Yard Dice - Wooden Dice Game
How to Play Yard Yahtzee
Yahtzee is one of the most well-known dice games, and this variation takes the fun outside with larger wooden dice. Make Yahtzee dice by cutting cubes out of a 4x4 board. Be sure to use a traditional die as a template for marking the dots on your homemade dice. Play yard Yahtzee by following the rules of classic Yahtzee, which involves making sets of dice and writing your score each round.
Cutting Wood Cubes for Dice
Get a piece of 4x4 wood that is at least 20 inches (50 cm) long.Go to a lumber yard, a construction supply store, or a home improvement store to buy a piece of 4x4 wood. If you have some wood already, use that, even if you don’t have a single piece that’s 20 inches long. If you use multiple pieces, be sure to have at least 20 inches.
- Note that “4x4” is a standard measurement for a size of wood boards. The boards don’t always measure exactly four inches by four inches.
- If you want to create dice that are larger or smaller than a 4x4 inch square, you can use a different size of wood. However, a 4x4 is easiest to use because it is a standard board size.
Measure the wood.Since 4x4s are not always exactly measured, use a measuring tape to check the length of each side. At the end of the piece of wood, measure two adjacent sides of the square.
- For example, the board may be 3.8 inches (9.6 cm) by 3.8 inches.
Measure a length for each die.Using the exact measurement of the board, mark off sections for 5 dice. For example, if your board measured 3.8x3.8, add a little bit to the measurement to account for the width of the saw blade and make marks on the board every four inches. With these measurements, you’ll have five equal sections of board.
- Saw blades tend to be about ⅛ inch or ¼ inch thick, so you lose some of the board when you make the cuts. Marking the board every four inches will give you sections that are roughly 3.8 inches long after the cut.
Use a saw to cut the wood into five cubes of equal size.Using an electric saw will give you the straightest cut in the shortest time. Use a circular saw or a chop saw. If power tools are not available, use a hand saw but make sure to keep the cut as straight as possible.
Creating Dice From the Cubes
Use sandpaper or a power sander to give the cubes a smooth finish.Fresh cut wood often has splinters and rough spot, which are not great since you’ll be handling the wood. Sand all of the edges and faces of the wood carefully until they are completely smooth.
- Do this outside, in a shed or workshop, or with a covering on your floor to avoid making a mess.
- Using a power sander is the quickest way to get a smooth finish on the dice.
Paint or stain the dice.To give your yard Yahtzee game a finished look, paint each cube a different color, or use a dark wood stain. Painting them different colors helps differentiate each dice for younger players.
- This makes the project take longer, but is worth it for a better looking set of dice. Be sure to let the dice dry completely before you add the dots and use the dice in the game.
Woodburn or paint dots on the dice.If you have a woodburning tool with a circle attachment, use it to make dots on the dice. Otherwise, paint or a black or white permanent marker work well to make dots. Use a traditional dice to make sure you arrange the dots correctly on each side.
- Use a dice stencil to get perfect placement for each dot, or do your best placing them by hand. If you don’t have a stencil, use a circle-shaped sponge brush to get perfect circles.
Setting Up the Game
Make a Yahtzee scorecard on a dry erase board.Use a large dry erase board to draw out the template of a classic Yahtzee scorecard. The scorecard should include all of the scoring categories of a Yahtzee card, as well as columns for each player’s or team’s score in those categories.
- If you prefer to have everyone keep track on paper, do it that way instead. The dry erase board is a way to make a larger scorecard to go along with the larger dice.
Place all of the dice in a bucket.The best way to mimic the shaker used in Yahtzee is to use a metal bucket. Make sure it is large enough to fit all five dice, even if they just barely fit. It works to use a plastic bucket, or another container, as long as it is sturdy and fits all of the dice.
- If you don’t have a bucket or don’t want to use one, throw the dice with your hands instead.
Lay out a flat surface.Yard Yahtzee can be played anywhere, but playing in long grass may make it hard for the dice to land flat. If you are playing in the grass, it helps to lay out a tarp, rug, or sheet of plywood to help the dice lie flat when you roll them.
- If you play on a cement surface, laying a tarp or rug out keeps the dice from getting scratched up every time you throw them to the ground.
Playing Yard Yahtzee
Throw the dice.At the start of every turn, dump the dice on the ground all at once or throw them one at a time. Look for possible groupings based on the scorecard. Set dice aside if you want to, and pick up the remaining dice to throw again. Throw the dice one or two more times. Set the dice aside that you want to keep each time.
- You can throw the dice up to three times, but you do not have to. If you get a set of dice you are satisfied with after one or two throws, you can stop there.
Write your score on the board.Yard Yahtzee is scored the same way as classic Yahtzee. When your turn is over, score the dice you’ve chosen to keep. When the dice you’ve chosen fit into multiple boxes, you have the choice which box you want to put the score in.
- For example, you may have gone for three of a kind using 4’s. In the “three of a kind” box on the scorecard, you’d write “12” because three 4’s equals 12 points.
- Another another example of how your rolls could go would be that you roll 3,5,4,2,4 on your first roll. Keep the 2, 3, 4, and 5 and roll the fifth dice. If you get a 1 or a 6, you can mark the “Large Straight” box on the scorecard. If not, you can still mark the “Small Straight” box.
Fill all thirteen boxes to end the game.Since Yahtzee scorecards feature thirteen boxes, the game is over once players have filled all of the boxes. Have one player add up each player’s scores from each of the thirteen boxes to determine the final scores. Whichever player has the highest score wins the game.
Video: Yardzee: From Board Game To Yard Game
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