Zilch

This is a dice game. It will keep a gorup of about ten people busy for at least an hour when you need them to stay in one area.

Materials: 6 dice, a rolling cup, a calculator and paper, 3 to 10 players.

Area: a table or space large enough to accommodate 3 to 10 players.

Object: Be the first player to get more than 5,000 points and not let anyone pass you.

How To Play:
Play goes clockwise. A player’s turn begins by rolling all six dice at the same time.

You must score each time you roll the dice or you lose all the points you’ve earned in that turn. The only ways to score are 1) if you roll a “1”, 2)if you roll a “5” or 3) if you roll three dice with the same number on the same roll.

A “5” counts as 50 points unless there are three “5’s” rolled at the same time. Then, that’s 500 points.

A “1” counts as 100 points unless there are three “1’s” rolled at the same time. Three “1’s” rolled at the same time is 1,000 points.

If you roll three of any other number on the same roll, that’s 100 times the number (example: rolling three “2’s” equals 200 points. “1” is the only exception to this rule. As stated above,  “1” counts as 100 points unless there are three “1’s” rolled at the same time. Then, that’s 1,000 points.

Once a die scores, you must set it aside. It can’t be rolled again in a turn until all six dice have scored.

You must accrue a score of at least 300 points in your turn. If you do not earn at least 300 points in a turn, you must keep rolling the leftover dice until you’ve reached it.  (Special note: To get in the game, you must first reach 500 points on a turn. If you do not reach 500 points, you are not yet in the game. After you’ve reached you’re initial quota of 500 points, you only need to reach a 300 point quota on all your other turns.)

If you don’t score when you roll the dice, your turn is over. All the points you accrued during that turn are lost.

Once you reach 300 points on your turn you may choose to stop or to keep rolling.

Let’s pretend that on your turn your first roll of all six dice turns out to be four “5’s”, a “2”,  and a “1”. Your score would be 650 (three “5’s” equal 500, a “1” is equals 100 and a “5” equals 50, (the “2” is worthless). You must choose to keep rolling the dice that you don’t want to count (the “2” is the only one that didn’t score) or to stop so you can keep your 650 points.

If you stop there, you keep your points. If you choose to roll, you can roll the “2”, but if that dice doesn’t turn out to be a “1” or a “5”, you lose all 650 points from that turn and your score is “zilch”.

Let’s pretend that you take the chance and roll that one die that didn’t score. You have an incredible stroke of luck and roll a “5”. That’s another 50 points, bringing your total to 700 points. What’s more, since you used all the dice up, you get to roll all six of them again. The chance to score off six dice is much greater than scoring with one die. It’s all probability.

Play continues until someone reaches 5,000 points. Once someone does, every player gets a chance to roll in order to catch up. If they don’t score, they are out.

Special situations:
If you roll all six dice at the same time and they turn out to be number “1” through “6” on that single throw, that is called a “freight train” and is worth 2,000 points. What’s more, you can choose to keep rolling since you used all the dice to score. If you do roll, you could lose all the points from that turn if no dice score.

If you roll a die off the table, that’s a “rookie move” and is an automatic “zilch”. You lose your points for that turn.

Strategy:
If you are at 4,500 and someone else is right around that, at say 4,700, and your turn scores 600 points, that puts you at 5,100. Since everyone around you gets a chance to catch up, it is likely that the person with 4,700 points can pass you. You don’t get another chance to roll if they do. It’s best to get right up to 4,950 so you can rocket as far past 5,000 as possible so nobody else can catch up.

If you’ve rolled the dice and two of them score (e.g. a “1” and a “5” show up) you’ve got four dice to roll again. Set aside the scoring dice and only roll the 4 that didn’t count for anything. Since there are four dice, odds are good that you will roll a “1” or a “5”, or even a three of a kind. Let’s pretend that on your second roll, you get two more “1’s”. That is only 200 more points since there weren’t 3 “1’s” rolled at the same time. Your score at this point is 350. You can stop here since you’ve rolled at least 300. Odds aren’t good with two dice that you will score. You should stop here.

If you’ve rolled four times, each time getting a “5”, and you have four separate “5’s” set aside, you have only 200 points. Even though the odds aren’t good on the two remaining dice that you will score, you must keep rolling since you havne’t reached your 300 point quota.

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