Continuing with my project to create a list of great games you can play for free, this post features a dice game first published by Reiner Knizia in ‘Dice Games Properly Explained‘. The concept of ‘Mice and Men’ is very simple, but just like poker, it’s all about the bluffing.
Mice and Men
Number of players: 4 – 8
Playing time: 20 minutes
You will need:
- 3 dice per player
- A dice cup for each player
At the beginning of the each round, all players roll the three dice underneath their cups. Each player looks at their own dice, ensuring that no one else can see. The result of each set of dice is translated into a three digit number, with the highest number being the hundreds and the lowest being the units. For example, a roll of 1, 4, 6 would become 641. The higher this three digit number, the better.
One player is chosen to go first. They must announce a penalty number of greater than 0. Going clockwise, all players must then choose one of the following options:
- Run with the mice means that the player declares themself out of the round. They reveal their three dice before taking three penalty points.
- Join the men means that the player declares themself still in the round. By choosing this option, that player agrees to the current penalty points value.
- Lead the men means that the player declares themself still in the round. When choosing this option, that player should decide upon a new penalty points value that is higher than the previous one.
The round continues until all players are either out (having run with the mice) or have agreed to the same penalty points value (having joined the men). At this stage, all remaining players reveal their dice. The player (or players) with the lowest three digit number must take penalty points equal to the value agreed upon. If at any stage in the round there is just one player remaining, the round immediately finishes. That player does not take any penalty points and may choose not to reveal their dice.
The game ends after a predetermined number of rounds. The player who has the least amount of penalty points is the winner.
– As an optional rule, allow players to re-roll all their dice for one penalty point.