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Mon Sep 02 2019



Yatzy Tactics

 Game Play

Yatzy can be played with 2 - 6 players. Players take turns rolling five dice. After each roll, the player chooses which dice to keep, and which to reroll. A player may reroll some or all of the dice up to two times on a turn. The player must put a score or zero into a score box each turn. The game ends when all score boxes are used. The player with the highest total score wins the game.


The following combinations earn points: 

Upper Section:

  • Ones: The sum of all dice showing the number 1.
  • Twos: The sum of all dice showing the number 2.
  • Threes: The sum of all dice showing the number 3.
  • Fours: The sum of all dice showing the number 4.
  • Fives: The sum of all dice showing the number 5.
  • Sixes: The sum of all dice showing the number 6.

If a player manages to score at least 63 points (three of each number) in the upper section, they are awarded a bonus of 50 points. 

Lower Section:

  • One Pair: Two dice showing the same number. Score: Sum of those two dice.
  • Two Pairs: Two pairs of dice. Score: Sum of dice in those two pairs.
  • Three of a Kind: Three dice showing the same number. Score: Sum of those three dice.
  • Four of a Kind: Four dice with the same number. Score: Sum of those four dice.
  • Small Straight: Fo.ur consecutive numbers. Example: 3,4,5,6. Score: 30 points.
  • Large Straight: Five consecutive numbers. Example: 1,2,3,4,5. Score: 40 points.
  • House: Any set of three combined with a set of two. Score: 25 points.
  • Chance: Any combination of dice. Score: Sum of all the dice.
  • Yatzy: All five dice with the same number. Score: 50 points.


Tempting though it might be to concentrate on the high scoring lower section its best usually to keep options open for any combination your first roll turns up, and the 50 bonus for your top half reaching 63 is crucial in most games

That needs 3 of each denomination 1-6, any less means you need four of a bigger denomination to compensate. So early on if your first roll turns up a pair or more save those and reroll. You might make yatzy too. Choice of pairs, pick the higher. If you already have that denomination in the upper section look for options…with eg 5 or 6 look for 2 pairs with 1,2,3 look for full house

If your starting roll is a full house with low denominations keep it, but if eg its 3x 6s reroll the pair looking for 4 x6s or jatzy. with 4 x 6s you could still hit your 63 with only 2x1, 2x2, 2x3 That can be so helpful if you get 3x6s early on, consider posting 3 of a kind hoping for 4x6s later for the upper section. But with 5x6s take the yatzty.

Straights… keep these open until your starting dice are 2,3,4,5 n gives you 2 rerolls to get either a 1 or a 6. If you don’t make it but end up with 2x5 consider posting a pair keeping small straight open for next opportunity

As the game develops if you have a healthy upper section(4x6s, 4x5s …) and your start roll is 2,3,5,n,n or 2,4,5,n,n go for straights if the ns match denominations you already have in the upper section, else consider full house when you have 2 pairs.

If you don’t make your combination register the least damaging score eg a pair or 1x1 in upper where you already have 4x2s or more. The Chance slot is worth keeping for 25+ points

In late game, consider least likely slots for the zero scores, especially if your opponent is behind you or has zeroed the same slot already, so jatzy often first major sacrifice unless scores opponent is too far ahead. Also consider fallback options, you don’t want to be aiming for opposites like 4 of a kind or a straight in your 2nd and 3rd rolls