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The wise man will know when to roll ’em and when to fold ’em when these Japanese bones hit the table.

go to: Who would enjoy this game?


Press-your-luck dice games have never looked as sophisticated as they do in Sutakku. But all of that pretty conceals a nasty streak in the Smirky’s Challenge variant, where press-your-luck meets “take that”.

Set Up

Sutakku Wide

The game board in Sutakku is more ornamental than functional – there is a circle for dice-stacking and a quick-reference comparison of western alphabet numbers to the Japanese figures that appear on the dice. Necessary or not, this two-piece board is snapped together and set in the middle of the table.

The game’s 12 dice will be set in the middle of the play area. Grab a pen and keep the score pad handy.

If you are playing with the “Smirky’s Challenge” variant there is a deck of 11 cards to shuffle and keep nearby. And you’re done.


On your turn you will roll three dice and place two of them in a stack on the board, with the lowest value on the bottom and greater or equal values appearing as you ascend.

Sutakku Dice

After you’ve placed two dice you will roll three more and repeat. After each roll and placement you can choose to continue rolling or call it a day and total your score for the round.

If you don’t have two legal placements among the three dice rolled you bust, scoring nothing for the round and ending your turn. For example, if you’ve already placed (in order) 1-1-2-3 and your current roll is 1-2-4, there is only one legal placement – the 4 (since you must place dice of greater-than-or-equal value onto the previously placed die) – and you’ve pushed your luck too far.

Each round you get one mulligan and can choose two of the three dice to re-roll. Note you get this once per turn, not once per roll… using it wisely is the key to winning.

If you roll doubles that can be legally placed along with a 3rd value that can be legally placed you are allowed to place all three dice. If you roll legally-placeable triples you may place all three dice… and if you can’t place them, you may re-roll them for free.

When you choose to end your turn you score points based on the size of your stack and the top value of the stack. If you have a 6-die stack with a 5 on top, you multiply the 6 by the 5 and score 30 points for the round.

There are three large bonuses awarded for pulling off particularly daring feats during your rolls. If you successfully stack on a 5-value die you score 50 bonus points in addition to the regular value of your stack. If you successfully stack on a 6, you’ll score 100 bonus points. Finally, if you successfully place all twelve dice on the stack you’ll score 200 bonus points. You could theoretically earn all three of these bonuses in a single turn, but it won’t happen often.

Sutakku Cards

The Smirky’s Challenge variant allows you to play potentially nasty cards on your opponent right before they roll (and you thought this didn’t sound like a typical Smirk & Dagger game?) These cards will force your opponent to pull off something extra difficult on their turn if they want to score any points. However, if they successfully pull it off the Smirky’s Challenge card may award them extra points. When desperate you can play these on yourself.


Sutakku Components

Learning Curve

Sutakku is very easy to learn, and even easier to teach. But unlike other press-your-luck dice games, there’s a bit more to mastering it than simply knowing when probability should tell you to stop rolling. This is due to the mulligan and the Smirky’s Challenge cards.

In the case of the mulligan, learning when to best wield this weapon takes a lot of trial and error. And with Smirky’s Challenge cards, sometimes your best bet is playing them on yourself. Learning when and where to do that takes practice.

Who would enjoy this game?

Family Gamer {yes}
Without the Smirky’s Challenge variant there’s actually nothing nasty about Sutakku at all. It’s a nice small-package game that’s easy to break out when you’ve got 15 empty minutes.
Strategy Gamer {no}
Strategy Gamers won’t hate Sutakku as a quick diversion between other games, but this won’t be the main course.
Casual Gamer {yes}
Carry it in your pocket and teach it in minutes. Can’t miss.
Avid Gamer {yes}
Sutakku is a great-to-have-handy option, particularly when you have 5 or more players limiting your options.
Power Gamer {no}
This is not the way Power Gamers prefer to use dice.

Final Thoughts

Sutakku appears to be a bit of an oddball in the Smirk & Dagger family – unless you use the variant there is absolutely no “take that” or backstabbing. But even without those elements it’s a great game.

Of course, to get people interested in your push-your-luck dice game you’ve got to get them excited about the dice. And while there’s no cute thematic illustrations on them, they’re beautiful. They’re much larger than normal dice (3/4 inches) in order to stack easily. And the Japanese figures make them unique and classy.

There are all sorts of different-themed push-your-luck dice games, and while Sutakku skipped the trends that carried others (zombie, aliens, etc.), it’s got deeper gameplay than its brethren. And replayability abounds, as improving on a previous best score – or chasing that elusive 12-die stack – can keep you re-rolling for hours.

User Reviews (4)

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77 of 85 gamers found this helpful
“Fun quick easy to learn”

If you are looking for a quick filler game try it. If math is a challenge to a player they may not enjoy it.

It plays up to 12 people so it works well for a filler game. It plays in about 15 minutes more if explaining as you go. Easy to learn one time through and you got it.

Good replay-ability but not good to replay several time in a row.

The following is courtesy Boardgamegeek:

Steeped in Japanese folklore, SUTAKKU was originally developed to teach the common man the foibles of wishing for more than he had.

In this quick-playing, push-your-luck dice game, you attempt to create the tallest stack of dice in order to gain the highest score per turn. To play, roll three dice and add two of them to an ever-climbing stack of dice. You can choose to stop rolling and score your stacked dice at any time, but pushing your luck will net you more points if you succeed. Continue as long as you dare – but like the stonecutter of legend, who was never satisfied, you may find yourself with naught, right back where you began. The wise will distinguish ambition from reaching beyond one’s means.
SUTAKKU is beautifully crafted with classic Japanese design aesthetics and features hand-inked brush art characters on premium engraved dice. These twelve dice are ¾” on a side, perfect for stacking. The game also includes a cloth dice bag, stacking board, and scorepad.

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I play blue
59 of 73 gamers found this helpful
“Quick little game”

Easy to learn quick to play. Small box good for travel. There are many ways to score.

The game has a lot of depth. Easy rules. Nice large easy to read dice how ever the numbers are in Japanese. You will get used to it in a few games.

Simply stack the dice on top of each other roll 3 place 2 at a time with the same or progressively higher numbers. This press your luck game will challenge players of any level.

Try this one and you will like.

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85 of 122 gamers found this helpful
“Countin Stacks”

Downside – This game requires a decent amount of math.
Upside – The use of calculating tools (eg. calculators, abaci, fingers, etc) are not explicitly prohibited in the rule book.
That being said, it’s been my personal experience that if you mouth out your calculations while simultaneously using your finger(s) as aides, you will be mocked incessantly by your more math-abled peers.
My personal strategy is to always roll for the 100 bonus. That way, you have a 97.2% chance of scoring a zero (which requires little to no math to calculate) and a 2.9% (or close enough – math isn’t my strong suit) chance of scoring such a great bonus that you no longer care about the mockery resulting from your embarrassing attempt at the addition of such large numbers.

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79 of 121 gamers found this helpful
“Good for gatherings”

This was easy to learn and a good way to pass a little time with friends. I wouldn’t be interested in playing it for too long in any one sitting, but it’s fun to keep pushing and take risks even when they probably won’t work out. You can easily play this while distracted at a gathering so is a good social game. Overall, I would recommend this for when you want a quick and easy game.


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