Yahtzee is a popular dice game. It can be played by up to 10 players at a time. The object of the game is to roll certain combinations of numbers, in 13 rounds with the help of five dice.
Each player in his turn rolls the dice, trying to get a good combination of numbers.
There are different combinations which fall under thirteen categories, very similar to the Poker "hands", along with some extra categories. They all give different scores. Even though Yahtzee, like any other dice game, has more to do with luck, strategy makes a significant difference. The players have to make wise choices about when to score in each combination.
There are 13 rounds in a game of Yahtzee. In each turn, a player can roll his dice up to 3 times in order to get the desired combination. On the first two rolls, the player has to roll all five of the dice at once. On the third roll, the player can roll any number of dice he wants to, including none or all of them, trying to get a good combination.
The player can choose whether he wants to roll once, twice or three times in each turn. After the three rolls in a turn, the player must put his scores down in the scorecard, under any one of the thirteen categories. The score that the player finally gets for that turn depends on the category/box that he chooses and the combination that he got by rolling the dice. But once a box is chosen on the score card, it can't be chosen again. So the player has to choose the box very wisely in every turn. This is where strategy comes into play. There are many situations it which it is better to put a score of zero in a "bad" box, instead of a low score in one of the "good" boxes. Otherwise, the good box may be blocked for future turns and the player will not be able to take full advantage of it.
There are two sections in a Yahtzee scorecard: the upper section and the lower section. In the upper section, there are six boxes that represent the six face values of a die. For these six boxes, the player must enter only the sum of the dice with the corresponding face value. If the player scores a total of 63 or more in the upper section, he gets a bonus of 35 points at the end of the game.
The lower section of a scorecard is very important. Here, there are various combinations that a player can score for, which are very similar to Poker "hands":
- 3 of a kind: If the dice include 3 or more of the same number. Unlike in the upper section where only the dice of one number are summed, here the total of all five dice is used.
- 4 of a kind: If the dice include 4 or more of the same number.
- Full House: If the dice show 3 of one number and 2 of another.
- Small Straight: If the dice show a sequence of 4 continuous numbers.
- Large Straight: If the dice show a sequence of 5 continuous numbers.
- Chance: The player can score in this box with any combination. The score is the total of all five dice.
- Yahtzee: If the dice show 5 of the same number. The score is a standard of 50 points.
- Yahtzee Bonus: If a player gets extremely lucky and rolls his second Yahtzee and his Yahtzee box already has 50 points due to the previous one he scored, he gets a bonus of 100 points.
Regarding the Yahtzee bonus - the same rule doesn't apply when a player rolls a Yahtzee and his Yahtzee box is already filled with a zero. In either case, the "joker rules" must be used. That is, if possible the player must fill the upper section box corresponding to the number rolled. But if that box is full, he must fill in any empty box in the lower section.
For the first three categories in the lower section this means scoring the total of all 5 dice. But for the full house, small straight and large straight boxes, this means scoring 25, 30, or 40 points respectively. But incase the entire lower section is full he must enter a zero in any one of the open boxes in the upper section.
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