Yahtzee 39 – Make Yahtzee Fun Again!

Yahtzee 39 - a great new way to play Yahtzee

Yahtzee 39 – Make Yahtzee Fun Again!

(Yep, I’m a proud MYFA supporter. So proud that if there were red MYFA hats available, I’d wear one.)

Forgive the digression from sales, leadership, and customer experience content for a quick lesson on a version of Yahtzee we’ve begun playing in our home. We call it Yahtzee 39. (I’m only posting this here because I couldn’t find any examples online of others playing Yahtzee the way we now do.)

We’ve played Yahtzee for decades, but it had become less fun over time and basically boring. So much luck is involved in the traditional game that we pretty much stopped playing – and when we did play, we’d play just one game and then store it away for a month or more before we’d play again. With Yahtzee 39, we now play multiple games nearly every day.

Why Yahtzee 39?

Because there are entries for 13 different Yahtzee results in the traditional game and you’re given up to 3 rolls per turn, we wondered what would happen if you got to use all 39 rolls no matter what, but only 39 rolls? Initially, we called this New Yahtzee, but decided it needed a better name. Yahtzee 39 was born.

Yahtzee 39 Rules

Yahtzee 39 uses the same scorecards and scoring as the traditional game with a couple of twists:

  1. You can use as many rolls as necessary to achieve any one Yahtzee result. For example, if you got three 5’s and two 6’s on your very first roll, you could:
    1. Stop now and award yourself a score of 15 on your 5’s – you’ve used one of your 39 rolls.
    2. Stop now and award yourself a score of 25 for your Full House – you’ve used one of your 39 rolls.
    3. Stop now and award yourself a score of 27 on your 3 of a Kind – you’ve used one of your 39 rolls.
    4. Continue rolling to get more 5’s to achieve a better score on your 5’s, a 4 of a Kind, or Yahtzee. Each additional roll you take reduces the number of remaining rolls you have for the rest of the game.
  2. Achieving Yahtzee in the original game means getting 5 of a Kind. It’s the same in Yahtzee 39 with two exceptions:
    1. Additional Yahtzees (after your first one) only count for 50 points instead of 100.
    2. You cannot “double count” an additional Yahtzee. That is, if your second Yahtzee is five 6’s, then you can only award yourself one score. In this instance, you might choose one of the following:
      1. Award yourself an extra Yahtzee (50 points)
      2. Award yourself five 6’s (30 points)
      3. Award yourself a 3 or 4 of a Kind (30 points each)

Keeping Track in Yahtzee 39

It’s important to keep track of the number of rolls you’ve used (and especially the number of rolls your opponents have used). The easiest way we’ve found to do this is to use an extra pad of paper along with your Yahtzee scorecard. You write 39 on the top line of the pad, and then after each turn, you cross out the old number and write the new number of rolls remaining below it.

We each maintain our own Yahtzee scorecards and extra pad of paper to track the number of rolls. However, you could certainly have one person maintain these for all players – tracking both the scores and the number of rolls remaining for each.

We’ve discovered Yahtzee 39 requires much more strategy than the original primarily because you want to be efficient with your rolls. It’s not uncommon for a player to run out of rolls with one or more blanks on their Yahtzee scorecards. These blanks are counted as zero.

Conversely, if you have rolls remaining after filling in all 13 spaces on your scorecard, you can use your remaining rolls to try to score additional Yahtzees – with each additional Yahtzee giving you 50 points.

Make Yahtzee Fun Again!

With all the technological distractions we face – many of which are driving people and families further apart – we’ve found that playing Yahtzee 39 is a great way to keep us from burying our heads in our phones while we keep our attention focused on those around us.