I did a bit of cleaning and discovered a lot of our old board games. The first one was the Sequence board game, which I love, but the other one is the Pass the Pigs game. It’s not a board game but a dice variant game. Instead of two 6 sided dice, you have two pigs.
Pass the Pigs game is another game that my Mormon friend introduced me to. It’s easy to play and the goal of the game is to get to 100 points before anyone else does. The rules are simple too, everyone gets a chance to roll and move in a clockwise fashion from player to player.
Instead of dice, you roll two plastic pigs and the points you get (or lose) will depend on how the land.
Pass the Pigs scoring
Scoring is simple and is as follows:
For a single pig, you get points ranging from 5 to 15 points.
- Razorback – The pig is lying on its back – 5 points
- Trotter – The pig is standing on all four trotters – 5 points
- Snouter – The pig is resting on its snout and front trotters – 10 points
- Leaning Jowler – The pig is resting on its trotter, snout and ear – 15 points
When you add the second pig you either sum the points if they land differently or you double the points if they land the same way.
- Mixed Combo – Sum of individual scores
- Double Razorback – (5 + 5) × 2 = 20 points
- Double Trotter – (5 + 5) × 2 = 20 points
- Double Snouter – (10 + 10) × 2 = 40 points
- Double Leaning Jowler – (15 + 15) × 2 = 60 points
As with any good game, there are two ways to lose. One is just losing a turn and the other is losing all your points. Here’s how you lose:
- Sider – Pigs lie on the same side, either spot up or spot down – 1 point
- Pig Out – Pigs lie on opposite sides – Player’s score for the turn is wiped out; play passes to next player.
If the pigs rest on each other then it’s not good, you’re Making Bacon or get wiped out with a Piggyback.
- Makin’ Bacon (or Oinker) – Both pigs are touching and both are resting on the table – Player’s total score from the game is wiped out; play passes to next player.
- Piggyback – One pig rests on top of the other pig and not the table – Player is eliminated from the game; play passes to next player.
Pass the Pigs dice variant
Little did I know that Pass the Pigs game was inspired by a simple 6-sided dice game called Pig. That game was first printed in 1945 by John Scarne and it was meant to be played by a single six-sided die.
The goal is to get to 100 points first by rolling the die and adding up the points. You lose a turn if you roll a one.
It wasn’t until they added the second die that things got more interesting. You lose a turn if you roll a one on any dice. If you roll two ones (snake eyes), you wipe out and lose all your points. If you happen to roll a double of any points, except two ones, you add those points and get to roll again. You get a free turn.
As with any dice game, it’s all about probability. The probability of rolling two ones (snake eyes) is about 2.77% or 1 in 36 odds. The same goes for rolling two sixes. The probability of rolling a seven is 16.7% or 1 in 6 odds.
Pass the Pigs and its dice variant are similar to many dice games, especially craps. Craps can be played almost anywhere; all you need is a pair of dice and some money.
In summary to play the dice variant of Pass the Pigs
- If you roll a 1 on any dice, you lose a turn and get no points
- If you roll two 1s (snake eyes), you lose all your points
- You add up the value of the two dice for your turn (first person to 100 wins)
- If you roll a double of any value (except 1s), you add the values to your total and get another turn
Pass the Pigs for families
Pass the Pigs game is incredibly fun for families and friends. It’s fast play and simple to understand. I like games like this a lot. However, since Pass the Pigs costs around $15 from Amazon and a set of six-sided dice is about $3, I would consider the dice over the plastic pigs if the cost is an issue.
I don’t gamble, but it can be a lot of fun to learn more dice games and make wagers. Whether it’s plain dice or plastic pass the pigs game, these games teach our children about probability and when to take a risk for a reward.
As a former day trader, this is perhaps the most important lesson we can teach our children. When to make a bet and when not to. I’ve always told my children that it makes no sense to bet $1 to make 50 cents. I’d rather bet 50 cents to make $1, and understanding odds and probability is what will make all the difference in their lives.