Monday, April 28, 2008

Sixes / 666

Players: 3+
Time: 10-15 minutes.
Equipment: 3 dice, 2 non-see-through cups
Goal: Call the bluff

  • Object of Game: To induce an opponent to challenge an honest call and allow bluff calls to pass unchallenged. Conversely, to challenge bluffs and accept honest calls.
  • To Start: Each player casts the dice. The highest roller begins the game. Play proceeds clockwise.
  • The Play: The first player casts the dice by shaking them in the dice cup and then turning the cup over on top of the playing surface, thus concealing the result of the cast. He checks the dice by tipping the cup back and shielding the dice from the view of his opponents. He then makes a "call."
  • The highest possible call is 666, the lowest is 111. The dice are always read in descending order. Thus a role of 3-5-2 is read 532.
  • A player may make any call he chooses, regardless of the dice he actually has or sees under his cup.
  • After the player has made his call, he carefully slides the dice, still hidden beneath the cup, to the player on his left. He must be certain not to upset the dice as they lie after his cast.
  • The player receiving the cup must decide whether to accept or challenge the call of the player passing the cup. If he accepts the call, he is allowed one throw of the dice on his turn. He may recast all three dice, two dice, or only one.
  • He recasts by secretly placing under the second cup the die or dice he chooses to retain from the previous player's cast, and throwing the remaining die or dice with the first cup.
  • The player then looks at his cast, considers his position, makes a call, and carefully slides both cups to the player on his left.
  • A player's call must be higher than the call of the previous player. Thus, if the first player casts 532, and the second player recasts the 2 and the 3 and throws a 1 and a 2, his 521 is lower than 532 and he must bluff by making a higher call.
  • Any player receiving a pass of the dice may challenge the previous call. He does so by announcing his intention to challenge, then lifting the cups to reveal the dice.
  • If the three dice, read from highest to lowest, do not read at least as high a number as the number called, the challenge is successful.The player who made the call, having lost the round, begins the next round with a fresh throw of all three dice.
  • If the three dice read as high or higher than the call (a player may deliberately undercall), the challenger loses the round and begins the next.
  • Any player receiving the pass of the dice may recast any number of dice in his turn.
    When a player calls 666, the player on his left must challenge, since he cannot make a higher call on his turn.
  • Players may change seats every so often to provide a variety of caller-challenger conflicts during the course of a game.
  • This is a rather complex game. A brief description of a sample round should serve to clarify the play.
  • The first player shakes the dice in one cup and makes his cast by turning the cup over on top of the playing surface. He makes certain all three dice are flat on the table. Then, using his hands to conceal the dice from his opponents\' view, he tilts the cup so that only he can see the result of his cast. He then makes a call of, say, 5 3 2, and carefully slides the cup to the player on his left.
  • This player decides whether to accept the call or to challenge the call. Let\'s assume he chooses to accept the relatively modest opening call of 532.
  • He may now elect to recast all three dice. There is a fair chance of improving a 532 this way. Such a course of action, however, is likely to arouse suspicion that the original 532 was a bluff, since normally a player would retain a 5. Such a move would also increase the likelihood that the higher call the second player must make will be challenged by the next man.
  • The second player therefore decides to take the alleged 5 and put it under the second cup. Only he and the first player know if that die is a 5. He then recasts the other two dice in the first cup. Now he peeks under the cups to check the result. With an air of complete confidence, he makes a call of 652 and carefully slides the cups to the player on his left.
    This fellow, a timid and trusting soul, considers a challenge but decides against it. Assuming that the previous player has had the luck to throw a 6 to go with the 5, he determines that his best chance is to keep up appearances. So he takes the alleged 6 and puts it in the second cup with the alleged 5, then recasts the remaining die. He'd considered recasting two dice if the 6 wasn't a 6 or the 5 not a 5, but decided he wouldn't risk revealing that either of the first two players had bluffed.
  • So he casts the remaining die, takes a peek under the cup, makes a call of 654, and slides the cups to the player on his left.
  • This chap is a suspicious type. "That's a good try, my friend," he says, "especially the way you didn't even look back under that other cup. I'm supposed to believe you've got a 6 and a 5. But I'm afraid I'll have to challenge. You see, in the first place there's no way I'll believe all three of you guys. More importantly, there isn't a very good chance of my improving on a 654. I'd rather challenge you than have the next guy challenge me."
  • Having announced his challenge, he raises the cups and reveals the dice. If they read 654 or higher, he loses the challenge, and begins the next round. If they read less than 654, the challenger wins; the caller loses and begins the new round.
  • Strategy: In bluffing games, players often base their challenges on mannerisms or gestures they believe give away their opponents' position. This may not always work out to be the best tactic.
  • The odds are only about 4-to-3 against the appearance of a 6 on the first cast of the game. This can make an early challenge a risky proposition. It is advisable to consider the difficulty of improving on the previous call before deciding to make a challenge.

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