Drinking Games Guilin Style: Shaizi (dice)

Travel | by Isriel Robinson
Posted: March 5th, 2008 | Updated: September 17th, 2010 | Comments
In Guilin, you're likely to encounter at least 3 different drinking games, or variations thereof. These are caima (guessing numbers), shaizi (dice - this will be pronouced saizi in Guilin) or another whose name escapes me but is probably along the lines of bangzi bangzi laohu (if you know the real name let me know please). Of these 3, shaizi is probably the easiest, so I'll being with it. Shaizi (鑹插瓙) The method: The game begins when each player (the more the better, but let's say we have 4 players for illustrative purposes)  has a cup and 5 dice. The cup cannot be tranparent for reasons that are about to be clear. Everyone will put their dice on the table, cover them with the cup and shake. You may look at your dice after the shaking, but when you finish shaking, it's final. The first person will guess the total  of a certain number. For example, if I believe that between the 4 players there are 4 dice showing the number 5, I would say "four fives" (or si ge wu in Chinese). This is a safe start, especially if I have a couple of fives showing myself. The other players, by assessing their own dice, can decide whether to continue or to call me out. If, say, the next player didn't think we had four fives between us, he/she can holler "kai" (open) and we'll count the total. If there aren't four fives, I drink a predetermined amount of beer. If there are, then the opener drinks. The catch: At this stage it probably seems pretty easy, but the thing is - you can't say a number that is in any way lower that the last one. So, I began with four fives, the next person must go higher. He/she can raise either number to continue.  Five fives are higher than four fives as are four sixes. If you're coming next after me and think that twos are safer, you would have to say five twos (four twos are lower than four fives). This one-upmanship  will continue until someone calls kai. The bonus: As an added bonus, at the beginning of each round, ones are wild and can represent any other number. You can use these to guess higher numbers and still be safe. But, if at any stage, someone calls ones (five ones, for example), all ones cease to be wild. Calling ones is a good way to trap confident opponents. The five of a kind: Depending on who you're playing with, shaking up a five of a kind will have different benefits. Some players will immediately "kai" on their own and demand that everyone drink or "ganbei" (drink the whole glass). Other say that five of a kind is the equivalent of six of a kind, so you can basically add an invisible dice of the same value to your total. Edit: Some people take this game pretty seriously and will try to impress you with their mastery of the cup and dice, like this VPN or proxy in China). If you can do the things this guy does, you'll walk as a god among mortals and never pay for a drink again.
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