Cribbage Dice by Frank Wilcox, Jr (fewilcox) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Uploaded 2012-05-22. Last updated 2017-01-05.
All you need to play are five d12s, one of which must be a different color or otherwise distinguishable from the rest of the dice. That die functions like the Starter in traditional Cribbage. If you don’t have any d12s, they can easily be purchased from your local game store, or online if you don’t have one. You should also have a way to keep score.
First, decide which player goes first by whatever method you prefer. A convenient one in this case is to simply have each player roll one die; high roller goes first.
The first player rolls all five dice. The Starter die is set aside and cannot be rerolled. As many other dice as desired can be set aside as well.
That player then rolls any remaining dice and can again choose to keep some or all of the dice other than the Starter. That process can then be repeated one more time.
After three rolls or the player decides to stop rolling, whichever comes first, the dice are scored according to standard Cribbage rules. The 11 and 12 function like the Jack and Queen in standard Cribbage. That means they are valued at 10 when being added (11 and 5 total 15, for instance), but are their printed values otherwise (9, 10, 11, 12 is a run of four).
The first player to reach 100 points is the winner.
As a reference, here are the Cribbage scoring combinations that apply to Cribbage Dice:
Fifteen – Each combination of dice that totals 15 scores 2 points. For instance, a roll of 2, 6, 6, 8, 9 contains two fifteens: 6+9 and the other 6+9.
Pair – Each pair scores 2 points. Thus a roll that included 4, 4, 4, a three of a kind, would score 6 points because it contains three separate pairs of 4s. Likewise a four of a kind would score 12 points for its six distinct pairs.
Run – If a roll has three or more dice in number order (the 11 and 12 matter here), you score 1 point per die in the run. For example, 3, 4, 5, 9, 11 would score 3 points for the run of 3, 4, 5.
For expediency’s sake, it has become traditional in Cribbage to combine certain scoring combinations together. Here are the ones that apply to Cribbage Dice:
Double run – 3, 4, 4, 5 is a double run of three and scores 8 points, 3 each for the two runs, and 2 for the pair. Likewise, a double run of four would score 10 points.
Triple run of three – 9, 9, 9, 10, 11, for example. Scores 15 points (three runs of three and a three of a kind).
Double double run of three – If you have a run with two separate pairs, like 9, 9, 10, 10, 11, you have a double double run of three which scores 12 for the four runs of three, and 4 for the two pairs, for a total of 16 points.
Once you get the hang of the game, you can try adding some or all of these optional rules to make things a bit more challenging, or just different:
Muggins – If a player declares his final score but has unclaimed points showing on the dice, any other player may call “Muggins” and claim those points.
Once kept, always kept – Instead of allowing the re-rolling of any non-Starter dice, any dice that are kept after a roll are unable to be rerolled in the same turn. For instance, if you roll 6 (starter), 3, 6, 11, 12, and you keep the second 6, you cannot reroll it if something better comes up in your second roll.
Roll two extra dice – In standard Cribbage, you are dealt six cards and choose two to put into the Crib, which is an extra hand score by the dealer. In Cribbage Dice those two extra cards are represented by rolling seven dice instead of five, and simply throwing away two dice of your choice after your third roll.
My second roll yields a 7 in place of the 4. That doesn’t help at all, so I’ll re-roll it again.
On my final roll I got really lucky and rolled another 10. My final roll is now 5, 10, 10, 10, 11 (Jack). That makes four 15s for 8, and a three of a kind for a total score of 14.