How to Play: Yahtzee
How to Play Yahtzee
Yahtzee is one of the world's most popular dice rolling games. It's great for a game night with both large and small groups. The object of the game is to roll five dice in order to score combinations and get the highest total score. Yahtzee scoring can be confusing at first, but with some patience you'll be enjoying a game of Yahtzee in no time.
Scoring in the Upper Section
Review the score sheet.In Yahtzee, scores are kept on a sheet of paper containing a column of 13 boxes. On each turn, you must choose which box to fill in based on your best scoring option. If you are unable to enter a score, or choose not to, you must enter a "0" in one of your boxes. Each box can be filled in only once.
Learn about the upper section.The upper section boxes are scored differently than the lower section boxes. Your goal, in the upper section, is to score at least a 63. If you have 63 points or more in the upper section, you get a 35 point bonus at the end of the game.
- The upper section contains six boxes labeled aces (ones), twos, threes, fours, fives, and sixes. You roll 5 dice in Yahtzee. To fill in the upper box, you combine the values on the dice with the same number. Then, you add the number to the appropriate box. You can only choose one box to fill in with each turn.
- This can be confusing when discussed in the abstract. Let's look at an example. Say you roll the dice and you score two fives and three twos. As you have two fives, you could enter a score of 10 in the fives box. You have three twos, so you could also enter a total of six in the twos box. You have to choose which number you want to enter.
Choose where to score your points.You want to get at least a 63 to get the bonus, so choose wisely. In our above example, you might be inclined to score in the fives box, as this is a higher score, but be careful. You can only fill in each box once. If you get four fives on your next roll, you miss out on a much higher score in that box.
Scoring in the Lower Section
Learn about the lower section.The lower section scores are more complicated. Instead of simply listing numbers, phrases like "Three of a Kind" and "Full House" are written in the lower section. These are different combinations of dice that are all scored differently. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the lower section scores before playing Yahtzee.
Score a three of a kind.One value you can score in the lower section is a three of a kind. To score a three of a kind, you have to roll three of the same dice.
- With a three of a kind, you add all the values of your dice together. This gives you your total score for the three of a kind box.
- This can be confusing. Let's look at an example to clarify. Say you rolled three fives, a two, and a four. This could be scored as a three of a kind. You would multiply five by three to get the value 15. Then, you would add two and four. This would give you a total score of 21, which you would write in the Three of a Kind Box.
Score a four of a kind.A four of a kind is similar to a three of a kind. You can score in this box if you get four of the same dice in one roll. Then, you would score it by combining the values of all the dice. For example, if you roll four twos and a six, you can score a 14 in the Four of a Kind box.
Score a full house.A full house is worth 25 points regardless of dice values. A full house is made up of three dice of one number and two dice of another number. For example, say you roll three 6's and two 5's. This could be scored for 25 points as a full house.
Score a small or large straight.Small or large straights are scored when you roll dice in numerical order. For example, you roll a one, a two, a three, a four, and a five. A large straight is worth more points than a small straight.
- A small straight includes four dice in a numerical sequence. For example, say you score a one, a three, a four, a five, and a six. You could score this as a small straight. A small straight is automatically worth 30 points.
- A large straight includes five dice that move in a numerical sequence. For example, if you score a two, a three, a four, a five, and a six, this would be a large straight. A large straight is worth 40 points.
Score a Yahtzee.A Yahtzee is one of the highest rolls you can score. A Yahtzee occurs when all five dice are the same number. A Yahtzee is worth 50 points the first time, regardless of dice value. Additional Yahtzees are worth 100 points.
- If you roll a Yahtzee after having already filled in the Yahtzee space, you get a 100 point bonus.
Fill in the chance box.In the event you're unable to score in any other box, use the chance box. You can score any combination of dice in the chance box by totaling their numbers.
- For example, say you roll two threes and three sixes. Two times three is 6. Three times six is 18. You would add 18 and 6 to get 24. You could then write 24 in the chance box.
Calculate your total score.At the end of the game, you calculate your score. Whoever scores highest wins.
- Add the upper section scores together and write the total in the "total score" section. If you score 63 or over, add a bonus of 35 points.
- Total the scores in the lower section as well, adding 100 points if you scored any additional Yahtzees in the game. Then, add the upper and lower score together to figure out your grand total for the game.
Playing the Game
Determine who goes first.You can play Yahtzee in a group of at least 2 players. If you have a big group, you can play in teams. To start the game, you first need to figure out who goes first. To do so, each player or team rolls all 5 dice. You would add all the values of the dice together. The player or team with the highest score goes first.
Roll the dice the first time.You can roll your dice up to 3 times in a game of Yahtzee. Yahtzee comes with a cup or shaker in which you place the dice, shake, and then spill them on the table. As you roll, you can strategize to try to maximize your score. In any roll, you can choose to keep some dice and re-roll others. To start, roll all five dice.
- To help understand the process, let's look at an example. Say you roll a one, a three, a four, a five, and a six. You have a small straight with the three, four, five, and six. This would come to 30 points. However, if you re-roll the one and get a two, you would have a large straight. This means 40 points.
Roll the dice a second time.If you're happy with your initial score, you can add your score to your card and complete your turn. However, you can also try for a higher score. Choose which dice you want to keep and which you want to re-roll.
- In our above example, it would make the most sense to re-roll the one. This way, you have a chance at a large straight. Say you roll the one and get a three. You still do not have a large straight. However, you can roll the dice for a third time to try again.
Roll the dice a third time.If you're still unhappy with your score, you can roll the dice one more time. Once again, you can re-roll as many dice as you want.
- In our above example, say you re-roll the three you rolled in your second turn. If you get a 2, you can score it as a large straight. However, if you get another number you can still score it as a small straight. You can also fill in one box in the upper level.
Keep going until each player has taken 13 turns.Every player rolls the dice 3 times each for 13 rounds. As you go, you need to try to fill in all your boxes. Each box can only be filled in once, so make wise choices in terms of how you choose to count your scores.
Maximize your chance at a Yahtzee.Yahtzee is a game of both strategy and chance. There are steps you can take to maximize your chance at a Yahtzee each round. Remember, after your first Yahtzee, each additional Yahtzee earns you 100 points.
- Early in the game, anytime you have a chance for a Yahtzee, take it over settling for a lower score. The earlier you score a Yahtzee, the better. This maximizes your chance at the 100 point bonus.
- If you already have a Yahtzee, never settle for lower scores over the chance at getting a second Yahtzee. For example, don't score three 4's and two 2's as a full house. Instead, re-roll the 2's to try for a second Yahtzee.
Go for the 35 point bonus.Trying to decide where to score your round can sometimes be confusing. However, keeping the 35 point bonus in mind can help you strategize.
- Higher scores with lower numbers, like the one and two boxes, are rare. It's to your advantage to score in the upper section if you roll a high number of twos or ones.
- For example, say you roll four twos, a five, and a six. You can score a 6 in either the two or six box. However, you should aim to score in the 2 box. The highest you can score in the two box would be an 8 or 10. The highest you can score in the six box, conversely, is a 30 or a 36. You don't want to fill up the six box with a low score.
Aim for straights early on.You do not want a "0" score in any of the lower boxes. These boxes have the potential for high point values. Therefore, aim to get straights early on so you can then concentrating on going for Yahtzees. Be on the lookout for combinations like "two, three, four" or "four, five, six." Re-roll the dice as needed to get a straight early in the game.
Score high Yahtzees in the upper section late in the game.A Yahtzee is fairly rare, even with good strategy. If the score is tight, it's late in the game, and you have not scored a Yahtzee yet, it might be worth it to score high Yahtzees in the upper section. This usually guarantees you'll get the bonus, which may mean a higher score. For example, five sixes plus the 35 point bonus leaves you with 65 points. A Yahtzee is only worth 50.
- However, keep in mind if you score another Yahtzee you risk getting 50 points as opposed to the 100 point bonus.
QuestionCan I use the score of one of the dice in the upper section?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, if the section is open, or you can take zero for anything, whenever you wish.Thanks!
QuestionIf you get a second Yahtzee with fives, do you get to count the Yahtzee and 25 in your fives?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes. Score 25 in your fives and add a check mark in the lower section for a bonus Yahtzee. At the end of the game, multiply your check marks by 100 for your total bonus Yahtzee score.Thanks!
QuestionWhen did Yahtzee come out?wikiHow ContributorCommunity Answer1956.Thanks!
QuestionCan I only write 0 in the top?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo, you write down the total you got for that number. For example, if you had only one "2," you could enter "2" in the twos row. Obviously, if you don't have any twos, then it would be zero.Thanks!
QuestionWhat is the score for double yahtzee?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou get 50 for the first Yahtzee and 100 for each additional Yahtzee for each 'game'.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I record the points if I roll a second Yahtzee?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou just take the points into the top section, if you don't have that number or you can take the chance if not used.Thanks!
QuestionDo you have to fill in a box after each turn or can you leave it blank and try again next try.wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou have to fill one in every time. You have to fill in a 0 somewhere if you can't get anything else.Thanks!
QuestionDoes a Yahtzee count only on my very first roll of the dice?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo, you can use all three rolls in a turn to try to get a Yahtzee.Thanks!
QuestionDo you have to fill the Yahtzee spot with your first Yahtzee roll?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can complete your sixes spot or your Yahtzee--it's your choice. The Yahtzee gets you a higher score, though.Thanks!
QuestionOn the second or third Yahtzee, do you score just the 100-point bonus, or fill in another score, like five sixes?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf you are playing with someone else, you would get behind in turns if you only take the bonus, so fill in another.Thanks!
If I don't have any of the numbers on the top, can I put a "zero" in the ones place?
Where do I place the dice if I get a second Yahtzee?
If I mark my yahtzee out then roll a yahtzee, can I use it for something else?
How can I determine the best strategy for my particular situation?
Can I carry the points in the upper section where I need it, if my yahtzee slot has a 0?
To play Yahtzee, your goal is to score more points than any other player. To score points, roll the 5 dice to try to score one of the 13 boxes on your scorecard. You can roll the dice up to 3 times during your turn as you try to score one of your boxes. If you fail to score a box on your turn, cross off a box of your choice on your scorecard. Keep playing until every player has scored or crossed off all of their boxes and then add up your points to see who the winner is!
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Video: How To Play Yahtzee
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