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Review: Yahtzee Free-For-All

21 December 2008

One of the gifts we got at the TKD white elephant gift exchange was Yahtzee Free for All. We decided to play it while waiting for dinner to finish, and later between dinner and dessert. The first game had 3 players; the second, 4. The adults had played Yahtzee before, but the kids hadn’t.

Going into the game, I didn’t have my hopes up. Yahtzee tends to be somewhat boring.

The game play in Yahtzee Free-For-All is not dissimilar to Yahtzee, in that players use dice to fulfill combos (2’s, full house, etc.). However, the combos are printed on a deck of cards in this game, so the combos available to score with vary from turn to turn. And, because combos are vulnerable for a round before you score them, you can steal other player’s combos. Combos vary in value from 2 to 10.

With a limited number of combos, the game could stalemate quickly, but they added a poker chip mechanic to prevent this. If you can’t complete a combo, you place a chip next to each card. When you complete a combo, you score any chips placed by it immediately, thereby giving an incentive to try for combos that others can’t complete. The game ends when you run out of cards or chips, and there are only enough chips to allow for eight or so failures to complete combos.

One minor annoyance: we had trouble understanding the special rules for 2 or 3 players, so we ignored them. It wasn’t clear how a person would end up with more than one Home space (where combos are vulnerable) filled at a time.

We found that the added player interaction made Yahtzee surprisingly fun again. Kudos!

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