Cribbage Dice by Frank Wilcox, Jr (fewilcox) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Last updated 2017-11-08
How to Play
All you need to play are five d12s, one of which must be a different color or otherwise easily distinguished from the rest. That die functions like the Starter card in traditional Cribbage. You will also need a way to keep score; a cribbage board would be perfect.
First, decide who goes first by having each player roll one die; high roll wins.
Each turn roll the dice up to three times in an attempt to score the best Cribbage hand you can. After the first roll the Starter die must be set aside because it cannot be rerolled. You may keep or reroll as many of the other dice as you want to each time.
After three rolls or when you decide to stop rolling, whichever comes first, score the dice according to standard Cribbage rules. The 11 and 12 function like the Jack and Queen. That means they are valued at 10 when being added to other dice (11 (J) + 5 = 15), but are their printed values otherwise (9, 10, 11, 12 is a run of four).
The winner is the first player to reach 90 points (three “streets” on a Cribbage board).
Fifteen (2 pts) – Each combination of dice that totals 15 scores 2 points. A roll of 2, 6, 6, 8, 9 contains two fifteens: 6+9 and the other 6+9. A roll of 2, 3, 5, 11 (J), 12 (Q) has four 15s.
Pair/X of a Kind (2/6/12/20 pts) – 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 distinct pairs of 4s. A four of a kind is 12 points; five of a kind is 20.
Run (3-5 pts) – If a roll has three or more dice in number order, you score 1 point per die in the run. A roll of 3, 4, 5, 9, 11 would score 3 points for the run.
It is common in Cribbage to combine certain combinations together to speed up scoring:
Double run of X (8 or 10 pts) – A run that contains a pair, like 3, 4, 4, 5, scores 8 points, 3 each for the two runs, and 2 for the pair. A double run of four would score 10 points.
Triple run of three (15 pts) – 9, 9, 9, 10, 11 scores 15 points, 3 each for the three runs of three, and 6 for the three of a kind.
Double double run of three (16 pts) – A run with two separate pairs, like 9, 9, 10, 10, 11, scores 12 for the four runs of three, and 4 for the two pairs, for a total of 16 points.
You can customize the game in a number of ways. Here are a few suggestions, but feel to create and share your own.
Roll Two Extra Dice – In Cribbage you are dealt six cards and choose two to put into the Crib, which is an extra hand scored by the dealer. In Cribbage Dice those two extra cards can be represented by rolling seven dice instead of five, and discarding two of them after your final roll.
Finish the Round – In Cribbage scores are usually kept by moving pegs along a scoring track, and the first player to cross the finish line wins immediately, so Cribbage Dice works the same way. To give everyone an equal chance, players may instead agree beforehand to finish out the round when one player reaches 90; high score at the end wins.
Alternate Point Goals – Cribbage boards commonly go to 121 points, but Cribbage Dice offers fewer scoring possibilities (no card suits) so it uses a lower goal. With that in mind, you can of course set the win target to any number you like to adjust the length of the game.
Round Limit – If time is limited, you may prefer to play a set number of rounds instead of playing until someone reaches 90 points.
The following are in addition to the ones that fit in the booklet:
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.
Let’s say that my first roll is 4, 5, 10, 10, 11 (Jack). I see right away that I have 3 fifteens, so I keep everything but the 4.
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.