The 12 Lists of Christmas – Top 5 Dice Games

People either love or hate dice, or more specifically, they love or hate the randomness they add to gaming. I personally find that rolling dice can bring some of the most exciting and satisfying moments in gaming, full of either celebration or dismay depending on how they fall.

#5 – Dice Heist

I watched my husband play this quick dice game themed around gathering accomplices to rob the world’s museums of their treasures at Origins, and couldn’t resist adding it to an order I placed that month. The art on the cards is really nice, the game plays quickly, and for a set-collection game, plays well at two players making it excellent for pulling out before dinner. The only problem is actually the dice quality; they’re not the best and since it uses standard D6s, I may upgrade them to better match the quality of the gameplay.


#4 – Rolling Japan

This “roll and write” game features players filling in numbers on a stylized map of Japan in response to the die rolls, hoping to do so better and more efficiently than their opponents. It’s fun for puzzle lovers, and quick enough that non-puzzle lovers usually don’t mind or even enjoy the game either. Easily thrown into a bag or pocket for play on the road/at the bar, the box even provides writing implements so you don’t have to start rummaging through everyone’s belongings to rustle up pens.


#3 – Roll for the Galaxy

Race for the Galaxy is a classic card game that now has a dice version, and while it’s a controversial opinion, I do prefer the dice version, mainly because it actually gets played in my household unlike the original with it’s almost-impenetrable-to-new-players iconography. The dice game lets players enjoy building up their cosmic empire, colonizing planets and trading resources while adding in custom dice that can limit or expand their action possibilities. There’s enough ways to mitigate the randomness of the dice to keep euro gamers happy, and it’s quick playing enough to make a good starter game for a game night. The only issue is the amount of noise the dice make in the included cups, so perhaps don’t play right next to groups playing thinkier games.


#2 – Las Vegas

This game works for everybody & never seems to fall flat – there’s a reason my mother-in-law asked on Christmas if I had “that game with dice” with me. Players vie for control of six casinos, usually dice of the right number to win majorities. The real tension comes from the fact that players have to commit all of the dice showing the number they chose to place, which can lead to players getting burned by an unlucky roll forcing a tie leaving the casino to take the pot, just like gambling for real. The game plays large groups well, tends to create great moments, and because in the end the dice are to blame, even when players steal majorities from each other, it doesn’t get too personal.


#1 – Wurfel Bohnanza

This has to be one of the greatest dice games out there, and I’d almost call it perfect if not for the hard to distinguish dice colours & the unfortunately insensitive art. But the game itself works beautifully, keeping all players engaged during everyone’s turn & leading to plenty of both celebrating & cursing the dice, as any good dice game should. While not in US distribution, it’s easy enough to get a hold of a copy online, and I can’t recommend this bean planting game highly enough.



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