Alligators, Dice & Doors

Alligators, Dice & Doors is a family board game that uses polyhedral dice.
The goal is to be the first player to guide their critter safely home through the dangers of the swamp.
The first player to navigate the board from START to Finish wins!

There is a free printable version with instructions available, or you can buy a nicely manufactured version.

You can also get an idea of the gameplay by playing with the simulator I wrote to text changes to the game.

How to Play

  1. Pick who goes first
  2. This can be the youngest player, or each player may roll a single die. The one with the highest score goes first. Play goes in a circle to each player’s left (clockwise).

  3. Dice and Movement
  4. Each square is adjacent to a colored background with a die on it. This is the die the player rolls. Move your game piece forward the number of steps rolled. On the 10-sided die, there is a 0 - if it is rolled, you do not move and the turn is over.

  5. Alligators
  6. If you land on an Alligator square, roll the 6-sided die immediately and move backwards that number of steps.

  7. Doors (Basic play)
  8. If you land on a square with an open Door, move to the connected square with a closed door.

  9. Doors (Advanced play)
  10. If you land on any square with a door (brown or black), roll the 8-sided die to determine which door to come out of. The doors each have a number from 1 to 8.

  11. Winning
  12. If you roll a number large enough to land on or beyond the Finish square, you win!


I designed Alligators, Dice & Doors as a game for my twin children when they were 4 to help them practice counting. They liked it - and played it often for quite a while - so I improved on it quite a bit from the original printed-and-taped-together version. I found, a company in Madison, Wisconsin that publishes custom games and decided to set Alligators, Dice & Doors up for real printing.

At this point you can buy version 1.02 from there. However, due to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, I can't market it for children under 12 without thousands of dollars of third party testing.


I've made several improvements to the game, and plan to add more when I have time. One of those improvements is I found a beautiful set of dice I really like - the Chessex Translucent series. I've redesigned the board for version 1.03 using these dice to help give better visual guidance for dice selection. Please note that these are NOT yet in the version available from

As my kids are now well past counting and on to arithmetic now, I've been thinking of ways to make this game grow with them. I have some ideas and have received some excellent suggestions from people who have played it, but we'll see if/when I get a chance to revamp the game further.

One of the things I did to ensure the game was fairly fast paced (after several somewhat painful sessions of Snakes & Ladders) was I built a graphical simulator for Alligators, Dice & Doors to test changes I made. It can run thousands of simulated games fairly quickly and provides a graph and heatmap of the moves it takes to win and which squares are hit the most.

Buy the Game :)

Alligators, Dice & Doors version 1.02 is currently available for purchase from

Here's what you get:

PLEASE NOTE: This has not yet been tested regarding ASTM F963-11, so it is only marketed for adults and children 12 and up! I do hope to change this in the future, but that is where it stands now.