FLIP is a pure strategy game, played with dice. No kidding.
From a random setup, players take turns flipping their own dice, or “trashing” their opponent’s dice, in a change-making game similar to Pennywise. There’s no dice-rolling mid-game, so it really is pure strategy after the starting roll.
FLIP has been a Cheapass Games favorite for many years, and we have made several free versions on posctards, on business cards, and in magazines and catalogs.
To Begin: Each player rolls five 6-sided dice. The player who rolls the lowest total goes first. (Re-roll if the starting totals are the same.)
On Each Turn: You may either flip one of your own dice, or trash one of your opponent’s dice.
Flipping: Flip one of your dice over. The top and bottom of properly-constructed dice should always add up to 7, so when you flip a 1, it becomes a 6, and so on.
Trashing: Choose one of your opponent’s dice, and play it into the middle of the table. Your opponent may thentake change from the middle, withdrawing any combination of dice that total less than the value of the die you trashed.
For example, if you trash a 5, your opponent can take back up to 4 pips, on any combination of dice, if it is available.
Forbidden Moves: To avoid a stalemate, it is illegal to flip the same die twice without trashing one of your opponent’s dice. You can track this by setting flipped dice to one side, and resetting them when you trash an opponent’s die.
Winning: To win, run your opponent out of dice.
To keep score over several games, record the total pips on the dice you keep, and play to a score of 50.
FUN FLIPPING FACTS
For simplicity and portability you really can’t beat FLIP. Several years ago, our friend Joe Kisenwether solved this game for the 8-die game, and with perfect play, proved that the player who went first won just shy of 52% of the games. That’s a pretty even match, in terms of first player advantage.
And the graph of wins and losses looked almost completely random. The strongest correlation came when you sort by how many strong, medium, and weak dice each player starts with, with 1/6 being strong, 5/2 being medium, and 4/3 being weak.
The game isn’t solved for the 10-die case, though that could probably be done with a few more cycles of Joe’s algorithm. But all pure strategy games are theoretically solvable. That doesn’t keep them from being fun!