Pros: Fairly inexpensive, well set up, good quality
Cons: Small spaces, only one sided for scoring, can make your own
I decide it was time to teach my 7 year old how to play Yahtzee, the classic dice game. I have the game loaded on my iPod and she likes to look over my shoulder as a play. I decided to skip the boxed set and just go for the score card pads.
What You Get
Yahtzee Score Pads come in a pack of 80 sheets, glue-bound at the top. The 5" X 7" sheets pull off the binding easily without tearing. I purchased the boxed pack for $3, about a third of the price of buying the boxed game. We had plenty of dice around the house, but I could have purchased a set of 6 for just $1.
What is Yahtzee?
Yahtzee is a simple dice game. Players take turns rolling 5 dice up to three times per turn trying to make specific combinations. After each roll you can choose to save some of the dice and roll the remaining ones to improve your score. In the Upper section of the Yahtzee Score Pad you are trying to roll groups of each number on the dice: 1s, 2s, 3s etc. What shows on the other dice do not count toward your scores, only the number you choose to score. On the Lower section you have poker-like hands: large and small straights, full house, three of a kind, four of a kind and the all important Yahtzee which is rolling the same number on all five dice. The player with the highest total score wins.
The Yahtzee Score Card Pads are just what I wanted; I didn't need to spend an extra $6 on a plastic cup or special bonus chips. The printing on each sheet is crisp and clear and both the printing and paper withstand repeated erasing. Each score pads allows you to keep score for 6 games for a player. On the back of each sheet is a grid to keep track of the scores for each player in a game.
Personally, we never use the back of the sheet to keep track of player's scores, so I would prefer to have the standard scoring on the back as well. One thing I have never liked about the score pads is that each sheet is intended for only one player to use. There is a space at the top to write the player's name and then they can use that sheet for up to 6 games. However, to keep things moving when playing with kids usually an adult keeps score for everyone. It would be nice if instead of having the columns labeled as Game 1, Game 2 etc., there was a space to write each player's name. I just end up putting everyone's initials above the game number. Another reason an adult keeps score is because the blocks for each score are rather small. Children can probably understand the game long before they have the fine motor skills to write their scores neatly.
An advantage to purchasing just the score cards over the boxed game is the opportunity to customize your dice. Counting pips on dice is a skill adults take for granted and one children do pick up on, eventually. However, when my younger daughter wanted to learn to play Yahtzee, she was frustrated with all of those dots. I sent my husband downstairs to cut up 6 small blocks of wood. I sanded the corners and used a permanent marker to write the digits on each side of each die. It can be a challenge for children to learn a new game and there seemed to be no reason to further frustrate Five by making her contend with standard marked dice, there is plenty of time for that.
Because their hands are smaller than an adult's I realized that we needs a cup to help my kids roll the dice. I pulled out one of the many plastic cups we have that come home from chain restaurants. As a bonus I have a top for the cup to keep the dice from getting lost when we aren't playing. And gluing some felt into the cup reduces the loud rattle of wood against plastic when kids shake, shake, shake those dice.
The Better Yahtzee Score Card
After just a month, we abandoned our Yahtzee Score Pads. I spent about 30 minutes setting up a score pad in Excel. I simply used our score pad as a template and filed in the cells. I slightly modified the template to add a space at the top for each player's name. I also made the scoring boxes larger so my 7 year old can keep score and practice her addition skills.
Yahtzee Score Pads are fairly inexpensive but best suited for adult players. There are several websites where you can print out score cards. With some basic computer skills it is easy to make your own score pads and customize them however you like. But, if you have never played Yahtzee you may want to spend the $10 on the boxed game to get the instructions.