Most boardgames, or at least those which are well known and advertised on television, are aimed at children, but every so often you’ll see a boardgame that is aimed more at adult game players becoming very popular. Trivial Pursuit and Mastermind are two which immediately spring to mind, and Yahtzee was another.
Yahtzee is a game played with five ordinary dice and it borrows its rules heavily from the card game Poker. Players take turns to throw the five dice, with the aim being to try and match one of the allowed scoring combinations. After rolling the player can choose to roll any number of the dice again, and then once more, in order to try and improve the combination of dice.
Each player has a score sheet on which to keep track of their total points, and at the end of each turn they must write a score in against one of the allowed combinations of their choosing. The combinations are things like four or five of a the same number (the latter being given the name Yahtzee) or a straight (a run of numbers, for example 4-5-6-7).
If they don’t match any combination, or the sequence they have achieved already has a score against it, they must choose one of the combinations and score a zero against it. When all players have scored a number in every box of their score sheets, the game is over and the winner is the player with the highest total score.
I remember the game was advertised with a varied group of exotic, rich and famous types (including I believe a guy wearing a white suit and a fez if memory serves) sat playing the game, with the eventual winner declaring “Yahtzee! I win”, much to the disgust of the others.
Yahtzee first appeared in 1956 published by the E.S. Lowe Company, until 1973 when Milton Bradley bought E.S. Lowe. Milton Bradley went on to create several different variations of the game, including a travel version where the dice are encased in a plastic shell so they don’t get lost, and Word Yahtzee, where the dice have letters on instead of numbers and, unsurprisingly, you have to make words in order to score points.