Have You Played… Dice Wars?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Dice Wars is a free browser-based strategy game about conquering and defending territory with dice. You can play it here, but be warned that clicking that link will bring your productivity to an end for the day.

It generates a map for you to play on, you can select the number of opponents, and then you must clear the whole board of your enemies. You do so by clicking on any one of your controlled territories, which will contain a stack of die, and then clicking on one of its neighbours to attack. All of your territory’s die are rolled against all the defending territory’s die, and then the figures are tallied up. At the end of each round, your territories which did not attack are reinforced with one die for each territory you hold.

This means, of course, that it’s a game dependent on random number generation, as attacking with more die than your opponent promises but does not guarantee victory. Still, there is definite strategy to how you choose to progress. Each move you make leaves just a single die to defend the territory you attacked from. You must decide carefully when to capture territory so that you can gain more dice each turn, and when to wait and reinforce what you already have. And you can’t reposition your forces within your own territory, meaning you can only move them towards your desired frontline if they have a path of enemy territories to capture on the way. Games therefore tend to swing back and forth in great sweeps as enemies attack and counterattack, over-extending themselves and losing swathes of territory in single turns.

It’s exciting and fair, and its RNG is at least clearly depicted in those little piles of dice. What were you really going to accomplish today, anyway?

26 Comments

  1. brqqddeeee says:

    I’ve lost so, so many hours of my life to this game.

    Incidentally, has anyone played K-Dice, the online multiplayer clone of Dice wars? That game has my vote for rudest, most toxic userbase out of any I’ve played.

    • dontnormally says:

      kdice is amazing. please RPS readers go there and inject the community with awesome players.

      • Butts says:

        Hey! You should go through and leave a response recommending kdice to almost every single comment. That would be super

  2. Premium User Badge

    Hodge says:

    One of my favourite games ever.

  3. MadTinkerer says:

    The real question is: have you MADE Dice Wars? It’s often used as a programming exercise. My favorite version is the one that comes in Land of LISP because it teaches you how to make it, then how to remake in functional style, then how to make it online multiplayer.

    In fact, maybe that link above is based on the same thing? Not sure, but it could be.

    • Dewal says:

      I saw the game and I thought “Why isn’t it multiplayer ? It should be relatively easy to code and I should try to make it multiplayer” and then stumbled across your message.

      Thank you for the tip, I’ll check Land of LISP.

      • dontnormally says:

        There *is* a multiplayer version of this: kdice.

        kdice is an amazing game – dicewars is a distraction.

        Check out kdice!

  4. KoenigNord says:

    I actually ended up in the Top50 one month after rigging games all day and night with a few friends. It was one of my most positive cheating experience. PGA, bro!

    • KoenigNord says:

      Oh. I was referring to kdice, that had the pretty good multi-player. So many dice games

      • dontnormally says:

        It’s an absolute travesty that RPS would mention DiceWars and not kdice.

        kdice is much, much, much better. It’s 7 player ffa multiplayer! It deserves an influx of RPS players.

  5. GenBanks says:

    I’ve spent way too much time playing Dice Wars, it short circuits the part of my brain that helps me resist playing games when I have work to do because it seems like it should be so quick to play a round.

    Somewhat similar is Compact Conflict, which has a bit more depth but is just as easy (was also recommended by RPS a while ago). link to wasyl.eu

  6. bishmanrock says:

    How strange – I actually only discovered this last night when Googling for Risk clone examples for me to learn coding from.

    Get out of my mind.

  7. Matt_W says:

    Aren’t those precisely the rules for Risk?

    • dontnormally says:

      it’s way better than Risk.

      kdice is way better than it.

      play kdice!

  8. RanDomino says:

    It’s simple but great! Or maybe great because it’s simple?

    If I remember right, it was mainly a balancing act between building up what I called “cities” (maximum-size stacks behind your front lines; they still generate reinforcements, but the reinforcements go to the front if the stack is already full) and making sure nobody else was snowballing too fast.

  9. roguewombat says:

    Wow, had no clue this was a thing. I bought and have played a ton of Strategery, an iOS game that was apparently based on Dice Wars. It introduces a variety of options for tweaking play type and difficulty. Recommended.

  10. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    This is the game I play when I’m at my mother’s if I tire of doing whatever it is I’m doing. So, yeah, tons.

  11. Robmonster says:

    Does Dice Wars ever end? I’ve been playing a 3 player game for what seems like hours and it’s going nowhere.

  12. Jason says:

    Years ago I downloaded a DiceWars-inspired game on my iPhone called Strategery. I cycle through mobile games but always have that one installed. It is a quick game but still gives a bit satisfaction when the board is conquered.

  13. Alevice says:

    I used to play tons of another risk variation called Fracas, made in *gasp* visual basic. It had tons of parameters you could tweak, and the game was a bit more deterministic. It was great on LAN play. There was a port called operfracas, but never caught my interest for a multitud of reasons.

  14. Zankman says:

    I did and it was fine.

    I also tried Kdice but it was crap; Flawed game model combined with a very annoying userbase.

    For those wishing to see this type of game executed CORRECTLY, optimally, check out Cell Wars on Android (and I suppose iOS?).

    It’s the same concept, but better.

  15. beikul says:

    You have used ‘die’ as a plural when it should be ‘dice’ (“…stack of die…”, “…All of your territory’s die…”). It’s interesting because the mistake is usually made the other way round (e.g. “My turn to roll the dice” as someone grabs a single die).

    I’m not trying to be snarky (although being a public forum I expect it will be perceived as such) but I just thought I’d mention it in case you were unaware.

  16. Faxanadu says:

    But… But… Isn’t this just a lame version of World Wars 2?

  17. headless97 says:

    Random games like this infuriate me. I know that there is strategy in how you move, but sending seven dice to take two dice and losing because my seven rolled a ten and his two rolled eleven is ridiculous. Possible, but ridiculous.