Culture and Society

How do you play Yahtzee?
Answered by Discovery Channel
  • Discovery Channel

    Discovery Channel

  1. Before it became part of Milton Bradley's line of games in the 1970s, Yahtzee originated in the '50s, when a group of people on a yacht came up with a new way to play with dice. Little did they know that their game would go on to be played by millions of people around the world. And because it's easy to learn, once you start playing, it can be hard to stop.

    Yahtzee is a very simple game, consisting of five dice, a cup and a score pad. The goal in Yahtzee is to get to 12 distinct dice combinations, but a player wins by achieving the highest score. You're awarded points for every dice combination that you hit. The combinations include rolling ones, twos, threes, fours, fives and sixes (with the best rolls being all five of one particular number), as well as three of a kind, four of a kind, a full house, a small straight, a large straight and a Yahtzee. Rolling a Yahtzee means rolling five of a kind, and this automatically earns you 50 points -- the most possible in a roll [source: Wolfram Research].

    The game's score card includes a section to check off each combination. The idea is to fill each of these sections with the maximum point amount for each combination. Each turn, you're given up to three chances to hit a combination and can choose to leave dice from a previous role. The score card also has a "Chance" section that's filled out when no dice combinations are hit after your three turns. The way to calculate the point total for a turn that ends this way is to add up the dice [source: Wolfram Research]. These are the basics, but once you've played a few games, you may start using certain strategies, such as trying to fill up the most valuable slots on the scorecard as soon as possible, and knowing when you should go for a Yahtzee to try to earn the most points.

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