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Tabletop Game / Yahtzee

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Yahtzee is an adaptation of a traditional English dice game (Yacht), altered slightly and given a pseudo-Oriental makeover by Milton Bradley. Players roll five dice, trying to get as many matching numbers as possible. If a player succeeds in getting all five dice to match, he gets a "Yahtzee" (called a "Yacht" in the traditional version) and a 50-point bonus. Bonuses are also awarded for poker hand-esque combinations, such as a pair of twos and three threes, making a full house.

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Various versions with altered gameplay have been released over the years, ranging from Showdown Yahtzee, which added a competitive board game element, to Yahtzee Turbo, a card-based game with a talking electronic "Big Die". A recent variant, Power Yahtzee, includes a red Power Die, which can double or triple a player's score. Yahtzee was also the basis for a short-lived syndicated Game Show with Peter Marshall in the late-1980s; the short-lived 1975 game show Spin-Off (hosted by Jim Lange for Nicholson-Muir on CBS) was like this but with questions, and Family Game Night on Hasbro-owned The Hub featured Yahtzee Bowling.

Not to be confused with Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw.


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This game provides examples of:

  • Golden Snitch: Getting a second "Yahtzee" after the first (which is already worth 50 points itself) is pretty much a game winner unless the other player also manages to do so as you get a 100 point bonus and can use it as a joker to complete any other scoring dice combination such as the otherwise difficult to acquire "Full Straight" worth 40 points before the bonus. In a game where the absolute maximum score without multiple "Yahtzees" is 375 and the average score is around 250 this is pretty much game over for your opponent 99% of the time.
  • Luck Manipulation Mechanic: Yahtzee incorporates this as a core game mechanic. Players roll five dice each round, and if they don't like how they come up, they can re-roll some or all of them up to twice in one turn in attempts to get specific dice combinations.
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  • Themed Stock Board Game: Yahtzee is starting to get this treatment, with versions for American national parks, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Legend of Zelda, Doctor Who, Back to the Future, and even A Christmas Story.
  • Word Purée Title: Mixing "Yacht" with "Yangtze" to produce "Yahtzee"

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