If you’ve been
playing Yahtzee for any extensive length of time – especially if
you’ve been playing with the same group of people – odds are you’ve
been looking for a new way to mix things up. As fun as this popular
dice game is, there’s no denying that it can get a little monotonous
after a while.
Some of the rules and scoring variations herein are things my family came up with years ago to keep the game exciting or make it more challenging. The ones I found while researching the topic online came from other players who twisted the original rules in the same way, either making the game easier or more difficult to win. None of these are official rule variations.
Different Ways to Play Yahtzee
All you’ll need
to play any of these unique Yahtzee games is the usual equipment –
5 dice, score pads, and players! A dice cup for rolling is optional.
I’ll start by listing the games I find to be more challenging, since
that’s usually the goal of altering the rules. The bottom of the list
has variations that make it easier to get a high score (and may
require additional dice!)
following Yahtzee rule variations assume you already know how to play
by original rules. If not, please refer to this page first:
In traditional Yahtzee, players can score in any area that’s open
on a single game row. In the Half & Half version, players must
complete scoring the Upper Section first, then move on to the Lower
Section. This makes it much more challenging to accomplish the Upper
Bonus, or to score a Yahtzee. If a player does manage to score
Yahtzee, they will also get to roll for a Bonus Yahtzee at the end.
If playing more than one game, you can alternate sections by
reversing the order. On the second game, roll for the Lower Section
first, and Upper Section last.
Down The Line Yahtzee
A more brutal version of the previous rules, this version requires
every player to roll for the next item on the list. Start with 1’s in
the Upper Section, then 2’s, 3’s, and so on “down the line”.
Being such a difficult way to generate a decent score, you may
want to allow any Yahtzee/Bonus Yahtzee to be scored if/when it
occurs. Or not – up to you!
Special Dice Yahtzee
The hardest variation of them all, this edition requires the use
of one special dice, and four standard dice. By special, I mean you
must be able to tell this dice from the others. It could be a
different color or different size. If you don’t have one, use a
marker to mark one of the standard dice (wash it off later with warm
water and soap or hand sanitizer).
The idea is that you must keep the special dice on the first roll,
and you must use it when scoring your total. For instance, if the
special dice is a 2, and the final roll results are 2-2-5-5-5, you
cannot take this as a score on 5’s. You must include the 2. Therefore
it could only be two 2’s, 3 of a Kind, Full House, or 19 on Chance.
Full Sheet Yahtzee
The first of my easy-scoring variations, this game can be
very long, but also very exciting! The idea is that players use their
entire score sheet – all 6 game lines – for a single game. The
first two game lines are worth 1x points. The second two lines (games
3 and 4) are worth 2x points. And the last two lines (games 5 and 6)
are tallied at 3x the value.
By these rules, where you record each score is extremely
important. If you have to scratch something, you’ll want to do it on
the first lines, while scoring a Yahtzee and Bonus Yahtzees in the
final columns can be invaluable!
Ways to Score Yahtzee with Extra Dice
These next two editions require players
to have access to more dice.
6 Dice Yahtzee
In this version, you’ll one extra die in the mix. The concept is
simple. Players rolls 6 dice instead of 5 to make it a little easier
to get those big roll combinations. The rules are otherwise the same,
though. The player must choose one dice to omit from the results,
only using 5 to score the roll.
You’ll need a whole lot of dice for this game! Every player needs
5. It’s a very fast game and potentially high scoring game. The idea
is that all players roll at the same time. Each will hide the results
of their roll so no other player may see it. After the first roll,
each player can select one die from their roll to pass to their left.
Swapping is optional – not required. Each player passes their
swapped dice to the next player on their left who also chose to swap
(skip over those who don’t). This way all players start and end with
Now, players take a second roll, as usual, followed by another
optional swapping of 1 die. Players can then reveal their dice for
the final roll. No further swapping is permitted.
More About Yahtzee
If you’d like to learn more about this immensely popular dice game, including more interesting ways to shake up the rules, check out the following pages:
Adalene Lucas: is our jack of all trades here at DBC. She is a skilled coder, gambler, writer and webmaster. She lives in Manitoba where she enjoys the lush landscapes and camping near Tulabi Falls. Nature gives her inspiration to write. When she's not immersed in nature, her favorite words are "game theory". She lives with her husband and their two Labradors, Kophy and Whisper.