OBJECTIVE OF DUCKS IN A BUCKET: Be the player with the most points at the end of the final round
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 – 6 players
MATERIALS: 5 white dice, 1 die of a different color, way to keep score
TYPE OF GAME: Dice game
AUDIENCE: Kids and adults
Ducks in a Bucket is a dice game for 2 – 6 players in which each player is trying to create the best collection of rolled dice as possible. Which dice can be collected is determined by the Boss die, a special die rolled along with the five regular dice. The game is played over a number of rounds equal to the number of players. The player with the highest score after the final round wins the game.
To play Ducks in a Bucket, five white dice, one uniquely colored die, and a way to keep score is required. A token used to determine who is the first player for the round is helpful.
During each player’s turn, the goal is to build as good a hand as possible through dice rolls. The Boss die determines which numbers can be kept.
A player’s turn begins by rolling all six dice. There are two ways to determine which dice are added to the bucket.
Any dice that match the Boss die exactly may be placed in the bucket.
A single set of dice that total up to the value of the Boss die may be placed in the bucket. For example, if the Boss die is a 5, and the player rolls a 1-1-3-4-5, they could choose to keep the 1-1-3, the 1-4, or just take the 5 to meet the requirements for Matching. The player must choose which to keep for their bucket.
Once dice have been chosen and moved to the bucket, they cannot be rolled again. They are locked in. Once a player has added dice to their bucket, they may choose to roll again or end their turn. If they roll again, the Boss die is rolled as well.
If a player fails to add any dice to their bucket, they are penalized by removing one of the white dice from the batch. They must roll all of the remaining dice again with one fewer die.
DUCKS ARE WILD
When 2’s are added to the bucket, they become wild. When it is time to score the hand at the end of the round, the 2’s can become whatever they need to be in order to form the best hand. The only way to add 2’s to the bucket is for the Boss die to be a 2.
LOSING YOUR BUCKET
If a player pushes their luck too far (or just has no luck at all) and runs out of white dice to roll due to not matching the Boss die, they lose all of the dice they kept in their bucket. They will receive zero points for the round.
Once a player has ended their turn, the dice they kept are documented on the score sheet. At the end of the round, they will be scored. Play passes left and continues until everyone has completed their hand. This ends the round.
To begin the next round, pass the starting player token to the left. That person goes first for the next round. The game continues until each player has started a round.
At the end of each round, compare the hands that each player made and assign points based on the ranking.
Hand rankings from high to low are as follows:
Five of a Kind
Four of a Kind
Three of a Kind
Hands that are tied are broken by the higher valued dice. If the hand has a kicker, an extra dice placed in the bucket but not part of the hand, that kicker is used to determine the winner of the tie. If both hands are exactly equal, the player who went first in the round wins the tie.
The highest ranking hand earns points equal to the number of players. The second highest hand earns one point less and so on down the line. A player who either lost their bucket or ended their turn with an empty one earns zero points.
The player with the most points at the end of the final round wins the game.