Jan 1990 zilch Page 1 zilch SUMMARY Zilch is a simple dice game of luck and greed. It is widely played with remarkably few variations. EQUIPMENT 6 6-sided dice Blank paper and writing implement for keeping score SCORING Dice rolls are scored as follows: ROLL EXAMPLES SCORE in points 6 of a kind 444444 100 Straight 123456 30 3 pair 113344 222266 10 3 of a kind 111 10 666 6 555 5 444 4 333 3 222 2 4 of a kind TWICE 3 of a kind 5 of a kind TWICE 4 of a kind 1 1 5 0.5 None of the above ZILCH WINNING The game is over when any player COMPLETES a turn with MORE than 100 points. At that point each OTHER player has one final turn. The highest final score wins the game. It is customary to boldly circle the score of the first player to quit with more than 100 points (the initial winner). This serves as a visible target for the other players. Any subsequent winning scores are circled even more boldly. Jan 1990 zilch Page 2 STEPS FOR EACH TURN Roll the dice Score the roll Decide whether to quit or roll the dice again Finally quit and accept a score Give dice to the player on your left THE TURN IN DETAIL A turn starts with a roll of 6 dice. The roll is scored according to the chart above. Dice contained in a scoring combination may be set aside and scored. Having set aside 1 or more scoring dice, the player then chooses whether to go for more. To go for more, just pick up the unscored dice and roll. A player may keep rolling as long as there is no zilch. Whenever all 6 dice are scored during the turn ("a turnover") the player is entitled to pick up all 6 dice and roll again. Rolling again is called "Greater Glory". A turnover while in Greater Glory is called Greater Greater Glory. There is even Greater Greater Greater Glory, etc. To quit, leave the dice on the rolling surface and announce the score for the turn. Each die can be counted in only 1 scoring combination. If possible, at least one combination MUST be scored on each roll. When more than 1 combination is rolled, the player may freely choose to set aside and score whichever seem best and roll the rest. Actual points scored result only from combinations set aside. Dice set aside from a previous roll may not be used to form combinations with dice in the current roll. A zilch roll immediately ends the TURN with a score of zero. That is, you lose everything you've scored during the turn (not the whole game). The player is allowed to quit instead of rolling 6 dice. Some combinations can be scored in more than 1 way. The player may score the dice as desired, even if the result is less than the maximum possible. For example, 226666 could score as 12 points for 4 6's, but usually would be scored as 10 points for 3 pair in order to get the turnover. Or a player might accept a smaller evaluation in order to approach 100 without going over. Jan 1990 zilch Page 3 ROLLING TO DETERMINE WHO GOES FIRST Before the start of the first game in a session, each player takes a turn. During this turn, the player keeps on rolling until a zilch occurs. The player with the highest score before zilching goes first. Players to the left of the first player go next in succession. There is no procedure for deciding who goes first to determine who goes first. You just do it. Besides, going first seems not to provide any clear advantage. To save time at the start of subsequent games in a session, the winner of the just completed game goes first. BREAKING THE ICE A player's first score in a game must be at least 5 points. PROBABILITY The chances of zilching immediately are: 6 dice 2.3 % 5 dice 4.6 4 dice 15.8 3 dice 27.8 2 dice 44.4 1 die 66.7 If you keep going until you zilch or turnover: 3 dice turnover 24.5% zilch 75.5% 2 dice turnover 25.9% zilch 74.1% 1 dice turnover 33.3% zilch 66.7% STRATEGY Most games last 10 to 20 turns. Therefore 7 to 10 points is often a good score, and 4 to 7 points is possibly acceptable. Players with large leads typically are not as greedy as players who are far behind. Often players discard extra 1's or 5's or even low scoring 3's of a kind in order to roll as many dice as possible. For example, a high scoring 3 of a kind is more likely with 5 dice than 3 dice. The chances of zilching with a lot of points (after turnovers) is greatly reduced when rolling at least 4 dice. It's usually better to roll 1 die or 3 dice instead of 2. 3 dice have fewer immediate zilches than 2 dice, whereas 1 die offers a much better chance at Greater Glory. Most players are willing to risk losing up to 5 points when rolling 1 or 2 dice because of the great expectations of scoring while in Greater Glory. At the end of the game, it is unwise to quit with more than 100 but less than a 10 point lead. If you're over, once you quit, that's it. When you zilch while trying Jan 1990 zilch Page 4 for a more secure margin of victory, you get one or more chances on subsequent turns to do even better. In a close game, quitting with 98 to 100 points forces opponents to try to win with at least 110. Some successful players ignore strategy and the odds, relying on luck and intuition. Jan 1990 zilch Page 5 MAKING UP FOR LOST TURNS It is customary to allow players to join the game late, as long as the game is not too close to completion. This is called "rabbiting". Whenever it is a late player's turn, that player takes turns until caught up with previous players in number of turns. Similarly, if a player is unable to return to the room when it is time to take one or more turns, that player is entitled to catch up on turns. Catching up takes place only when it is that player's turn. The above arrangements could lead to a situation in which the catching-up player goes over 100 BEFORE the final turn of catch up. In that case, the Time Warp is invoked. For each score by the OTHER players during the catch up rounds, those players are entitled to resume their rolling in order of occurrence and with the number of dice they had available at the time they accepted the scores. This would call for remembering or writing down the number of dice associated with those scores, which is rarely done. Other complications could arise from multiple instances of undoing. Fortunately, the Time Warp has never been invoked. PLAYING CONDITIONS The game is best played on a hard table to assure brisk random rolls. The dice should be of standard size (6/10" on a side), uniform color, and in excellent condition. ABSOLUTE INTEGRITY OF ROLLS All rolls must be complete. Dice release must be fairly simultaneous and well-controlled. The dice must land flat on the rolling surface (with nothing between). The only exception: if dice land on score paper that is flat on the table and of virtually no thickness, the roll is not disqualified. Active interference with the dice is not allowed. Passive interference is allowed, as long as position was clearly established before the dice got close. Players are expected to observe each roll carefully and politely call attention to invalid rolls. Upon determination by the players that a roll is invalid, the roll (NOT the whole turn) must be done again. Jan 1990 zilch Page 6 HISTORY Origin unknown. Possibly a navy or bar game. Scoring in most versions is 100 times the numbers used here. Our earlier version of zilch only allowed 3 of a kind to score, so that 5 4's would score 4 points and still leave a pair of non-scoring 4's. Numerous scoresheets of our noteworthy games have been kept since 1982. Noteworthy events are summarized in Zilch Records. Our version now includes special scoring notation for noteworthy zilches. The zero for a 5-die zilch is drawn as a stylized White Mousehole. 6-die zilches are scored with Black Mouseholes. If a Mousehole is incurred in some level of Greater Glory, then each turnover is noted with a dark bar beneath the Mousehole. The dark bars are called Chevrons. Truly spectacular, heart-rending instances of Chevrons are decorated with Fangs, which in extreme cases are dripping. It is believed that Mouseholes and Chevrons began in an attempt to console the victim. Many now consider them to be ominous markers of unexpected disaster. Let the greedy beware! White Mousehole Black Mousehole Black Mousehole with Chevrons White Mousehole with Chevrons and dripping Fang Jan 1990 zilch Page 7 SAMPLE GAME OF ZILCH, between players Alf Alfa and Bee Beta NOTE: X in scores = 1/2 point To determine who goes first: Alf rolls 111335 sets aside 111 scores 10 total for turn 10 rolls 123 sets aside 1 scores 1 total for turn 11 rolls 11 sets aside 11 scores 2 total for turn 13 rolls 115556 sets aside 11555 scores 7 total for turn 20 rolls 3 sets aside scores 0 total for turn 20 Bee rolls 112235 sets aside 1 scores 1 total for turn 1 rolls 35566 sets aside 5 scores X total for turn 1X rolls 1456 sets aside 1 scores 1 total for turn 2X rolls 122 sets aside 1 scores 1 total for turn 3X rolls 36 sets aside scores 0 total for turn 3X Alf goes first. Alf rolls 124456 25556 6 points Bee rolls 124456 23356 3346 0 points Alf 6 Bee 0 Alf rolls 134446 5 points Bee rolls 223355 124566 23366 0 points Alf 11 Bee 0 Alf rolls 244556 11566 3345 255 2 0 points Bee rolls 233356 146 15 234456 12356 2225 123456 111346 49X points Alf 11 Bee 49X Alf rolls 222256 6 0 points Bee rolls 233455 33344 15 122234 13566 2456 7X points Alf 11 Bee 57 Alf rolls 124566 22466 0 points Bee rolls 122234 13456 2466 0 points Alf 11 Bee 57 Alf rolls 123446 22335 2346 0 points Bee rolls 122466 24455 2245 455 3 0 points Alf 11 Bee 57 Alf rolls 134456 13445 3556 113 4X points Bee rolls 124556 12455 3566 334 0 points Alf 15X Bee 57 Alf rolls 112345 12346 2446 0 points Bee rolls 223466 0 points Alf 15X Bee 57 Alf rolls 122336 23456 1245 135 4 points Bee rolls 111155 244466 25 points Alf 19X Bee 82 Alf rolls 234556 24445 6 0 points Bee rolls 123346 12444 6 points Alf 19X Bee 88 Alf rolls 122455 22455 1446 126 14 5 223345 11244 2346 0 points Bee rolls 335566 112444 16 points Alf 19X Bee 104 Alf's last chance: Alf rolls 122366 12336 1245 226 0 points Bee wins! 0 points Alf 15X Bee 57 Alf rolls 122336 23456 1245 135 4 points Bee rolls 111155 244466 25 points Alf 19X Bee 82 Alf rolls 234556 24445 6 0 points Bee rolls 123346 12444 6 points Alf 19X Bee 88 Alf rolls 122455 22455 1446 126 14 5 223345 11244 2346 0 points Bee rolls 335566 112444 16 points Alf 19X Bee 104 Alf's last chance: Alf rolls 122366 12336 1245 226 0 points Bee wins!