Saturday, June 07, 2008

#92: Yahtzee Junior

Yahtzee Junior
  • designer: uncredited
  • publisher: Milton Bradley
  • date: 1991
  • BoardGameGeek rank/rating: 4301/4.6
  • age: 4+
  • # of players: 2-4
  • print status: in print
  • cost: $7.99 (
There are about 100 variations of Yahtzee Junior (well, maybe not that many) themed to whatever license that Hasbro can come up with... I even saw an Avatar: The Last Airbender Yahtzee Junior. The one pictured here, Toy Story Yahtzee Junior, is the one we have at our house.

The basics of Yahtzee are still there - five six-sided dice, three rolls per player to attempt to get the best score, scoring of one type keeps you from scoring that type again in the game. However, there are some changes that make the game easier for kids - and quicker!

First, there's a limit to the number of turns - with 2 players, you each have five turns (less with 3 or 4 players). One side of the dice is wild (Woody, in the case of Toy Story Yahtzee Junior). Finally, you're simply trying to roll the largest possible set of the same die faces (Jessie, Rex, Ham, Buzz & Potato Head).

Scoring is just as simple - take the appropriate marker of your color & put it on the numbered spot on the grid. Interestingly, this locks any other player from making that identical score - which does offer some (small) tactical decision when you're deciding what dice to shoot for on your turn.

For too long, the best known dice game for kids has been Cootie. (Which, btw, is the one of the worst games ever published. The only cool part was the plastic parts to build the insects.) Yahtzee Junior is accessible even for younger (3+) kids and involves some simple decisions. It's a great "training wheels" game to teach some basic gaming skills: probability, planning ahead, and simple scoring decisions.

The game does have a "top-out" age - my 7 year old now only plays when the whole family is playing - but for the 3 years he did play it, it was one he enjoyed very much. (BTW, I think the BGG rating for this game is way too low - you have to judge the game for the intended audience, age 3-6.)

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