Crimes against Yahtzee
March 5, 2012
A Yahtzee crime wave has engulfed the world in recent years. From petty cheating to international smuggling syndicates to violent acts like murder, Yahtzee crime manifests itself is a multitude of ways. The Yahtzee Blog examines the troubling trend and how we can guard against illegal gaming behavior. We answer letters from our readers who have encountered this criminal underbelly in their own games. Learn from their mistakes and protect the integrity of your Yahtzee set.
The very concept of Yahtzee-related crime sounds contradictory, as millions of peace-loving high rollers would attest. But the ugly truth is that criminality long ago pervaded the ancient game and proves to be a stubborn affliction. Rolling dice is one of humankind’s earliest forms of gambling. As a dice game, Yahtzee therefore continues to be susceptible to infiltration by criminal elements who are attracted by the lure of financial gain. But crime comes in all shapes and sizes, able to sneak in when you least expect it. Perhaps as a result of its open and carefree nature, a Yahtzee crime wave has gripped the world in recent years.
While it is true that there would be no criminals if there were no laws, certain crimes are obvious violations of the natural order. A thorough inspection of crimes against Yahtzee can help to inform future security decisions, while serving as a warning to any would-be perpetrators. Cheating at Yahtzee is the most pervasive form of Yahtzee crime, and one of the most minor. But things can escalate quickly when stressed-out players are pushed to their limits in a high-stakes game. Breaking the rules can be a gateway to hardened criminality. Crimes against information or historical fact aim to degrade the game’s integrity, but violent crimes of Yahtzee passion can end a life.
My team and I were deployed to a Nepalese archaeological dig in June 2010. The dig, located in the Himalayan foothills, had produced what appeared to be a very early Yahtzee set – perhaps the oldest Yahtzee gaming equipment ever unearthed. Our initial tests of the artifacts – which consisted of two fully intact dice, a shard of a broken die, and a yak bone shaker cup – indicated the authenticity of the equipment. However in order to be absolutely certain, I made arrangements with the Nepalese government to have the relics transported to our main laboratory in Prague. From there, we could perform additional testing to put the matter to rest. After having spent only two full days in Nepal, we were on a plane heading back to Europe. We arrived the next day, but the trunk of Yahtzee artifacts never did – they’ve been missing since we left Nepal.
As I’m sure you can imagine, an international uproar ensued. Blame for the missing relics was passed around generously but the trail was cold. The despair and disappointment of having lost such important objects gradually began to fade over the following weeks and eventually the mood at the World Yahtzee Institute was back to near-normalcy. That all changed late last week when the Institute received a ransom note from a group who claims to have stolen the Yahtzee treasures.
They call themselves the “Empty House”, in what I can only assume is a poorly constructed play on the Yahtzee scoring category, the Full House. It’s hard for me to imagine that anyone could possibly want to suppress a discovery of this magnitude, but Interpol is on their trail. If you have any information about the disappearance of the missing Yahtzee relics or of the Empty House organization, please contact your local branch of the World Yahtzee Institute immediately. Dice crime must not go unpunished.
February 12, 2011 - Amsterdam
Yahtzee and Murder
While white-collar crime can often appear to be victimless. After all, who really cares about some dusty old artifacts? But Yahtzee has been known to provoke violent crime as well, often with horrific results.
Tragic news came out of the Sunshine State when a Florida man attempted to choke his wife to death during a friendly game of Yahtzee. Fortunately, the poor woman survived but was forced to abandon the game in which she had already rolled three Yahtzees. Surely a personal high score was in the making. Her sore-loser psycho husband was charged with domestic battery, kidnapping, false imprisonment of an adult, resisting law enforcement officer without violence, and obstructing someone from using the 911 emergency service.
Earlier this year, a successful murder was committed by three young men against their own mother. The suspects’ only motive was their mother’s refusal to play Yahtzee. There is no denying that Yahtzee has a bloody past. The game’s violent history can be traced back centuries to societal uprisings and revolutions that used Yahtzee as inspiration. This begs the question, why are we seeing a spike in Yahtzee-related violence and what can we do to stop it?
As documented in The Yahtzee Manifesto, the game of Yahtzee was built on peaceful principles. Rather than inciting divisions like in Monopoly or Risk, Yahtzee celebrates humanity’s diversity by bringing people together. Once a player becomes aware of Yahtzee’s true nature, an undeniable spirit of camaraderie overtakes her and fellow players come to be viewed as equals rather than opponents. Many Yahtzeeists today use the game as a means of enlightenment or as a way to gain a deeper knowledge of reality. In fact, there are scores of monasteries and nunneries around the world that practice Yahtzee to promote global peace and personal healing. What other board game can say that?
So it would appear that the recent trend of physical violence at the Yahtzee table cannot be attributed to the game itself, but is a symptom of larger ills within modern society. To open this Pandora’s box would require an entire manifesto of its own. Suffice it to say that even in these troubled times, we must not lay the blame upon a game as gallant as Yahtzee. Indeed, without the ever-increasing popularity of Yahtzee and the spread of its non-violent ideals, the world may well be even worse off than it already is.
Robotic Yahtzee Overlords
As if these heinous crimes weren’t enough to make you recoil in horror, the groundwork is already being laid for Yahtzee crimes of the future.
Each April brings a joyous combination of high technology and innovation. Spring is in the air, birds are chirping, and electronic metal arms are raising their clenched fists into the air. That’s right, it’s National Robotics Week!
Yahtzee has long been intimately intertwined with cutting-edge technology. From Henry Ford’s custom-made “Yahtzee Stimulator” of the 1920′s to today’s electronic handhelds and computer versions, Yahtzeeists of all stripes love to incorporate technological wonders into the simple old-fashionedness of the game. But a new marvel has outdone them all. A fully-functional Yahtzee-playing robot is making its debut this weekend at the Robotics Challenge 2012 in Las Vegas.
The cleverly named “Yahtzee-Bot” is a humanoid robot from the waist up with super-dexterous hands that are equipped with double opposable thumbs. The extra thumbs allow the machine to generate extremely high levels of dice action, resulting in magnificently precise rolls. The robot has been undergoing intense testing for the past five months – rolling thousands of games a day. While none of these testing scores have been released to the public, researchers with the project can report that Yahtzee-Bot already has a favorite set of dice – a set of hot pink, nickel-core beauties. Using these particular dice, Yahtzee Bot’s total scores are, on average, nearly .2% higher than when playing with other dice. It may not sound like much, but it is a significant difference when stretched over the nearly 100,000 total games the bot has played.
Yahtzee-Bot may be able to teach us humans a few tricks. Maybe we should spend some time using different dice than we normally would. It seems that the world’s first Yahtzee robotic player is already advancing the bounds of Yahtzee strategy. But if Hollywood sci-fi has taught us anything, it’s that a sufficiently advanced artificial intelligence will inevitably evolve to destroy humanity. The bot is truly impressive but even I cannot abide a Yahtzee-loving robotic overlord.