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What is the Yahtzee drinking game?

The Yahtzee drinking game is one of the most famous dice games. While playing Yahtzee you need luck as well as a good strategy to win against the other players. Yahtzee isn’t usually a drinking game.

If you’re not old enough, or not comfortable with drinking, you can play the normal version without alcohol as well. The best thing about Yahtzee is that this game is playable in larger and small groups, and family-friendly as well.

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The history of Yahtzee

The game with the five dice goes back to Canada in the 1950s. It was invented by a young couple under the name “Yacht”. After playing the game with all their friends, somehow a game entrepreneur got to know the game.

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According to his experience in the game industry, he saw the potential in this dice game. He bought the game and renamed it “Yahtzee”. When it was first introduced onto the market it wasn’t really popular as it was too complicated for the customers.

But the game entrepreneur wouldn’t give up on the game and started Yahtzee parties. With these parties, the popularity grew, and the game gained world-wide popularity. Today around 50 million Yahtzee games were sold each and every year.

What do you need for the Yahtzee drinking game?

  1. Other players: If you want to play the Yahtzee drinking game, you need other players. You can play the game either in a small or a large group, but at least you need one other person. Tip: If you skip the alcohol part, this game is family-friendly as well. The age range is 8+!

  2. 5 dice: Lots of people are still don’t know how many dice they need to play Yahtzee. In total, you need 5 dice. Of course, you can play it with less, remember the results, and count them together. But it’s way easier if you have 5 dice for the game.

  3. A Yahtzee Scorecard: The Yahtzee Scorecard is the only thing that you maybe don’t have at home yet. Don’t worry! We created a Yahtzee Scorecard which you can download for free: Yahtzee Scorecard PDF

  4. Alcohol: If you want to play the Yahtzee game as a drinking game, you need alcohol of course. It really doesn’t matter what exactly you’re drinking during the game, you just need long drinks and shots.

How to play Yahtzee

Now we will explain how to play the Yahtzee game. If you already familiar with the gameplay and just want to know the rules for the drinking game, skip this part, and take a look at the “Yahtzee the drinking game” chapter.

Besides the 5 dice, the most important thing while playing Yahtzee is the Yahtzee Scorecard. You can download a free Yahtzee Scorecard here: Yahtzee Scorecard PDF!

1. Yahtzee Scorecard

Let’s get started and take a look at the Yahtzee Scorecard. It may seem complicated at first but don’t worry, we will explain it as easy as possible!

On the Yahtzee Scorecard are 13 empty boxes where your scores belong. On each turn, you roll the dice, and then decide which box is the best for your scores.

If you cannot enter a score, or don’t want to, you have to write a “0” in one of the boxes. But always take in mind that each box can just be filled once!

2. Upper Section

The Yahtzee Scorecard is divided into the Upper Section and Lower Section. In the Upper Section, you have to try to score at least 63 points. If you have 63 points or more, you get 35 extra points at the end of the game.

In the Upper Section, there are six different boxes: The aces, twos, threes, fours, fives, and sixes. To fill these boxes, you count the values on the dice with the same number together.

It may sound complicated but here is an example: In our scenario, you rolled three fours and two fives. Now you have two options: You have three fours, so you could write “12” in the fours box. But as you have two fives too, you could also choose to write “10” in the fives box.

Always remember that each box can just be filled once! So, take your time to decide.

example dice roll

3. Lower Section

The lower section on the Yahtzee Scorecard seems even more complicated than the upper section at first. But you just have to get familiar with the particular terms.

Instead of clear names like aces, twos, threes, fours, fives, and sixes, we have here “3 of a kind”, “4 of a kind”, “Full House”, “Small Straight”, “Large Straight”, “Yahtzee”, and “Chance”. We will now explain all of these terms separately.

- 3 of a kind

3 of a kind dice roll

If you roll three of the same dice, you score a “3 of a kind”. For example, you rolled three fours, a three and a six. At first, you multiply four by free which is 12. But you also have a 3 and a 6 left.

In the next step, you add them both and then you’ve got a score of 21. All in all, if you roll three fours, a three and a six, you can write “21” in the “3 of a kind” box.

- 4 of a kind

4 of a kind dice roll

Maybe you already guessed it right: The “4 of a kind” is basically the same as “3 of a kind”. You just have to roll four of the same dice. For example, you rolled four aces and a six.

Again, you have to multiply one by four and then add the 6. Now you can write “10” in the “4 of a kind” box.

- Full house

Full house dice roll

The combination of three dice of one number and two dice of another number is called a “full house”. In this case, the rolled numbers don’t really matter because a “full house” is always worth 25 points.

For example, if you roll four threes and two twos, you’ve got a “full house” and write “25” in the box.

- Small straight

Small straight dice roll

If four dice appear in a numerical sequence, it is called a “small straight”. Here you also don’t have to add the rolled numbers together because a “small straight” is worth 30 points.

For example, you rolled a three, a four, a five, a six, and one another random number. Then you’ve got a “small straight” and write “30” points in the box.

- Large straight

Large straight dice roll

The “large straight” is similar to the “small straight” but instead of four, you need five dice in a numerical sequence. This is 40 points.

For example, you’ve got a “large straight” if you rolled an ace, a two, a three, a four, and a five.

- Yahtzee

Yahtzee dice roll

The best result you can get while playing Yahtzee is the “Yahtzee” itself. If you roll five of the same dice, you’ve got a “Yahtzee”. You get 50 points for the first “Yahtzee” and for all additional “Yahtzee” 100 points each time.

For example, you rolled five aces, then you have a “Yahtzee” and get 50 points.

- Chance

Chance dice roll

There will be situations when you can’t or simply don’t want to fill your results in any other box. Then you have the opportunity to use the chance box.

For example, you rolled two sixes, a five, a three, and a two. Then you can just add them together and write “22” in the chance box.

Yahtzee Gameplay

For the game Yahtzee, you need at least two players. If you are, for example, four or six players, you can form teams.

In the beginning, you have to decide which player or team starts. Each team decides one player, this player rolls one die. The player or team with the highest score starts. Now the first player rolls the dice and the game starts!

The beginning of the game

In each round, each player can roll the dice in total three times. This helps you maximize your score, because you can keep how many dice you like, and can re-roll the others.

So, after you rolled for the first time, you can either think of the best result that’s possible, and go for it, or you want to stick with the safer option because the best result can be risky. It depends on you. After the first three rolls, it’s the second player’s turn.

The end of the game

The game is over after every player has taken 13 turns. The tricky part in the game Yahtzee is that your main goal is to fill out as many boxes as possible, but all boxes can just be filled in once.

After the 13th round of the last player, all of you calculate their score: Firstly, add the scores in the upper section together and write the result in the “total score” box in the upper section. If you get 63 points or more, you collect 35 extra points. The end result of the upper sections belongs in the “total” box.

Secondly, you add all the points in the lower section together and write the result in the “Total of lower section” box.

Thirdly, take a look back at the “Total score” of the upper section and write the number again in the “Total of the upper section” box. Now add them both together and you’ve got your “Grand Total”. This is your end result. And of course, the player or team with the highest score wins the game.

Yahtzee the drinking game

At this point in the article, you should already be familiar with how to play the game Yahtzee. If you’re not, please take a look at the “How to play Yahtzee” section to get familiar with the gameplay.

Because now we are going to present to you an alternative version of Yahtzee: Yahtzee the drinking game. As the dice drinking game Yahtzee is already fun without alcohol, it’s even more fun with it.

Grab your friends and some beer or whatever you like to drink, and let’s get this party started!

How to play the Yahtzee drinking game

The Yahtzee drinking game is a simple combination of the normal Yahtzee game and the following drinking rules. So please be sure, you know the rules of the normal game to understand how and when you and your friends have to drink.

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Every player needs something to drink, and you should prepare some shots as well. Now we are going to present to you our rules for the Yahtzee drinking game!

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  1. The cursed ace: Whenever a player rolls an ace, he drinks. And yes, if he rolls four aces in one turn, then he has to drink four times, and so and so on.

  2. Yahtzee: Every time when a player rolls a Yahtzee, he can assign the other players to drink. He can divide the rolled numbers between the players. For example, one player rolls a Yahtzee with the number 4, then he can define four people to drink.

  3. The picky one: The picky one is simple but cruel: Every time a player decides to re-roll every dice, he has to finish his drink.

  4. The 100 points: If one player rolls a Yahtzee for the second time or more, he drinks a shot.

  5. The waterfall: Whenever a player rolls a small or large street, this player starts a waterfall. This player starts drinking in one go and the other players have to follow him in line. All players have to drink until the player before them stops drinking.

Tips for playing Yahtzee

Numerous players are want to get better in playing Yahtzee but still don’t know how. If you’re looking across the internet, many are asking for Yahtzee strategies and most of them aren’t even sure if they even exist.

And I have good news for all of you: Yes, a Yahtzee strategy exists. And we have collected the best tips for playing Yahtzee!

👉 Suggested read: Fun Dice Drinking Games for your next Party

  1. Use your re-rolls wise! The main part of the game Yahtzee is re-rolling. In each of your turns, you should think about all the possible combinations, and decide wisely which ones of your dice you would like to re-roll. If you’re good at math, maybe even calculate it first. But only if you’re quick, otherwise the other players will get really annoyed.

  2. Avoid the “0”! Whenever you can’t fill any box, you have to write “0” points in one of the boxes. You should try to avoid this scenario at any cost. But if you are in this position, start with crossing out the “aces”, then the “twos”, and so on. Never start with the “sixes” box or the lower section.

  3. Don’t forget the upper section! If you get 63 or more in the upper section, you get 35 extra points in the end. And this 35 can make a huge difference! Always remember paying attention to the upper section as well while playing Yahtzee.

  4. Go for the Yahtzee! Every time you roll a Yathzee, after the first time, you get 100 points. In relation to the other points that is really much. Therefore, every time you have a chance to get a Yahtzee, take the risk, and go for it!

Alternative Versions of the Yahtzee game

As the game Yahtzee is one of the most famous dice game, there are many alternative versions of the game. We collected some of them to help you bring variations into your game!

📖 Suggested read: Give and Take Drinking Game: Rules & Instructions

1. 6 dice Yahtzee

This alternative version of Yahtzee might be the easiest one to explain: Instead of five dice, you’re playing with 6 dice. But one of them is being thrown out by your choice after your last roll. In this version, the chances are higher to get good results.

2. Special dice

In this alternative version of Yahtzee, you have to use one different looking dice as one of the five. This is your special dice. In each turn, nobody is allowed to re-roll the special dice. For example: After the first roll, You’ve got four aces but one five. In this case, everybody would want to re-roll the “five” but in our example, the “five” is on your special dice. So, you have to stick with the “five” and can’t re-roll it.

3. Playing in the right order

In this version of the game, you can’t decide which box you’d like to fill first according to your results. Instead, all players start with the “Aces” box and working their way down in sequential order. Nobody can skip a box, so, therefore, you might have to write a “0” in some of them. This version is way easier than the normal version because you don’t have to think of a strategy. It can be a good way to play with kids, or with people who are new to the game and need an easy introduction in the game.

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