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Rules for the Game Known as “Beartrap”
By Hal Elwell
As related to me, the rules of the dice game that we have come to call “Beartrap” are quite simple, yet play of the game is quite compelling, as any who have tried it can attest.
Play is with five six sided dice, with faces numbered one to six, and the game can include any number of players. The object is to become the first player to reach exactly ten thousand points. Each player roles the dice in turn, and his turn ends either at his choice, or when his roll fails to produce any points. Points are scored thusly: each die with a one showing scores 100 points, each die with a five showing scores 50 points. These are the only numbers that score when showing singly. Other numbers only score when rolled in triplets, and then score one hundred times their face value. Three ones rolled together score one thousand points.
For instance, a roll of five dice resulting in three fours, a five and a one showing would score five hundred fifty points – four hundred for the three fours, one hundred for the single one, and fifty for the single five. A roll of two ones, two twos, and a four would yield only two hundred points for the two ones showing. If one is so lucky as to produce a roll of five consecutive numbers, either one, two, three, four, and five or two, three, four, five, and six, that player is rewarded with one thousand points.
As points are shown, those dice can be set aside, and play continues with the remaining dice. If five dice produce any points, the turn can also continue using all five dice. Before scoring toward the ten thousand requisite points can begin, the player must “get on board” by scoring at least seven hundred points in one turn. Once this is accomplished, these points count toward the ten thousand.
If at any point in his turn, a player rolls the dice and produces no points, those points previously accumulated in that turn are forfeited. Thus, if a goodly amount have been scored, a wise player might forsake greed and avoid disaster when only one or two dice are left to toss, and chose to end his turn, retaining the points gained. Additional rules are that once a die is used for scoring, it is out of play.
For instance, if on the first role a player produces two ones for a score of two hundred, then on the next roll produces another one, he receives only an additional one hundred points (the three ones showing, not produced on the same roll, do not now score one thousand points). Four of the same number in one roll produce the same as if there were three in one roll and one in another – four ones scores one thousand one hundred points, four sixes scores six hundred, since the additional six scores nothing by itself. A roll of five ones at once wins the game immediately.
From these few rules, much diversion has been gained, from officer on down to private soldier. If these rules seem overly complex, observe a game or two, and I am sure many will be more than willing to explain the finer points, and entice your participation. Once thus engaged, you will be caught up in the spirit of the game, and held as fast as in the beartrap from which it takes its name. (Not the only reason for the name, but that is an entirely different story!)