Yahtzee – rules, procedure& game instructions

Kniffel - rules, procedure & game instructions

The following game instructions and rules are for getting to know each other and should give a short overview of the dice game. Maybe it even tempts one or the other to play.

Rules& Game instructions

At the beginning the starting player is determined. Each player in turn rolls the dice once and the player with the highest value is allowed to open the first game. If you have decided to play several games in a row, the starting player takes turns clockwise – but you should then agree on a fixed game limit before starting, so that there are no disagreements later (it is recommended that the "number of players = the number of games").

Yahtzee game rules

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Data& Facts

playing age: from 8 years
Game duration: ca. 20-60 min.
Number of players: 2-8 players
Game type: Dice game
First appearance: in 1972
Games Publisher: Schmidt Games

Dice game for young and old

Yahtzee is one of the most famous games and reminds a bit of dice poker. The rules are simple and can be varied at will – tricky situations are guaranteed.

In principle, any number of people can participate, but it is recommended to keep a limit of 2 – 8 players. Otherwise there is the danger that an endless game develops from it and the fun on the distance remains. The winning cards or. the game slips are usually also only pre-printed for a maximum of eight players.

Basic rules

The recommended minimum age of 8 years should be taken into account, as the game also requires some mental work and tactics from the participants. Small children will quickly lose interest and react frustrated and angry due to lack of success in the game. However, gamblers and tacticians will experience exciting and entertaining hours with this dice game.

Advanced players often change the rules and try other variations of the game – an excerpt from the possible changes will be presented in the course of this text. There are no limits to the variety and creativity regarding new rules and the creation of new game situations. But again, too many changes can affect the flow of the game and the fun factor of Yahtzee.

The game material

You need 5 dice, a dice cup (of course you can also play without a cup or alternatively use a cup-like container), a pre-printed Kniffel pad (a written piece of paper is also sufficient) and a pen to write down the results of the dice.

The winning card is printed on both sides. On the front side there is a name field at the top. After that follows the so-called "upper table", which is numbered horizontally from "Game 1" to "Game 6", and vertically the columns "count ones only" to "count sixes only". The list of the vertical fields is completed by the columns "total", "bonus at 63 or more" and "total upper part". The following is the "lower table", which horizontally resembles the "upper table" and vertically contains designations for 6 special throws, a "chance field" and 3 accounting fields. The reverse side is used to count your own points and, as a control, the points of the other players.

Game preparations

At the beginning of Kniffel a winning card is distributed to each participant. The player enters his own name on the front side and the names of all the other players in the corresponding fields on the back side. The 5 dice and the dice cup are provided and a game leader is appointed. This person monitors the correct course of the Kniffel game and checks the entries of the other participants in the course of the game. In order that the burden of game management does not rest on the shoulders of just one person, this function should always be transferred to the next person to the left at the end of a game.

A pleasant advantage of Yahtzee is that it takes up very little space and can be played almost anywhere. The only criterion is the presence of a smooth surface on which the dice can be thrown correctly – but you can also use a coaster or a beer mat on which the cup and the dice can be placed as an emergency solution.

According to Kniffel rules it is a round based game. Each person has one turn per round and may try his luck at the dice. The whole game is usually played clockwise and in each round you are allowed a maximum of 3 throws to get the best possible result. The game master supervises the proper course of the game and makes sure that no player is left out. He also checks the number of throws per person and whether they are executed according to the rules.

Yahtzee rules: Throw process

Yahtzee rules

The first roll is made with all 5 dice. The dice cup is shaken and put down for all participants to see. Now the player whose turn it is can decide for himself how many of the 5 dice he wants to keep. Those dice that match are put aside (they must still be visible to all players). The dice that he does not like can be used again for the second throw, in order to improve the result of the throw. This process can be repeated a second time in Yahtzee after the second roll has been made. But at the latest after the third throw the final result is fixed and the player has to enter it in his winning card.

Of course, according to the Kniffel rules, you can also do without a second or third roll, if a desired dice pattern has already been achieved. If, however, the final result of the roll does not cover any of the required conditions of Kniffel, a 0 is entered in any line of the Kniffel block. This is also called "crossing out a box". However, the active player decides for himself which box should be marked with a 0.

The points in Kniffel

The scoring – the "upper table

As briefly described on the previous page, the front of the winning card is divided into an upper and a lower table. In the upper half are the fields for the rolled ones, twos, threes, fours, fives and sixes, plus the bonus field "63 or more". If a participant has decided on a throwing result, in which he would like to count only equal numbers, he must add these, for example all thrown fives – let’s take 3 pieces, and enter the result, here 15, into the appropriate field, here "count only fives".

In Kniffel, however, each box can only be filled once with a die value, in this example the box for fives would be filled and blocked for further entries. To get the bonus of 35 points in Yahtzee, the sum of the added numbers in the upper half must be at least 63. The 35 points are then credited in the bonus field.

The "lower table" – special throws in Yatzy

In Yahtzee there are also a number of special rolls and a chance field, which can improve the score. These are entered in the "lower table.

Yatzy examples

Special throw "Three of a Kind

This is achieved when at least 3 dice have the same number. All the dice eyes are added together and the final result can be entered in the "Three of a Kind" field. An example of a roll: 5,5,5,4,3 gives 22 points!

Special throw for Kniffel "four of a kind"

This is obtained when at least 4 of the same numbers are rolled. The counting method is identical to that of the three of a kind, all the eyes are added and the result is recorded in the box "four of a kind.


This is achieved by rolling 3 of the same and 2 of the same numbers, z.b. 3 threes and 2 fours. This is worth 25 points, which are also noted in the "Full-House" field.

"Small Street" and "Big Street

A "Little Road" means 30 extra points and is a sequence of 4 consecutive dice with increasing numerical values, the 5. Dice can contain any number. In case of a "Big Street" the sequence contains all 5 dice and you get 40 points. Also these additional points are entered on the Kniffel winning card in the street boxes.

Second Kniffel or further Kniffel

What happens when you roll a second Yahtzee has rolled the dice? For every second or further Kniffel the player enters 50 extra points on the back of the Kniffel block. Then the player has 2 additional possibilities and can use the Kniffel as a joker:

  • Joker in the upper box: the player may enter a value with the maximum score in any free upper field.
  • Joker in the lower field: the player may enter a value with the maximum score in any free lower field.

If the player already has an entry both in his Kniffel field and in the relevant number field (in the upper part), then he may use this roll for any other roll of his choice in the lower field. Here it does not matter how the kniffel was achieved, you can then write down for example a full house or big street.

Throwing examples

  • "Small street" – 1,2,3,4,6 = 30 points
  • "Big street" – 2,3,4,5,6 = 40 points

The most points are scored by the "" diceKniffel". A "Kniffel" consists of 5 equal numbers and has a value of 50 points. It is at the same time also the last special throw of the game.

The field Chance and other Kniffel

Playing Yahtzee

In Kniffel the lower table is completed with the field "Chance. A player who has not rolled any of the required results can, instead of rolling a 0, add all the dice eyes and enter the value obtained as extra points in the "Chance" box. However, this is only possible once and should be chosen carefully.

If a player rolls more than one Kniffel during a game, he can use them as a Joker from the second Kniffel on or exchange them for 50 additional points. A Kniffel can be used as a Joker, if a player has already made an entry in the Kniffel field and in the corresponding number field (in the case of a Viererkniffel the field "only count fours"). Now the throw can be changed into a special throw and the points, according to the described rules, can be entered into a free special throw box.

In the case of a four-square, this results in 20 points for a double (5 x 4) and 25, 30 or 40 points for the full house and the street squares (the flat point values). If, however, in another Yatzy, in our example 5 fours, the matching number field in the upper table is not yet occupied, you get 50 additional points. These are noted on the back of the winning card under the player’s name in the "plus 50 points" field.

In the free number box, here "count only fours", the value of the dice eyes is entered, here 20 points (5 x 4). If all special throws and the matching number field are already assigned, a number field must be deleted in the upper part during a new Kniffel.

The end of Kniffel

The dice game is one of the most variant rich games. In addition to local variations, here is an excerpt from the best-known rule changes.

A game ends as soon as the last field of the last participant in the last game (the number of games is agreed at the beginning of the game) is filled in. Now the points on the winning card are added up and written on the back of the slip of paper under the respective name of a player. The person who could get the most points (don’t forget the bonuses for more Kniffel and "63 or more") is the winner. The current game leader checks the final results for their correctness and announces the final placements.

It is up to each game round to decide whether to add up the individual game results and use the total score to determine the winner (original version), or to use points for the placements after each individual game according to a fixed point system (z.B. 1. – 8 points, 2. – 7 points, 6. – 6 points, etc.) distributed. These points are recorded and at the end of the game the sum of all the points received gives the final score of a player.

The advantage of the 2. The system is based on the fact that the player who is the most consistent throughout the game will win the game. The luck factor is minimized, since extremely good dice results and the bonuses are not included in the final calculation (a player may well roll an above-average number of Kniffel dice and thus not give his opponents a chance)!). Skillful tactics and a good mix of risk-taking and careful play will lead to victory.

Variants and rules

As already mentioned, there is probably an almost uncountable variety of rule changes for the dice game Kniffel. These can be locally colored, they can be country-specific, but they can also be nationally known. Also the names or. The name of the game varies from place to place or from country to country: for example, the Austrians know Kniffel by the name "Paschen", while in other places the original name "Yahtzee" may be used.

St. Gall variant

A well-known variant in which the Kniffel rules have been changed is the so-called "St. Galler Variant", more commonly known as "Full Cup". Here, the throws may only ever be made with a full cup: this means that, unlike the original version of Yahtzee, the player may not put any dice aside after the first throw. If he is dissatisfied with the result of the roll, he can start again with all 5 dice. The same applies after the second litter. After the third roll, again with all 5 dice, either a result or a 0 is recorded. Of course, this can already happen after the first two throws.

Croatian variant

A Croatian variant dispenses completely with the special dice and the chance field. The fields "maximum" and "minimum" take their place. There, the highest possible resp. low, rolled number is entered. At the end of the game, the "minimum" is subtracted from the "maximum" and multiplied by the number from "only ones count". The result of this calculation quantifies the points bonus won. Kniffel does not play a role here and is counted as "equal numbers".

Video about rules Kniffel Extreme

Kniffel block

With us you have the possibility to download templates for a puzzle block for free. The real block of Kniffel is available in the store of SchmidtSpiele.


Basically Kniffel rules easy to understand. If you play modified versions it looks a bit more complex already. Nevertheless, the game is very popular with young and old and is always fun to play.

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