How to Play the Ship Captain Crew Dice Game

By Diana Doherty
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The dice game Ship, Captain and Crew has a lengthy history. It has been known by many names, including Ship of Fools, Battleship, 6-5-4 and Mariner. Ship, Captain and Crew is a multi-player dice game commonly played in bars, especially veterans' clubs and military bars. The basic rules are very easy to learn. Many people make up extra rules to make the game more interesting, or simply more complicated.

Have each player roll one die. The player who rolls the highest number begins play.

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Roll all five dice. The player must keep a 6 before a 5 or 4. If a 6 is rolled, place it to the side. A player may keep one 6, or one 6 and one 5, or one 6, one 5 and one 4. If a player keeps all three, his score is final. He may not roll again.

Roll again. If the player set aside a 6, she will be rolling only four dice. If the player gets a 5, she keeps it with the six. The player may keep a 5 and 4 if she rolled both. If she chooses to do so, she will not roll again.

Roll the remaining three dice. If a 4 turns up, place it with the 5 and 6. Now the player has ship (6), captain (5), and crew (4). Three rolls is the limit. If the player does not have 6, 5 and 4, his score is 0 and it is the next player's roll.

Add the two remaining dice from Step 4 to get the player's score. That sum becomes the point. Every following player rolls in the same manner, trying to beat the point. The player with the highest score after all players roll is the winner.

Tip

Each player must get ship (6), captain (5) and crew (4), in that order. If a player does not get ship, captain and crew, his score is 0. To bet in this game, each player antes the same amount at the beginning of the round. The winning scorer takes the pot. If there is a tie or no winner at the end of a round, the pot remains and everyone antes again.

Warning

A player may not keep a 6 and 4 in one roll. The player must keep 6, then 5, then 4. Keeping a 6 and 5 or a 5 and 4 is acceptable. If a player gets ship, captain and crew in one roll, he may "stay" (keep his score and pass the play to the next player).

About the Author

Diana Doherty is a freelance writer and editor. She blogs and reviews books at Reading is Sexy. She has published work online at Essortment, SoYouWanna.com and various other websites on topics like military life, crafting, science, technology and beauty. Doherty earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from Oswego State University in New York.