Yamslam – like Yahtzee, but not Yahtzee at all

Yamslam GameNo, it’s not Yahtzee. On the other hand, yes, it’s a lot like Yahtzee. You roll five dice. You get three rolls during which you can re-roll all or any of the dice. You want to get maybe two pairs, or even better, three-of-a-kind, or better yet a small straight, and then there’s a flush, which you can’t get in that other game, which is better yet, and then there’s a full house, and four-of-a-kind, or even better a full house, and your large straight, and, of course, your all-dice-of-the-same-number Yamslam, which makes you yell “Yamslam,” take any chip you want, and an extra turn. And what all of this Yahtzee-likeness does is make Yamslam easier to learn. But, no, it’s not Yahtzee.

There are chips, for example, which you don’t get in that other game – four for each of the possible winning combinations. Each chip is worth more points, depending on probabilities. When you succeed, you collect a chip, making scoring for that particular combination one chip less likely. When there are no chips, that combination can no longer score. Then there’s the possibility that you might gather one or more of each of the seven kinds of chip, for which you score more points, or that you might get six out of the seven, or all of a particular kind of chip, or take the last remaining chip – in which case you score yet more.

And then there’s the “flush” possibility. The odd numbers on the dice are one color, the even another. You score a flush (if you want it) when all the dice are the same color.

Put all these together and you have something that is clearly not Yahtzee. Fewer combinations, a faster game, more possibilities for scoring, all stored in a metal tin that contains the game with efficiency and grace. Place the chips in their well-marked holders, leave the dice on the pleasingly-cushioned felt-lined bottom, close the lid, and no matter how hard you shake the set, everything stays in place. Forget the rules? All the score possibilities are conveniently described on the perimeter of the box.

Designed by Thierry Denoual (who also designed the Gobblet games), Yamslam is a gift of light-hearted, undemanding fun for anyone in the family who is old enough to add. And then there are variations to try, including at least one for those times when you just need to be by yourself.

Yahtzee? Most definitely not. Fun? Majorly!

One thought on “Yamslam – like Yahtzee, but not Yahtzee at all

  1. Great review! Yamslam is definitely worthy of the Major Fun distinction…and it's even more fun with you play it with Major Fun, himself!

    Thanks for the game night. Looking forward to doing it again next week.

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