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MOV Parent: Dice, dice, baby!

With winter settling and the pandemic limiting activities, something families can do together is play some board games. And what is more fun than rolling dice? Several dice games are easily portable so they don’t take up a lot of space and can be taken along to family vacations when they start up again.

A good game for even those who may be starting counting is “Roll for It” by Calliope Games. The rules are simple — every player gets a hand of small dice in the color of their choice. Three cards are on the table with different dice pictures on them and how many points they are worth. On their turn, each player rolls their dice and see what matches.

They can try to match their dice to one or all of the cards. But their dice are limited, so every time they put out dice to try to save up to match the card, they will have fewer dice to roll next turn. Multiple players can try for the same card, but whoever’s dice match first is the one who gets the card. Play continues until someone scores 40 points. It’s a game that is easy to learn and fun for both kids and adults. Because the dice are small, it is not recommended for under the age of 3 due to the choking hazard, but otherwise, preschoolers and grade schoolers could enjoy learning numbers, matching and counting with this, as long as there is adult supervision.

Another fun dice game for older kids a little bit older uses the roll-and-write method — think Yahtzee, in which everyone has a score pad to mark up — with Octo Dice by Alderac Entertainment Group. Using the dice, players are pretending to be scientists and engineers on an underwater research station using tools, bots and submarines, with octopi getting in the way of their work!

Each turn the player rolls dice, saving 2, rerolling 2, saving 2 and then rerolling 2.

They can make combinations of their dice to mark up their scoresheet and get points for collecting diamonds, working on their bots and submarines, and shooing away octopi. If two octopi aren’t caught by the end of the round, the player will lose 2 points. There are also tools that can give each player an extra bonus, like a point every time they use a ship. During other players’ rounds, opponents may also use two of their final dice rolls to score points of their own, twice per round. Every time each player has rolled twice, scores are tallied up, and a new round begins, twice during the game.

The final scoring adds everything up to see who the winner is.

This is a competitive game, but not against other players, so it’s largely a solo game and players may not know how well the others are doing until the end, so it may cut down on some of the pressure in competitive kids. It is recommended for 14 and up, but middle schoolers could easily play this game.

Both games are older, but are generally available at game stores, some bookstores and online.

Amy Phelps is a book columnist for the Parkersburg News and Sentinel. Contact her at aphelps@newsandsentinel.com.

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