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Liar's Dice

Also known as: Mexicali

That's right, you probably saw it being played in Pirates of the Caribbean, or, if you were playing it in a bar and losing, you may not remember, but this fast-paced game of deception and wit has been of staple of sordid individuals for ages. But you don't have to be a ruffian to enjoy it. It's a great one for parties, box-socials, bar mitzvahs, or any other social gathering, since the more players there are, the more fun it is!

The Specs
History
How to Play
From the Player's Session...


THE SPECS
Players: 2 or more
What you'll need:
  • 5 standard dice per player
  • One rolling cup per player


  • HISTORY
    Liar's Dice was popularized in the 16th century by Spanish conquisitors. It was first brought to South America, and spread from there. It became a popular game amongst pirates.

    HOW TO PLAY

    Liarís Dice is played by players rolling five dice (5d6), and concealing them from the other players. Then each player takes turns making bids on the total of a given face on the table, or challenging other players bids. For each challenge, the loser removes one die from play. The game continues until all but one player has any dice left.

    The game begins by a determination roll(see the Playerís Sessions for more) to choose who goes first. Each player then rolls all five dice in their cup and turns it upside-down, concealing the results from the other players. The first player then makes a bid on how many of a certain face are on the table.

    Bidding:

    Players can bid on any amount of any face between 2 and 6, up to the maximum number of dice in play. This is done by combining the knowledge of what dice you have and a guess of how many others may be under the other playerís cups. For example, if you had two 3s, one 6, one 4, and one 5, you could bid three 3s, bidding on the assumption that someone else has at least one 3 on the table. Keep in mind, though, that 1s are wild, so there could only be your two threes out there, but someone may have a one, making your bid valid.

    Challenging a bid:

    Once a player bids, the player to their left may challenge that bid if they feel it is invalid. Once a bid is challenged, all the player reveal their dice to confirm the original playerís bid. A challenge is saying that you believe there are less of a given number on the table than the bidder said. If it turns out that there are less of a number than the bid, the bidder loses a die and all the players reroll their dice and the next player to the left makes a bid. If the challenge turns out to be incorrect (there are equal or more than the given number on the table), the challenger loses a die. If it turns out there is exactly the number of dice on the table as bid, then all players lose one die except for the bidder.

    If a player makes a bid and the player to the left feels it is true, they then make a bid of their own and play continues to the left until a challenge is made.

    Liarís Dice is commonly played at bars as a drinking game, and generally players who lose a die also have to take a shot.



    FROM THE PLAYER'S SESSION
    For more about the Brothers Graham Player's Sessions, click here.
    Kahlon's Review
    Jordan's Review
    Whatís not to love about a game famous for its sordid history with pirates and marauders and the like? And anything with the potential for alcohol to be involved is that much better! But in all truth, this really is a great game. Much like the card game, Bullshit, itís a game of deception and holding your breath, just hoping no one calls your bluff. I personally enjoy games like this because of the abstract thinking involved: making semi-educated guesses based on multiple aspects, such as the dice you have, the number of dice in play, and the dice you suspect your opponents have. Which is another aspect I enjoy greatly: reading other playerís faces and mannerisms, and applying them to something tangible, such as a bluff. Playing against my cohort and brother is easy, as having put up with him for more than two decades has given me an edge in figuring him out, but throwing other players in the mix -- and a lot of them -- adds another dynamic altogether. Really, the game was made for, in my opinion, at least three players, though it can be played with two, but the game play becomes a bit predictable. This is a game that I would drop almost anything to play a round or two of, and is a great social stimulator, as well as easy to learn just by watching or playing a couple rounds, so Iím giving it a five-face out of six.


    Learning to play Liarís Dice took me a little longer than the average player but once in game play I found it to be pretty entertaining. I would say the average time to learn it shouldnít be more than 10 minutes, making it a good game for get-togethers where multiple people can learn quickly. This game is mostly chance based so thereís not a whole lot of strategy involved except for the use of physic abilities to read the other players minds in order to see their dice, thus easily making you the winner (YES you rule!!). Nevertheless I did enjoy this game but I also canít say itís the ultimate dice game and so itís all reflected in my rating from there.


    The Final Word
    We had to play another round before coming to a decision on this one. We both agree that itís a great gathering game, and that itís a lot of fun to play. But it wasnít until we sat down and played it again without the memories of other dice games clouding our thoughts that we decided to give this one a five face. Even Jordan looked back on his previous review of the game and said it didnít accurately reflect how great it really is. What more can we say other than stop reading this and give it a try!

    Final score:
    ^top

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