Today I’m working on the next book in my Math You Can Play series, culling the games that don’t fit. Six Hundred is a fine game, but I can’t figure out how it landed in the prealgebra manuscript…

**Math Concepts:** addition, multiplication, parity (odd or even).

**Players:** any number.

**Equipment:** six regular 6-sided dice (my math club kids love this set), free printable score sheet, pen or pencil.

Click Here for the Score Sheet

### Set-Up

A full game consists of eighteen rounds of play. Players may share the dice and score sheet, taking turns around the table. But for a large group you may want to have extras, so that two or more people can be rolling their dice at the same time.

### How to Play

On your turn, roll all six dice up to three times. After each roll, you may set aside one or more dice to keep for scoring, if you wish. Once a die has been set aside, you may not change your mind and roll it again.

After the third roll, choose an unused category on your score sheet. Count the dice according to the rules for that section, and write down your score. If your dice do not fit anywhere, then you must take a zero in the category of your choice.

When all players have filled their score sheet and recorded any appropriate bonuses (or penalties), whoever has the highest score wins.

### Scoring

Dice are scored in eighteen categories, in four sections, as follows. The maximum possible score is 600 points.

##### Numbers

Record the sum of only the dice showing that number. For example, if you rolled 1, 1, 3, 4, 4, 4, you could score 2 in the Ones category. Or you could score 12 in the Fours category, or zero in the Fives.

**Bonus:** If the combined Numbers score is 80 or more, add 35 points to your total.

##### Rungs (1–4)

Score the total of all six dice. Like a ladder, the score in each rung must be greater than the one before it. Rung 1 gets the lowest number, and Rung 4 the highest.

You may fill in the rungs in any order. But if you write 18 in Rung 2, then the score in Rung 1 must be 17 or less, and the score in Rung 3 must be at least 19.

**Penalty:** If the Rung scores don’t fit the ascending value rule, this category is worth zero.

##### Clusters

Score the total of all six dice, if they fit the rules for that category.

**Four of a Kind:**at least four dice show the same number.**Five of a Kind:**at least five dice show the same number.**Odds:**all six dice show odd numbers.**Evens:**all six dice show even numbers.

##### Patterns

Score the amount shown for each pattern.

**Series:**30 points you roll 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.**Pairs:**30 points if you roll three pairs of matching numbers. Four dice showing the same number may be counted as two pairs.**Triplets:**30 points if you roll two sets of three dice with the same numbers, such as three 2s and three 5s.**Sextet:**36 points when all six dice show the same number.

##### Game Bonus

If you score at least one point in all eighteen categories, or if the only zero you take is for the sextet, then award yourself an additional 36 points.

### History

Players around the world have played poker-style dice games for ages. I grew up with Yahtzee, but you may know the game by Yatzy, Yacht, Generala, or another name.

Reiner Knizia included this mathematical version in his book *Dice Games Properly Explained*. And I found it online at Michael Ayers’s Stick Insect blog.

John Golden posted a simpler “Mathzee” game played with five dice on his Math Hombre blog — and while you’re there, be sure to check out his amazing Math Games page.

CREDITS: Feature photo (top) by rekre89 via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Want to help your kids learn math? Claim your free 24-page problem-solving booklet, and sign up to hear about new books, revisions, and sales or other promotions.