I carry 3 red dice in my back pocket so that I can play a game called Cee-lo with people that I meet. Like most betting games, Cee-lo has a rough reputation. But played among friends, not betting for money, it can be rather wholesome.
I really like being able to play a simple dice game with people for a few reasons:
- it’s a really fun game!
- I’ve successfully played it with kindergartners and every age group above,
- I’ve gotten mixed age groups to have a GREAT time playing,
- It never runs out of batteries or needs to be upgraded,
- it’s very portable,
- it gets people to talk in real time,
- I don’t have to hand an expensive device to other people or count on them having one, or having one compatible to mine.
I’ve also found that the game itself is pretty simple, but with the betting aspect things get really interesting. And the world is full of trinkets to bet with. Collect a bunch of stones, or sugar packets, or tear up a piece of paper into bits that are all roughly the same size, or anything you can get a reasonable number of and you’re in business.
That said, my personal favorite thing to bet with is the little scraps that people have in their pockets: twist ties, tooth picks, vitamin pills, movie stubs. It is amazing to see how people will value these little bits of nothing while they are playing, but once the game is over, it all goes back to being little bits of trash. (I also like to see what people do to get that one important item back, that they really shouldn’t have played in the game…)
One thing about dice games: everyone plays them different. To paraphrase the Cee-lo advice U-God of Wu Tang in this NSFW (language) video: state the rules and save some fools. Better to spend a bit of time outlining the rules at the beginning then to get into any sort of fight later. (And not a bad rule in life in general.)
So, here is how I play Cee-lo:
Cee-lo – 2 or more players – 3 dice
Determine who is going to be playing and who is going to be the first player.
If betting, all players put in their bet.
The first player rolls all three dice until they get a recognized combination, or are otherwise disqualified
The combinations are, ranked from best to worst:
The highest possible roll. Instant win of the round for the player who rolled it. They take the entire pot, and the next round begins. This skips the turns of anyone who has not gone.
Rolling three of the same number is known as “trips”. Higher trips beat lower trips, so 4-4-4 is better than 3-3-3.
“Spare and a Pair”
Rolling a pair, and another number, establishes the singleton as a “point.” A higher point beats a lower point, so 1-1-3 is better than 6-6-2.
Automatic loss. Play forfeits turn, but the game continues.
Any other roll is a meaningless combination and must be rerolled until one of the above combinations occurs. It is also an automatic loss if a player rolls the dice 5 times without getting a meaningful combination.
If either of the dice roll off the playing surface, it is also an automatic loss for the player.
Play then proceeds around to other players, going clockwise.
The player who rolls the best combination wins. In cases of a tie for the best combination, there is a a shoot-out: the players who tied will play another round of the game until there is a single winner.
The winner gets to stat the next round.
And that is all there is to it! I also like it the way the game is explained in this video.
There are PLENTY of other games you can play with dice. But, Cee-lo one my favorite!
I usually buy dice by the 100, so after I teach people, I can give them their own set.