Rainy Day Golf: A Dice Game

My usual preference in games is for more strategy over pure luck. It’s one of the reasons that I love chess so much–there’s no luck involved, just the skill of the players. But for some reason, I have a soft spot for this little game from late 80s/early 90s called Rainy Day Golf.

There are actually a couple of games called Rainy Day Golf. The one to which I’m referring is a pure dice game, pictured below.

The game includes 5d6, each representing a stroke in a game of golf. The red die is your drive from the tee, the white die is your second stroke, the blue your third, the brown your fourth, and the green die is, well, what happens on the green. Read results starting with the red die, skipping immediately to the green (and disregarding remaining dice) if ever instructed to do so.

For example, I rolled this:

The drive went 150 yards, the second shot over the green, the third was short coming back. The fourth shot dubbed and the fifth ended up on the green, where I took an excruciating 3 putts to sink the ball for a total score of 8. Golfers know that was not a great hole for me.

No strategy involved: Roll, read, move on. Nothing you do affects the outcome. But it’s great fun, especially with a group of small kids. Anyone can win the game, and kids think they have some skills if they beat you, the parent.

I probably enjoy this game as much as I do because my grandpa bought it for me. He was a great mentor, one I wish I had taken more advantage of. We both enjoyed talking about business and management strategies, as well as our mutual faith in Jesus.

With the sentimental stuff out of the way, I was wondering if there was a way to add strategy into the mix of this game? Around this time I’ve also been playing Catan Dice, which is very similar to Yahtzee. I turned over in my head how to adapt the idea of strategic re-rolls into Rainy Day Golf, and this is what I’ve come up with:

  1. You begin with 3 re-rolls for the front 9, and receive an additional 3 for the back 9.
  2. Re-rolls allow you to re-roll 1 die of your choice.
  3. You may re-roll as many dice as you have re-rolls for.
  4. Once a die has been re-rolled, you must stick with the new result even if it’s worse.
  5. If you do not use a re-roll on a given hole, you bank one additional re-roll. (EXAMPLE: You roll for the 1st hole, and decide to re-roll the red and the blue dice. You stick with this result and proceed to the next hole, where you are happy with the first try. You had 1 re-roll left going into the 2nd, but not using any allows you add another, giving you 2 re-rolls to use from hole 3 onward.)
  6. You may only ever have 5 re-rolls in your bank at the same time! (If you finish the 9th hole with more than 2 re-rolls in your bank, you will only start the 10th hole with 5 re-rolls.)

This isn’t playtested yet. That will be next on my agenda. I’ve also noticed that the dice seem to give you fewer problems the further along you read, which helps keep your average score lower. If I’m adding a re-roll element to the game, then I want to add more things you can run afoul of.

If you don’t own a set of these dice (they do come up on eBay for around $10 every so often–just make sure to search for Rainy Day Golf Dice because there are several other more popular board games with the same name), you can still use the handy chart I have up there. Just roll 5 different colored d6s and read your results!

Happy golfing!

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