Handheld Yahtzee Hack - 5 New Ways to Play

Introduction: Handheld Yahtzee Hack - 5 New Ways to Play

About: In Brazil, they say "dar um jeitinho" which means to jerry-rig or otherwise figure out a solution to an everyday problem. That's what I try to do whenever an opportunity comes my way.

Handheld electronic Yahtzee is a great addition to any road trip, camp-out, or, let's be honest, visit to the powder room. It's small size and simple components make it a welcome weapon against boredom of all ages.

With the availability of modern smart phones and other portable devices, these precursory PDAs will eventually be forgotten. So, while we still have them around, I've thought of five new ways to spice things up from the bedroom to the bathroom.


From Wikipedia (Nov. 2011):  "The object of the game is to score the most points by rolling five dice to make certain combinations. The dice can be rolled up to three times in a turn to try to make one of the thirteen possible scoring combinations. A game consists of thirteen rounds during which the player chooses which scoring combination is to be used in that round. Once a combination has been used in the game, it cannot be used again.

The scoring combinations have varying point values, some of which are fixed values and others of which have the cumulative value of the dice. A Yahtzee is five-of-a-kind and holds the game's highest point value of 50 (not counting multiple "Yahtzees" in the same game)."

And some fun facts:

     * In The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror XXI, Yahtzee is parodied as Yahtzu.

     * In Family Guy, Yahtzee is played by the Griffin family during the episode From Method to Madness.

     * In the South Park episode, You Have 0 Friends, Yahtzee is played by Stan Marsh during the deathmatch needed to delete his Facebook account (itself a spoof of Tron).

     * Yahtzee is a term that is shouted with glee upon the arrival of a joyous occasion.

     * Yahtzee has been cited as a precipitating factor in a case of domestic violence and as the motive for at least one murder.

     * Yahtzee was featured in the episode "Remedial Chaos Theory" in NBC's "Community".

Please enjoy, rate, and VOTE!

Yours Truly,


Step 1: Pass One Down

From two players and up, you can involve the whole family or dorm-room by each playing one move at a time. The goal here is to beat your high score as a group.

Each player takes a turn rolling up to three times and chooses which dice to hold, then selects which position to take. Pass along to your neighbor until the game is finished.

For more fun, play this around a bowl of candy where you get to keep how ever many pieces of candy for the number of points your turn yielded. Each "YAHTZEE!" earns 50 M&M's!

Step 2: Good Lord

Play with what the Good Lord gave you!

In this fast paced version, the scores will be lower and the choice between which position to take becomes more critical. You ONLY get one roll per position. In other words, roll the dice, then immediately choose which position to take based on the lay of the roll and move on to the next play. Because you have fewer opportunities to influence the game, there is a higher element of chance.

You can certainly play with these rules by yourself, but this quicker play can be more fun in a car or group because the others don't have to wait as long between turns.

Step 3: Order Up

On this variation, you can have as many rolls as you like - up to three - but you must play the board (screen) in the order that it gives you. If you'll notice, after your third roll the arrow cursor will place itself in the next available position - This is where you play. First you play the '1's, then the '2's, and so on, saving the Yahtzee for last.

It can get pretty exciting when you are able to hit the Yahtzee on the very last roll, but try not to get frustrated if you get one before it's turn!

Step 4: Low Boy

Believe it or not, getting the lowest score possible is quite a challenge. I don't think one can even get a zero on handheld Yahtzee. (Comment below if you think/know otherwise)

In this reversal of skill, try to avoid getting stuck with decent dice at the end of a roll. Bounce around the board as many ways as you can, but whatever you do, DON'T get a Yahtzee. Challenge your friends and enemies to see who can go the lowest.

Step 5: Blind Surprise

For this game, you'll need, either three thumbs, or a bit of opaque (not clear) tape. Masking or electrical tape work best and will come off easily without leaving much residue, if any. Cover up the outer two dice where they display on the screen. You will leave these here for the entire game.

The point is to blend some strategy with an element of chance. You will only know what the three middle dice are doing so make your best guess and see how well you do. On the plus side, the game will tell you if you've hit your Yahtzee by flashing and automatically moving the cursor arrow to the 50 points position.


Even though I listed only five simple variations for handheld Yahtzee, you can apply your own twists by using any combination of these rules. For example, any changes I made on 2-5 could be played as a group. Or you can join two of my versions into one new game. Try them out and have fun!

I hope I've shared a little of my love for this simple, time-tested pocket travel game and I hope you can dust yours off and get a few more years of fun out of it.

Congratulations on reaching the end of my 'ible and please RATE and VOTE in the contests!


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