Friday, October 5, 2012

The Gaming Corner: Yahtzee Hands Down Card Game

Card games of your favorite classic games seem to be the in thing this year. The problem is that we magically picked up the good ones first and have gradually picked up the remainder, and they just are not as good. The more I play this game, the less thought out it feels.

Let's start with the cards:

There are many different types of cards as you can see, and at a glance, you are probably wondering why they have different colors. Well, that is because in Yahtzee Hands Down, you can only use cards of matching colors.

COMPLAINT #1: Why add colors to this game? They are pointless and extend a game that doesn't
need extending.

Across the top row of the picture, you see the normal number dice cards. Each color has the same number of these cards. There are three of 1, 2 and 3 and then only two of 4, 5, and 6.

COMPLAINT #2: This game was based on a dice game, so there should be an equal chance of getting each number.

In the next row are our double dice. They can be used for either face showing.

COMPLAINT #3 and #4: Real six-sided dice are arranged in such a way that opposite sides add up to seven, so you will never see a real die like this and if you do have dice that are wrong like that, no one will ever let you play Yahtzee with them. Oh yeah, when was the last time you ever rolled a die and had it land exactly on an edge so that you could choose which side to use? These were not thought out well.

Then, we come to the wild cards. I'll just call them COMPLAINT #5 and move on (what side of the normal die is wild?)

Then, there are the multi color cards... please refer to COMPLAINT #1.

Then, there are chance cards (blue) and combo cards (yellow) which are your main form of scoring (which we will get into in a moment).

And the final card: The starter card. This is used because people are now too lazy to remember who went first in the last round. So if we give that guy (or gal) a card that says so, then we won't have to think to know who goes first in the next round. If it isn't obvious, I would call this COMPLAINT #6(there is a side chance that there was 1 space left in the big sheet of cards when they were planning out the cards and they just threw this in for space filler, but I would rather get a completely blank card than something that insults my intelligence).

The Play
Each player is dealt a hand of five cards. They then take turns discarding as many cards as they want and then drawing that same number of cards (this is to represent the rerolling of Yahtzee, I believe). When one of the players has a combo, he needs to say "Hands Down" and place his cards face down on the table in front of him. The different combos available have all been pulled from Yahtzee: 3 of a kind, 4 of a kind, Full house (2 of a kind and 3 of a kind), small straight, large straight, and Yahtzee!.

Play then continues as normal, except the player whose hand is down has his turn skipped and now just gets to stare at the ceiling until another player gets a combo as well. Those two players then compare their hands. The player who completed the combo for the most points wins that combo card while the player who had the losing combo gets a chance card. If the players completed the came combo, then the player with the highest numbers in his hand wins, and if those are also the same, the player who called hands down first wins.

COMPLAINT #7: If two players both roll a Yahtzee in the dice game, then both players get to score their Yahtzee. They even get bonus points and free turns if you got any extra Yahtzees (Yahtzi?) but in this game, if you and another player get the same combo at the same time one of you is a loser.

The two players then discard their hands of five cards and draw new cards. The starter card is handed to the next starter and play starts over until all the combo and chance cards have been taken.

COMPLAINT #8: As there are only two combo cards for each combo, many players will not be able to finish their 3 of a kind combo, which is exactly the opposite of the real Yahtzee rules where every player has the chance to fill every combo.

The players then add up the point totals on their combo and chance cards and the player with the highest points wins.

COMPLAINT #9: In real Yahtzee, adding up your score was actually some adding. You could use it as a sneaky way to get your kid to do some math. Adding up this game, you are lucky if you break 20 points.

My opinion (if you couldn't have guessed this already): Sorry, Hasbro, but this game gets a thumbs down. This game feels like it was rushed and released without a lot of thought. If you get a hankering for Yahtzee, just grab some dice and avoid this game. At least I got my new card smell fix from this game.

COMPLAINT #10: I didn't have a tenth thing to complain about.

-Gamer Jason

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