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Wednesday, 8 May 2013

How To Play ZILTCH - The Ultimate Dice Game!

If you ask me what my favourite dice game is, there has only ever been one answer, ZILTCH!

This is an exciting fast passed game of chance suitable for all ages and great for kids who can beat their parents fair and square. It's good for developing basic arithmetic skills too! This has been a family favourite in my house hold since I was a nipper, I have since taught it to hundreds of people and everyone loves it! All you need is six dice and a pen and paper to write down the scores.
       These days this can be downloaded as an app or played on line but to me the whole fun is seeing peoples reactions as they roll the dice. If you take away the actual dice and play by clicking a button, then you have taken away the fun of the game! Dice are inexpensive and fit in your pocket and I guarantee that once you have learned to play this game you will always carry six dice with you! It can be played almost anywhere and doesn't blow away at a picnic or get wet around the pub table like cards do. Don't have a set of 6 dice? Get them from our website now to start playing Ziltch.


I have heard this game is an ancient and international favourite but I have only ever found one other person who knew it, they were Greek and called it was Greed, their version had special dice for the game and the number 6 was replaced by the letter G. My husband came across this game being played in Slovakia, but my father learned it in the 70’s in India. The age and distribution of this game does throw up variants in the rules, the following is the way I have always played it (which is of course the best way if you ask me).


The Aim of the Game

This is a game of chance where each player has to accumulate scores and race each other to the goal of 5000 points. However, the first to 5000 does not necessarily win as all the remaining players get one last go, to try and beat the winning score. So if the winning score was 5150 for example, and another player has a go and gets to a finish score of 5200, they have successfully stolen the win!

How to Play

A hand is begun with all 6 dice thrown at once, each time you throw you must remove a minimum of 1 scoring dice, so each throw consists of ever decreasing dice thus making the chance of a score less and less.
Failure to throw a scoring dice results in a ZILCH and you will lose the value of all the dice you have thrown in that hand, this is the end of your go. If you feel you are happy with your score so far you, can chose to STICK at any point, this score is then written down by the designated scorer and it is next persons’ go.
If you continue throwing and scoring right up to your last dice (this is risky but sometimes worth it) this is known as ALL SCORING, then you can continue with a second go, adding to the score you have for that hand. Bear in mind you will also lose the whole score if you ZILTCH at this stage! You can continue doing this until you decide to stick or your luck runs out.

An initial score of 350 or more is needed to start the game but after this go a player can stick on any amount they wish.

If you ZILTCH 3 times in a row you will lose all your score and have to start again, the 350 start rule applies in this case. (NB - the scorer MUST warn people at their second ZILTCH so they know to play it safe next hand)


Single Dice Scores         

1=100 points            
5 = 50 points
A single 2 3 4 or 6 do not have a score.

Triple Dice Scores

Three of a kind (thrown all at once) are 100 of whatever the number is i.e.
Three 4’s = 400 points , Three  2’s = 200 points
If you rolled three  1’s this is 1000pnts.

Six Dice Scores (these can only be thrown on your first go)

3 doubles of any number = 1500
2 triples of any number = 1500
A run 1-6 = 1500

No other dice combinations are scoring, an isolated double is not a special score, neither is a run unless it was thrown all at once.


Although this is primarily a game of chance there is some tactic to playing. Try and raise your chances of throwing a big score by keeping as many dice in your hand as possible. So if you rolled 1 2 3 5 5 6 on your first go, the idea is not to take all the scoring dice out, just keep the highest scorer (1) and throw the other 5 dice again. Even though you are throwing away 2 x 50 points, this raises your chances of throwing 3 x 1’s or another triple. Even throwing them again and changing the 5’s for 1’s would be an improved score. Be very careful when throwing less than 3 dice, you can only gain a maximum of 200pnts and with the odds stacked against you, you will more than likely lose more than you could gain. The only reason for risking this should be that if you get an ALL SCORING roll then you may be able to claw back crucial ground on your opponents, plus you get the chance of throwing 1500 points again too. As you approach the finish line consider what position you are in. If you are in the lead you will only get one shot at winning, sometimes tactical ziltching can be employed to ensure you have an adequate lead (i’e if you have only a small score that hand and an comfortable lead then ZILTCH it on purpose and wait for the next go). If you are playing catch up, don’t panic, keep calm, try your best to get a score down no matter how small each time you throw because at the end of the game you will have an extra go on your opponent.

For an extra twist on the game, my husband and I have introduced a £1 penalty far ziltching with the winner taking all! After a half dozen rounds this usually evens out and this game is just as easy to win as a beginner than a seasoned professional because it is virtually all down to the luck of the draw.

Never lose all hope with this game even is you are being beaten badly! It is possible to win in one go from nothing, my record score was 7000 in 5 rolls! This involved me throwing a 1500 score with all six dice 4 times in a row followed by three 1's so anything can happen!

What's your highest score ever?

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