When I was a kid I got the LEGO 6379 Riding Stable for gift and I remember thinking, “This time I’m going to follow directions and make exactly what is shown on the box!” I was much more of a creative child than the “color within the lines kind” so this was quite a challenge for me but I finished it. And afterward I though to myself, “why did I even bother?! I could have designed and built something WAY cooler!” The set itself had some pretty unique pieces (including two horses) so it provided a decent jumping off point for me to create a mega-awesome equestrian center and country manor.
I’m telling this story because I wasn’t going to review Battling Bones but on second thought it provides a great starting point to tailor a dice game to your group. The main game in the box wasn’t spectacular when we followed the rules exactly (would have been way better if we were under the influence of an adult cocktail or two) but all of the dice allow you to improvise and improve on the game in a bunch of different ways. The instructions even include eight different variations in addition to team play and tournament play rules for Battling Bones.
The game includes 40 dice – yes I said FORTY – in 4 different colors (so there are 10 of each color). Out of each color, seven are standard 6-sided dice but three have 2 Xs replacing two of the numbers (different numbers are missing on each die). Battling Bones is played by up to 4 players rolling all 10 of their dice at the same time seeing who can get all 10 to show either bones or the same number. You save the ones you want and you pick up and reroll the rest until someone yells “Bones!” because they’re done. Not a difficult concept unless you’re a few cocktails into the evening and you can’t tell if a die is showing two pips or just one but like I said there’s room for house rules. We ended up playing a HORSE-like game where the player who was last to roll all of the number called out got a letter. Players took turns calling out which number everyone was going to go for but instead of leaving it up to a random choice we let them get a 1-roll head start. It was great — although there was a bit a sabotage going on too. With more people I’m sure we would have made it into some sort of frenzied team game.
As many of you know I like dice games. I like the odds behind figuring out what to roll (which isn’t really key in this game) but I also love the feeling of dice in my hand. While the central game in Battling Bones wasn’t my favorite, I know many of you are creative types and can tweak some of the alternatives to make it the right kind of game for you and your family without much effort. They give plenty of starting points — and you can always gamble chores and stuff on the results! And if I’m wrong you have replacement dice for a couple Yahtzee games and a bunch of other games too all for less than $15! Kind of hard to pass that up.
Battling Bones Stats:
~$14 at Amazon and independent game retailers
2-4 players is what it says but you can play with as many as you want in teams or with your own rules!
Ages 7 and up – but I’d say 5 and up