Hazard
The 14th century predecessor of craps is more complex
THE SPECS

Players: 2 or more

What you'll need:

HOW TO PLAY

Hazard, like craps, is played by rolling two dice. Players make bets against the house (or, in less formal settings, against the group of players themselves). Game play begins by the first player choosing a number between 5 and 9. This is called the main. The player (called the caster) then rolls the dice and tries to get the total of both dice to equal the number selected for the main. If the caster is successful in matching the main, he wins, or nicks. If the caster rolls a 2 or 3, he loses, of throws out. If the caster rolls an 11 or 12, the result is dependent upon the number selected for the main (which, for experienced players, may give them a preference when choosing their main).
Main  Roll=11  Roll=12 
5 or 9  throw out  throw out 
6 or 8  throw out  nick 
7  nick  throw out 
If a 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10 (unless it is the main, of course) is rolled, then it is called the chance and the caster rolls the dice again. If the chance is rolled, the caster wins; if the main is rolled, the caster loses. The caster continues to roll until one of these options is met. Each caster plays until they lose 3 times in a row.
Betting and payout:
Bets are made against the house, or, in casual play, the dividends are divided and paid out by the other players. If the caster wins the main, the pay out is double the caster's bet. If the caster wins the chance, they win their initial bet back. However, the caster, or other players against the house (or in side bets amongest themselves), can make bets after the caster gets chance. The payout sums are based on the difference between the chance and the main, laid out in the following chart:
Main  Chance 
 4  5  6  7  8  9  10 
5  4/3  x/x  4/5  2/3  4/5  1/1  4/3 
6  5/3  5/4  x/x  5/6  1/1  5/4  5/3 
7  2/1  3/2  6/5  x/x  6/5  3/2  2/1 
8  5/3  5/4  1/1  5/6  x/x  5/4  5/3 
9  4/3  1/1  4/5  2/3  4/5  x/x  4/3 
*To calculate winnings, multiply the total of the bet by the fraction listed.

FROM THE PLAYER'S SESSION

For more about the Brothers Graham Player's Sessions, click here.


Kahlon's Review

Jordan's Review


Before I even played this game, I was sold. Reading the rules for the predecessor of craps, imagery of grungy medieval folk, crowding around a rickety wooden table in the local pub, worn down from the days toils, slamming down gold coins and throwing worn wooden dice came to my mind. And the varying results of a throw depending upon the choice of main and complex payout ratios appealed to my search for a dice game with a little more going on behind the scenes. In the player’s session, my colleague and brother followed this game immediately with craps to juxtapose the similarities and differences, and found that the mainstream descendent of hazard felt rigid and almost demeaning to the players, as if we weren’t smart enough to even be allowed a little bit of thought. That being said, the additional thought I refer to can also feel burdensome, as calculating your winnings demands a calculator (unless you are a mathematician), as well as the chart provided above. But despite these cumbersome (and dare I say archaic?) hurdles, I still can’t resist giving this amazing betting game a fiveface out of six.

“What? Uh…” Were my first words when Kahlon began explaining the rules of Hazard to me. The complexity of the “simplified” version of Craps at first is quite confusing to understand and had me zoning out at the wall. However I soon discovered that once you get the hang of it the game play is pretty simple. The most complicated parts are calculating the winnings, unless of course you have a chart (as provided above) and Kahlon to do the math (or a calculator), and remembering your ‘main’ and ‘chance’ rolls. For these reasons it’s helpful to have a pen, paper, and calculator handy. Personally I liked this oldtime original dice game even over its successor and the more commonly played, Craps.

The Final Word

It didn’t take much discussion to decide, this is a fiveface rating. We both enjoyed the complexity of the game, and had a good time playing it. It doesn’t take much to play, can be played with a lot of people or just two, and the potential for highstakes betting adds some intensity. The only downsides we see are that there is a lot of chance and not much skill, other than knowing when to bet what, and as a gambling game, you’ll need a set of poker chips or a lot of pennies unless you’re willing to put some real money on it. Determining your winnings can also be tiresome, but a calculator close at hand makes a world of difference. But for a good time and a little riskfactor, this predecessor to craps in a wellrounded good time!
Final score:

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