Spanish number game with dice

AMBICIOSO: A Culturally-Authentic Spanish Number Game

Looking for a new beginner-level Spanish number game to play in class?  Here’s one I just learned about, Ambicioso.

My school in Colombia was celebrating Pi Day, a math celebration for March 14 (3.14 get it?), and this was one of the rotation games that was played.  So, not only is it great number practice, it’s also a culturally authentic game! 

Note: This game does involve dice, so you may want to check your school policy on games of chance if you think it will be a problem because it is considered gambling.

If you are teaching online, here are some games to play in online Spanish classes

How to play Ambicioso

You can play with partners or small groups.  I would recommend groups of three players to get students more speaking practice and have the game go faster.  

You can get the printable score sheet for free here.  You’ll need one scoresheet per group and there are three on each printout.  

Each round is a different letter that spells out AMBICIOSO. You have to be ambitious to win this game!

The first player rolls a die for the letter A spot, saying in Spanish what the number is.  They roll again and add the two numbers, saying the new total in Spanish.  The player continues until a) they decide to stop and keep the total points they have rolled that round or b) they roll a one.  If they roll a one then they automatically lose all of their points and get a zero for that round.  It’s a game of risk and challenge.  More rolls is more risk but the possibility of greater reward.  

The second player then rolls for the letter A spot, adding up the points until they decide to stop or roll a 1 and take a zero.  The other players roll in turn, continuing to say the numbers they roll and the total as the numbers add up.  The winner of the round is the player with the highest number of points. 

After all of the rounds the points are totaled and the winner of the game is the player with the most points.


Here are a few ideas to tailor this game to your students’ level.

If the nine rounds of letters in AMBICIOSO make the game a bit long, you can also use the word SEGURO to make it a bit shorter.  I did some research and found that this game is also called SEGURO in some hispanic countries.  

To make the game even riskier, have players roll two dice each time.  They’ll be more likely to roll a one when they have two possibilities.

If playing with advanced students or heritage speakers who already know their numbers well, tell them that they’ll lose the points if they say the numbers wrong or do the math wrong, just to make things more challenging.

I hope you and your students love this Spanish number game!  If you try it out, leave me a comment and let me know how it went.

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