How to Play Zilch

By Chris Moore

Zilch is a very simple dice game involving chance, strategy and high scoring. There is no limit to the number of people who can play, but it is best played with more than two people. It's essentially a slightly more advanced version of Yahtzee, where the players roll six dice at a time and tally up points based on what numbers come up on their rolls. The player with the most points past 10,000 wins.

Have each player roll one die. The player with the highest roll goes first and the next turn goes to the person on the player's right. Play travels in a counter-clockwise direction.

Roll all six dice at at once to start your turn and look for dice that will give you points. Score 100 points for rolling a one on any die and 50 points for rolling a five. Score 1000 points if you roll all six dice on a different number---if you roll a one, two, three, four, five and six.

Get three of one number on one roll and score 100 points times the number rolled. In other words, score 200 points for three twos, 300 for three threes, etc. If you roll three ones, you get 1000 points. Add 100 extra points for each fourth, fifth and sixth die that matches. (300 for four twos and 400 for three; 500 for four fours and 600 for five...)

Take out any dice that earn points (ones, fives, three of a kind) and re-roll the remaining dice. You can't tally your points on the scoreboard until you have at least 750, when you can then end your turn. If any rolls can't get you any points (like two fours and a six), you get Zilch, losing your turn with no points on the board.

Roll again if you score points on all six dice on one roll (six of a kind, two three of a kinds or all dice of a different number). If you ever roll Zilch on the same turn, however, you lose everything. Once you end your turn and the points are on the board, they can't be lost.

Continue until one person totals 10,000 points. Each of the other players will get one last turn to try and surpass that total. Whoever has the most at the end of those turns wins.

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About the Author

Chris Moore has been contributing to eHow since 2007 and is a member of the DFW Writers' Workshop. He received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Texas-Arlington.