General Bulletin: The new rating system changed the game style to some extent. Most strategies still apply, however action and expansion is promoted a bit more. The key factor of dominance is holding onto the territories, not just conquering them temporarily, so crazy expansion is still not wise.

Winning at Dicewars


As an introductory step, you'll want to be able to win more than your share of games of Dicewars. Here are some tips to help you do that:

  1. Your income is the largest contiguous set of territories that you hold, which you collect at the end of your move. Therefore, it is best to be able to connect all of your territories, and to have your opponents be split.
  2. Your boundaries should be as small and well-defended as possible. It is best to wedge yourself into a corner: the players who are stuck in the center are usually the first ones to be eliminated.
  3. Tied battles go to the defender, so try to avoid them unless they achieve a critical goal or you can afford the added risk.
  4. In general, don't take a territory that you can't hold. If you spread yourself too thin, then your opponents will be able to overrun you.
  5. There are exceptions to the previous rule. For example, if you have a large stack that is separated from your main territory and not contributing to your strategy, then it can be a good idea to drive that stack toward your base and hope that the extra income will supplement your main territory.
  6. If an opponent has a large stack in the middle of his territory, don't attack one of its neighbors unless you can handle the damage that it will do when unleashed.
  7. A very popular mid-game strategy is turtling. Starting from a well-defended base of 7-10 territories bordering several opponents, pass on your turn. Because you are not too large, your opponents will not focus their energies on you, and because your stacks are large (in fact, growing), they will not risk their own stacks in attacking you. The upshot is that your opponents will attack each other and remain relatively weak while your dice count will grow considerably.
  8. Turtling successfully will lead to the even more popular end-game strategy called 8*8. Once you have a base of more than eight full stacks, you can start to run a purple steamroller over the map. You can attack a single territory on your turn, and whether you win or lose your territories will be fully reformed during the income phase. As your territories and reserve dice continue to grow, you will eventually be able to accelerate your empire-building by attacking two or three territories per round.

General kdice tips

  1. Unless proven otherwise, assume that your opponents know all of the above tricks for defeating the Dicewars AI. Many of the larger strategies are still useful, but the individual gambits will not fool very many humans at all.
  2. Make allies when you feel appropriate. This is a social game. Make counter allies if you see an alliance forming you cannot join. See: Alliances.
  3. People seem to tend to gravitate towards people of their own nationality. So if you play a game with a lot of Americans involved it might be a good idea to have a US flag set in your profile. Otherwise the more languages you speak the better.
  4. Don't whine! People tend to dislike whining players. Others may enjoy it in a more sadistic manner.
  5. Think about how your stacks cover each other. A big stack can protect a little one by threatening any potential attacker with a counter attack.
  6. Note that turn order is indicated both by colors (color order is constant and eventually familiar), and by die face on the graphical stacks (1-6, two colors with 1s when all 7 players are alive).
  7. It is generally strategically beneficial to put your browser in full screen mode (via the F11 key, typically), so as to be able to see the map and chat window simultaneously.
  8. The internet offers several language-X-to-language-Y translation webpages, useful for occasional instances when chatting goes international.
  9. Learn from your betters - studying the occasional upper-tier game as an observing will illuminate and help you learn strategy and tactics.

General new rating system tips

  1. Keep in mind that half of your score is based on dominance, which is the average number of territories that you hold at the beginning of every turn (not counting the first three turns).
  2. Your dominance is also relative to that of your opponents. While a pure turtling strategy might provide the greatest chance of victory, a slightly more aggressive approach of safely gaining one territory per round will result in a much higher score for only slightly more risk.
  3. Keep your eye on your score throughout the game. If you are in the bottom half of players, then you are effectively paying the leaders every time you start a round. If you are using those rounds to improve your position then it is often worthwhile, but if you are not then you are better served by flagging.
  4. While it is easy to decide if flagging is a good idea if you are in last place, it is harder if you are doing better. If you have a bad position but someone with a worse position chooses not to flag, then it is often more costly to wait for that player to be defeated. On the other hand, if someone has left the table or is near the auto-resignation score (-15 for the 0/10 tables), it is worth a few points to wait for them to quit before you do.

Early game

  1. Get connected, take some risks.
  2. Get position: Go for a peninsula first, then a corner, then an edge. Don't get dragged down in the combat for prime real estate, the early game will pass you by.
  3. If you have any singletons that aren't connected, consider just attacking suicidally with them. You may be better off not having them. The only exception to this is if it's got 6 or 7 dice on it. Let it fill up and then it's not draining dice from where they're needed. If you can make a mad dash to connect up with the rest of your countries later, go for it, otherwise, ignore it.
  4. Make an attempt to watch out for other players' needs, e.g. if you have a stack of two dice between a five and three stack of dice of another color, try to avoid making any plans with that territory and concern yourself with another, more secure, grouping of your dice. It can sometimes be obvious as to where people will be connecting, so just pay attention to where your territories are and whose way they are in.
  5. Sometimes it is beneficial to not do anything on the first round if there is no obvious way to connect and your main dice areas aren't threatened by any big stacks. In this case, the other players will fight each other out, thus leaving you a much less risky route to make your attacks.
  6. Generally, if you don't have +2 dice against the attacker and that attack doesn't lead to a connection of areas then it's not worth attacking.
  7. Don't try to expand separate regions simultaneously. Most of the time, your impoverished refills won't allow you to sustain it.
  8. Think about how other players are trying to connect and grow and act accordingly. Don't over-extend to take a space that will be captured by someone else connecting next turn.

Mid game

  1. This is the turtling phase. Play defensively. Only attack if you have the advantage and the new border will be surrounded by smaller stacks. Otherwise, just end-turn, end-turn, end turn.
  2. However, note that dice advantages with smaller stacks are more winnable than similar dice advantages with larger stacks. All other things being equal, if you have the choice between attacking with 5 dice versus 3, comparing to later attacking with 8 dice versus 6, your odds are better on the 5 versus 3.
  3. Look for is who is busy with whom. If two are attacking and re-attacking, don't disturb them. Especially if they are two weaker ones in your back. Let them fight, maybe slowly reduce them at their backs or otherwise, head for another opponent. If they have a decent war going on, you might even be able to leave yourself a little less protected to that side.
  4. When you have more lands than an opponent and equal or +1 dice stacks in a given land vs land match-up, it is often beneficial to patiently wait a bit before attacking, as your refills from a greater land count are more favorable towards giving you a dice advantage on the stacks in question. This often particularly applies to stacks turtled up in peninsulas.
  5. Although most people try to go slow in this stage, my take on this is to calibrate your game according to what the other players are doing in these rounds. If you see someone that keeps growing then you have to grow as well in order to secure a higher position.

End game

  1. Alliances are here most important. If there is one "emperor" on the board (and this is not you), you have mainly 3 options:
    1. Ignore him, trying to kill smaller players to better your rank.
    2. Alliance with him, going for 2nd.
    3. Or (the most fun way) make a huge counter-alliance against him. Calculate before your co-players that together you have more countries than the emperor and try to bring him down. It is really funny to see somebody getting a low place who was a few rounds ago pretty confident about his win. You can even get first after that. However this requires to be trusted co-players not to go for option 1.
  2. If you are the emperor, try to kill the others in a "fair" order. People might think different what is fair, but the ones who you felt most dangerous to your win should go last, since they were the strongest. See: Winning Gracefully.
  3. If everyone is passing and there are no truces, making the first attack shall likely put a huge bullseye on your opponent or possibly yourself. It is common for everyone to gang up on a single player until he is out.
  4. Regardless if you are the emperor or not, always go for attacks that will cut the opponent as evenly as possible with the ideal being to cut them in half. Not only does this give you a round where the opponent must reconnect but also you are reducing the number of dice he gets which in most cases will lead to <8 stacks which are much easier to attack than 8 stacks.
  5. If you have a choice between an opponent's stack and an equally-sized neutral stack, attack the opponent. If you win, you get just as much stronger either way, but the difference is that you want your opponent to get weaker at the same time. The only time you wouldn't is if you are so confident in your position that you don't want your opponent to think about flagging.