Prepare thine self for a challenge of ghouls,
Hence a hand by chance worthy only of fools,
For this ancient game art greater than its host,
Play not one or two, but three, play the Ghost!
The heart beckons, aye, yet again I was drawn to the simplicity of the dice and the myriad of labyrinths kept hidden within their faces.
Simple and yet beautiful aren’t they? How many games have been invented with only a handful of dice? Only the roaring oceans of sailors gone before could possibly know.
Here then is another game of my own.
This game dawned on me in a kind of “eureka” moment. I was thinking very deeply about the game of Yahtzee and pondering over its limitations.
I wanted to somehow bring an extra dimension of strategy to what is quite simply a game of mere dice.
Whence the moment of realisation struck I was actually quite awestruck to have worked it out. Perhaps it was a premonition, perhaps it was divination, or perhaps… it was my Ghost.
How To Play
Ghost is a TWO player game.
Ghost is played with six regular six sided dice. Three dice are of one colour while the other three are of another colour.
Officially three BLACK and three YELLOW dice are used.
Players take it in turns to roll all six dice and attempt to accumulate a decent score.
The total combined values of all six dice equal the hand’s score. Thus a hand of six sixes would score 36.
On each turn a player may re-roll his hand a maximum of two more times in order to improve his or her hand.
He or she may HOLD some dice while re-rolling others, or re-roll all of the dice. However the player chooses to employ his re-rolls is entirely the player’s own choice.
Whilst official Yahtzee defines a “round” as the three rolls of a player’s hand, in Ghost a “Round” is a complete game unto 500 points.
The first player to reach or breach 500 points in a Round is the winner of that Round.
There are FIVE Rounds in a Match. Each Round WON scores 1 point.
A single Match of five Rounds may be played over a course of days, or alternatively in one session.
Match points are the deciding factor of victory, whilst the Round points are kept for reference.
Whilst only the WINNER of a Round scores a FULL Match point, as you are about to find out, a second place score exists… this being the spooky HALF point.
The Ghost is actually a third player.
The two different coloured groups of dice serve as the Ghost’s intervening instrument of participation.
Whilst a player rolls all six dice during a turn, the YELLOW dice actually contribute to the Ghost’s running score.
When a player has finalised his or her hand and calculates the score for that turn, the TOTAL points of the YELLOW dice are noted down as the Ghost’s score.
Whence the opponent likewise calculates his score, AGAIN the total points of the YELLOW dice are added to the Ghost’s score.
Thus each player scores HALF the Ghost’s points on each and every turn.
Here then, the Ghost’s column on the score sheet is notated as an equation for each turn, as shown below.
Indeed the object of the game is thence to increase your score whilst mediating the Ghost’s own progress.
If the Ghost reaches 500 points but the player who caused its victory also reaches 500 points, then whoever has the higher score wins the Round point, whilst the other player (or Ghost) scores half a Round point.
Originally I experimented with various special hands, yet the game itself proved to be the sole self fulfilling prophecy of its own mechanics.
However, it became apparent quite quickly that since both players would more often than not keep the Ghost scoring low values, that the poor old Ghost should benefit from a bonus.
Yet in order to make sure the game maintained its own balanced mechanism, I had to make sure any bonus would likewise be only random.
Thus here then are the THREE special hands.
Tao is a functioning philosophy on every hand which decides the bonus awarded to the Ghost. Whence the Player finalises the hand, if there are three or more dice of the same value then the Ghost is awarded a maximum of 3 bonus points for the hand.
Xoq is a hand of six ONES. This hand not only scores 50 points to the Player, but the opponent may only score the total of the three Black Player dice next turn, whilst the Ghost continues to receive scores as usual. This hand is not just a dangerous gamble merely at face value, but even awards the Ghost a 3 point Tao bonus.
Lor is a hand of six sequential numbers from ONE through to SIX. Whilst this hand only scores 35 points to the player, it is a fairly good and obtainable outcome, however it is nevertheless the Player’s strategy to make sure the Ghost dice are the lowest scoring.
Beware Of Ghosts…
So this game is great fun but can be quite a strategic challenge. On the one hand you want to score as high a hand as possible, but on the other you want to prevent the Ghost from gaining the lead.
Is it however, to any player’s advantage to AID the Ghost’s progress? Well, it can be.
If you are already winning the game and only providing you are confident in maintaining that lead, then by aiding the Ghost you are indeed creating an obstacle for your opponent.
Quite simply, if you encourage the Ghost to 500 points whilst keeping it at bay behind your own position, then any HALF point for second place will be awarded to the Ghost, not the opponent.
Remember a MATCH consists of FIVE Rounds and so manipulating second place is also a core strategy of the game.
Thus however and then again… by aiding the Ghost you may end up giving the opponent just what he needs. Whilst it may be you who approaches 500 points first, a strike of opponent’s last minute cunningness could actually TURBO BOOST the Ghost’s score, landing you BEHIND the Ghost at the finish line, with only HALF a Round point, or even NONE at all.
And in a Match of five Rounds… you might not want to get spooked.
The question is, are you a Ghostbuster…?
Thank you for reading and following my blog… if you like this game or any of my creations, feel free to share them with your friends and if you like, to leave a comment.
Cheerios for now.
Ghost Dice Game © Simon Edward Jepps