Yahtzee History

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.




Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

29 thoughts on “Yahtzee History”

  1. a fun little game- my grandmother and I used to play it all the time. She must have won 90% of the time! I didn’t know anything about the history of the game- I would have guessed it would have went back even before the 1950’s.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We had a good time. It’s been a while since I played a “board” game. It’s pretty much poker with dice. I had to learn everything again.

      I thought it came out earlier… the only slightly different story came from wiki at the first…but then it reverted back to this story.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We are already planning another go… I haven’t played any board game in years. It’s nice to have that connection with people again.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. There was a time when everyone at least knew their neighbors to speak to them. In a couple generations things have changed drastically.

        Liked by 4 people

  2. It’s been ages since I last played this, but we played it at home on weekend nights when I was little. It was lots of fun. That’s cool about the Yahtzee parties. Now I understand the origin of the name, too. Coincidentally, I recently saw an oversized DIY version of a yahtzee game, with 4″ dice cubes cut from a 4×4 wood post. I’m hoping to make one this Spring for playing outdoors at family gatherings, etc.


  3. Neat backstory about the way it got popular through the grass roots. I don’t think I’ve played it, but I like the idea of family game nights with “board games”. We did that last week one night, with sweetie’s sis and brother in law, playing something akin to Headbanz. Was a good time!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We had a great time. I had to be talked into it but after a few minutes I loved it….I told my son…”you ask me what the 70s and 80s were like?” This is it…he had a ball.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Yahtzee and cribbage were two games we grew up with. Glad you gave it another chance and your son had a good time. I play board games with my kids — in their 30s now — and their partners every other Sunday and it is a great way to have family time. There are so many games out there to play!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know we are planning it again. I forgot how much fun it was…I had to be talked into it…but glad I did.
      I remember the long games of Monopoly.


  5. G’day, Bad. That sure brought back a lot of memories. A work colleague taught me the game back in the ’70s and we used to play every lunch time. I liked it so much that I bought the game and then inducted my wife and friends into the game. I’ve still got the game but haven’t played it for years. Must blow the cobwebs off and give it the light of day again. Great to know the back story too.


    1. Sorry, this was in my pending folder for some reason. Yes, you need to dust the game off and play it again. I had to relearn the game because it had been a long time…at least 1983 or so…Thank you

      Liked by 1 person

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