High Rollin'
(a Stack variant)

Created by Michael Petty

Here's a simple game that involves a fun mixture of chance, strategy and skill. It's not chess, but it will provide a good measure of entertainment for a couple friends or a family.

I call this game a Stack variant only because I don't think most people have enough dice to play it without owning the Stack game. Owning the game, or a knowledge of the rules of Stack is not necessary. Actually, if you've got enough dice of four different colors, you can easily play. I use a set of dice from the four-player game (14 dice each in four colors).

Set Up

For two players, each gets four dice of each color. For three, each gets three of each color. For four players, each player gets two of each color, then give one additional die to each player, each receiving a different color of die for this ninth one.

Players should keep their dice in front of them, visible to all other players.

To set up the play area, roll four dice, one of each color. These dice will be used to start the towers. Place them at the four corners of a small square formed in the center of the table. Keeping these dice about 1 to 2 inches apart works best. It all depends on how much you want tumbling dice towers to affect each other.

The Play

Players should roll one die. Just to be different, lowest roll goes first. Play goes clockwise from then on.

On a turn a player will roll five dice (or all dice left if he or she has less than five) of any color combination the player chooses. No more dice will be taken from the player's pile for this turn.

If dice towers are knocked over by any roll, use the rules below to alter scores.

Dice must be stacked on the four towers according to these rules:

1) After each roll, all dice that can be stacked must be stacked. The height of the tower doesn't matter!

2) A die can be stacked only on another die if they both have the same number on top. (See rule 4 for the exception for "ones".)

3) No die can be placed on top of another die of the same color.

4) Any "ones" are wild. They can be stacked on any number and any number may be stacked on them. This, however, does not change rule 3 regarding color!

If any dice fall as a result of stacking, see the rules below.

A player may end his or her turn immediately after stacking, passing play to the left. The player will receive no score, however, stopping before all dice rolled this turn have been stacked. Unstacked dice simply return to the player's dice pile.

If the player stacks all the dice possible and has some left (out of the five from the start of the turn), he or she may roll again. Follow all of the rules above for stacking on any subsequent rolls. If a player decides to keep rolling, eventually one of two things will happen:

If a player manages to stack ALL FIVE dice used during a turn, he or she gets a number of points equal to the sum of the four dice on the top of the towers. It's important to note that the player must start with five dice to get this score. This ends the player's turn.

If a player rolls the dice and no values can be stacked, then there is a penalty-even if this is the first roll of a player's turn. The player must remove a number of dice from the highest tower equal to the highest number showing on the dice (or die) just rolled. These dice must be picked up from the tower with one hand, touching only the lowest die on the stack. The player must move this stack next to his or her pile of dice and set it on the table. These dice now go into the player's pile.

Never remove the bottom die on a tower. If there aren't enough dice in the highest tower to equal the player's highest roll, then that player must just take all the dice in the tower, minus the bottom one.

If any dice fall at any time during this penalty move, see the rules below.

A player's turn ends after this penalty move is made.

Rules for Falling Dice

A player's turn ends immediately after he or she causes some dice to fall.

All players should wait about five seconds after a roll, a stack or a penalty move. Any dice that fall during this time will be the fault of the player who last touched the dice.

If any dice fall from a tower during a stack or a roll, or from a player's hand during a penalty move, the other players will get points added to their scores. All fallen dice showing numbers greater than three count as two points. All dice with threes or lower count as one point. This total is added to the scores of all players other than the one who caused the dice to fall.

If dice are knocked off a TOWER during a roll, stack or a failed penalty move, the player who knocked them over must take any dice that roll values greater than three. They go into his or her pile. The other dice are simply removed from the round.

If a player was moving a stack of dice and they tip over, knocking over no other dice from the tower, ALL of those dice go to his or her pile just as they were supposed to regardless of the values they show when they fall.

Going Out

If a player manages to add all of his or her dice to the towers (depleting his or her entire dice pile), the player "goes out". That player gets one point for every die the other players still have in their piles. Use the scoring rule mentioned previously (using the tops of the towers) to add to the score as well if the player actually started this last turn by rolling all five dice.

Ending the Round, the Game and the Match

A round is over when a player goes out. If no player has yet reached the game score, begin another round exactly as described above.

A game ends immediately when one player exceeds the game score of 100 points.

Play three games for a match-the winner being the player who gets at least two of these three games. For the three- or four- player game, if one player doesn't win at least two out of the three, then the player with the highest winning game score wins the match.

If you try the game, let me know what you think. If you have any comments or suggestions, I'd like to hear them. You can reach me at mpetty@tir.com.

The Game Cabinet - editor@gamecabinet.com - Michael Petty