When you need a quick game to pass the time with kids, there's nothing better than an easy game of dice. Threes Away! is a simple dice game that's great for at home, on the go, or in the classroom. And unlike most games, the goal is to get the lowest score!
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Threes Away! is an easy to learn dice game that combines light strategy with a lot of luck. Use this game as a fun way to practice beginning math skills, a boredom buster when you need to fill a spare moment, or as part of a family game night tournament!
What you need:
Five six-sided dice. We love having enough dice for everyone to play with their own set. It makes it even more fun if everyone has their own color! See our favorite vintage colored and translucent dice here.
Pen and paper for keeping score.
2 or more enthusiastic players ages 4 to 104.
Be the player with the lowest score.
Determine who goes first, either by throwing the dice or thumb wrestling.
Decide how many rounds you wish to play, or set a time limit.
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Threes Away Rules
Need printable instructions? Find the form at the bottom of this post.
Threes are worth zero points. All other numbers are face value.
Player A rolls all five dice. They must keep at least one die, but may keep more. Any 3s must be kept. Player A then re-rolls the remaining dice, keeping at least one die on each subsequent roll until no dice remain.
At the end of their turn, Player A records the face value of the dice.
Player A passes the dice, clockwise, to the next player.
Play continues until each player has completed one turn. End of round 1.
In subsequent rounds, the second player of the first round becomes the first player of the second round, and so forth.
Player one rolls a 3-3-6-5-2 on their first turn. They must keep both 3s. They also choose (but don't have to) to keep the 2. They roll the last two remaining dice and get 3-5. They must keep the 3. They roll the last die. It is a 4. They must keep it as it is the final die. Their dice are now 3-3-2-3-4. Total score for that turn is 2+4=6.
Play as many rounds as you want, adding up the scores from each round. The player with the lowest total score wins.
While dice games are always rooted in the luck of the roll, Threes Away! also requires some light strategic thinking. It also gives for parents and educators the opportunity to discuss the benefits vs. risk because will have to weigh whether to keep dice that aren't 3s.
For example, if a die shows a 4, do they keep it? Or do they roll it again, risking a 5 or 6, but potentially getting a 1, 2, or 3? Even a 2 can spark a dilemma. After all, it's possible to turn a 2 into a 1 or 3.
Players' strategy will also be influenced by the the order of play. A second or third player in a round may make riskier decisions based on the score of a previous player.
Alternatively, you can play Threes Away! with the objective of getting the highest score. In this case, players would opt to keep high rolls (6s and 5s) but roll low numbers again. Threes are still zero, but in this case they are not desirable. However, players still must keep the 3s.
Kids will enjoy adding their own variables to the game. Maybe you only get to roll the dice twice per turn. Or, perhaps they use 3 dice instead of 5. Maybe they have to continue rolling until they have a score of zero (five 3s) and the player who took the fewest rolls to get there wins. Allow them to experiment and come up with their own version of the game!
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