Liar's Dice

Liar's Dice- A game of chance

If you are looking for a game to help you feel like a pirate, I suggest to you: Liar's Dice. Liar’s dice is inspired by an Incan dice bluffing game and has been seen as a pirate game (such as in the movie Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest). I purchased a set created by Front Porch Classics from our local friendly game store (The Gamers Den) but you can play this game with out purchasing a kit. I loved that it came in a d6 dice shaped box and had everything needed to play; four dice cups, 20d6 dice and the rulebook. If you are like me and an avid TTRPG dice hoarder, you can easily play this game with your own d6s.

What do you need?

Each person playing has 5 d6 dice and needs to make sure that the other people at their table can not see their dice. This is why dice cups are usually used to shield the dice. Another option would be for everyone to have a screen to protect their dice from peeking eyes if cups are not available.

The Games

The players are trying to guess how many of a certain number of dice are hidden in total on the table. Not only are you betting on the dice and numbers you can see under your own dice cup/behind your screen but you are also trying to decide the likely hood of the other numbers rolled by your table mates.

The first player starts by saying how many dice of a certain face value they think there is (starting with at least 2, twos). Turns then rotate around the table and the next person has to raise the bid by either increasing the quantity of the previous face value, raising the face value or both. This could be player one said 2 twos; the next bid could be 3 twos or it could be 2 threes or it could be 3 threes. This continues around the table until someone is called a “liar” as they do not believe that the quantity called is possible with the dice rolled. Once a challenge is made, all dice are revealed. Ones are often considered wild as well.

How to Win?

There are a variety of ways to win. The way that my group played was if the person who made the last bid: if they were called a liar and the bid was true then the bidder wins. If the challenger was correct that the person lied, they win. This is played with an optional small pot of winnings in the middle for player incentive to win.

Another way to play is if a player loses a round, they also lose one of their dice (5 dice to 4, then to 3 etc.) and the last player to still retain a die (or multiple dice) is declared the winner. This version takes a lot more time as it requires the loss of at least 5 dice. It should also be noted that as the number of dice diminish at the table the harder it is to bluff about what number of dice is at the table.

This could have a bet of 5 fours, or if played by Common Hand the left has two pairs where the right side is 3 of a kind.

“Common Hand”- or poker

This is a version where the game is essentially Poker. This can be a higher-stakes game as well as you can allow for re-rolling some of their dice as one would trade cards in a poker game. You can also do “bets” on the dice akin to poker where the amount of dice under the cups are bet on similarly where there is a hierarchy of which set of dice numbers is "worth" more in the following order:

5 of a kind

4 of a kind

“Full House” (4 of a kind and 2 of another)

High straight (2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

Low straight (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

3 of a kind

2 pairs

1 pair

Use in TTRPG

I absolutely loved playing this with my Saltmarsh group as a quick and easy “pirates” game that we did for a down time activity. If you are playing a pirate themed campaign this is an easy way to bring props and play a physical game in character as Game Master & Players. It is also just a easy tavern game in general that can be used to fill down time, or to do while there is a bathroom or snack break but you don’t want to break immersion too much.