There are two ways to play Krakatoa: the Basic Game, which is intended for learning the game, and the Advanced Game, which is the "real" Krakatoa. Rules that are printed in black apply for both games, but rules printed in blue pertain only to the Advanced Game.

If you are learning Krakatoa for the first time, simply skip the blue rules. You can come back to them once you have mastered the basics.


  • 3 white Dodecas (the steam set)
  • 3 gray Dodecas (the ash set)
  • 3 black Dodecas (the lava set)
  • Scorepads
  • 4 Reference Cards

Game Play

Opening Throw-off

Before actual play begins, there is a "throw-off" to see which player will start the game. Each player throws any set of 3 dodecas of the same color. The higher-scoring set goes first.

The players re-throw in the case of a tie. The scoring combinations are shown below; any combination not depicted below is a Bust and is worth 0 points.

In the throwoff, if you roll a Deuce, put an x in the upper right corner of your first scoring box for the first round. If you roll a Volcano, put an x in the upper right corner, and another x right below that one. In either case, you have earned a bonus for your first throw's score.

Game Turn

A complete game consists of six rounds. A round consists of each player making 5 throws in a specific sequence, while the other player keeps score. Then the player with the higher total score starts the next round.

After each of your 5 throws, you announce your score for the throw and any bonuses (see Bonuses below).

The other player adds this score to your total and records it in the box for that throw, records the bonuses (x or xx) in the box for the next throw, and then announces your new total score.


For each throw, you pick up the specified set, hold the three dodecas of the set pinched between thumb and index finger, thumb and middle finger, and thumb and ring finger, and then throw the set at one or more dodecas on the playing surface (except on your first throw).

Throws 2 through 5 must each strike at least one of the six dodecas on the playing surface, moving a dodeca at least half an inch, or causing one or more dodecas to change face; failure to do so is considered a scratch.

The standard throwing technique is to release the set of 3 dodecas in your hand about one inch from the dodeca(s) on the table at which you are aiming; the dodecas from your hand are customarily thrown at about a 45° angle.

The five throws, in order, are:

  1. All Dodecas - Throw all 9 dodecas. If you don't like the result of this first throw, you may rethrow all 9 dodecas, but you must keep this result.

    Remember, the following throws must strike at least one dodeca on the playing surface!

  2. Any Set - Choose any one set (Steam, Ash, or Lava to throw.

  3. Steam - Throw the Steam set.

  4. Ash - Throw the Ash set.

  5. Lava - Throw the Lava set.

Scoring the Throw

If your throw was a scratch, you score zero points for the throw.

Your score for any other throw is the sum of the scores for all three sets (steam, ash, lava), regardless of how many of those dodecas you threw or otherwise changed. Score each set according to the scoring chart above.

If your scoring box for this throw has "x" in it, double (2x) this throw's score. If the scoring box has "xx" in it, redouble (4x) this throw's score.

Add this throw's score to your prior total, and the new total is recorded in this throw's scoring box.


Certain situations will grant you a bonus for your next throw or two. The maximum bonus that can be applied to any throw is 4x, so no scoring box can ever have more than "xx" for bonus marks.

  • Quakes

    When your cumulative score has changed, and ends in a particular pair of digits, it is either a Little Quake or a Big Quake.

    • Little Quake - If your score ends in an "11 number" (11, 22, 33, 44, 55, 66, 77, 88, 99, 111,166, 277, 411), it is a Little Quake and you get x on your next throw.

    • Big Quake - If your score ends in a "20 number" (00, 20, 40, 60, 80, 100, 180, 200, 240, 320), it is a Big Quake and you get xx on your next throw.

  • Rumbles

    When a throw results in only 2 colors showing on the 9 dodecas, it is a Rumble, even if all three sets are Busts.

    • Little Rumble - If you have 0 or 1 volcano, it is a Little Rumble and you get x on your next throw.

    • Big Rumble - If you have 2 or 3 volcanoes, it is a Big Rumble and you get xx on your next throw.

  • Eruptions

    When a throw results in 3 different volcanoes, or 3 identical volcanoes, it is an Eruption, which gives you a bonus on your next 2 throws.

    • Little Eruption - If you have 3 different volcanoes, it is a Little Eruption and you get x on your next 2 throws.

    • Big Eruption - If you have 3 identical volcanoes, it is a Big Eruption and you get xx on your next 2 throws.

Example: Let's say you are scoring for your opponent's throws, and after the third throw in the third round his score is 152.

Now for the fourth throw, he throws the ash set (gray dodecas), and the result is YYB (yellow-yellow-blue) with the steam set, YRR with the ash set, and RRR with the lava set.

The total here is 8 (2 + 1 + 5). You add this score to 152 and the total to be recorded for the fourth throw is 160 (152 + 8). Since 160 is a Big Quake number, this means the next throw will be redoubled, and so you insert ** in the scoring box for the next (fifth) throw; you then announce "160 and Big Quake''.

On the fifth throw of the round, your opponent throws the lava set and the result for all 3 sets are: RRB, BBB, RBB; this equals 3 (0 + 3 + 0); 3 redoubled is 12, and so the score to be recorded for the fifth throw is 172 (160 + 12).

Note that your opponent has also thrown a Little Rumble: 2 colors (all reds and blues). Thus, for the first throw for the next round, you place an *, because the opening throw for that round will be doubled. Here you would announce "172 and Little Rumble''.

Any bonus earned in the final throw of the final round earns a bonus box, of which there are only three total for all players to "share" per game. This means that going earlier in the turn order gives you a distinct advantage.

For each bonus box in which you have x or xx, choose any set to throw, and score the result as usual, even adding x or xx to the next bonus box if you get a Quake or Rumble, or to the next 2 bonus boxes if you get an Eruption.

If any bonus boxes remain after the first player's turn is over, draw a line before the empty ones to make it clear where the first player's score ends.

Krakatoa for 3 or 4 Flayers

Use a second scoresheet for the 3rd and 4th players; however, scratch out the bonus boxes on the second scoresheet, because there are only 3 bonus boxes available per game.

The player with the highest score still starts the round, and play goes clockwise from there.

With 4 players, it is best to play in partnerships.

In this case, Partner A throws for Rounds 1,3, and 5, and Partner B throws for Rounds 2, 4, and 6, and any bonus throws your team gets. Partners are permitted to advise each other on throwing strategy, and both may help calculate the score for a throw.

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