Yahtzee is the classic dice chucking game. It’s one of the earliest roll and writes (dating back to 1956). If you’re not familiar with the game, you have 5 dice and a scorepad. You score points by what poker hand you roll – 3 of a kind, straight, full house, 5 of a kind (Yahtzee), etc. On your turn, you roll the dice and then assign them to one of the 13 categories. This choice offers some strategy (combined with the opportunity to roll some of the dice up to two more times), but lady luck plays a big role. Nonetheless, if you’re serious about playing Yahtzee (or what to take a closer look at the probabilities), I highly recommend you look at “Yahtzee Book and Triple Yahtzee: Book of Poker Dice Game Strategy”. In it, the author analyses all the possible strategies of Yahtzee and Triple Yahtzee. In Triple Yahtzee, you have three columns of 13 categories, with each column having a multiplier (column 1 is 1x, column 2 is 2x, and column 3 is 3x). Obviously, you want to put your best scores in the third column. However, be warned that playing Triple Yahtzee makes playing the game last three times longer.
This latest edition of the game comes in a plastic container with a bright red lid. In some previous editions, the game came with a cup to shake the dice, but here the bottom of the container acts as a dice cup. A nice design touch is that the top of the box shows embossed five dice faces with 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6, and on the side of the container is the embossed number 4. You have to press this face and hold it to release the lid, but you will need some force to do this. I assume that this is a childproofing feature.
The dice are bright white and feel solid in the hand. In addition to the well written and very clear rules, you also get a scorepad. When you tear off a sheet, you will realize that each scoresheet has been folded in half. That means that it takes up less room in the box (and that you have half as many sheets as you thought you did). But the sheets are printed on both sides, so one sheet could accommodate a 12 player game (6 on each side). Of course, there is no need to use one sheet per game, you can just continue along on the same sheet until all the columns have been filled on both sides, and then tear off a new one.
If you have the facilities, you might be tempted to laminate a sheet, fold it in half and use dry wipe markers. My top tip is to cut a sheet in two and then laminate each half. Laminated sheets don’t like being folded (not do they stay flat once you do fold them). In addition, write with permanent markers and use dry wipe markers to erase the results. The chemicals that make the dry wipe markers wipeable will break down the permanent marker ink and make it wipeable. Needless to say, using permanent markers also eliminates the problem of one player accidentally erasing another player’s scores as they record the details of their roll on the scoresheet. Just be sure to wipe the laminated sheets clean after every game.
Yahtzee is the classic dice roller, and this is a very good travel edition of the game. There is plenty of space in the container for storing extra dice, pencils, a sharpener and eraser, but it would have been nice if they had included a few pencils. Yes, you could use your own when you play at home, but the container isn’t tall enough to accommodate a standard pencil when you want to take the game on the road. So you end up having to cut yours down to fit. But you can’t argue with the price; it’s cheap as chips. If you love rolling dice (and who doesn’t), you should have this game in your collection.
If you want a bit more in your dice chucker, then I highly recommend King of Tokyo or King of New York. King of New York is the more strategic of the two, but they are basically dice rolling games with a dice rolling mechanic that is very similar to Yahtzee. But do be aware that these games do feature player elimination.