I love dice games, really love dice games. Every time I pick up a handful of dice there’s something about the shake and the throw that makes me feel lucky. Fortunately, this passion doesn’t extend into the world of craps; gambling just isn’t my thing, but I digress.
Thankfully, it’s not just me; I think my entire family has a weakness for dice games. Every one of us has at least one well-loved copy of Yahtzee and if you asked, I’d say we probably all have a copy tucked away in our cars “in case of an emergency.” I’m not kidding. Two winters ago, I was riding through the middle of nowhere Wisconsin in a blizzard with my father heading to my aunt’s 50th birthday party when we slid off the road. As we waited for the tow truck to arrive, I climbed into the back of his van to fish out Yahtzee. We played about ten games before the tow truck arrived. Unfortunately, I lost almost all of them, which seems totally unfair since he was the one who drove us off the road. Guess luck had to roll his way at some point!
Yahtzee is really a well-loved classic and if you haven’t played in a while, it’s worth another look. There were tons of similar poker-dice style games that are probably quite a bit older than Yahtzee, like Yacht and Cheerio. But Yahtzee showed up on store shelves in the mid-1950s and beat out other similar dice games like Kismet to become probably the best-known dice game of all time. And since the mid-1970s it’s been a strong dice-game brand with more than ten line line extensions, although classic Yahtzee is still my favorite.
As a note to parents, Yahtzee is a great way to teach your kids math (adding & multiplying) and probability. Take the time to let them add up their dice, and explain why they’d have better odds rolling for one thing over the other. Unfortunately they may start beating you, but it’s still a heck of a lot more fun than insisting they do math workbooks.