Zilch

I ran across Zilch as a kid, and it's still my favorite non-gambling dice game. It's very similar to Dice 10000 and Farkle.

Equipment

  • Six (6) six-sided dice
  • Paper and a pencil

Play

Each player takes a turn consisting of one or more rolls of the dice. On a player's turn, they:

  1. Roll all six dice.
  2. Identify and "freeze" (set aside) one or more scoring dice (see Scoring, below), adding the score to the player's score for the turn.
  3. If no scoring dice are rolled (a "zilch"), the player's turn is over. They pass the dice to the next player, scoring 0 for that turn.
  4. If desired, the player may roll the remaining (unfrozen) dice to attempt to increase their score for the turn, but as with the first (and any other) roll, they must then freeze some combination of scoring dice. If they roll no scoring dice, it is a zilch and they score zero this turn.
  5. If the player has frozen all six dice, they have the option to "turn the corner", and roll all six dice again to continue adding to their score. If they zilch after turning the corner, they will lose all points accrued during their turn, both before and after turning the corner.
  6. If the player chooses not to roll again and has not zilched, they add the score for their current turn to their total score on the score sheet, and pass the dice to the next player.

Scoring

This table lists scoring combinations that can be set aside after a given roll of the dice.

DiceExampleScore
100
50
⚀⚀⚀1000
⚁⚁⚁200
⚂⚂⚂300
⚃⚃⚃400
⚄⚄⚄500
⚅⚅⚅600
⚀⚁⚂⚃⚄⚅1500
4-of-a-kind⚂⚂⚂⚂2 × 3-of-a-kind
5-of-a-kind⚁⚁⚁⚁⚁4 × 3-of-a-kind
6-of-a-kind⚄⚄⚄⚄⚄⚄8 × 3-of-a-kind

N-of-a-kind Scoring

In the table above, 4-, 5-, and 6-of-a-kind scores are provided as a multiple of the 3-of-a-kind score that's provided. The table below makes these scores explicit for easy reference:

Die Face4-of-a-kind5-of-a-kind6-of-a-kind
200040008000
4008001600
60012002400
80016003200
100020004000
120024004800

As indicated, these scores are simply doubling the score for each additional dice. The tables look a bit intimidating, but there's a simple logic to it once you see the pattern.

About Scoring Combinations

As players set aside dice, they may not "stack" them to make new combinations. For example if a player rolled a , froze it, and then rolled two more s in the next roll, the player may not combine the three s take make a ⚀⚀⚀ (worth 1000 points). Instead, the first is worth 100, and, if frozen, the next two s are worth 100 each, for a total of 300 points.

Winning

Play continues in turns until one player gets 5000 (or more) points. When that happens, every other player gets one more turn to try and beat the high score so far. When the last player has finished their turn, the player with the highest score on the scoresheet is declared the winner.