Looking for some games to play with the resources you already have on hand? Here is a list of free board games and role playing games that only require you to have some standard D6 dice on hand as well as maybe needing to print out a few additional free resources to play.
What are some good, free, printable, D6 games for family night? One autistic, one ADHD. We play games like Yahtzee and Farkle but would like and are willing to expand into the RPG multiverse.
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The best thing about games that use standard dice is that people usually already have them on hand.
One of the best things about games that use the humble D6 is that most people already have dice on hand. That’s one reason why you see so many games designed around the six sided die. Another reason is that people are familiar with standard six sided dice. They are ubiquitous. No one is going to be intimidated or confused when asked to roll a normal die.
Below I will be listing off some of the best games that require little more than a few standard dice. Some of these games may also require you to print something off and many are going to require pen or pencil and paper but you won’t need any fancy gaming supplies such as funky dice, thick rulebooks, miniatures or even pawns, meeples or resource cubes.
Here are some of the best free board games that only need a set of basic dice.
Yahtzee – This is probably the most known roll and write game. You get five dice and you get three rolls of the dice to try to complete a number of patterns. This tried and true mechanic has become the basis for a number of different dice games. Yes, you can buy a copy of Yahtzee but if you already have 5D6 all you need is a score sheet and pencil to play. Yahtzee score sheets are very easy to find online and there are a number of free apps that can be used as well.
Farkle – I actually learned about Farkle through Facebook, it was one of many Facebook apps that I was addicted to at some time, along with Words with Friends and Candy Crush. Yes, I played Candy Crush. Farkle is a really neat push your luck dice game that I personally found more fun than Yahtzee. There are more decision points and it feels like you have a bit more control over your fate. This is another one you can go out and buy, but the rules are freely available online.
Liar’s Dice – Here is another classic dice game for which the rules can easily be found online. It has the added benefit of not even needing a pencil and paper. What you do need is five dice for every player and a cup or some way to hide what you’ve rolled from other players. This is a great game for larger groups as it really plays any number of players. You can also find this game under a number of different names like Perudo, Bluff, Doubter’s Dice and Roodo.
Bunco – This dice game is designed to be played with twelve players but can be played with any number divisible by four. You need a set of three dice for each group, so twelve dice in total. In this game, players play through six rounds and are trying to roll triplets on their three dice with bonus points awarded for hitting the same number as the round number (called a Bunco). This is a popular social club game.
Ship, Captain, Crew – In Ship, Captain Crew, everyone gets five dice. They get three rolls to try to roll a 6 (the ship), a 5 (the captain), and a 4 (the crew). If they manage to do this they score points equal to the total of the last two dice. To make things more difficult you need to get the ship, the captain and the crew in that order. What I find most interesting about this is that it’s the basic system used for the dice-based part of Tower of Madness.
Can’t Stop – All you need to play Can’t Stop at home are four dice and a piece of paper or whiteboard. In this classic dice game, you pair up two sets of dice to see what columns you can advance on. Each round you can only advance on three columns. You can continue to roll and keep moving up as many times as you want, but if you ever have a roll where you can’t move up you will lose all of your progress. The first player to complete three columns wins.
Can’t Stop Express – At one time, this game was known as Sid Sackson’s Solitaire Dice game. To play, you just need five D6 and a copy of the score sheet which you can find online or make on your own. Each round you roll all five dice and pick one to “scratch”. You then pair up the remaining dice and mark off those numbers on the score sheet. You can only scratch off three different numbers and each of them only eight times. When you can’t scratch a number the game ends. You then get a score based on how many times you ticked off a number. If you have either no ticks or five ticks you get 0 points, whereas if you have one to four ticks you lose 200 points. While you gain points for numbers you have more than five of.
Reiner Knizia’s Decathlon – Famed game designer Doctor Reiner Knizia has this dice game up for free on his website. It’s a family weight roll and write that only needs eight six-sided dice. Players play through ten different dice based mini-games representing different events in a decathlon. Players score points for each section and the player with the most total points at the end wins. This dice game can be played solo or with up to four players.
Utopia Engine – This is a free print-and-play dice game for one player. This game has you rolling dice and trying to recreate a fanciful device from the distant past in order to stop a coming doomsday. All you need are two dice, a pencil and an erase,r and of course the two-page game sheet available free from PnP arcade. What’s impressive about this one is the playtime, a game can take up to an hour.
30 Rails – This is a dice game about building railway networks onto a 6×6 grid of squares. The name comes from the fact that the game is played over thirty turns. Each turn dice are rolled to determine which type of track you have to place and in what row/column you have to place it. There’s even an advanced game that includes stocks and shares. I can’t help but think of Railroad Ink when I see this game, which is a modern roll and write that uses special dice.
The Great Races – This is a simple dice game using a dedicated scoring sheet. Players each roll four dice and gather them in pairs. There is a line on the score sheet for each possible combination and each line represents a different race. The first player to complete one set wins that race. The player with the most races wins the overall game. There are some obvious similarities here to Can’t Stop, but this game doesn’t have the push your luck element that some players may not enjoy.
The Mini Quest – Here is a free dice-based game for the fantasy adventure fans. The Mini Quest plays two or three players and only requires three dice, a pencil, an eraser and the free print and play rules and sheets. In this game, players play heroes that travel around a hex map, exploring, adventuring and gaining loot. After gearing up players attempt to take on The Boss. Whoever is able to take out The Boss wins.
13 Sheep – This is a quick roll and write game where players will be drawing fences in order to protect as many of their sheep as possible before the wolf comes. Each turn, players roll a die to determine what type of fence they have to draw. The game lasts seven to ten rounds, depending on die rolls in the final three rounds. At the end of the game, players get points based on how many protected sheep they have. The player with the most protected sheep wins. There are at least two different sheep patterns out there for this game in order to add some variability.
Bargain Basement Bathysphere (of Beachside Bay) – This is an epic solo roll and write campaign for one player. All you need is the (64 page!) booklet and eight six-sided dice in order to play. This game won the 2018 solitaire print-and-play contest at BGG. The game gets more complex as you work your way through the booklet and features some legacy style elements.
There are some great free roleplaying games out there that only need a few D6 to play.
The OpenD6 System – When I first read Jeff’s question, this was the first thing that popped into my head. This RPG system used by West End Games for their Cinematic RPGs that started with Ghostbusters and eventually turned into WEG Star Wars. Since that time both the system and the Star Wars Licence have changed hands a number of times. In the end, West End Games released their D6 system under the Open Game Licence.
While some companies used this open licence to produce their own retail games that you can purchase, a number of companies took the open licence and released free games. Here are some examples of free games that use the OpenD6 system:
D6 Space – For playing your sci-fi and space opera adventures.
D6 Fantasy – For dungeon crawl and epic quest fans.
D6 Adventure – Featuring rules for old west, pulp, and modern games.
Azamar – This is an example of an OpenD6 fantasy game that was originally kickstarted, published, and available for sale. While you can still get print copies at your local or online store the PDF version is now available in a pay what you want format online. This is a complete RPG setting and set of rules in one book. The setting is high adventure and high magic, perfectly suited to the D6 system.
Westward – This game, from the same publisher as Azamar (Wicked North Games), is one that I personally kickstarted and own a copy of. Similar to Azamar, while you can still buy copies of this game you can also get the basic version for free. The basic edition is a non-searchable low res PDF version of the full rules. Westward features a rather unique cattlepunk, western, sci-fi, steampunk, mashup for a setting. Think Firefly but just the stuff that happens on planet.
D6 Dungeons – This looks to be a great fantasy RPG if you are playing with kids. D6 Dungeons is specifically designed for younger players or new players with little to no RPG experience. The entire thing is web produced and completely free. The designer even included a tutorial adventure to get you started and playing right away.
Mini Six: Bare Bones Edition – This is a slimmed-down version of the original OpenD6 game system. Great for creating any action-oriented games. This is a toolkit for designing your own games. It’s a full system but doesn’t include any background or fluff. While this may not be great for Jeff, who’s new to RPGs, it can be a great option for people who are already familiar with the basics of RPGs.
The Pip System Quickstart – These simple D6 based RPG rules are available in a pay what you want format. The Pip System is the rule set that drives games like Mermaid Adventures. Mermaid Adventures was one of the first games I used to introduce my kids to RPGs. It’s a very simple system that is great for younger gamers or newer gamers. It only requires two colours of six-sided dice to play.
GURPS Lite – While doing research for this topic, I came across a free version of GURPS over on the Steve Jackson Games website. GURPS or Generic Universal Role Playing System is, as its name implies, a generic system you can use to play any number of RPGs. This free PDF covers the essentials of character creation, combat, success rolls, adventuring, and game mastering for GURPS Fourth Edition.
Fate Core – This is a more modern universal roleplaying system that is much more narrative based than most traditional RPGs. While normally Fate requires the use of special “fudge dice” to play, there’s nothing stopping you from using standard six-sided dice and counting 1-2 as “-“, 3-4 as “blank” and 5-6 as “+” though I am sure that would take some time to get used to. I find Fate to be very different from most traditional RPGs and I don’t know if this would be a great or a terrible entry into the hobby. It would definitely be different from most other people’s entry-level experience.
Do you know of any free games that use standard D6 dice that I missed? Please let us know about them in the comments!