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Rules to Play 'Ship, Captain, and Crew' Dice Game

Rules to Play 'Ship, Captain, and Crew' Dice Game

If you've got a lucky hand, are good with the dice, but bored of the same old games, then we have the perfect remedy for you! We bring you the rules of the 'Ship Captain, and Crew' dice game, which is both fast-paced and addictive.
Rashmi Sunder
Many Names, One Game!
The 'Ship, Captain, and Crew' has a number of different names, from 'Ship of Fools', to '6-5-4', to 'Destroyer', and the 'Clickety Clack' drinking game.
If you're into fast-paced games and a good ol' roll of the dice, then this is the perfect game for you. Made popular in military bars, and veteran's clubs, the 'Ship, Captain, and Crew' is a dice game with many names, and fewer rules! Popular with all groups, this game can be played for fun, for some ante in the pot, or even as a fun drinking game. And the best part is - you don't need much, as this game just requires a couple of good buddies, and a roll of the dice. And if you wanted to switch it up a bit, some alcohol, and some spare cash! And with some fun terminology, and great company, this can be a nice way to close the night.

So we tell you how to play the Ship, Captain, and Crew dice game, along with the terms used in the game!
What You'll Need
  • 5 Dice
  • 2 or More People
  • Alcohol/ Ante Pot (if needed)
The Idea
The idea of the game is to roll the five dice simultaneously, and to get a 6 - which is the ship, a 5 -which is the captain, and a 4 - which is the crew. The remaining two dice add up to make the "cargo", which is the player's point for the round. So how does this work? We'll tell you!
  • To start the game, each player takes a turn and rolls the dice. The person who rolls the highest number begins.
  • The first player takes the five dice and rolls them simultaneously. The aim is to get the 6, 5, and 4. For example, if on the first roll, the player throws a 5,5,4,3,1. He has to roll the whole set again. Why? Because the 6 (ship) is the first number you need, without which the others are useless. In the second roll, if you get a 6,5,3,3,1 You can keep both the 6, and the 5 (captain) aside and roll the 3 remaining dice.
  • You now have you ship and your captain, but you need the crew (4). To get the 6-5-4, you have only 3 rolls. if you get a 6,5,4,3,4- you have your ship, captain, and crew, and the remaining two dice- the 3 and 4 gets added up to make 7- which becomes your cargo.
  • This cargo is what is seen as your score or point for the round.
  • If you get either two or all three of the 6-5-4 combination within the first two tries, then you get to re-roll your "cargo", meaning, the remaining two dice, if you want to get a higher score. So for example, you got a 6,5,4,3,1 by your second attempt, you still have a third roll remaining. So if you feel like you can get a higher score with a roll, you can choose to roll the remaining two dice marked 3 and 1 respectively. The numbers you throw becomes your new score. If you end up throwing a lower score than before, you do not get to revert to the first roll.
  • So in the previous example, you got a 3 and 4 as your cargo, this becomes your score, which the next player attempts to beat.
  • The person with the highest "cargo" score at the end of the round wins.
  • If a player gets the combination of 6-5-4 in a throw and chooses to keep all, his turn ends, and the last two dice are automatically added up to get his score.
  • The following games are either started counter-clockwise, or with the winning player from the previous round.
  • If you play the Ship, Captain, and Crew drinking game, then barring the winner, the rest of the players have to drink a cup of their chosen alcohol. Alternately, the winner could also have a final roll at one dice, and the number he rolls, will be the number of drinks the losers each have to consume. You can also have the loser buying the winner a drink.
  • If you choose to play a pot game, the winner takes all the ante in the pot, or wins some part of the ante progressively based on how the scores are kept.
The "hammer" is the last person who rolls the dice.

"The Point" is the current highest "cargo" score that the rest of the players have to beat.

The lowest score of 2 is known as the "minimum".

A score of double six is known as "boxcars" or alternately as "midnight". This is because a total of 12 is referred to as 12 o'clock (based on non-military clocks, which otherwise have a 24-hour count). This score is also called "automatic" because this is the highest score a player could get - automatically making him the winner.

If another player also scores a double six, resulting in a draw, it is termed as "getting bitten by the dream spider". The game was commonly referred to as "shattered dreams" in certain areas, which is where the term "dream spider" might have been derived from.

When a player scoring 9 or more is taunted by the other players to "man up" or "re-roll", then they are calling on the player's ego to take the risk in the hope that he can better his score. He can choose to ignore the taunt though!
The Ship, Captain, and Crew is a fun game that can be played by all ages, and is an enjoyable game for both players and spectators!