Continuing with my project to create a list of great games you can play for free, this post features a classic dice game… and dice games don’t get any more classic than Yahtzee. I have spent countless hours playing this game at Christmas with family and I don’t intend to stop that tradition any time soon.
Number of players: 2 – 10
Playing time: 30 minutes
You will need:
- 5 dice
- A score sheet for each player. You can print off your own score sheet from here.
The game consists of thirteen rounds. In each round, play progresses clockwise. On each player’s turn, that player rolls five dice. They may re-roll as many dice as they like up to two times. After the third roll, the numbers displayed on the five dice must be kept.
The aim of the game is to score highly in each of the thirteen categories. these categories are divided into two sections: the upper section and the lower section. The upper section consists of six categories, each of which corresponds to one of the numbers between 1 and 6. Each category scores by adding up all dice that matches it. For example, if the dice rolled were 1, 2, 5, 5, 6; the score for category number one would be 1. The score for category number five would be 10 (5+5). If the combined score for all categories in the upper section is at least 65, 35 bonus points are awarded.
The bottom section consists of seven categories. Scoring in each of these is as follows:
- Three-of-a-kind scores the total of all dice if at least three dice show the same number (e.g. 1, 2, 6, 6, 6 would score 21 points).
- Four-of-a-kind scores the total of all dice if at least four dice show the same number (e.g. 2, 5, 5, 5, 5 would score 22 points).
- Full house scores 25 points when three of the dice show the same number as each other and the other two dice also show the same number as each other (e.g. 2, 2, 4, 4, 4).
- Low straight scores 30 points when at least four of the dice are in sequence (e.g. 1, 2, 3, 4, 6).
- High straight scores 40 points when all five of the dice are in sequence (e.g. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5).
- Yahtzee scores 50 points when all five dice show the same number (e.g. 3, 3, 3, 3, 3).
- Chance scores the total of all dice and can be any combination of dice (e.g. 1, 2, 2, 4, 6 would score 15 points).
Each of the thirteen categories in Yahtzee may only be used once. When a score has been recorded in a category it may not be moved. If after a players roll, the dice to not fit into any of the categories, that player must choose a category to place a score of 0 in.
If a second Yahtzee (all five dice showing the same number) is rolled by a player, then that player receives a 100 point bonus. If possible, the five numbers rolled must be used in the corresponding upper section category. If that category has already been filled, the five numbers may be used in any other upper section category (scoring 0); in three-of-a-kind, four-of-a-kind or chance (scoring the total of the five dice); or in full house, low straight or high straight (scoring the normal score allocated for those categories). Note, that if a second Yahtzee is rolled after a 0 had been scored in the Yahtzee category, no 100 bonus is awarded; however, in this instance, the five dice may still be used as described above.
The winner of the game is the player with the highest total score for all categories (plus any bonuses).