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How to Play Decathlon Dice Game Rules 

Decathlon is a game for 1-4 players, using standard dice. 8 dice and a scoresheet are required.

What is the goal?

A decathlon is a competition that comprises ten athletic events: 100 Metres, Long Jump, Shot Put, High Jump, 400 Metres, 110 Metre Hurdles, Discus, Pole-Vault, Javelin, 1500 Metres.

In this game, each event is represented by a dice game where players aim to score the most points. The player with the highest total points at the end of the decathlon wins.

Game Setup

  • In the first event, players determine the order of play by rolling a die. In subsequent events, the leading player starts, followed by the player with the second highest running total, and so on. Ties are resolved with a die roll..
  • If an event consists of several attempts, all first attempts are played first, then all second attempts, and so on. Similarly, if an event goes over several heights, all players have three consecutive jumps at the first height, then all players jump the next height and so on.
  • A player’s scoresheet has 2 columns. The left column records their event score, while the right column shows the running points total. After each event, the player’s best result is added to their previous running total for an updated score.
  • The ten events are independent. Start playing an event after reading its rules.

Decathlon Gameplay in Simple Steps

The game comprises of 10 events where each event is represented by a dice game.

100m race decathlon dice game

100 metre race

Divide the eight dice into two sets of four.

You have seven throws: one initial throw per set and up to five rethrows, which can be divided as desired. Count the number of rethrows out loud.

Throw the first four dice. If you are not satisfied with the result, pick up all four dice and rethrow them. This can be repeated up to the 5 rethrows until you freeze the first set. Note if you use all 5 rethrows, you will be left with no rethrows for the 2nd set. Try to freeze sets of dice with high values but which contain no sixes.

For the 2nd set, throw the other four dice and if you have remaining rethrows, follow the same process as the 1st set. 

Scoring: Add up the dice values from one to five, but don’t forget to subtract any sixes from the total!

Decathlon dice game - 100 metres scoring example
Decathlon dice game - long jump

Long Jump (5 dice with 3 attempts)

Run-up

  • Start by rolling all five dice. 
  • Choose at least one die to keep and re-roll the rest. You can repeat this process multiple times, but you must keep at least one additional die each time. 
  • Freeze multiple low-value dice. If the total of frozen dice exceeds 8, it’s an invalid attempt. If the total is 8 or less on all frozen dice, you can then jump.

Jump

  • Pick up your frozen dice and throw them all.
  • Freeze one die and rethrow the rest. Repeat until all dice are frozen. Prioritize freezing dice with high values.

Scoring

Calculate the total value of frozen dice used in your jump.

Decathlon dice game - long jump scoring example
Decathlon 1

Shot Put (8 dice, 3 attempts)

  • Roll the dice one after another. Stop whenever you want. Your attempt ends after all eight dice.
  • Throwing a one results in an invalid attempt.

Scoring

Total the value of all thrown dice.

 

Decathlon 2
Decathlon 3

High Jump (5 dice, 3 jumps per height)

Height selection

Jumping starts at a height of 10, increasing by 2 each time. On your turn, you can choose to jump or skip the height. If you decide to jump, you have three attempts to master it.

Jump

Take all three attempts before the next player takes their turn. On each jump, roll all five dice. The jump is successful if the total of the dice equals or exceeds the current height. If you have three invalid attempts at one height, you must stop.

Scoring

The maximum successfully mastered height.

Decathlon dice game - long jump scoring example
Decathlon - 400m race dice game rules

400 Metres (8 dice, 1 attempt)

  • Divide the eight dice into four sets of two. Roll the first pair of dice.
  • You get a maximum of nine throws: one initial throw per set and up to five rethrows that can be used in any set. 
  • If you’re unsatisfied, keep rolling both dice until you freeze the first set. Repeat as long as you have remaining rethrows. Count your rethrows aloud.
  • Then continue with the second, third, and fourth sets in the same way.
  • Freeze dice sets with high values but no sixes.

Scoring

Add up the dice values from one to five, subtracting any sixes from the total.

Decathlon game - 400m scoring example
How to play Decathlon Dice Game - 110m hurdles rules

110 Metre Hurdles (5 dice, 1 attempt)

  • Start by throwing all five dice.
  • If unsatisfied, pick up the dice and throw them again. You can do this up to five times, counting the rethrows aloud.

Scoring

Total the value of all five dice.

Decathlon dice game - 110m hurdles
Decathlon 4

Discus (5 dice, 3 attempts)

  • Begin by rolling all five dice. Then, choose at least one die to freeze.
  • If desired, reroll the remaining dice. You can reroll multiple times, but each time, freeze at least one additional die.
  • Only dice with even values can be frozen. Aim to freeze dice with high even values.
  • You can stop throwing and finish your attempt at any time. An attempt ends when all five dice are frozen.
  • If, after a throw, you can’t freeze another die because all the remaining dice show odd numbers, it’s considered an invalid attempt.

Scoring

Total the value of all frozen dice.

Decathlon 5
Decathlon 6

Pole-Vault (8 dice, 3 jumps per height)

  • Jumping starts at 10 and increases by 2 increments.
  • At each height, you can choose to jump or skip on your turn.
  • If you aim for that height, you have three jumps to master it.
  • Take three attempts before the next player’s turn. Decide how many dice to use for each jump and throw them. A successful jump is when the total of the dice is equal to or higher than the current height, without showing any ones.
  • If you have three failed jumps at one height, you must stop.Scoring

The maximum height which was successfully mastered.

Decathlon 7
Decathlon dice games - Javelin dice rules

Javelin (6 dice, 3 attempts)

  • Start by throwing all six dice. Then freeze at least one die. If you wish, rethrow all the remaining dice.
  • You may rethrow several times, but after each throw you must freeze at least one more die. Only dice with odd values may be frozen. Try to freeze dice with high (odd) values.
  • You can stop throwing and finish your attempt at any time. An attempt ends automatically when all six
    dice are frozen.
  • If, after one of your throws, you cannot freeze another die because all the remaining dice show even numbers, you suffer an invalid attempt.

Scoring: Total the value of all frozen dice

Decathlon dice game - Javelin scoring example
Decathlon 8

1500 Metres (8 dice, 1 attempt)

You have up to thirteen throws: one initial throw per die and up to five rethrows that can be divided between the dice as needed. Count the rethrows aloud.

Start by rolling the first die. If you’re not happy with the result, pick it up and roll again. Repeat this process until you’re satisfied with the value. Then, do the same with the other seven dice. Aim to freeze dice with high values but no sixes.

Scoring

Add up the dice value, subtract any sixes from the total.

Decathlon dice game - Javelin scoring example

How do you win?

Add player’s scores from all events. 

Player with the highest running total is the winner.

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