Games you can play for free – Reiner Knizia’s Decathlon

25 Oct

Continuing with my project to create a list of great games you can play for free, this post features a dice game by the acclaimed game designer Reiner Knizia. Responsible for many award-winning commercial games, Reiner Knizia has made this game available for free on his website. What a nice guy! This game consists of mini games that represent the ten separate events of the decathlon. Individually, these games manage to replicate the feel of the events they represent. However, it is when combined together into a full tournament against friends that Reiner Knizia’s Decathlon really shines.

Number of players: 1 – 4

Playing time: 45 minutes

You will need:

  • Eight six-sided dice
  • A score pad for each player. An excellent score pad can be downloaded here.

Reiner Knizia’s Decathlon consists of ten separate mini dice games. Each of these mini games represents one of the events in the decathlon. Players try to score as many points as they can in each. The overall winner is the player who achieves the highest score of all events combined. The game can be shortened by agreeing to play just a few of the events.

Below are the rules as presented by Reiner Knizia.

Event 1: 100 Metres (8 dice, 1 attempt)

Divide the eight dice into two sets of four. Throw the first four dice. If you are not satisfied with the result, pick up all four dice and rethrow them. This can be repeated several times until you freeze the first set. Then throw the other four dice and proceed in the same manner. Try to freeze sets of dice with high values but which contain no sixes. You have a maximum of seven throws, one initial throw for each set and up to five re-throws which may be divided between the sets as desired. The number of re-throws should be counted out aloud.

Scoring: Total the value of the dice for numbers one to five, but subtract any sixes from the result.

Event 2: Long Jump (5 dice, 3 attempts)

Run-up: Start by throwing all five dice. Then freeze at least one die. If you wish, re-throw all the remaining dice. You may re-throw several times, but after each throw you must freeze at least one more die. Try to freeze many dice with low values. If the total of all frozen dice exceeds 8, you suffer an invalid attempt by stepping over. If you decide to stop throwing with a total of 8 or less on all frozen dice, you then jump.

Jump: Pick up your frozen dice and throw them all. Freeze at least one die and re-throw the remainder. Proceed in this manner until you freeze all dice. Try to freeze dice of high values.

Scoring: Total the value of all frozen used in your jump.

Event 3: Shot Put (8 dice, 3 attempts)

Throw one die after the other. At any point you can stop throwing and finish your attempt. Your attempt must end after all eight dice have been thrown. If you throw a one you suffer an invalid attempt.

Scoring: Total the value of all thrown dice.

Event 4: High Jump (5 dice, 3 jumps per height)

Jumping starts at the height of 10 and is increased by increments of 2. At each height you can decide, on your turn, whether you will try

to jump the height or whether you prefer to skip it. If you decide to go for that height, you have three jumps in which to master it. Take all three attempts back to back before the next player takes his turn. On each jump you throw all five dice. The jump is successful if the total of all dice equals or exceeds the current height. If you have three invalid attempts at one height you have to stop.

Scoring: The maximum height which was successfully mastered.

Event 5: 400 Metres (8 dice, 1 attempt)

Divide the eight dice into four sets of two. Throw the first two dice. If you are not satisfied with the result, pick up both dice and rethrow them. This can be repeated several times until you freeze the first set. Then proceed with the second, third and fourth sets in the same manner. Try to freeze sets of dice with high values but which contain no sixes. You have a maximum of nine throws, one initial throw for each set and up to five rethrows which may be divided between the four sets as desired. The number of re-throws should be counted out aloud.

Scoring: Total the value of the dice for the numbers one to five, but subtract any sixes from that result.

Event 6: 110 Metre Hurdles (5 dice, 1 attempt)

Start by throwing all five dice. If you are not satisfied with the result, pick up all the dice and re-throw them. You are allowed up to five pick-ups of the dice. The number of re-throws should be counted out aloud.

Scoring: Total the value of all five dice.

Event 7: Discus (5 dice, 3 attempts)

Start by throwing all five dice. Then freeze at least one die. If you wish, re-throw all the remaining dice. You may re-throw several times, but after each throw you must freeze at least one more die. Only dice with even values may be frozen. Try to freeze dice with high (even) values. You can decide to stop throwing and finish your attempt at any time. An attempt ends automatically when all five dice are frozen. If, after one of your throws, you cannot freeze another die because all the remaining dice show odd numbers, you suffer an invalid attempt.

Scoring: Total the value of all frozen dice.

Event 8: Pole Vault (8 dice, 3 jumps per height)

Jumping starts at the height of 10 and is increased by increments of 2. At each height you can decide, on your turn, whether you will try to jump the height or whether you prefer to skip it. If you decide to go for that height, you have three jumps in which to master it. Take all three attempts back to back before the next player takes his turn. On each jump you decide how many dice you want to use and then throw them. The jump is successful if the total of the dice is equal to or higher than the current height, and if the throw does not show any ones. If you suffer three invalid jumps at one height you have to stop.

Scoring: The maximum height which was successfully mastered.

Event 9: Javelin (6 dice, 3 attempts)

Start by throwing all six dice. Then freeze at least one die. If you wish, re-throw all the remaining dice. You may rethrow several times, but

after each throw you must freeze at least one more die. Only dice with odd values may be frozen. Try to freeze dice with high (odd) values. You can stop throwing and finish your attempt at any time. An attempt ends automatically when all six dice are frozen. If, after one of your throws, you cannot freeze another die because all the remaining dice show even numbers, you suffer an invalid attempt.

Scoring: Total the value of all frozen dice.

Event 10: 1500 Metres (8 dice, 1 attempt)

Start by throwing the first die. If you are not satisfied with the result, pick up the die and re-throw it. This can be repeated several times until you freeze the first die. Then proceed in the same manner with the other seven dice. Try to freeze dice with high values but no sixes. You have a maximum of thirteen throws, one initial throw for each die and up to five rethrows which may be divided between the dice as desired. The number of re-throws should be counted out aloud.

Scoring: Total the value of the dice, but subtract any sixes from that result.

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One Response to “Games you can play for free – Reiner Knizia’s Decathlon”

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  1. List of games you can play for free « Michael's Blog - January 3, 2011

    [...] Reiner Knizia’s Decathlon [...]

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