Distribute a pen, one dice and a copy of the Scoring Worksheet (download from Resources tab) to each team.
Ask one person in each team to volunteer to roll the dice to start the first game.
Instruct this person to observe the rolled number and enter it in the ‘Roll’ column for Round 1.
Then calculate the difference between the desired number (Par) and this rolled number and record this in the ‘Score’ column, eg for this first round Par = 1, so if you roll 4 you will write 3 as the score.
Announce that there are no negative numbers, only a number representing the difference between the rolled and Par numbers, eg for the fifth round the Par = 5, so if you roll 4, you will write 1 as the score.
Taking turns and progressing to the left around the circle, each person rolls the dice and repeats these steps for each consecutive Rounds 2 to 6, recording their Roll and the Score on the group’s worksheet.
For Rounds 7 to 12, the next two people (taking turns) will roll the dice (one at a time) and add the sum of their two rolls to the Roll column and then calculate the difference from Par to determine the Score for that round.
Continuing around the circle, the next two people roll the dice for Rounds 8 through 12, repeating the process described above.
When all 12 Rounds have been rolled, tally the numbers recorded in the Score column.
The team with the lowest total Score wins.
Play a new game or try a variation.
How To Play Narrative
If you have ever played golf, the concept behind this fun dice game will be very familiar to you.
If not, then don’t worry, the rules are pretty simple, even if they look a bit scary at first. Stick with it, I promise it will be worth your while.
Form teams of 4 to 6 people and ask them to sit around a table or on the floor in a circle.
Hand out a pen, a dice and a copy of the Scoring Worksheet (see Resources tab) to each team. Ask one person in each team to volunteer to go first.
Early on, it can be helpful to explain that there are 12 rounds in the game, and the Par – the desired result – is the same as the Round number, eg the Par for Round 1 is one, the Par for Round 2 is two, etc, you get the idea.
At this point, invite each team to inspect their Scoring Worksheet. It may look overwhelming, but it’s rather simple.
Explain that the 12 Rounds of play (and Pars) for each Game are listed on the left of the Worksheet, and there are two columns for each Game labelled Roll and Score. Announce that with each Round, the rolled number is written in the Roll column. So, if you roll a 4, you write 4 in that column.
The trick (and the challenge) of this game is what you enter in the Score column. The difference between the Par and the rolled number is what you enter into the Score column – and it is only ever a positive integer, ie no negatives.
For example, in Round 3, the Par is three. Let’s say you roll a 5. You enter 5 in the Roll column and calculate the difference between the Par (3) and the Roll (5) which in this case is 2. Or, if you happen to roll a 2, then you would write 2 in the Roll column and 1 (being the difference between 3 and 2) in the Score column.
When ready, the first person rolls the dice for Round 1, and then, taking turns (perhaps progressing to the left around the circle,) the next person rolls the dice for Round 2, and so on.
Note, when you get to Round 7, the next two players in turn will roll the dice, one at a time. The team adds the two rolled numbers together and enters this in the Roll column, and you guessed it, you calculate the difference between this number and Par (in this case, 7) and write this number in the Score column.
This process of two people rolling the dice for each of the next set of rounds continues from Rounds 8 through to 12.
When Round 12 is complete, instruct each team to add all of the twelve numbers in the Score column together to get a total Score.
As in the world of golf, the lower the score the better. Compare the total Scores of all teams and announce the team with the lowest tally as the winner.
Expect to play two or more games, or try something new from the Variations tab.
Practical Leadership Tips
A quick game is a good game. Once your groups get the hang of it, you will note that most games will progress pretty fast, ie in less than 2 minutes. To this end, consider pulling this game out whenever you want to fill in a few idle minutes.
It is a regular occurrence that teams invent ideas for changes in the system that may help them achieve a better score. Encourage these inventions while also attempting to keep the power of chance still a part of the activity. If changes do occur, ask that all groups try the same invention for the same full game. Then, when all teams have tried several adaptations, you can invite each team to choose one particular invention that they find the most beneficial. Here’s an example – allowing a team to roll a second time (because they did not like the score of their first roll.) But, if a second roll is permitted, the second rolled score must be recorded on the worksheet.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the chances of a team scoring a perfect zero are pretty close to zero. To achieve a total score of zero would mean that the team rolled this exact sequence 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 across their twelve rounds. Yeah, good luck with that!
You could integrate On Par as part of a well-designed SEL program to promote and maintain healthy and supportive relationships and to effectively navigate settings with diverse people.
Specifically, this activity offers opportunities to explore and practice the following social & interpersonal skills:
You can learn more about SEL and how it can support character education here.
Health & Wellness Programming
There is no specific health & wellness perspective to this activity other than promoting the benefits to one’s wellbeing by engaging in a fun, playful game.
In a small way, you could argue that the mindset most suited to successfully play this game of chance may speak to the benefits of building resilience in your group to the extent that no player has little (if any) control over the roll of the dice.
If you can think of more explicit ways in which On Par could be purposefully integrated into a health and wellness program, please leave a comment at the base of this page.
Individual Pursuit: Issue one Scoring Worksheet to each person to play on their own. In this case, each person rolls the dice for every round, and obviously, twice for each of Rounds 7 through 12.
Over & Under Par: Like golf, allow lower rolled numbers to reduce the score, eg if the Par is 4 and you roll a
2, you would enter -2 in the Score column (effectively lowering your progressive score by two points.)
Start with Zero: Announce that the first person must roll a 1 (achieving a zero Score) before they can start the game, ie as soon as 1 is rolled, this person can roll the dice to earn a score for the first round.
Funky Dice: Play with dice that feature more than 6 sides. You will need to update the On Par worksheet accordingly.
Take a look at Double Dice Game to enjoy another really fun, almost addictive game of chance involving two die.
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Today we are going to be experimenting with what happens when we make great plans and strategies, and the powers of chance present us with unexpected challenges…
There are some things we just can’t plan for. How do we navigate challenges and expectations when things don’t go the way we planned…
Frustration tolerance can be a very helpful skill throughout life. There are going to be a number of situations in which you are working your hardest, and doing your best, and you are still going to find yourself getting frustrated. We are going to spend some time practising with some low levels of frustration to see what we do with it now and to see if we can replace our current approach to frustration with something that allows us to manage this powerful feeling more effectively…
Reflection Tips & Strategies
Coupled with one or more reflection strategies, here are some sample questions you could use to process your group’s experience after playing this fun dice game:
Was there individual or collective strategies you used to help navigate this challenge?
What effect did your strategies have on your score?
What were some of the reactions you experienced when you rolled par, or didn’t roll par?
How do you typically manage frustration? Does this benefit you?
What strategies do you employ to help manage frustrating situations?
The inspiration for On Par was sourced from Floyd Hinman who invented this fun dice game many years ago.