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Yahtzee is a game that is all about strategy, chance, luck and great math fun. The goal is to roll the dice and get the highest score possible. It can be addictive and will build your child’s strategic thinking. Who will come out on top with the highest collection of combos?
Yahtzee Rules – How to Play
You can play this game in two ways. You can go out and buy a Yahtzee set – that comes with 5 dice, an 80-sheet scoring pad, and a dice-shaking cup. Or, if you already have 5 dice and a printer, you can print your own Yahtzee notebooks for free and start playing as soon as you read these rules. Play yahtzee and farkle free at freethedice.com
One of the great things about Yahtzee is that any number of players can join. You can even play alone, although it’s definitely more fun with 2+.
Yahtzee – Upper Section
The upper part is very straight. It’s all about rolling specific numbers – as many of them as possible. There is a scoring section for ones, twos, threes, fours, fives and sixes. The score in these sections is obtained by adding up all the dice of a given number, ignoring dice that reflect other numbers. For example, rolling three 6s is worth 18 points.
Bonus: Players can get a bonus of 35 points by collecting at least 63 points in the upper part. 63 is the magic number because that is the exact score one gets for rolling 3 of each number, 1 through 6.
Yahtzee – Lower Section
This is where things get a little complicated in the notebook. I will go down the line describing each of the scorable patterns.
3 of a Kind: Three (or more) of the same number. The values of all five dice are added together for the score.
4 of a Kind: Four (or more) of the same number. The values of all five dice are added together for the score.
Full House: Three of the same number + 2 of the same number (eg 3-3-3-5-5). Full House is worth 25 points.
Small Straight: Four numbers in a row; 1-2-3-4, 2-3-4-5 or 3-4-5-6. A small straight is worth 30 points.
Large Straight: Five numbers in a row; 1-2-3-4-5 or 2-3-4-5-6. A big straight is worth 40 points.
Odds: The sum of all five dice, regardless of what they are. The chance is often used in situations where the score is too low to carry over, or when no scoreable result is scored.
Yahtzee: Five dice of the same number (eg 2-2-2-2-2). For the record, the odds of rolling a Yahtzee are 216 to 1. If you do (the first time), it’s worth 50 points.
Bonus Yahtzee: If a player scores a Yahztzee and then scores another Yahtzee in the same game, it is scored as a Bonus Yahtzee. There is a position on the scoreboard supplied just for this purpose. Each bonus Yahtzee is worth 100 points and gives the player one extra game. Please note that players who “scratch” their Yahtzees cannot score in the Bonus Yahtzee column.
How to play Farkle.
• Choose one player to be the scorer.
• All players roll one die. The player who rolls the highest number will continue first. Play will be played left/clockwise throughout the game.
You roll six dice on your turn.
After each roll, you set aside the dice that are worth points and roll the rest of the dice. You must set aside at least one scoring die. Any dice that are set aside cannot be re-rolled for the rest of your turn (unless you roll out). If you cannot save any dice, you will be “Farkle” and your turn will end immediately. You will also lose any points you gained on your turn.
You then have the option to stop and pass the points you scored on your turn, or roll the die you didn’t save and try to score more points. You must get at least 500 points in a turn before you can write down any scores. You can then stop scrolling at any time.
If you end up scoring all six dice, you can roll all the dice again to score points. Keep track of your current score before rolling all the dice again.
After you add up your points or throw a “Farkle”, the game moves to the next player in a clockwise direction.
When rolling the dice, there are a number of different combinations that will give you points. For a combination to score points, all numbers in the combination must be rolled at the same time (numbers from several different rolls cannot be used). The combinations you can roll and how many points they are worth are as follows:
• Single 1 = 100 points
• Single 5 = 50 points
• Three 1s = 300 points
• Three 2s = 200 points
• Three 3s = 300 points
• Three 4s = 400 points
• Three 5s = 500 points
• Three 6s = 600 points
• 4 of any number = 1000 points
• 5 of any number = 2000 points
• 6 of any number = 3,000 points
• 1-6 Even = 1500 points
• Three pairs = 1500 points
• Four of any paired number = 1,500 points
• Two triplets = 2500 pointsWinning the game.
Once a player’s score exceeds 10,000 points, all players get one chance to beat the current leader’s total. After everyone has had one chance to beat the high score, the player with the highest score wins the game.
My thoughts on Farkle.
Since its inception in 1996, Farkle has become a very popular dice game. I’ve never played Farkle mainly because it seemed like a pretty standard dice game. Roll the dice and try to get different combinations. I’ve already played a few different games with the exact same premise, so I really didn’t see any reason to rush out and try the game out. Considering how popular the game is, I decided to finally give it a try. While it’s not terrible, I wouldn’t consider myself a fan.
As with most dice games, the premise of the game is pretty simple. Players basically take turns rolling the dice to try and get different combinations of the dice. These usually involve rolling multiples of the same number or a straight. However, you also get points for rolling ones and fives. If you roll a point combination, you can choose to keep the points you rolled or continue to roll the dice you didn’t get and try to get more points. If you fail to roll any die that gives you extra points, you lose any points you’ve already earned on your current turn.
If this sounds like a lot of other dice games, it should be because a similar premise is used by many dice games. Most of the gameplay comes down to risk versus reward. Deciding whether to quit or continue playing is a decision that mostly determines how well you do in the game. Want to play it safe and get guaranteed points and leave other potential points on the table? Or risk everything you’ve already earned to try and get more points? I don’t mind the risk/reward mechanics, but I wouldn’t rank them as one of my favorites.
The biggest issue I had with Farkle is that the risk/reward element is pretty much all the game has to offer. The risk/reward mechanics aren’t bad, as what you choose can have a pretty big impact on the game. If you are too cautious or take too many risks, you will have a hard time winning. However, the strategy in the game is very limited. It wasn’t clear in the rules if you could choose to re-roll the scoring dice instead of scoring them. We ended up enabling this because it added a bit of strategy to the game as you could reroll low-scoring combos to increase your chances of rolling a scoring combo on your next roll.
This is made worse by the decision not to allow players to use dice from previous rolls to score points. This rule is important to the game because if you didn’t use it, it would play quite differently. However, I don’t like this rule because it takes a lot of the already limited strategy out of games like Yahtzee. This is one of the reasons I prefer Yahtzee to Farkle. I’m not even a big fan of Yahtzee. There’s a bit of strategy to using the dice from all your rolls together, as you have more options on which dice to keep and which to discard. You can keep the dice that are needed for a harder combo that will get you more points. You could take a less risky position to guarantee some points during the round. None of this is present in Farkle, as you cannot keep dice to set up combinations with future rolls.
All dice games require a lot of luck. But Farkle seems to rely on even more. Since the decision-making in the game is quite limited, this means that you cannot compensate for bad luck. If you roll wrong, there’s really nothing you can do. If you roll wrong, you have no chance to win the game. Whoever rolls really well will also have a really big advantage in the game. I don’t mind some luck in games, but when the game relies almost entirely on it, it feels like a coincidence when you’re not actually playing. Unless you can somehow improve your chances of rolling specific numbers, you don’t really have much of an impact on your fate in the game.
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