Dice have been with us for millennia. The oldest evidence of human existence include tools and dice. Our ancient ancestors would sit around the fire and divine the future with crude dice fashioned from animal bone. Nowadays, we have all sorts of dice. There are 20-sided, 10-sided, and the standard 6-sided variety that we use in all sorts of games.
Now, we are happy to add travel dice to our line-up of fantastic gifts. These dice come in a handy brass cuboid that measures 2.25″ and is handsome and easy to toss in your pocket or bag. The dice themselves come in white or black and are a perfect size. They are small, for sure, but they have enough size and weight to feel good in the hand. In a clever twist, the brass holder is on either a small 4″ key-chain or a longer necklace-length chain measuring 18″. The chain runs through the brass holder and keeps the dice safe and secure until your next game.
Speaking of games, there are many fun games you can play on your travels and our small dice set won’t unduly burden your pack. To have a game, all you need is a set of dice and a pen and paper. We hear that some people forgo the crude analog paper and use their cellphones. While out on the road, you can enjoy these great games:
- Dice 10,000 (Farkle)
- Ship, Captain, Crew
Also known as farkle (or farkel), Dice 10000 needs all six dice and a means of scorekeeping. You can play this one on a hard surface at the Oregon Coast, or in your Portland Airbnb. Pull our your handsome, brass dice holder, unhasp the chain, and you’re ready to play.
As you might imagine, the player to first reach or exceed to 10,000 points is the winner. Some people play a variant to 1,000 or 5,000. Once one player scores 10k, the others are allowed a turn to beat their score. Some variations require that the winner’s score exactly meet 10,000 points, without going over. If a player is close, but keeps going over, they forfeit that turn, allowing others a chance to catch up. Here is a simple run-down of the scoring:
|Single Fives||50 points|
|Single Ones||100 points|
|Three of a Kind||100 x value of the number (three ones = 1000 pts)|
|Four, Five, Six of a Kind||Each additional die doubles the three of a kind score|
|Straight from 1-6||1500 Points|
|Three Pair||750 Points|
Ship, Captain, and Crew
This game can be played with either five or six dice. Each player has three rolls per turn and in order for that turn to qualify, they must roll a six, five, and four – these represent the ship, Capitan, and crew. Once qualified, the remaining dice are totaled for the score. If, for instance, the player rolls her 6,5,4 on the first roll, she can use the two remaining rolls to get the best possible score. Players can allot a score for winning each individual turn and then play to a top score. This game originated as a gambling game in Chicago bars, so you might play for pretzels.
Yacht is similar to many other games enjoyed worldwide. It is said to be the original game for the popular (trademarked) game marketed by Hasbro that you played as a kid. With a simple pad and pen, you can play with five of our six travel dice.
The goal of the game is to score in all 12 categories. Then, the player with the highest score wins. One scheme for scoring is below, but you can moderate this to suit your needs:
|Any combination – score the sum|
|Twos||Any combination – score the sum|
|Threes||Any combination – score the sum|
|Fours||Any combination – score the sum|
|Fives||Any combination – score the sum|
|Sixes||Any combination – score the sum|
|Full House||Three of a kind and two of a kind – points for the sum of all dice|
|Little Straight||1-5, worth 30 points|
|Big Straight||2-6, worth 30 points|
|Choice||Any combo – sum of all dice|
|Yacht||Five of a Kind – Points for the sum of all dice|
|Four of a Kind||Score the sum of the dice|
There are many other games available, but these should get you started. You will find something oddly soothing about the clatter of dice on a surface, then the thrill of victory will make the day complete. So, when you head out from Portland, San Francisco, Minneapolis, or wherever you call home, toss this 0.5 oz dice set in the bag – or attach it to your keys – or loop it around your neck!