Wednesday games, part 8: Liar Dice

We had another pleasant game session Yesterday. I started with Erkka, trying out a prototype I’ve been thinking about lately. My aim is to create a card-driven two-player tile-laying game that feels like Go. Not an easy task and the current version of the game simply sucks. Too bad. I’ll try to fix it a bit and try again next week.

That was, unfortunately, the only game Erkka had time to play. He’s now gone for good, as his vacation is over and he’ll be working next Wednesday. I taught Olli and Ilari to play Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation. Both liked it a lot, Ilari even borrowed the game from me to play it more.

As I had bought the Poker dice, I though we should try them. Appropriate game to try them was Liar Dice (not Liar’s Dice!), as described in Dice Games Properly Explained. That is, a player rolls the dice and claims a Poker hand. Next player can accept or challenge. If there’s a challenge, the dice are revealed and whoever was wrong, loses a chip. Each player has three chips, once they are gone the player is out.

If the player, however, accepts the claim, they get the dice. Now they can re-roll any number of them and then must claim a higher hand. That’s a bit nasty, if someone lies to you and you happen to get a really poor hand of dice with a high claim to beat. Tough luck. Moving the dice around was a bit complicated, but the game itself was ok. Ilari was the first one out, then it came down to a duel between me and Olli for the last dice — and I won!

It’s a fun game, but I think Liar’s Dice is much better. Of course, if you only have five (or even three) dice, it’s not a huge problem to choose which game to play…

Ilari wanted to try and I was curious to see how it works with just three players (last time we played it with five, which is supposedly the best amount). I thought it would work, the chief against the other two players sounds like a good match-up. With only three suits to the deck, it was an interesting experience.

I thought it was good fun, actually, but then again, I won the game hands down (final scores: 153-26-19). You see, I got a bit lucky… The game lasted only three rounds (thanks to the variable ending — it’s nice, but I think I’ll raise the lower limit a bit). I was Chief twice and won both rounds, gathering 24 and 25 triangle points and 40 and 50 points in bonuses. First time I had five sevens and second time four — and there’s only six of them in the deck! Sevens made thus an obvious trump choice, as they guaranteed I won at least five or four tricks and would get lots of points, too.

So, the luck of draw can be heavy in the three-player game, but in the other hand it’s fun — I never got good hands in the two five-player games we played. Being Chief was fun and winning the hands was even more fun! I’ll definitely play three-player again.

Even though Ilari didn’t like much (he seems to dislike most trick-taking games), we then played Wimmüln. It’s a simple trick-taking game played with the deck. The twist is that players make two predictions about how many tricks they will collect and if the predictions are correct, bonus points are scored. It was fun and a close game, too. I was in the lead the whole game, but on the last round, Olli came from behind and beat me by one point! How frustrating!

Bohnanza box

As the last game of the day, we played a game of Bohnanza (well, 2/3 of a game to be honest). I thought I was winning, I played a very strong game on the first pass of the deck. However, on the second “round” I obviously fell behind and lost the game. Oops. It was a fun game, anyway.

Next week we’re going to play Go. I’m going to teach Ilari to play and anyone who’s interested to learn to play the best game there is can join us!

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2 responses to “Wednesday games, part 8: Liar Dice”

  1. My LOTR:Confrontation games have been jinxed for quite some time already. I think i’ve usually played with Mordor for no particular reason and have had the game under my control and still, at the last minute Frodo slips into Mordor for some small mistake of mine :-I
    Got El Grande at last, looks nifty.
    I also got into the Kiseido Go-server (at last, too) and played couple of games. It’s definetly harder for me to orient myself into playing Go at the screen instead of on a real-life board with real pieces. Not sure why, I tend to go on a mindless clicking-spree too easily I guess 🙂
    Still not ranked though, then again, the 19×19 board is still intimidating. I’m more comfortable with 13×13 currently.

  2. El Grande is very nice. Definitely one those games every gamer should try at least once. I haven’t played in ages, but that’s a problem I’m having with many other fine games (Tikal and Mexica are two rather obvious examples, too). And I’m still looking forward to getting more games! I’m probably going to buy Hammer of the Scots soon…
    Yes, it’s quite easy to play Go mindlessly. I tend to do it often, too. But it’s worst when you think and see no escape — whatever you do, your stones are doomed because of your earlier mistakes. Instant punishment doesn’t feel that bad.