Saturday night we had some guests over and we all played Yahtzee. It was the first time I’d played it since the 1980s at least. I had a good time and looked up the history of the game.
In 1954 a wealthy anonymous Canadian couple, who called it The Yacht Game invented the game to play aboard their yacht. They would invite friends and teach them. In 1956 they went to toy maker Edwin S. Lowe to make some games for their friends as Christmas gifts. Edwin liked the game so much that he wanted to buy the rights to it. The couple sold the rights for the amount of making them a 1000 games.
When Edwin released it on the market it did not do well in it’s first year. The game could not be explained easily in an ad. It had many nuances and interesting things about it and they can only be understood if the game was actually played.
Finally, Edwin tried a different approach. He started to have Yahtzee parties hoping to spread the news about the game by word of mouth. That started to work and Yahtzee got extremely popular. During Lowe’s ownership alone, over forty million copies of the game were sold in the United States of America as well as around the globe
In 1973 Milton Bradley Company bought the E.S. Lowe Company and in 1984 Hasbro, Inc. acquires the Milton Bradley Company and the game.
The origins of the game came from the Puerto Rican game Generala and the English games of Poker Dice and Cheerio. Another game, Yap, shows close similarities to Yahtzee.