How to play Yahtzee

Score the most points by rolling the five dice in a number of combinations.

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Yahtzee came to be when a bored Canadian company needed something to do while yachting. They called their invention “Yacht Game”. (Apparently their ingenuity ended at creating the actual game). Eventually, Edwin S. Lowe bought the rights to the game, and being a little more creative, changed the name to “Yahtzee”.

What do you need to play?

At least 2 people, but more people make for more fun
2 six-sided dice

About Yahtzee game play

A Yahtzee scorecard contains 13 boxes divided into an upper section and a lower section.

Upper Section

The upper section contains boxes that are scored by summing the total number of dice faces matching that box — one box for each number 1 through 6. For example, if a player were to roll three “fives,” the score would be marked as 15 in the “fives” box. If a player scores a total of 63 points in these six boxes, a bonus of 35 points is rewarded and added to the upper section score.

Lower Section

The lower section contains a series of poker-themed combinations with specific point values. The difference in this section is that a score for a certain combination can fall into more than one category; a full house can score in the Full House, Three-Of-A-Kind, or Chance categories. Part of the strategy is deciding the best section to score each roll.

Rolling the Dice

A player gets three rolls of the dice per turn; a roll consists of all five dice at once; he can save any dice that he needs to complete a combination and then reroll the other dice. After the third roll, the player must find a place to score on his scorecard from one of the rolls (though he may choose to end his turn and score after only one or two rolls). If after three rolls there is not a combination that fits into a scoring category, the player must mark a “zero” in an empty box. The total scores are added at the end, after each player has had 13 turns and filled in all 13 score boxes. The player with the highest score wins.


In the upper section, a player can add the total of the dice that applies to the number you wish to record a score for. If you roll four threes, and decide you want to play this turn on the upper section for the number three, you would score 12 points. The lower section has different scores for different categories. If you roll a three-of-a-kind, four-of-a-kind or chance, your score is the sum of all the dice. If you roll a full house, you get 25 points. A small straight (4 dice in order) is worth 30 points and a large straight (5 dice in order) is worth 40 points. A Yahtzee, or rolling the same number with all five die, is worth 50 points, with subsequent Yahtzees worth an extra 50 point bonus.

How to win

Fill in scoring categories with each turn, and get a higher score than your opponent!

Say Yahtzee loud and proud!

YAHTZEE! Half of the fun of this game is to yell out the game’s name if and when you roll one. A Yahtzee occurs when a player rolls and all five dice are the same number. Rolling five “sixes” is the best roll in the game. If you’re lucky enough to hit one, don’t forget the icing on the cake — “YAHTZEE!”

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