All You Need to Know about Yahtzee Dice Game

Yahtzee is a fun dice game, where you need to get particular combinations that give you the highest total score to win. You can play this game by yourself online or with opponents in a typical board game setting. This article takes you through the basics of Yahtzee, covering the game rules, history, and interesting facts.

About Yahtzee

The Yahtzee dice game is played with not two, but five dice, and a scorecard. All in all, this game is based on poker and involves rolling dice to give various combinations, where they have different scores. Your ultimate goal is to roll such combinations that would give you a high score. Each player gets 13 rounds and in each turn, you can choose to roll the dice up to 3 times. Both luck and strategy are required to win in such an activity, as you decide which score to use for a particular combination.

How to Play?

As a rule, the scorecard has 13 dice combinations with their scores or pattern scoring rules. Next to each combination is a box, where you can enter the score of the combination. When it's your turn, start by rolling all the dice in the assembly phase. You then have two more rolls, but they are optional. You can re-roll all the dice or leave some out (the keepers), to make the highest-scoring combination that you can. At the end of the 3rd roll, you will have to enter your score (scoring phase), even if you did not get the combination you were rooting for. For example, a possible high-scoring combination is a large straight (e.g.: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6), with a score of 40. If you got a small straight (a sequence of 4) from your first roll, then you may attempt to get a large straight by re-rolling. You may have other low-scoring combinations too, but your goal is to try to get as high of a combination as you can, so keep rolling. Once you score a particular combination, you can"t score it again. So, if you already have a large straight, there is no point in aiming for another one. One exception to this rule is if you roll a Yahtzee: this a 5 of one kind. You can score more than one Yahtzee in a game. You need to be strategic with what combinations you choose to enter since you can only score each combination once unless you roll a Yahtzee, of course. For instance, if you roll some sixes but it is not that many to get a large score, you may choose to not enter that combination for the sixes category. This is because you could get a much higher score later on if you roll more sixes. At the end of the game, the total scores and bonuses are calculated, according to final scoring rules, and the player with the highest score wins!

Yahtzee Solitaire

In Yahtzee Solitaire, you play the typical Yahtzee game against an automated computer player rather than human opponents, online. The Official Yahtzee Rules applies to Yahtzee Solitaire too.

History of Yahtzee

  • Yahtzee was created in 1954 but was not commercially released until 1956 by the well-known game entrepreneur Edwin S. Lowe. Interestingly, Lowe had to get permission from a Canadian couple, who happen to be the anonymous creators of this game, to buy the game rights.
  • The E.S. Lowe company marketed Yahtzee until 1973, where it was bought by the Milton Bradley Company. Currently, Yahtzee is owned by Hasbro, where about 50 million games are sold yearly!
  • It is thought that Yahtzee was developed from other similar dice games, such as Poker Dice, Yogi, Cheerio, Yacht, and Generala.
  • During E.S. Lowe Company"s ownership of Yahtzee, changes were made to this game, including a slogan change from "The Game That Makes You Think While Having Fun" to "The Fun Game That Makes Thinking Fun", between 1956 to 1961.
  • Changes were also made to the Yahtzee logo throughout the years: the original logo was maintained throughout Lowe"s period and changed more than once after 1973.
  • Copyrights were made to such a game in 1956, 1961, 1967, and 1972 by Lowe. During this time, 40 million games were sold globally.
  • From 1973 to 1984, Yahtzee was owned by Milton Bradley. Even during this time, Yahtzee"s popularity was maintained.
  • In 1984, the Hasbro Company (Inc.) bought the rights for the game from Milton, and continue to have ownership in present times. This multinational company is very popular in the manufacture of board games and toys, leading to further growth of fame for Yahtzee games.
  • In 1996, Hasbro Interactive, a video game production branch of Hasbro, released the first-ever computer version of Yahtzee. This was the beginning of Yahtzee Solitaire online.

Fun Facts

  • An anonymous rich Canadian couple was the inventors of Yahtzee and they called it "The Yacht Game". This was because they played "Yahtzee" on their yacht with friends.
  • The couple approached Lowe to ask for gift sets of the game to be created for their friends. Lowe got permission for the game rights in exchange for 1000 gift sets. That"s when Yahtzee was born.
  • Initially, Yahtzee did not do well due to poor advertisement. It was only after Yahtzee parties were organized, where people could try such a game and appreciate its rules, that Yahtzee was popularized.
  • The largest scoring combination possible is a "Yahtzee" (excluding bonuses), where you roll 5 of a kind. The first Yahtzee gets you 50 points and any subsequent Yahtzee gets you 100 points.
  • There is a probability of 1 in 1296 of rolling a Yahtzee. The chances of rolling a Yahtzee in all 13 turns are 1 in 29 duodecillion (41 digits long decimal number). As far as you can see, the chances are extremely slim, so figure out other combinations to get the next best score!
  • Multiple variations have also been derived from Yahtzee, including "Triple Yahtzee" and "Word Yahtzee".
  • The dice combinations for Yahtzee come from poker!


Now that you've read so many interesting facts about the Yahtzee dice game it"s no wonder you would feel compelled to have a go at it. All you need is a deck of cards and a couple of players. So, go ahead and have some fun!