Last night was game night at our house. Each family member got to pick a game. I was last, and when I went to the game closet to find one we hadn't yet played, I spotted an oldie but a goodie back in the corner collecting dust, and Yahtzee was introduced to a new generation.
**WARNING -- I felt compelled to come up with 6 to match the numbers on the dice, so some are a little lame**
- When in doubt, go for Yahztee > at one point Henry (12-years-old) was going for a Full House. On his first role, he had 2 fives and 2 ones, so he was only re-rolling one die. I paused the game, pulled out my soap box, and proceeded to lecture him on the benefits of going for a Yahztee instead of a Full House. Yahztees are worth more points, and you have more safety nets if you don't get it - your fives or ones, Three of Kind, Four of Kind, and even your Chance. Full House is something you take when it happens, but you don't chase it. Okay, so it wasn't my finest parenting hour, but the strategy is spot on. Go big or go home. Go for Yahztee!
- Stay on schedule > the upper section of the scorecard is cleverly called, "UPPER SECTION." Here you record your Aces, Twos, Threes and so on. If you get a total score of 63 points for that section, you earn a 35 point bonus. That happens when you get at least 3 of every number. It's important to stay on schedule, but obstacles get in the way. When that happens you have to make up for lost time and role 4 of a larger number to make up for any deficits. Know where you are at all times, and work to stay on schedule.
- The obvious answer isn't always best > I was behind on the Upper Section when I roled a Yahztee of 5 sixes. The obvious answer was to mark my score in Yahztee because it's worth 50 points. It wasn't until my next turn that I realized I could have scored more points by recording my 5 sixes in the Upper Section. It would have only been 30 points for the 5 sixes, but I would also earn the bonus of 35 points since that would put me "back on schedule." I could have earned 65 points instead of the 50.
- Balance is important > a good score on all the boxes is worth more than a great score on some boxes and bad score on most boxes. Remember the balance of the die; both sides add up to seven. I know. It's lame, but I did warn you, and it is true - balance is important!
- Minimize your loses > when the bad rolls happen, and they will, cut your loses and move on. A zero in your Aces box does less damage than 2 fours in your Fours box. Missing three Aces only puts you three points behind schedule, while only missing one four puts you four points behind schedule.
- It's a game of luck and strategy > the tag line on the box serves as a good motto for life. My grandfather used to say, "Life is a series of near misses" which roughly translates to life is a game of luck and strategy.
Next time some asks you for advice, pause dramatically, give them a reassuring smile, and state with confidence, "Go for Yahtzee!" What life lessons have you learned from Yahtzee or other board games? Share your lessons in the comments.