It would be impossible to say you have grown up without playing at least one game that involved using a set of dice.
More often than not, there are a handful of viral board games that involve utilizing dice for an innumerable amount of reasons. Some games are based solely on the actual use of the dice!
Dice games are compact, simple, and often very easy to learn. When it comes to being easily portable and accessible, they beat out board games on many fronts. Many of us think of old school dice games like Yahtzee, but there are so many on the market now it is hard to keep up! With the revamping of dice games, and having your own custom sets, it is no wonder these are attracting newfound attention!
There's a reason that dice games have become increasingly popular for all ages and skill levels. If an advanced gamer wants to pick up a dice game and throw down some serious strategy, kudos to them. If you prefer to roll away the afternoon and chill without getting too competitive, these are a great light, fun games to do that with as well.
Check out our list of awesome dice games below. They made the list for their art, theme, mechanics, and general fun level.
The Best Dice Games
Nations: The Dice Game
This is a quicker and simpler version of the original Nations. This historical board game travels forwards in time from the Prehistoric Era to the beginning of World War I. Nations fight each other while trying to foster their own growth and protect their land from neighbors and nature.
Players roll dice to build and produce while attempting to create the strongest, most advanced civilization. This faster version has a solo mode option as well, for rainy nights in. The game works for 1-4 players, with about 10-15 minutes of gameplay for each person. All of the familiar challenges of Nations are included in this game, in a more condensed, simple version. (Available at Amazon for $35)
Pirates vs. Ninjas
This is a quick, 15 minute game for two players. Pirates vs. Ninjas is the second game created within the AvA series that began with Army vs. Aliens. This set works on its own or can be combined with other AvA series games to create a larger game with more variety.
Each player takes either Pirates or Ninjas and rolls nine dice. They then use their dice to either attack their opponent or use their special powers. Powers are different for each crew and require a different strategy. This is a fun, light game that is very portable and easy to pull out at any time.
Zombie Dice is for two players, aged ten and up. The gameplay is 15-20 minutes, great for a quick game to decompress, or a fun mini-tournament with a group of friends. In this zombie adventure, players take on the roles of zombies, while the dice act as your human victims.
Rolling the dice reveals brains (eat them for a point), footsteps (chase them and reroll), or shotgun blasts (careful, roll three, and you are done). Zombie fans love this little game as it's a relaxing, simple, probability game. The player who is the best undead gambler and scores the most brains wins. (Available at Amazon for $13)
Panamax puts players in the shoes of various shipping companies trying to push cargo and make the most money.
Each player will control one company and ultimately control its destiny. Over the course of the game, you'll also get the chance to invest in stocks of other companies that will fluctuate throughout the course of the game depending on how well you're doing.
In Panamax, the player with the most money is going to win. Notice, I didn't say anything about the most successful shipping company. In a case of art imitating life, you don't have to have the most successful company to win. In fact, in certain cases, it might be better to tank your company and let it implode. If your opponents have heavily invested in your company, it might be worth your while to let it tank.
Where are the dice, though?
The dice in the game all represent cargo. Players will need to load cargo onto ships to make money. When they actually deliver it, they'll gain special abilities or bonuses. Ships have weight requirements, though, and the dice need to be managed as efficiently as possible, otherwise, all that sweet cargo will sit in a warehouse not making you any money. (Available at Amazon for $64)
Well, it's hard to get super jazzed about stained glass, but it's easy to get hyped up for a game of Sagrada. It's possibly one of the prettiest dice games I've ever seen. And it's a ton of fun.
Sagrada is a dice drafting game where players pull dice from a bag to complete a stained glass pattern on their board. You'll have plenty of options to choose from as Sagrada comes with 90 multi-colored dice to fulfill your artistic expression. (Available at Amazon for $30)
Blueprints is an excellent (and compact) game where players work to create buildings out of dice according to a secret blueprint they're given at the beginning of the game.
Each blueprint holds a picture of a three-dimensional stack of dice that form a building and each different color of dice represents a different building material. As players take turns, they'll draft dice from a dice pool and then place the dice on their hidden player boards to match up with the blueprint.
Players get a bonus for completing the blueprint correctly, but they'll also get additional points, depending upon what building materials they used (colored dice) and where they are located in the building. Once players get to a certain point, it might be worthwhile to ignore the blueprint entirely and just build whatever works. (Available at Amazon for $25)
Marvel Dice Masters: Uncanny X-Men
The Uncanny X-Men starter set of Marvel Dice Masters features characters such as Wolverine, Magneto, Cyclops, and Iceman. Players compose teams of superheroes, each with their own special abilities and rules for die rolls, listed on a character card.
Once you get the hang of the game, booster packs can be added, to get more character reference cards and add some variety to the game. Dice are used to collect energy, battle with opponents, and recruit new superheroes to a team. This is a 2 player starter set with all the equipment you need to begin playing: 44 custom dice, 38 cards, 2 dice bags, and a rulebook. (Available at Amazon for $13)
This game is going to look very similar to Dice Masters. That's because the Dice Masters system is based on QUARRIORS!
In Quarriors, players will draft and roll dice similarly to a fantasy deck-builder, Q pun-filled theme. Each card will have the corresponding dice and holds all the reference information so that players know exactly what each symbol on the custom dice means. Players are competing for glory points. So, the first player to reach a certain number of points wins. The point total will vary, depending upon the number of players.
Quarriors is probably the first dice-drafting game ever made. Being first has some advantages and disadvantages. It was the first game to mix all of these elements together and therefore, has a bit of the nostalgia effect that makes it special. It does suffer from a few minor rules issues that were ironed out and refined in the Dice Masters series that succeeded it. Does that mean Quarriors isn't good anymore? Heck no. Quarriors is still a blast to play and full of stupid Q puns throughout the game that will keep you laughing nonstop. (Available at Amazon for $122)
Elder Sign is a longer dice game. Gameplay lasts for 1-2 hours, in contrast to many dice games that are designed to be quick and easy. This is a cooperative game for 1-8 players, with supernatural themes. Players act as investigators, preventing the return to our world of monsters called The Ancient Ones. The narrative takes place within and nearby a museum and is full of adventure.
As a longer, fast-paced game, this has a few more complicated strategies demands as well as more interesting dice mechanics. The struggle to stay sane is woven into the game as investigators use their resources of tools, allies, and their knowledge of the occult. A countdown mechanism makes the game time-sensitive and charged with urgency. (Available at Amazon for $27)
If you could combine Sim City and Catan, you would have the glorious Machi Koro as a result.
In Machi Koro, you become the mayor of your own little town. You get to decide what buildings will go into the town and the dice rolls decide what resources you get on every turn.
Everything about the game is simple, but everything also has a charming aesthetic that goes along with that simplicity. The artwork, for example, isn't going to be hung in the Louvre any time soon, but I honestly wouldn't mind it hanging on my wall. The rules are very quick to pick up, yet it's super fun for having so few mechanics. (Available at Amazon for $55)
Dice Throne: Season 1
Dice Throne has players competing in a brawl to be the last player or team standing.
Each character gets a unique hero to use during the game, and each comes with a customized set of dice. I really like the dice in this game. Each players' dice are not only customized by what's on the face of the die, but they're also designed beautifully to match up with the aesthetic of the character.
While attacking, players will roll their custom dice, which match up with the abilities printed on their player board, and the defender will do the same, but will only be able to use their defensive abilities on their board.
To add a little more flavor to the game, players can draw cards and use combat points they've rolled up from the dice to use special abilities that can upgrade heroes or modify dice rolls in their favor.
Dice Throne is a blast to play. Dice are flying quickly, and you'll be knee-deep in combat before you know it. Each of the characters plays and feels different, so it's not stale, and picking characters affects the game a little more than just color choice. (Available at Amazon for $175)
In Ninja Dice, how and where the dice land determines the outcome of a player's roll. The game is for 2-5 players, and gameplay lasts about half an hour. A set of house dice is rolled at the beginning of a turn, to determine challenge combos that must be beaten.
Then, a player rolls their skill dice to devise ways to overcome the challenges – skills include fighting, lock-picking, and stealth. Players can also boost their dice by rolling fortune faces, but they only apply if dice have landed in a specific position on the surface. This last curveball makes this a very unique and exciting way to play with dice. (Available at Amazon for $17)
Star Wars: Destiny
In a galaxy not so far away, in a time not so long ago, a battle raged on between two factions. The weapon of choice wasn't a lightsaber or a blaster. The fate of the Galaxy was decided by… DICE.
Star Wars: Destiny is a bit more collectible than some of the other dueling dice games on this list. The starter packs come with two heroes or two villains that will make up a team. Each hero will have custom dice to use when the character is activated, and their corresponding card has all the references for their abilities and actions.
The game is straightforward to learn, and the instructions are only a 2-page leaflet. When building a deck to go along with the heroes, you'll need to match up the colors of the heroes or villains you choose to use. If you have a yellow and blue hero, then you can add blue, yellow, and grey (neutral) cards to your deck. Some cards will also have custom dice that go along with it or add special abilities to heroes. For example, you could give classic Leia a big blaster to replace her generic one, or equip a stormtrooper with a Tie Fighter.
The game ends when a player runs out of cards or when one team's heroes or villains are killed.
Pandemic: The Cure
It's challenging, strategic, cooperative, and so damn rewarding when you win. The Cure is one of the many versions of Pandemic that have come out over the last 10+ years.
Pandemic: The Cure takes everything I love about Pandemic and distills it down into a streamlined dice experience.
Players familiar with Pandemic will be right at home with the tense gameplay and watching all of their well-planned work crumbling around them as the diseases outbreak and run rampant across the board.
The Cure is a little more random than regular Pandemic, but it's much quicker, so it's perfect for playing when you're on a bit more of a time crunch. Due to the dice mechanics, The Cure also suffers much less from Alpha Gamer Syndrome. Players will still talk and try to strategize moves, but because of the dice, you simply don't have another player railroading the game. (Available at Amazon for $37)
Bang! The Dice Game
Mandatory finger guns aside, Bang! is the dice version of the same-named game. The rules are a bit simpler and more streamlined, and the entire game can be played in about 15 minutes.
It's a mashup of dice and hidden traitor mechanics with three factions; the Law (sheriff & deputies), the Fugitives, and the Renegades. The Law wins if the Sheriff survives and takes out all Fugitives and Renegades. The Fugitives win if one manages to survive and take out the sheriff, and the Renegades win if all the Fugitives are dead and the Sheriff is killed.
Special dice are used in the game and rolled in a Yahtzee-like fashion. Players will have one initial roll, and two rerolls while saving items they want to keep. (Available at Amazon for $16)
The King requires a new forge master. The previous one didn't quite live up to expectations and is therefore no longer among the living.
Luckily for you, there's a vacancy at the most prestigious position in the kingdom for a budding blacksmith.
King's Forge is a competitive dice drafting game, where players compete to forge the most impressive objects for the king, and to the winner goes fame and fortune. (Available at Amazon for $50)
Dice Forge is one of the few games where you can completely customize your dice in-game. No, that doesn't mean you get to build a dice pool. I mean that you get to rip off the face of a die and replace it with another, forging a brand new die.
Dice Forge has one of the coolest components I've ever seen, which makes it even more amazing that it's primarily a dice game.
Players roll dice every turn and gain resources depending upon the roll. Players could get colored gems, gold, or victory points, depending on their roles, and they can use those to buy cards that upgrade dice or give other bonuses.
The dice upgrades can be as simple as upgrading the side that gives one gold to 2 gold, or it can get a little nutty. Some sides provide an x3 multiplier, a choice of resources, bonus points dependant on a second die. Each player's dice are going to be completely different by the time the game ends.
Keeping all of these components together and in order, you think, would be a nightmare, but the production value put into the box is incredible. The dice sides have a very organized tray that's easy to set up and keep everything neat. The cards and board have a beautiful layout, and all the cards have nice slots that perfectly fit everything needed, and each player will have a board that keeps track of all resources. (Available at Amazon for $30)
Dice City is a cutesy little city builder. Players need to outbuild their opponents as they try to build the new capital of the kingdom. Only the fanciest dice-built city will be worthy of being called the capital city of Rolldovia.
Seriously, the name of the kingdom is Rolldovia. If that doesn't give you any indication about how serious this game is about dice, then nothing will. Each turn, players will roll a handful of dice that can be spent on several actions depending upon your city layout.
It's lightweight and great for the younger crowd, delightfully dripping with quirkiness and heart. (Available at Amazon for $38)
Dice Stars is a very simple game, similar to Yahtzee. Players roll dice and take totals to score on a sheet. Dice Stars are a little bit more intricate when it comes to scoring. Players pull a set number of dice out of a bag and roll. Instead of normal dice numbers, players can score colors and star values as well. Dice Stars comes with a custom chart to help keep track of all of this, and it's much easier to see and do than it is to explain.
Players will fill out the scorecard in specific spots, depending on if a player chooses to score numbers, colors, or stars. Stars have their own special scoring points. For each section, there will be a certain number of Star spaces. If a player chooses to score stars, then they can fill in the same number of star spaces. At the end of the game, if the star row is completely filled, that row is worth DOUBLE the points. If it's only partially filled in with stars, that entire row is worth a big fat ZERO. If there are no stars at all, it's just worth regular points. (Available at Amazon for $21)
Roll for the Galaxy
In this 2-5 player, 45 minute game, the objective is to build space empires, creating the most prosperous empire to win. Dice are rolled to represent your empire's population, who can then be managed to make technological developments, ship goods, and explore and settle in new locations.
This is a dice version of the larger board game titled Race for the Galaxy, with a little simplification and a quicker playing time. The general feel of the original game is preserved in Roll for the Galaxy, with a new narrative to engage in. This is an exciting fantasy game that has enough playtime to leave players just as satisfied as if they'd played a full board game. (Available at Amazon for $21)
A fun, easy game to pick up and play, Las Vegas is an interactive, highly social game where players bet on their luck and try to dominate with the most rolls of any given number.
For 2-5 players, gameplay lasts about 30 minutes, and players who dominate numbers receive the largest payout in-game money. Each number corresponds with a casino card, representing a different casino. Dice are placed on the cards to attempt to beat out other players. This is an easy game for a group of all ages, who want to interact with each other while still meeting a challenge…and getting rich. (Available at Amazon for $50)
King of Tokyo
The story of this game is too much fun to ignore – monsters, aliens, and robots are all attacking the city of Tokyo. They are competing with one another to push each other aside and become the one and only King of Tokyo.
The creator is Richard Garfield, who is also responsible for Magic: The Gathering, so you can trust that the strategy is engaging, and the narrative is clear. Players roll dice to determine whether they will choose victory points, gaining energy, healing, or attacking. Players can purchase cards to gain extra heads, body armor, or nova death rays and add to the stakes of this exciting game. (Available at Amazon for $29)
The Wrap Up
Despite so much new technology, ever more complex mechanics, and thematic intensity in the board game sphere, there are still new games coming out every year that rely solely on dice.
They have definitely increased in complexity over the years, which also adds to the appeal! Not to mention, you can snag every kind of dice now to fit your own personality—everything from resin and wood to metal and stone.
Which dice games are your favorite on the list? Let us know in the comments!