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L5 Homeplay

Page history last edited by Schoon 14 years, 4 months ago

For details, see Level 5 here.


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Contributions should contain the following, in brief (a sentence or two each should be fine in most cases):

  1. What was your change to the game rules?
  2. How did you initially expect the dynamics of the game to change?
  3. How did the dynamics of the game actually change once you played the game?


You can sign it with your name, or post anonymously, whatever makes you comfortable.



Varient #1 - Dan Carreker


The rule I changed was instead of the loser removing 1 dice from the game, the winner moves one of his/her die into a community pool which is viewable by all players.  Since the players who are behind actually have more knowledge of the game state than the leading player, I expected them to have the advantage in each individual round, thereby keeping the game more competative.

Which is exactly what happened EXCEPT I forgot about the win condition. The first time through it was advantagous to get caught lying so you'd remove one of your opponent's die. That in itself could have been an interesting dynamic to follow up on, but instead I just changed the win condition to be the first person to lose all their dice wins, and that brought the game back to where it was before (just with the positive feedback mechanic negated)

Comment from Grétar Hannesson: I had been thinking about similar systems so I foresaw the issue with the win condition as soon as I read the first part.


Comment from mr.cruet - I would expect this to create a negative feedback loop.  As you win you personally have less dice - and thus less ability to predict the victory.  Although the victory condition would need to be changed.


Variant #2 - Michael Cook

1) My Rule Change:

-When someone is about to lose a dice: If the winning player is short dice then instead of taking a dice away from the loser add a dice back to the winner to get him closer to the max dice.

2) How did I expect the Dynamics of the game to change?

-by adding dice back to the game you are allowing higher bids which help the bidding be more difficult to dominate.

-Although, it may cause a problem where the only outcome to produce a winner is when someone wins the bids in multiple succession.

3) How did the Dynamics really change?

-The rule change provide a way to help the losing player get back into the game after losing dice earlier.  Although if multiple dice were lost already, this dynamic did not totally eliminate the positive feedback loop.  Once you get down multiple dice this rule change did not seem to help much.


Comment from Grétar Hannesson: My guess before reading the results: This is a zero sum game so the difference is that instead of the loser of the round being at a slight penalty the winner (How do you decide the winning player if there are a number of players that have an equal amount of dice?) is set at an advantage, which means that all other players are relatively at a disadvantage. So it's not just the loser who is disadvantaged but all players except the one already winning. This seems like it further increases the already existing positive feedback loop.



Variant #3 - Grétar Hannesson

1) My rule change:

 (May count is two but I so interested in seeing the changes that I did it anyway) 

 Instead of a player's dice being all hidden, they start with all but one visible to all players. Whenever a player loses a round he hides one more dice from other players. When the player has hidden all his dice and loses a round he loses the game.

2) How did you expect the Dynamics of the game to change?

As the positive feedback loop now became a negative feedback loop I expected the game to take longer to finish and to have more closely matched endgames.

3) How did the dynamics really change?

The game didn't take longer to finish but it did have more closely matched endgames. What I didn't foresee was the drastic changes in early game strategy. When there was a lot of publicly visible dice, a good strategy was to try to find as high combos as you could back up as early as possible and make your opponent either call that or raise, putting him in a bad position. This sped up the game, which compensated for the lack of a positive feedback loop and probably detracted a lot from it in fact.


Variant #4

What was your change to the game rules?
  • Instead of tbe loser of a challenge removing a die from the game, they must give up one die to the winner of the challenge.


    How did you initially expect the dynamics of the game to change?

    • We played with four players.  I expected a longer start to the game, as now players had the opportunity to regain dice.  I also predicted that the game would turn into a two-player challenge as opposite players would benefit each other with successful challenges.  I thought that once it came down to two players, this rule change would speed up the end game

    How did the dynamics of the game actually change once you played the game?

    • It turns out that my predictions played out, with some additional unexpected results.  First the player who ended up winning has small hands, so handling more than 12 dice was difficult for her.  This led to a lot of fun while we all feigned pity for her "unfortunate" situation.  The other unexpected result was that initial bids took longer once a player had more than nine dice, as it took them awhile to assess the situation.  The players (granted friends of mine) found this variant more fun. 



  • Comment by Shelly Warmuth:  I considered this rule change and like what you've done here.  I didn't anticipate the longer bid time, tho.  In fact, I would have thought it would have made the game go faster, so it's nice to see this iteration noted.
  • Comment by Dave Spieth:  I have played this way before, eight player game.  Once there were two of us left, the game was a stalemate, as it was too evenly matched with both of us having an average of 20 dice at a time.  We revised the rule once there were just two of us that each loss transfers successive dice from the one before (1st round - lose 1 die, 2nd round 2 die....n th round n dice).  Once one of us won three times in a row, the fate of the game was finally sealed.


Variant #5 by Robert Gauss


1) My Rule Change:

-The loser of a round loses one die for a challenge or loses the difference between his winning bid and the actual number of matching dice.  For exact bids, he gets one die from the challenger.

Example1: He bids 4 Threes, there are 2 Threes, so he gives two dice to the challenger.

Example2: He bids 4 Threes, there are 5 Threes, so he gives one die to the challenger.


2) How did I expect the Dynamics of the game to change?

-I chose this because I had no "feel" for the outcome.  It seemed like the person with the most dice would be penalized for inaccuracy, giving the guy behind a chance to regain dice


3) How did the Dynamics really change?

-It completely removes the incentive to bluff.  If you say "1 six" as a low starting bid, the opponent challenges, and they're right more than half of the time.  It also reduces the game to probability estimation, which will most likely be off at least one die.


In short, it completely ruins the game.


Comment from Tyler Sandersfeld: I didn't get the rule change at all. The original game allows bids to win if there are more than the number called by the bidder, so making a winning bid so hard to accomplish would, as I predicted, make bidding itself a chore. The challenger would almost always win, and if the challenger loses, the punishment for the challenger is nowhere near as severe as the bidder's punishment. After reading the results of the change, it does make sense that the game was ruined.


Variant #6 by Wil Crofter

We're familiar with this game as "Pirates' (of the Carribean) Dice," so our general idea was to play for "rum" and that drinks of rum would act as handicaps. We tried several variations and the following worked best. We should admit there were only two playtesters available today, and one of us is a much better gamer than the other (who should probably be playing Bejeweled or Secret Agent Barbie.) Nonetheless...


1) Rule change: The loser of a challenge gives a die, which now represents a bottle of rum, to the winner. Prior to each bid, a player must now roll his or her bottles of rum, and incur a penalty of 1 for each roll exceeding 3 in face value. If the bid is challenged, the total number of dice of bid value must now be at the number of die in the bid plus the penalty. For example, if Alice has three bottles of rum and rolls 2, 3, and 5 she incurs a penalty of 1. If she now bids three 4s the next player, Bob, may bid three 5s, four 4s, and so on as before, or Bob may challenge. However, for Alice to win the challenge there must be four 4s on the table, because she bid three and had a penalty of one.


2) Expected change in dynamics: Since a die is lost every round, as in the original, we expected the game to last slightly longer by virtue of spreading out the losses. We also expected the game to become more random as play progressed.


3) Real change in dynamics: If our two player games lasted longer, the change was so slight we couldn't tell. It was pretty clear that our less skillful player won more of the later rounds than he would have without the rule change. However, the more skillful player still won most of the games, so play did not become as random toward the end as we supposed. The reason was revealed by the more skillful player just before leaving for a class. He contrived to lose rounds often enough to keep the number of my rum bottles about even with his. He then applied his superior abilities for mental calculation of odds to win the last rounds.


Comment by Grétar Hannesson: I would expect this rule change to have a huge negative feedback effect when all players are about evenly matched. In fact I expected the games would become too drawn out and varied in length. I don't quite understand the tactic employed by the skillful player you mention. He loses rounds to keep the number of dice even? But isn't the number even when the game starts? Then surely he starts of trying to win all the rounds just as he did before?


Variant #7 by Serhat Bayılı

1) Rule change: The players use 2 sets of dice; one set is white, and the other set is colored (or different size).All players have white dice when they start the game. When a player loses a challenge, instead of losing a die, he/she has to swap a white die in hand for a colored one. When a player is out of white dice, he/she loses and is out of the game.

2) Expected change in dynamics: Since the initial gameplay is not changed upon losing a challenge, the negative feedback loop sould vanish.

3) Real change in dynamics: The game lasts a little longer (with all-novice players :))


Comment from Mr.cruet - expected change in dynamics would be to remove the feedback loop.    Another way of doing this would be to give each player counters when they lose a round and they are out of the game if they get enough counters.


Comment from Tyler Sandersfeld: In essence, there didn't really seem to be any change from round to round, since only the appearance of the dice changes, not the quantity. Therefore, I predicted the outcome of this rule change to be pretty boring, since it was basically a "race" to five points, albeit a race you want to lose. Whether this happened or not, I couldn't tell because you just said the game was longer.


Comment from Shelly Warmuth:  Since your rule change wasn't much different from mine, I guess your results were similar.  By changing the challenge to a race-to-the-finish, did you find the game a little more boring?


Variant #8 by Federico Fasce


Rule change: instead of removing a die, the loser now rolls one dice showing it to every player. When a player discovers all his dice, he loses.


What I expected: by leaving to all player knowledge of at least five dice, I thought the negative feedback will be mitigated, if not removed.


What happened: first of all, I noticed that with this rule, is far better to leave to the loser of the bid the next turn. If the loser is eliminated, then the next turn will be started by the winner of the bid as normal. The game gradually shifts into trying to have the word on a precise bid number. It seems more balanced, though: when a player is short on secret dice, he can still win by cleverly trick the opponents into impossible bids.


Comment from mr.cruet - I would expect this change to remove some but not all of feedback loop.  However over time the dynamic of the game would radically change and in the final few rounds all players would know what the majority of the dice would be thus narrowing the range of possible bids.


Variant #9 by Thad Martin


The rule I changed/added:

Give each person 5 counters which they lose instead of dice: each player always has 5 hidden dice.  Lose 5 counters and you're out of the game.

Expected Dynamics change:

remove the feedback loop completely; make the game more family friendly and less piratey

How did the game really change?

Positive feedback loop did seem to be completely removed - winners had no advantage except psychology.  Game became more consistent, and we actually began to focus more on bluffing strategies.


However, I think this changes the game fundamentally - Liars Dice seems to be built around the positive feedback loop -- removing this seems to fundamentally change the game into something else.


Comment from Shelly Warmuth:  Nice observation.  I felt the same about my iteration:  Changing the rules changes the game to something else.


Variant #10 by Micah Fuller


-Rule change: Instead of losing a die when a player loses a bid, they get a point. Once a player recieves 5 points they are out of the game. Last player in the game still wins.

-Expected dynamics change: I expected the game to slow down and be more balanced towards the end.

-Actual dynamics change: The game did not really slow down, but was more consistent, since total dice was always the same (until a player is out completely, then a dramatic change). The original rules allow for gradual adjustment to the shrinking numbers, while the new require fewer large adjustments. The end game was much more balanced. Originally the first people to loose dice went out first. After the change the game tended to favour the more strategic/tactical players.


Variant #11 by chaosbreaker


1) rule change:  only show the dice that mattered.  If the challenge was nine 3's then, you are required to show the dice with 3's or wilds's.  It was agree that we play honestly and show the require dice.

2) expected change:  I was expecting people to bluff more.

3) actual results:  People did bluff more--however not in the amount I expected.  One player who did not bluff before bluffed almost every turn.  He made aggressively high bids on wilds, when he had low number of wilds.  The other player only who bluffed occasionaly only increased bluffing slighlty.


The first game we played, we revealed all our dice in a challenge.  I then realized that people were playing conservatively and wanted to put more bluff element into the game.  So my rule was added to to encourage more bluffing.


Comment from Tyler Sandersfeld: I know you said your group promised to play honestly, but how can you be sure? My prediction was that even with the "honesty" promised, some players would hide acceptable dice in order to keep the quantity low and attack the bidder. It doesn't seem like that happened, but just to be sure, there could be a second new rule to allow challenging of bluffers in the reveal phase. If one player accuses another of hiding valid dice, they must show all of their dice, and the punishment is the same as challenging in the regular phase.



Variant #12 by Artur Mittelbach and Vinícius Fabrino

-=Who's next?=-

1. What was your rules change?

=> The person next to the one who lost the last round begins the following round


2. How did you expect the dynamics of the game to change?

=> The person who has just lost is given a better opportunity to plan his next move.


3. How did they really change?

=> Indeed it actually worked pretty well


Comment by chaosbreaker--I guessed it would not have worked because, I belive it is best to go first because you can make a bid slighlty below the correct number which will force the hard decision of challenging to the next player, or the player after the next player.


Variant #13 by Artur Mittelbach and Vinícius Fabrino

-=Recife Hold’em =-

1. What was your rules change?

=> Every player plays with 5 hided and one opened on the table. You 'shuffle' the one die, throw opened it in front of you, and then you shuffle you own 5 dice.  Game continues as normal, if a player loses his 5 dice he is out.


2. How did you expect the dynamics of the game to change?

=> One of the characteristics we found about the original positive feedback of this game is that the losing player has every time less and less information about the whole universe of possibilities on the table. For instance, if ‘Player A’is losing and has only 2 dice, ‘Player B’ has 3 and ‘Player C’ has 5, ‘Player A’ knows only 20% of the board while ‘Player C’ knows 50% of the dice (150% more info)

With this variant the + 3 opened dice (one for each player) ‘Player A’ would know 38,5% of the table dice and ‘Player C’ 61,5% (only 63% more info)

[I hope I did the math right :P]


3. How did they really change?

=> It added another strong bluff factor, also the number ’bets’ tend to orbit around the numbers displayed opened on the table. So the dynamics changed a lot; maybe a little too much for us to evaluate the impact on the PFL (Positive Feedback Loop). More play test required, BUT, the overall feeling is that it indeed attenuates the original game PFL.



Variant #14 by Artur Mittelbach and Vinícius Fabrino

-= Dead Man’s Curse=-

1. What was your rules change?

=> Every time a person loses a round, he places a token/mark on any player. Whenever a player has 2 tokens he loses a die and removes the tokens.


2. How did you expect the dynamics of the game to change?

=> We thought that the losing player could ‘bring someone down with him’. if you have for instance a 5 people game, and 2 of them are constantly loosing they could team up and bring someone down with them. So this makes a weak NFL (negative Feedback Loop) since if I lose 2 times I can take one die from another player, which evens a bit the score but doesn’t save my ‘neck’ if I continue to lose.

We also thought about the case someone of the people on the table decides do deliberately sabotage someone. For example, I start losing and place some tokens around, when I’m down to 2 dice, everyone else who loses places their tokens on me.


3. How did they really change?

=> It also worked very well! :)  The game ends faster and the direct interaction makes it really fun and dynamic. The token using becomes personal vendettas for the players.

Side effect: aside from personal arguments about ‘you should have marked him!!!!’ we discovered that there’s the possibility of ‘double KO’: only two person left, each one with one die, I’m marked my bluff is exposed and lose my last die, I get the second token and ‘kill’ the last opponent’s last die.


Variant #15 by Artur Mittelbach and Vinícius Fabrino

-=Dead Man’s Blessing=-

1. What was your rules change?

=> Every time a person loses a round he/she doesn’t lose a die but instead he/she places a token/mark on himself. If you get a 2nd token you lose a die and clear your tokens.


2. How did you expect the dynamics of the game to change?

=> This change would only eases the PFL of the original game. It functions as if every person had 2 times as dice but still plays with 5.


3. How did they really change?

=> As predicted, the game lasted longer. We also noticed that people were a bit more dare devil since it took twice as long to get out of the game.  By the time a person realized he/she has only 3 ‘lives’ and some other player still have 6, it could be a bit too late. Still, they would be playing 2 dice versus  3 dice.



Variant #16 by Artur Mittelbach and Vinícius Fabrino

-=Necromantic Horde =-

1. What was your rules change?

=> Every time I lose a die instead of placing it out of the game I place it in front of me, that die is still on the game, but it is exposed for everyone to see it. At the beginning of each round after I have shuffled my hidden dice I can choose the number of each opened dice I have.

The order that the opened dice of each player are chosen by it’s respective player is important, so the order the dice are chosen is the same as the normal round.


Example for clarification:

3 people playing, me, Vinicius and Rodrigo. 1st round is normal, each player has 5 hided dice. I lose the 1st round. Now I have 4 dice on my hand and one on the table. We all shuffle our dice and set them; after looking at my hand, and before the round start I choose that my opened die is better be a 3, so I pick it up, and place the 3 up. The die counts as a normal game die, except you lose your last hand die you are out.


 2. How did you expect the dynamics of the game to change?

=> Although the player who loses a die has less exclusive information he can choose a number that best suits his bluff strategy.


3. How did they really change?

=> Although it actually gave a NFL for the loosing player to attenuate the original PFL, choosing the open dice slows the game a bit making it a bit awkward.


Variant #17 (Same as Variant #9) by Bryan Griffiths


The rule I changed was pretty much the same as Thad Martin in Variant #9 since that directly removes the feedback loop from the game. However to keep it in the theme of liars dice and the popular tradition in various cultures to remove a hand from a thief/liar we used our left hand's fingers as the counters. Which results in the following:

Each player places their left hand on the table beside their dice area with their fingers extended to use as five counters which they lose instead of dice and allowing each player to always have five hidden dice.  Everytime you lose a round, you simply hide a finger until you lose your hand. We took to yelling "Off with his hand!" when a player was out.


Expected Dynamics change:

Removed the feedback loop completely, thereby making the game more balanced throughout. And tried to keep the rascally feel.


How did the game really change?

Positive feedback loop was infact completely removed and winners had no advantage except psychology(even more so as people were now losing their fingers!). Players were forced to play the odds, "card count", bluff, and focus more on strategy and not a run away land slide as witnessed in the original. Players also played with more confidence as the knew they would not be handicapped.


Variant #18 by Tyler Sandersfeld (Very similar to Variant #3 by Gretar Hannesson)


Rule Change: Though everyone starts with five dice, they only roll one each. Bidding proceeds as normal. If a player is successfully challenged or their challenge fails, they add one of their dice into play. If a player cannot add anymore dice, they are out.

Predicted Dynamic Change: As the new rule basically inverts the old game. the small positive feedback loop becomes a small negative feedback loop. By losing a challenge, a player gains hidden information. I expected the game to be more evenly matched throughout.

Actual Dynamic Change: It pretty much happened the way I expected. There was a bit of early "obvious bluffing," where a player would make a ridiculous bid in order to be challenged and thus gain a die. In the end, games weren't too much longer than usual, though it was much rarer to see blowouts (only once in many games did the winner have as few as three dice, while many times the winner of the original format would end with three dice or more remaining). Of course, this may be because of the group, but that's my story.


Variant #19 by Jay Singh

Rule Change: A player may pass in addition to bidding or challenging. If they do so, their dice are still counted in the total when a challenge is finally made. Additionally, each time they pass, they must take a token--for every third token they collect, they must automatically forfeit one die. If during a challenge, all players but one pass, that one surviving player gains a die.


Predicted Dynamic Change: I expected a little bit more cerebral play--since there was the option of dropping out twice with no risk, the game might start a little bit slower, and the recovery method might lengthen the game. Additionally, the players would probably evaluate their chances a little bit more, since there are more options presented to them. When a player is at two pass tokens as well, they have an interesting decision--they can stay in the game, and thus risk a die normally, or they can make a sacrifice in order to gain two more free passing opportunities.


Actual Dynamic Change: I was partially right--the changes really highlighted the offensive/defensive natures of some players during early play. However, as people became accustomed to it, I saw a more thoughtful approach being taken. One of my big poker-playing friends really enjoyed the variant since it allowed a more flexible strategy, and the game progressed nicely, even if it was longer (~10 minute playtime for the original hit ~20 here). Several times players struggled over the merits of taking a third token or staying in the bidding, and likewise players struggled to continue or fold when it was only them and one other player still bidding. My poker playing friend quickly noticed that he was able to stay alive between passes by making aggressive moves in rounds where he had good rolls, since when bids got insane, people tended to pass rather than bid or challenge.


Variant #20 by Carl de Visser

Rule Change: When a player bids "Liar" bidding continues until all players bid liar or someone overbids. If every player (except bidder) bids "Liar" then the result if determined. In resolution dice are removed for each "liar" bid. If the bidder wins, all the others lose a die, if the bidder is a liar, the bidder loses one die for each other player.


Predicted Dynamic Change: Some slowness in the bidding, and more care. Quicker knockouts.


Actual Dynamic Change: Players were cautious at first, but then became more aggressive. Players tended to try bid immediately to level they thought was (1) true, and (2) would force everyone to call them out, as it was a huge dice advantage, and if you were wrong, you were pretty much out of the game. Weirdly losing in one big hit was considered better than being slowly eliminated.



Variant #21 by Adolfo

Rule Change:  The player or playeres with more dice make a blind bid but the other players can see their own dices.

Predicted Dynamic Change: as the player that has more dice can not see his dice,  it should minimize the advantaje that he has by owning a greater number of dice.

Actual Dynamic Change: when there are still 3 or more players, the player with more dice seem to be unaffected (or he is a very lucky man). But when are only 2 player, the rule seem to work better and reduces the positive loop.


Variant #22 by Adolfo

Rule Change:  The player can do an equal bid with 6 if the did bid was 2-5. So, it someone bids: three 5, the next player can bid three 6.

Predicted Dynamic Change: it forces to uses bids of 6 and a longer bid pass.

Actual Dynamic Change: Actually, it works pretty fine, and6 is used a lot for bid. Did It affects the actual positive loop? I don’t think so, but made the game a little more interesting.



Variant #23 by Szonja

Rule Change: The dice doesn't leave the game but goes to the winner

Predicted Dynamic Change: it causes a positive feedback loop, but one that can be broken, and this way it can lenghten the gametime by not letting the bid periods become shorter and shorter.

Actual Dynamic Change: I could only test it with 2 players, and in this case it worked, it caused some positive feedback loops but the player in the loosing situation could win back his dices many times, so game time became much longer and it was more interesting.


comment from chaosbreaker--I thought it would have made the game really short, because it made the rich, richer by taking from the poor dice player. 


Variant #24 or "Blindman's Bluff" by Steven Goodman 

Rule Change:  No one looks at their dice game continues as normal. (All dice remain hidden)


What I Expect

The game become guess work and luck plays a much more important roll as players have no real control over the outcome.

Since everybody is Bluffing and everybody knows that calling liar becomes a pretty sure thing.

the bids will be lower as there is a lack of information to base higher bids


What Really Happened

I found you still have to be careful when calling someone's bluff, because you are in the dark too!

The bid hit 5 and 6 fairly often, as players had "I don't care that much, because I can't see" attitude.

Surprisingly the game continues to work quite well.


Variant #24B "Captain's Bluff" by Steven Goodman

It may help if the (ONE) 'Captain' player uses a Different colour CUP or has a TOKEN in front of him/her to mark them as the Captain.

This Cup/Token would pass to the Winner of each round. 


Rule Change:  Only One player(Captain) looks at his dice and starts the bidding, the Winner is the new Captain.

The Winner for each round is the one who 'Bluffs' or Calls 'Liar!' successfully. 


What I Expect

This gives the person playing the knowledgeable Captain an advantage, they should bluff high so people fear to call them out!

Or have to bid higher.  The longer you stay Captain the greater the chance you will win. 


What Really Happened

Anyone bidding a different die face value than the Captain was likely to be called out as a liar, a good bet for the challenger as the bidding was completely blind.  The bidding stay in the 3 to 5 range, so, I would say that it was slightly lower than normal of 4 to 6.  Funny enough being the Captain didn't help you that much, especially in the end when everybody had few dice left.  Everybody was the Captain multiple times, it was not easy to keep that advantage!



Variant #25 or "A Spade by any other name" by Shelly Warmuth


Rule Change:  No one loses a die.  Game is won by kept score instead.  All Players bid on number of dice as before, but if they are right or there are more they earn 1 point.  If they are dead on, they earn 2 points.  If, however, there are less than your bid, you lose a point.  When any player reaches a score of 10, the game is won.


What I Expect

I feel that, since the scoring system and gameplay are similar to Spades, players will bid close to the amount and try not to overbid, while the new rule increases the amount of risk without the feedback loop.  


What Really Happened

The problem with this is that it is easier and safer to underbid and the reward for getting it right isn't worth the risk of being wrong.  Players who play riskier won't mind, but safe players take the slow and steady route.



Variant #26 by Vincent Ng

NOTE: After posting this and reading other variants I realized I had misread the original rules and misplayed the game.  I thought the loser of a round gave the winner a die rather than eliminating the die from the game.  My variant could still be applied to the original rules by having the "lost dice" kept in play, rolled separately, and hidden from all players until a bid is challenged

Rule Change

When a player has more than five dice, they split up their dice into a group of five and an "excess dice" group.  When a round begins they roll both groups of dice separately.  The "excess dice" group roll is not seen by the player or anyone else until a bid is challenged, at which point all dice are revealed per the original rules.


What I Expected to Happen

Given that the positive feedback loop was a result of winners having more dice, and therefore more information about the rolls produced overall, I predicted that this change would help lessen this advantage and help those who are losing catch up.


What Really Happened

It appeared that the rule change did lessen the winner's advantage.  As also predicted, it didn't completely nullify the advantage a winning player had since they still had a greater number of dice visible to them during the bidding than those they had won the "excess dice" from. 



Variant 27 - by mr.cruet


The Rules Change - The person to have just lost a round gets two extra temporary dice to roll for the next round.  So if you had 5 dice after loosing a round you would roll a 6 dice the next round and then 4 dice from there on. 


What I expected to happen The positive feedback loop would be reduced but not broken.  This would be particullarly noticeable in the end game


What actually happened There was only one play test - and that felt odd to me.  It totally failed to help two players who just death spiraled out of the game before anybody else had lost any dice.  And then the remaining three players it felt like it made some difference although one player only lost one dice over the entire game.  It does not help however when a player gets eliminated as nobody gets the dice on the subsiquent round....  



Variant 28 - Texas Liar's Dice - by Loodo


The Rules Change

Each player got only 3 dice instead of 5, and four extra dice are played in the table. So there are always 4 numbers known to everyone.


What we expected to happen

As in poker, we thought this would increase the strategies of the callings. This would also give players with few dice more space to keep on bluffing, reducing, but not eliminating the positive feedback.


What actually happened

That the rule change made the winner's advantage to be lower. But, as dice rolls are random, when the opened dice shown 3 or more high numbers (5 or 6), they increased the first player chances to win the call.



Variant 29 - Punish the Leader Liar's Dice - by DSpieth


The Rules Change

The player that's winning (the one with the most dice), loses 2 dice instead of 1 when making a false accusation or a called bluff.  If more than one person is tied for most dice, this rule is not in effect.  


What I expected to happen

I expected the leader to be extra cautious in bidding or challenging so as not to potentially lose 2 dice.  I expected the game to go faster because occasionally 2 dice would be discarded in a round instead of one.  


What actually happened

The game was faster, as expected.  The game stabilized, but not as fast as expected.  Also would've been more interesting if we had more than 2 players.  It would have been nice to see the effect on multiple people not winning.  (Darn July vacations, no one's around.) 



Variant 30 - by Dan1066


So I decided to play this game 2 player and I think that the ‘Feedback Loop’ really made it difficult for the loosing player to catch up.


The Change

So what we did as a modification is placed 10 gold (well dice, but you could use dollars, bricks, PB and J sandwiches, cookies… well, you get the idea…  and with each roll that you win you get to take one piece of gold (or die, or tasty sandwich,) instead of dropping a die.


The Expectation

I expected that it would be more fair to all players which I suppose it did.


The Results

What it did is it gave the game a definitive time period to it; we did play to all 10 incidentally even though one of us got to 6 first.  We figured that you’d want to leave with the most loot that you could.


The game did seem to go back and forth much more than before but I think it also took much of the players ‘Perceivable consequence’ (as after 3 sandwiches I was full.)



Variant 31 by Kevin Richey

1. What was your change to the game rules?

Two dice must be a different color.  For example, each player starts with three red and two black dice. The black dice are made visible to all players, while the remaining three dice are kept secret.  Players may choose which dice to remove when they lose a round.

2. How did you initially expect the dynamics of the game to change?

Players would remove the visible colored dice first.  The visible dice of other players would provide additional information, thereby helping the players with fewer dice make better bids. 

3. How did the dynamics of the game actually change once you played the game?

No noticeable reduction in the feedback loop. In fact the game we played with this rule ended much faster than the first game with normal rules because it was easier for everyone to make bids in the early game.



Variant 32 by Kevin Bierre

1. What was your rules change?

Take the dice that were removed from each player and place them into a separate container. Shake that container each turn and use those dice towards the total. Nobody sees what is in the third container until a challenge is made.


2. How did you expect the dynamics of the game to change?

I expected there to be more uncertainty in the challenges. You could estimate the probablility of a certain value being in the third container, but nothing was certain.


3. How did they really change?

Outcome seemed a bit more random. Because the third container was not readily visible, players went with what they had available and forgot to factor in the rest of the dice.


Variant #33 - Alejandro Grilli J. (agj)


  1. Rules change: When a player loses, they don't lose a die, but they are forced to take one out of their cup and roll it openly for the rest of the game.
  2. This reduces a losing player's ability to bluff, and gives extra information to all the other players, but doesn't impair the losing player's capability to gauge the game. The endgame should feel fairer.
  3. The result, at least with two players (which was how I was able to test it), was a closer and longer game. Maybe with many players it might draw out too long, but it did keep the tension of being nose-to-nose until the end.


Variant #34 - Greg Kramer


  • Rule Change: If a player has less than the full complement of dice, successfully challenging will win back one die.
  • Expectation: I expected it to make challengers more aggressive and willing to challenge, especially when left with only one die. With something to gain, I expected failing players would be more willing to risk elimination to stay in the hunt. As a side effect, I was uncertain whether the change would speed up or extend the game; the rule change would keep skillful trailing players in the game longer than without it, but would also eliminate desperate players more quickly. In the end, I expected it to make the game FASTER.
  • Reality: The change did, in fact, have the intended effect of pulling players toward the middle and keeping failing players more engaged AND actually playing longer. Perhaps over a greater number of play sessions, enough shorter, faster games would emerge to make this effect more ambiguous. Based on this brief test, however, there seemed to be a prolonging of play. There was a distinct change in the mood of play, making the game feel more exciting. Finally, the change also seemed to alter the strategy of leading players: it appeared they more often underbid to discourage challenges and leave more room for other players to make a challengable bid.


Variant #36 - Andy Van Zandt

  1. What was your rules change?

Each player starts with 2 dice, and when you lose a challenge,  you gain a dice.  if you would gain your 6th dice, you're eliminated.

     2. How did you expect the dynamics of the game to change?

I expected it to remain largely the same, with a bit more even progression between players.

     3. How did they really change?

The game played much much faster,  and because of the different playstyles and rolls,  there still was distinctly uneven progression.


Varient #37 - Dan Eastwood (EastwoodDC)

  • Rule Change: Instead of the bid passing to the next player, the bid goes to the player with the fewest remaining dice. If there is a tie, it goes to whichever of these players comes first in the regular sequence.
  • My Expectations: Bidding first lets a player make a safe bid, put the subsequent players at greater risk of being called a liar. This is also a positive feedback, but this one works in favor of the player with the fewest dice, and I expect it to partially cancel the advantage of the player with the most dice. I think the player with the most dice still has the advantage.
  • Results: Confession time, I didn't have time (sorry, work first) or people to play with, but I did play the browser game at the Disney site, and I can make a general comments:

    1) If you bid first you can always tell the truth, and so you are only at risk if the bid comes back around to you. The player bidding first also has a lot of control over this too, and by bidding the largest safe big they can to start make it really hard for the other players. If the difference in number of dice between players is small, this is a big advantage. If one player has a larger advantage in number of dice, they can probably overcome this.

    2) If there are four or more players, then it is really the number of dice the players on either side of you have that matters. The player before can pass you a large-but-safe bid, forcing you to either bid unreasonably high, or make a challenge you will probably lose. The player after you gets to challenge your risky bid.

    3) I think I was wrong about the player with the most dice having the greater advantage. Bidding first gives a lot of control over the game, probably more than having the most dice - unless you can manage to get significantly more dice.


Variant #38 - John Dorfman

  • Rule change:     If the person that challenges has more dice than the person challenged, the challenger loses if bid =< [ ( total # of challenger's dice - total # of challengee's dice / 2 ) **round result of this up** ] + [ ( # of number called + wildcards ) or (# of numbers called if one originally called) ].  Example: If the bid is four 6s and the challenger has 4 dice and the challenger has 3 dice, but there only a total of 4 sixes and wild cards, by formula 4 = round_up((4-3)/2)  + 3 = 4, so challengee wins
  • What I think will happen:  People with more dice would be more scared to challenge, so people with less dice would do more challenging
  • Reality: People with lower dice where mostly able to pass an almost absurd number to higher dice people.  If the higher dice people did not challenge that, it would be suicide.  But because of the rule, they usually lost, so it was more even over all.  And the effect was more pronounced at the end.


Variant #39 - by Ben Snider and Friends


  1. The player that wins the round loses a die, and a player wins the game when he has no dice remaining.
  2. This is basically a reversal of the winning mechanic. I expected to negate the loop such that the winning player has less information to act upon, rather than the losing player having less information than everyone else. This should reduce the gap between the winning player and the others. It is analagous to slowing down the lead player in Mario Kart, to continue the course example.
  3. It did indeed normalize the effect of the loop by lengthening play and narrowing the gap between winners and losers, but it did induce another interested dynamic that my friend noticed. Basically, with this modification, a person that makes a bad bet is not penalized, nor are any of the other players. This has the effect of treating bad players equally with good players, such that a person that has no direct influence with the bid is treated equally with the loser of the challenge. However, I'm still not entirely convinced there are truly bad players in this game, and a player may be forced into a bad bet which may make his skills seem questionable. So, while it did affect the feedback loop, the modification also introduced a perceived, if not actual, element of unfairness.


comment by DoctorMike - See my version #46 but ws interested by the statement that a bad bid was not penalised. I didn't spot this in my playthrough, but you are right, as there is no consequence for a challenge. What if the winner hands a die to the loser? Would that be a sufficient penalty? It would mean that the number of dice in the game didn't go down. I think it might end up a bit like Snap for the last two players, with cards going back and forth forever. Also, did you play for 2nd, 3rd, etc like I did? Or was it first passed the post?


Variant #40 - Seth Barber

  1. Lose counters (glass beads) instead of dice.
  2. I expected the game would play longer, and losers would be more spread out, due to the fact that all players would have equal information.
  3. The game had a less tense feel to it and the bluffing had a better effect, which in actually caused one player to lose more often (likely due to a susceptibly to bluffing).



Variant #41 - Stephen Bierre

  1. The rule i changed was that everyone could see everyone elses dice, but not their own dice
  2. I expected that the game would be more evened out, as when a person lost, they had less dice they couldn't see, creating a negitive feedback loop.
  3. The first game I played with these new rules the game was a shut out, with the winning player always being the winner every round (!) But later games the game evened out, so the first game seems to have been a wierd fluke. Bluffing didnt work very well, as all the players in the game were extremely bad at bluffing, combined with a player with 1 die remaining sees all but that 1 die and can pretty much tell when someone is bluffing, (11 dice with 2 4's on the 10 you can see and someone bets 4 4's, its a no brainer) The game pretty much boiled down to trying to guess based on other peoples bets what dice were showing in front of us.



Variant #42 - Josh Giesbrecht

  1. When a new round begins, the loser gets to go first instead of the one who just successfully challenged.
  2. The who-starts rule seemed like a minor positive feedback loop adding to the larger one of dice-removal. I thought that inverting the who-starts rule into a negative feedback loop might help compensate for the positive feedback effects of the dice removal.
  3. This rule change had such a small effect that we couldn't tell a difference in our (limited) playtesting.  In fact, it may have been a disadvantage to the person losing, as going first forced them to either bluff or reveal information about their dice sooner.  Also by going first, they gain the initiative in bidding but lose the initiative in challenging.


Variant #43 by Fabrizio Marcotulli

  1. Rule change: the dice are changed so they don´t have the number 1, and instead they each repeat a different number (so 1 would have the number 2 twice, another the number three, and so on until the number 6) so that when a person loses, he/she discards a die without mentioning which one was discarded.
  2. Expected change in dynmics: A lot of different things depending on the implementation. The overall idea is to make it harder to make desicions based on the dice pool and, in particular, make the loser have a (albeit small) say on the frequency a given number would have after losing a die. It is not meant to break the loop, but to mitigate it by making it a little more confusing for those who have not lost a die.
  3. Real change in dynamics: hard to say. I only got to play the game with my (very loving and understanding) girlfriend, and she wasn´t particularly keen on trying to figure out probabilities and such. It did keep us from bluffing a little (though it could very well be because there was a lot of information at hand at any given time in a two player game anyways)



Variant #44 by John Kirk

1. What was your rules change?

Instead of looking at your own dice, you look at the dice of the person sitting to your right.  All other rules are the same.


2. How did you expect the dynamics of the game to change?

The rule change completely eliminates the postive feedback loop and transforms it into a negative feedback loop.  As such, I expected that the game would be drawn out and tending toward more balanced play between players, resulting in the winners having fewer dice at the end of the game.


3. How did they really change?

In the games I played, there was only me and one other player, so we rolled our own dice and slid the cups over to our opponents.  As such, the negative feedback was very strong and the games ended up playing exactly as predicted.  The winners ended up with one or two dice at the end of the games as opposed to three or four.


comment from chaosbreaker--I thought nothing would change since you get to look at only one set of dice, why would it matter who it is in front of.


comment from DoctorMike - Agree with ChaosBreaker. Cannot see what you define as the postive feedback that has been transformed into a negative one. Maybe with only two players there wasn't enough playtesting time or complexity to show the game was functionally equivalent. I would imagine that the result you described was coincidence. I cannot see a causal mechanic that would make your example the new norm.


Variant #45 by Andrew Stapleton


1. What was your rules change?

If you roll two die of the same face value (i.e. a “pair”), excluding 1’s (i.e. only pairs of 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6), then you have “immunity” and no dice can be lost if you challenge and lose.  All other rules remain the same.

2. How did you expect the dynamics of the game to change?

I expected that this would dramatically influence the game, making it longer and there would be a propensity for outrageous claims for challenges to be made by players.

3. How did they really change?

They ended up changing as expected.  The game did become longer, and claims did become outrageous (at one point my opponent – knowing they had immunity) bid“25 two’s” … and that was in a two player game!  So here’s the thing, what I personally found most interesting - beyond the dynamics - was the change in the “aesthetics” of play.  The player experience changed to one which was seemed more “bullish” and more light-hearted; claims became outrageous and that was all part of the fun.   (I just wished we could have played it with more people to hear some of the claims.) So the rule change appeared to eliminate the “reservedness” of the original rule games we played earlier where bids were very conservative. 


comment from DoctorMike - I think that the immunity breaks the game. A bid of 25 x 2s when (presumably) there aren't 25 dice, just signals that nothing bad can happen to you. In this case, having the game lasting longer would, maybe, be a disincentive to play!


comment from andrewstapleton -Thanks for the comment DoctorMike... I tend to agree with you.  Immunity is a game breaker, because of the dominant nature it has over other players.  And I also agree that having this condition over a longer period may eventually wear thin.  It was just interesting for me as to how much the change had with the players... the 25 x 2's was said in jest (as it was something that was not possible at the time)... which was a far different experience from the more conservative earlier games. 


Variant #46 by DoctorMike

NOTE: Reading through, this is effectively an extension of #39


1. What was your rules change?

Instead of Loser losing die, Winner does and the Goal is to lose all your dice first, leaving others to carry on playing. Players with only one die left would need to announce this, as in Uno, so that other players know that they are nearly finished.

2. How did you expect the dynamics of the game to change?

Instead of a first passed the post Win, the game could carry on with less skilled players having the opportunity to come 2nd, 3rd, etc. Rather than many people losing a die and the game having negative feedback for the player in the lead, I imagined that the game would be quicker for the 1st place, but longer overall.  

Given that all players would know when a potential win was possible, it would allow them to take a calculated risk when bidding or challenging the lead player. While the mechanics of the bid and resolve stage are essentially the same, the chance to stop the winner would encourage others (specifically the person to play after the lead) to play more strategically, with greater risk and the potential for more fun at the finish line.

3. How did they really change?

From a personal perspective, I found that being in the lead meant I had gradually less and less information; having one die gave me far less information than someone with five. So, I had to try to analyse the probabilities of bids and "work the odds" a lot more. It felt like playing poker with no cards or bidding on ebay!

When announced as only having one die, I found that I would pretty much always be challenged, as people knew that a successful bid would win me the game. Only when someone was really confident, or in the very early stages of the game (we played with five people), would the person next to a potential winner make a bid, rather than challenge. What was interesting was the unstated but strong assumption that if a bid was made that it was pretty certain. For example, the player next to a potential winner had 2 dice left and bid 2 sixes. It was assumed that they must have had 2 sixes. The next player then bid 3 sixes on that assumption, and the fact that they actually had a six. The 3 x 6 bid was challenged, and it turned out that the player we all thought had 2 x 6 had 1 + 3 and had done a "complete bluff" knowing that bidding rather than challenging would give him an air of authenticity. This meant that he too now had one die left. Really interesting change that effectively introduced a positive feedback element, which meant that end game was quite fast.


Comment by Delfar: I suppose that this can break the loop, because the advance in the game only depends of your decisions, if you lie and get caught your oponent is more near to winning, if you caught a liar you advances. The main problem I see with that change is that if we play as usual when the turn pass to next player in clockwise o clockbackwards then the player near the worse player always win. You don't depend only of yourself, you depend of your place, with two good players at your sides will be more difficult to win that with to bad liars...


Of course the negative loop is obvious but I think that you can play more with your oponents dices than yours... Trying to catch liars and guessing the probabilities of a result.


Variant #46B by DoctorMike

Untested, but posted up for others to review as my last (tested) change was the pretty much the same as another entry.


1. What was your rules change?

At each bid, to stay in the game, a player must select a die of theirs to show to the others. This die is placed in front of the player's cup. Choosing which die to show is the strategic part. If a player only has one die, then it is always hidden. When all but one of a player's dice are revealed - should bidding get that far - then they do not show the last die.

2. How did you expect the dynamics of the game to change?

Being a Bridge player, and used to having the bid winning stage resulting in your partner's hand being visible, means that opponents can select a strategy to try to combat the lead player, who initially controls the game. The actual bidding process has evolved into a complex semaphore to signal to your partner what cards you have. In that respect, the mechanic of Liar's dice seems similar, in that Bridge players have to honour their commitment to win a certain number of hands, and the dice game requires there to be the same or more dice of a particular number. 


This new mechanic gradually reveals information, which reminds me a bit about certain variants of poker. So, it should become apparent that people have been engaging in bluffing, but also making the few dice remaining that much more critical. I'd predict that this would mean putting out dice that implied you were in a strong position, or to undermine the bids of others.

3. How did they really change?

Not tested yet! Will edit and repost once I have rounded up some volunteers.


Comment by Delfar: I think that it increased too much the positive loop making the game more fast and giving an unfair advantage to the player that wins the first rounds. Normally the winning player have more info, now its brutally more informed. I think its a completelly fail in trying to avoid the positive loop.


Variant #47 by Jose G. Presa

This variant was tested by 4 persons. First we play Bluff! with the standard rules and then change the rule. We also try another one: The players who lost a challenge, play with a dice out of the cup, so the rest of players can see the public dices (We played only one game with this variant, and was very funny because the players tryed to bluff the others with the public dice.


What was your rules change?

When a player lost a bid, he doesn't lost a dice, so each player has always the same number of dices. But each  player can only lost five times (one per dice), so to represent this we use a paper. We drew a cross for each player, when one of them lose a bid we drew a big spot at the end of one arm of the cross, when the player lose the last bid we draw the spot in the center of the cross, so that player lost the game (At the end we were drawing bones and skulls instead of cross and spot...)


How did you expect the dynamics of the game to change?

I expected a game more balanced, without the disadvantajes for the player that is loosing the game, so the end of the game will be more interesting.


How did they really change?

As we expected, the game was more balanced, but when a player took some advantage he/she could take more risks than the others. Also, we could apreciate that at the end of the game the player that was winning usually challenged the others a lot of times, in some times he/she lost the game for that actitude.


Comment by Delfar: Although I have no time to try I want to make some guess. I expected that without the positive loop (the winning player have more information than others) game become more fair and close. I think that strategies would no evolutionate too much, and I think that the changes that Jose notice depends more of players become more anxious than for the rules changed in it.



Variant #48 by Megami and Carlos Astengo

This variant was tested by 4 persons. First we play Bluff! with the standard rules and then change the rule using dices.


What was your rules change?

Use the same rules but remove no dices. The game ends after 5 rounds.


How did you expect the dynamics of the game to change?

We expected no change in any game, so there will be no loops.


How did they really change?

As expected, the game was more balanced and was like "manotazo" game....each time the game was so fun as the first one.




Variant 46 - Dan Roth

(I realized a day or so later that I'd left mine in the comments, rather than editing a new spot for it.. Soo


What was changed: The Rule I changed was instead of losing a die, the player would give the die they lost to another player of their choosing.

What I thought would happen: I thought it would be a different kind of feedback loop, and add a layer of unpredictability, such as when players become eliminated, who they decide to shift the balance of remaining dice with.

What actually happened: When the game ran down to it's final 2 players we realized that this forces dice to continually back and forth creating a crummy loop that drags the game on and on and on etcetera.

In short, my change broke it! We declared a draw instead of finishing the game with the modified rule.


Variant Number 49 - Michael Schoonmaker

Variation: My variant is similar to "Captain's Bluff", above. Mine, however, is the "Emperor's Bluff". Players lose dice as normal. However, the winner of the bluff (who still goes first), cannot look at their dice. The other players' goal each turn, then, becomes making the Emperor lose. In doing so, you've put yourself at a disadvantage by becoming the blinded Emperor, and so on.

Hypothesis: By limiting the knowledge of the "winning" player, you've dampened the effect of the positive feedback loop. The knowledge hindrance may actually remove it.

Results: It's relatively easy to put the Emperor in tough positions. It's really hard to make decisions when you can't see your dice! This dampened the positive feedback loop by making it easier on the losing players, but it reared its ugly head when the Emperor didn't lose a turn, or if the loser won a round! Not only did the losing player have fewer dice obscured from his opponents to bluff with, but he couldn't see them himself.

Comments (6)

Dan Carreker (NarrativeDesigns.com) said

at 7:40 pm on Jul 13, 2009

The rule I changed was instead of the loser removing 1 dice from the game, the winner movers one of his/her dice into a community pool which is viewable by all players.

Since the players who are behind actually have more knowledge of the game state than the leading player, I expected them to have the advantage in each individual round, thereby keeping the game more competative.

Which is exactly what happened EXCEPT I forgot about the win condition. The first time through it was advantagous to get caught lying so you'd remove one of your opponents dice. That in itself could have been an interesting dynamic to follow up on, but instead I just changed the win condition to be the first person to lose all their dice wins, and that brought the game back to where it was before (just with the positive feedback mechnic negated)

robbway@comcast.net said

at 9:14 am on Jul 15, 2009

When I did this assignment, I borrowed my dice from a book on my shelf called "Spicy Dice." That book is a book of 6 dice and board games. After the assignment, I discovered that one of the games, "Perfecto," is a variant of Liars Dice. It then proceeds to describe at least a dozen variants of "Perfecto." It makes great examples for this exercise.

dkwd@... said

at 1:47 pm on Jul 15, 2009

Rule Change - my first though (as it seems was also some of those here) was to remove the feedback loop by using counters to track losses instead of dice. This was you would always have five dice.
Predicted Dynamic Change - With the same amount of dice available I would expect the same amount of bluffing as at the start.
Actual Dynamic Change - Indeed, with the same amount of info available, players bluffed and bid as normal. They said theat they felt like they were still in it right to the end.

sonia.odrovics@gmail.com said

at 4:14 pm on Jul 15, 2009

this is funny how many of us choose not removing the dice from the game:)

Dan Roth said

at 7:37 pm on Jul 15, 2009

The Rule I changed was instead of losing a die, the player would give the die they lost to another player of their choosing.
What I thought would happen would be a different kind of feedback loop, and add a layer of unpredictability, such as when players become eliminated, who they decide to shift the balance of remaining dice with.
What actually happened was when the game ran down to it's final 2 players we realized that this forces dice to continually back and forth creating a crummy loop that drags the game on and on and on etcetera.
In short, my change broke it! We declared a draw instead of finishing the game with the modified rule.

Dillehunt said

at 1:16 am on Jul 17, 2009

Sorry, I've been out of town and coming late to this assignment. My change was to use tokens to keep score instead of losing dice, with results similar to others with similar changes. My comment on many other variants that caused dice to be displayed to all players - I don't understand the thought behind these changes, since the core of the game is based on the dice that are not seen. When some dice are in view, they are the same as not being there, since they do not change the concept of the value of the dice not in view.

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