Mostly played in the taverns of port cities or aboard sea going vessels, Galleon is the favored dice game of sailors. The game is most often played for drinks or small wagers.
5 six-sided dice are used in this game. Each player takes a turn throwing the dice. Each turn a player has three throws of the dice, and tries to roll and put to one side a 6 (the galleon), a 5 (the captain), and 4 (the mate). The 6, 5, and 4 may not be rolled out of order so if the first throw contains a 6 and 4, but not a 5, only the 6 is put aside and the rest of the dice, including the 4, are rolled again. If a player fails to throw the 6, 5, and 4 after their three throws they score nothing.
If after three throws a player has put aside the galleon, captain and mate, the remaining two dice (the crew) are totaled to form the player's score. If all three in the sequence are rolled before the third and final throw, then the remaining two dice (the crew) are rolled in the remaining turn(s) to improve the total of the player's score, with the highest crew total becoming the player's score.
The player with the highest crew total wins. In the case of an equally high total, all players must play the round again.
This game requires 5 six-sided dice (5d6). This game is based on a dice game known as Ship, Captain, Mate, and Crew, also known as Battleship, Mariner, Destroyer, and sometimes just Ship.
For those who missed the original article, we discussed the various superstitions folks here at Wizards of the Coast harbor about rolling their dice--and, of course, asked for your superstitions and stories as well! This time we share a few more stories, of punishing those misbehaving dice:
I have a friend who had a d20 that rolled very low numbers one session. At the end, he turned on the microwave with that dice inside. That's not all: he placed the rest of his dice in front to the microwave to let them see what happens to traitors!
I have one dice that has been with me for the past twenty-four years from the D&D Basic Rules (red cover) boxed set. Crafted in majestic light blue, with the numbers filled in with white crayon, this d20 has been my 'go to' dice for most of my important do-or-die rolls through four versions of the game. When a critical die roll would come up, I would reach into the small bag inside of my regular dice bag and pull out the d20 for that important roll. Well, that was until it utterly failed my by rolling a 1 on a save that resulting in a long-running character biting the dust. Chalking that up to the randomness of dice, I attempted to use it with my next character, but that too resulted in death. As punishment for its performance, I took the venerable dice and tossed it in the back of my freezer, where it stayed for over a year before returning to my dice bag. Since then, it has not failed.
One player would always make everyone blow on the dice before he had to roll the big rolls that include boss fights, key saves, and the like. Strangely, his ritual seemed to get consistent 15s.
Another player would begin to roll the dice, pause and say, "Dice, if you fail, I'm going to melt you down and turn you into a plastic spoon. Then I'll eat dinner with you and throw you away..." The dice didn't seem to care, and he rolled poorly. Eventually he failed.
My brother and favorite player in the group always had a ritualism thing. When he was about to roll, he would throw the dice, then stand up and thrust his arms into the air. It never did anything interesting, but it was funny to see him jump up every 2 or 3 minutes.
If you use a dice game in your own campaigns, here's your chance to share it. Send it in to: firstname.lastname@example.org, and we may feature it in a future edition of Dice Games!
About the Author
Mark A. Jindra has been a fan of Dungeons & Dragons for over 25 years. In 1998 he landed his dream job as a web developer for Wizards of the Coast and is currently the developer of the D&D website.