values on top, the dice are not captured, but simply blocked.

Also, a capture only takes place if the CAPTURING player places the last die in what results as a capturing position.

Captured dice are removed from play. They are not returned to the player's reserve.

Players continue alternating turns until one of the end of game conditions below are met.

Scores for Lines

Use this table to determine the score for any line scored by a player. "Sum" represents the sum of the values of the dice in the line.

Number of Dice
Type of Line345
Group10 + sum20 + sum30 + sum

End of the Game

The game ends immediately if a player places his or her last die on the board and does not score a line. In this case, the player with the highest score wins the game.

Also, the game may end as soon as one player, obviously the winner, reaches 200 points.

Variation Using Fewer Dice

Instead of placing dice on the board each turn, players may simply write the value of the die just rolled on a small paper "token" and place that on the board. Use either different colored markers to write the numbers, or different colored paper to distinguish between the two players' tokens.

Don't forget to start the hand by rolling the die twice, giving two tokens to begin with. Also, since there are only fourteen dice, players should only use fourteen "tokens" each. When tokens are returned to reserves after scoring, simply flip them over and use the backside for a new number if they must be used again, or replace them with a new piece of paper.

Going a step further, players could use fourteen plastic poker chips each and write the numbers in the center of them with colored transparency markers. This is a little more durable, the ink washes off easily and it doesn't waste paper.

The Game Cabinet - editor@gamecabinet.com - Ken Tidwell