Y is for Yahtzee

The strategy comes when one gets a roll that could be used in more than one box.

There’s a game that involves five dice and a score sheet called Yahtzee, which I’m teaching to my daughter. I like it because, while it involves an element of luck, it also requires some strategy.

“In the upper section, each box is scored by summing the total number of dice faces matching that box. For example, if a player were to roll three ‘twos,’ the score would be recorded as 6 in the twos box. If a player scores a total of at least 63 points, [which corresponds to three-of-a-kind for each of the six rows], a bonus of 35 points is added to the upper section score.

“The lower section contains a number of poker-themed combinations with specific point values
Three-Of-A-Kind (At least three dice showing the same face) – Sum of all dice
Four-Of-A-Kind (At least four dice showing the same face -Sum of all dice
Full House (A three-of-a-kind and a pair) – 25 points
Small Straight (Four sequential dice: 1-2-3-4, 2-3-4-5, or 3-4-5-6) – 30 points
Large Straight (Five sequential dice: 1-2-3-4-5 or 2-3-4-5-6) – 40 points
Yahtzee (All five dice showing the same face) 50 points
Chance (Any combination) often acts as a discarded box for a turn that will not fit in another category”

The strategy comes when one gets a roll that could be used in more than one box. For instance, if one has rolled 2-2-6-6-6, should it be taken as three sixes in the upper box, as three of a kind in the lower box, or as a full house in the lower box? One has to guesstimate how likely it is to get another roll in the categories not chosen. In other words, math probabilities are involved, though one does not have to be a human calculator to enjoy the game.

Given the number of years the game has been sold, it’s possible that you have a copy of the game in your attic right now.

ABC Wednesday – Round 13

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