How have I gotten so far in my life without learning how to play the Pig dice game? Since discovering this simple dice game for two or more players the kids and I have added it to our dinner time game repertoire. (Yes, we like to play dice and card games during dinner – don’t judge.) If you have never played Pig before you are in for a treat—but don’t be too greedy! Share the fun!
Pig is what’s known as a jeopardy game. You will have to make risky choice to balance getting ahead without losing it all. It is a stupendous boredom buster, and is easily portable for those tricky situations when you are out of the house and need a quick boredom buster. I also love that the Pig dice game has a few variations, making it even more fun. (Note: this post contains affiliate links.)
How to Play Pig Dice Game:
What you need:
- 1 six sided die. Although you only need one, we find it easier to play if each player has his or her own colored die. We adore having colored dice like these ones, it adds to the fun, but is not strictly necessary.
- Paper and pen for scoring. (Optional if you have good memory skills!)
- 2 or more enthusiastic players
To be the first player to reach 100 points.
Game play instructions:
Decide who will go first.
The first player rolls the die. If he rolls as 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6, he writes down the score.
If he did not roll a 1, the player can decide to roll again. If he again rolls a 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6, he adds that number to his previous score. If he rolls a 1, he earns no score and immediately passes the die to the next player.
When a player doesn’t roll a 1, he can decide to continue rolling and adding the points from each roll to his total score for that turn. Or he can hold onto his points and pass the die to the next player.
If the player rolls a 1, he loses all his points (for that turn only) and must pass the die to the next player.
Play continues in this manner until one player reaches a score of 100.
Strategic players will know when to hold their score and pass the die so they don’t lose their points!
Tip: Keep score with tally marks. That way it is easy to track the scores per turn and you don’t accidentally wipe out your total score for the game instead of just for that turn!
Why Kids Should Play Pig Dice
As you can see, Pig teaches kids to think strategically. They can’t be too greedy and take too many risks or they might lose their points!
Pig also teaches the value of turn taking. Players hold on to their hard earn points when they allow others to play too!
Pig is a fun math game! Players must practice basic math skills. It also teaches kids about probability. What is the probability that you will roll a 1 on any given turn? Even without formal teaching about probability, kids will figure out instinctively that their chances of rolling a 1 increase with every roll.
Common Pig Dice Variants
Two Dice Pig:
When a player rolls two dice and one of the die is a 1, he loses the points just for that turn. If he rolls double 1s, he loses his total score!
When a player rolls two dice and one of the die is a 1, he loses the points just for that turn. If he rolls double 1s, he adds 25 to his score, but must roll again!
Big Pig variation:
When a player rolls two dice and one of the die is a 1, he loses the points just for that turn. If he rolls double 1s, he adds 25 to his score. If he rolls any other doubles, he adds a double score to his total. For example, double 3s, would score 12 (because you are doubling 3+3). After rolling a double, player must roll again.
Can be played with 1 or 2 dice, as above, but with six as the bad number, instead of 1. Of course, kids can chose to substitute any number for 1, as they wish.
Played as above, but with any number of dice!
Kids can invent their own variations, or set a different winning score.
Be sure to watch the video!
Origin of Pig Dice Game
Games of jeopardy and chance are prevalent in many cultures and traditions. Pig is a traditional game of unknown origin. In 1945, magician John Scarne published Scarne on Dice, in which he wrote down Pig’s instructions.
- Drop Dead (not as bad as it sounds)
- Martinetti – a counting race game
- Lu-Lu – a dice game from Hawai’i
If you end up really loving Pig, you can always buy a special set of dice that reflects your porcine love: