YAHTZEE RULES


YAHTZEE rules title

OBJECTIVE: In Yahtzee players aim to gain points by rolling dice combinations. The player with the highest total score after 13 rounds wins.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 1+

MATERIALS: five dice, dice cup, ten bonus chips, score pad.

TYPE OF GAME: Board game

AUDIENCE: All ages


OVERVIEW OF YAHTZEE

This post contains some partner links for various products.

Hasbro Gaming Yahtzee
  • Dice-rollin' battle game
  • Includes 5 dice and shaker
  • Yahtzee comes with 100 score cards

Did you know that Yahtzee has been around since 1956? It was first created by Edwin S. Lowe, who published the game with Milton Bradley. Yahtzee is a wonderful game for a family game night or a quiet evening alone.

In the text below, we will thoroughly review the game’s rules. We have also added some probabilities for you if you are trying to up your game. Another great dice-rolling game is Farkle; check it out.

SETUP FOR YAHTZEE

You will hand each player a scorecard. To determine the first player, each player will roll all five dice. The person who rolls the highest total goes first, and the play moves to the left.

WHAT’S IN THE BOX

YAHTZEE rules setup

Inside your Yahtzee game, you will find several things.

  • Yahtzee rulebook
  • Scoring sheets
  • Five dice
  • Plastic markers
  • Rolling cup

HOW TO PLAY YAHTZEE

On your turn, you have three opportunities to roll the dice to score the highest points from dice combinations. After three rolls, mark your score or a zero on your scorecard in the corresponding column. You may stop after the first roll if satisfied with the outcome.

FIRST ROLL

Roll all five dice. Either stop your turn here and mark your points or set aside dice that are ‘keepers’ and roll again.

SECOND ROLL

You may roll any or all of the dice from the first roll. You need not declare which combination you are attempting to roll for, as it may change after the second roll. After the second roll, you may stop and score yourself or roll again.

THIRD ROLL

Again, you may roll any or all of the five dice. After this roll you must score yourself or mark a zero. After marking your score, your turn is over, and play moves left.

SCORING

YAHTZEE rules scoring

On the scorecard, 13 columns correspond to the 13 rounds in each game. You must fill in a box on your turn, even if you score yourself zero. The scorecard is separated into two sections: Upper Section and Lower Section.

UPPER SECTION

Aces (Ones): Total of Aces

Twos: Total of Twos

Threes: Total of Threes

Fours: Total of Fours

Fives: Total of Fives

Sixes: Total of Sixes

How to Score Upper Section:

If you roll, for example, three 3s, one 2, and one 4, you can score that as a 9 in the threes box, a 2 in the twos box, or a 4 in the fours box.

The objective of the Upper Section is to score, by any combination, 63 points to earn a 35-point bonus.

LOWER SECTION

THREE OF A KIND

Total of all five dice. Score only in this section if you roll three or more of the same number on the dice.

Alternative Scoring: You can score the total number in the upper section or the total of all dice in the chance section.

FOUR OF A KIND

Total of all five dice. Score only in this section if you roll four or more of the same number on the dice.

Alternative Scoring: You can also score the total in the 3-of-a-kind or chance box. You may also score them in the upper section.

FULLHOUSE

25 points. In the Yahtzee rules, you score a Full House when there are three of one number and two dice of another. Full Houses are always 25 points, no matter which numbers compose it.

Alternative Scoring: You can also total the three dice and score in the 3 of a Kind or score all dice in the Chance box. You can also score in the Upper Section.

SMALL STRAIGHT

30 points. You score small straights with any four sequential dice; for example, if you roll a 2, 3, 4, 5, or any other number that is considered a small straight, No matter where the straight starts or ends, it is always 30 points, as long as it fits the small straight criteria.

Alternative Scoring: Replace a small straight score in the Chance box instead of a small straight box.

LARGE STRAIGHT

40 points. You score large straights with any five sequential dice. For example, rolling a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and any other number is considered a large straight. As with the small straight, regardless of whether the sequence starts with a one or a two, it is still scored as 40 points.

Alternative Scoring: You can score large straights in the small straight or chance box.

YAHTZEE!

50 points. You can only score in the Yahtzee box if you roll five dice of the same number or a 5 of a kind. Each following Yahtzee rolled earns you a bonus.

CHANCE

Total of all five dice. The chance box is a free-for-all box that you can use when you cannot score in other categories and do not want to score a zero.

YAHTZEE BONUS

After rolling one Yahtzee, the next Yahtzee earns you a 100-point bonus. Grab a bonus chip and mark a check in the Yahtzee bonus box. After, fill in one of the 13 boxes according to Joker Rules (described below). There is no limit to the amount of Yahtzee bonuses you can earn. However, if you have already marked a zero in the Yahtzee box, you can not earn Yahtzee bonuses. Fill in one of the 13 boxes by Joker Rules. 

JOKER RULES

Score the total of the five rolled dice in the Upper Section. If you fill those, score in the Lower Section by point values defined above, i.e., Small Straight is 30 points.

An example of Joker Rules in the Yahtzee rules is that you roll five 5s but have already marked zero in your Yahtzee box. You also scored 5s in the upper section. Joker Rules allow you to open any box in the Lower Section for scoring you still need to score. For example, if it is open, you may mark 40 in the Large Straight Box.

YAHTZEE PROBABILITIES

Yahtzee probabilities can change drastically depending on your strategy in the game. Players who strive to get the most Yahtzees will have a much different chance of winning than a player going for even scoring.

YAHTZEE

The chance of a player rolling a Yahtzee in a single turn is 4.61% or 1 in 22 turns. The odds of rolling a Yahtzee in a single roll drastically decrease to 0.077%.

HIGHEST SCORE POSSIBLE

The highest score possible in Yahtzee is 1575. You can only achieve this score by rolling a Yahtzee every round. The odds of this occurring is about 0.000000000000000043797%. So, it is astronomically unlikely.

LOWEST SCORE POSSIBLE

The lowest score possible in Yahtzee is 5. You may be thinking to yourself, would it not be 0? But no, with the chance section, the only way to get the lowest score would be to get five 1s and score them in chance.

AVERAGE SCORES

The true difference between an optimized strategy and a high-score mentality is illustrated in the average scores of the game. The player that is optimizing their turns scores 255 points. On average, a player who strictly tries for Yahtzees scores 172 points.

ENDING A GAME OF YAHTZEE

After you and all players fill all 13 columns, the game ends. Now, each player totals their score in the following way:

Upper Section: Mark the total sum of your Upper Section score in the corresponding total score box. If you score 63 points or more, add the 35-point bonus before marking your total score.

Lower Section:  You will mark the total sum of the Lower Section score in the corresponding total score box. Add 100 points for each check in the Yahtzee bonus box.

Grand Total: Sum of Upper and Lower Sections. This sum is your total score for that game—the player with the highest total wins.

SINGLE-PLAYER

The same Yahtzee rules apply, but you simply play yourself! Challenge yourself to beat your previous scores in solo play. Check out our compilation of the 12 best solo board games!

FAQ

How Many Dice Are There in Yahtzee?

There are five dice you will roll on your turns.

How Many Rolls Do You Get In Yahtzee?

There are 13 rounds of Yahtzee, and each player can have up to 3 rolls in each round.

What Is the Highest Possible Score in Yahtzee?

The absolute maximum score you can get in the standard Yahtzee rules is 1,575 points.

Where Does the Word “Yahtzee” Come From?

The game’s original creators were a couple who played the game on their yacht. When they sold the game rights, the company wanted to keep some of its original heritage in the name.

VARIATIONS

In some game versions, players must complete the upper section before they can start scoring into the lower section.

PLAY ONLINE

At Solitaried.com, you can play Yahtzee free online in both single-player and multi-player modes.

GIANT YAHTZEE

If you want a supersized version of Yahtzee, check out Yardzee, a giant game meant to be played outdoors. We also cover some other fun giant games in our roundup article.

Amber Crook
Latest posts by Amber Crook (see all)

22 thoughts on “YAHTZEE RULES”

  1. I have also found a version where the players must complete the upper tricks before trying the lower. It makes filling the lower tricks harder, and yields a wider range of scores.

    • Hi Joseph, that’s an interesting version I had not heard of yet! Thanks for letting me know and I’ll add it as a variation.

  2. What if you scored a Yahtzee and placed in the Yahtzee box and now you get a second Yahtzee say of five’s and upper 5’s are filled in can you use for a straight plus 100 points

    • Hi Sharon, in your example as I understand it, you have scored in the Yahtzee’s box, and in the upper 5’s box. You have also just rolled a Yahtzee of 5s. in this case you would mark the bonus box next to Yahtzee and take your bonus chip to signify your extra 100 points. You can then score your Yahtzee in accordance to the Joker rules. This means you can score into any open box on the upper level. You specifically asked about straights, so you could mark 30 points into your small straight box or 40 points into your large straight box.

    • Hi Johnathan, I have never heard of that variation for Yahtzee! Very cool! I’ll see if I can research it some more and add it to the rules. Thanks again.

  3. Do you only play 13 rounds or do you play until your card is full? If I get 3-4 Yatzees, my card won’t be full in 13 rounds.

  4. Is one of the four players allowed to change her game total ?? This error was discovered TWO GAMES LATER, when ending the 6th game ?? Would greatly appreciate your help. Thank you.

    • Hi Christine, No, a player may not change any of their submissions. Once a player puts a number into a column it is there for the rest of the game. I hope this helps.

  5. Question, if someone roles a yahtzee, can they use it in the upper portion of the game versus using it as a yahtzee. Ex:I roll 5 fives …can I put 25 in the fives of the upper section???

  6. Thank you so much. I just rolled my best ever yatzee game: 609. I had 4 yatzees, got my bonus, and no zeros on bottom. I researched rules and found this website.

    Caveat: Our family has always played that additional yatzees earn the extra 100 but no additional spots are used so at the end of the game additonal rolls are needed to complete the game (which really makes it harder as I had to roll my straights, etc.)

  7. Given the miserable odds of throwing multi Yahtzees in a game of only 13 rolls each :
    100 bonus every Yahtzee + a Joker is a bit much, it breaks the balance of the game. A player already has a huge advantage with the joker option, they don’t need additional 100 bonus points every extra Yahtze they roll. It is “overpowered” as they say in modern gaming.
    Even in an exceptional throw run, you can only max around a score of 475, without the extra x12 Yahtzee bonus.
    Max points with a ridiculous x13 Yahtzee bonus is around 1675 !
    100 bonus for the first Yahtzee is fair enough, but not for the rest.

    If the other players don’t even have a fair level playing field chance to at least tie in a draw (which is hard enough as it is), then what is their incentive to keep playing or even play at all ?

  8. Question about Bonus Yatzee. If one rolls a bonus yatzee of all 5’s but the 5’s in the upper section are already filled and the complete lower section is already filled. In addition to the 100 bonus Yatzee points, can I fill in points in an open box (not 5’s) in the upper section and how do I add the points? Or do I need to take a zero in one of the upper section boxes.

    • Hi Sandy, You will need to score one of your open sections. You will take the bonus chip and mark the bonus box. If you have to score it as a 0 in one of your spaces you can no longer get a bonus Yahtzee.

    • According to classic rules a total of 1535 points is possible, but would require you to roll a Yahtzee every turn.

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