Yahtzee for PalmOS

Reviewed by: Lianne Reitter, send e-mail
Published by: Handmark, go to the web site
Requires: Palm OS 3.5 or higher; Handspring Treo 180, Treo 270, Treo 300, Treo 90, Visor Series, Kyocera 6035, 7135; Palm i705, III Series, m100, m105, m125, m130, m500, m505, m515, TungstenC, Tungsten T, Tungsten W, V Series, VII Series, Zire, Zire 71; Samsung I300, I330; Sony Clie N Series, NR Series, NX Series, NZ Series, S Series, SL/SJ Series, T Series, TG Series
MSRP: US$19.99 (download)

Well, with more than 50 Million games sold each year, you more than likely know what Yahtzee is. For those who don't, Yahtzee is a dice game reportedly invented by a rich Canadian couple back in the 1950's, who needed some form of entertainment for the friends they invited onto their Yacht - as if tooling around lake Ontario wasn't enough.

The original game is simple enough. All you need are five dice, a score card and a sharp pencil (with a sharpener - this game is addictive and any pencil will be dull in no time). Roll the dice as many as three times, removing those die you don’t want to include in rolls two and three, and count your score for that turn. There are 13 different categories that you can score in, but you can only record one score in each category. The object of the game is to score the highest total. The game is over when all the players have scored each of the 13 categories. The first six categories are how many ones, twos, threes, fours, fives and sixes you roll. Categories 7 – 12 include three of a kind, four of a kind, full house, small straight, large straight, and your best roll that doesn't fit into any of the above - it's called Chance. So, as an example, if in your three rolls of the die you turned up four sixes, you could either score the "sixes" category as 24, or the "Four of a Kind" category as the 24, plus whatever the fifth die turned over as. Turn up five of a kind and you’ve got the Yahtzee, the big kahuna, the grand poobah of die rolls - give yourself a big 50 points. Yeah, it"s addictive all right, but a lousy game if your yacht(!?) hits bad weather!

But wait a second, this ain't your father's Yahtzee! This is Yahtzee for your PDA. Yahtzee has gone purely portable. And we - the PDA people - we don’ need no steenkin’ pencils either!

As with most offerings from Handmark the installation of Yahtzee goes off without a hitch and after you have launched the program and given your self a cool handle, you are playing Yahtzee. The interface is dead simple. The score card is to the left, and the five die are arranged along the right hand side of the screen with a big button marked "Roll" at the bottom. Hit that roll button and watch the 3D die do their electronic dance and then settle into their final positions. Ah, only two die are what you were looking for? No problem, just click on the die you want to keep as is, and they will reverse colour and freeze during your second and third roll. Once all three rolls are done, if three were even necessary (you can score at any time after the first roll), click on the category that gets you the highest score. At all times you have to watch the dice carefully to take advantage of the tough scores, and like most card and dice games, it is usually tough to fill an inside straight.

Fill up your card with your scores in all 13 categories, and Yahtzee will congratulate you on your high score. Well, it’s your first score, so of course it’s also your highest. But fear not, this game is so addictive that you will see that high score message many more times. In fact you may start to yearn for it. We tested Yahtzee on a Sony Clie PEG-N760C, a Palm Zire 71 and a Handspring Visor Prism. The game worked flawlessly on three PDAs - smooth dice rolls, quick response to category taps and reasonably fast menu access.

The one thing you might think is missing from this game is the ability to play with all your friends. Maybe you don’t have a yacht, but you have a bus buddy at least and he has a PDA too. So, from the start screen click on "Host". Choose from an Infrared, Bluetooth or Internet connection and send an invitation to the player name of your bus buddy. Once your buddy has accessed the same start screen, clicked on "Join" and follow the simple instructions (like "Line up your IR ports" in the case of an Infrared connection) and you two are Yahtzeeing! You could even invite several bus buddies to play - the game supports multiple players. Careful now, you may miss your stop because only those who have Yahtzeed know the joy of Yahtzeeing, and how wonderfully addictive a game of chance it really is. Highly recommended.

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