Yahtzee Scorecard PreservationMarch 16, 2021
The feelings of joy that arise from playing Yahtzee with friends and family are undeniable. Nothing beats the sound of five dice rattling around in a plastic cup or dishing out high-fives after someone rolls a Yahtzee. But the fun doesn’t need to stop once the game ends. Yahtzee fans can derive hours of happiness in reliving prior games and momentous outcomes by reminiscing over old Yahtzee scorecards. Many people simply discard their completed cards. Other players only save scorecards if they’ve rolled a really high score. But the World Yahtzee Institute recommends keeping them all for future generations to study and enjoy.
We often hear from Yahtzee fanatics who have been dismayed to discover that their toddler has defaced their old scorecards with crayon scribblings or whose dog chewed them to bits. These kinds of accidents typically occur when completed scorecards are simply kept in the Yahtzee box with the rest of the equipment. While this is perhaps the most logical spot to stash them, consideration should be given to creating a more permanent home for old Yahtzee scorecards where they can be better protected from the elements. Any secure place where you would typically store valuables are appropriate, such as a personal safe, gun locker, jewelry box, under the mattress, underwear drawer, cookie jar, or a bank’s safety deposit box to name but a few. But due to the delicate nature of the scorecard paper itself, electronic means of preservation are the preferred method for maintaining a record of Yahtzee scores for the long term.
One easy way to manage Yahtzee scores digitally is to forgo a paper scorecard entirely and use a simple computer spreadsheet to record your scores. This does require, or course, the use of a phone or computer during gameplay which may prove to be a hindrance to the flow of the game. Alternatively, the scores from a paper scorecard can be transcribed into the spreadsheet once the game has ended. Many players, however, like to include doodles or other artwork on their Yahtzee scorecards that cannot be translated into a spreadsheet format. In these cases it is good practice to electronically replicate the scorecards with a digital scanner or photographic technique.
As an additional measure of score conservation, consider converting old scorecards into Standard Yahtzee Notation (SYN). SYN was developed during the European ‘Age of Enlightenment’ as a way to apply the latest scientific developments to the preservation of Yahtzee scores. Over the centuries it has become the benchmark method to chronicle Yahtzee scores for future study. Its functional simplicity has since been applied to other games, most notably chess. A major benefit in SYN is its ability to record the sequence of scores in a given game, a capacity not included in the standard Yahtzee scorecard.
One SYN unit is a record of one game of a single player. The unit consists of sixteen entries - thirteen representing each turn of one traditional Yahtzee game and three for the totals, Upper Section Total (UST), Lower Section Total (LST), and Grand Total (GT). These sixteen entries are indicated by parentheses, which are each followed by the game data. The game data is depicted as an abbreviation of the scoring category marked in a given turn and then its numerical score. The following is an example of one SYN unit:
(1)LS40 (2)3s9 (3)4s12 (4)4K27 (5)Y50 (6)Y100 J-6s30 (7)Y100 J-3K30 (8)SS30 (9)2s4 (10)C19 (11)5s15-B35 (12)FH25 (13)1s0 (UST)105 (LST)421 (GT)526
In this game the player started (1) by rolling a Large Straight (LS) which is always scored as 40 points. The second turn (2) resulted in scoring their Threes (3s) for nine points. Note that this game yielded three consecutive Yahtzees (Y), beginning on turn five (5). The subsequent Yahtzees on turns six (6) and seven (7) are recorded with ‘Y100’ to indicate the Yahtzee Bonus, followed by a ‘J’ notation to record the placement of their Joker score. Not surprisingly, this turned out to be a high-scoring game as indicated by the Grand Total (GT) of 526 in the final entry.
As the saying goes, nothing is certain except for death and taxes. While there is fortunately no tax on Yahtzee goodness, players should contemplate how to safeguard their scorecards after death. As a means of preserving their own Yahtzee legacy for posterity, scorecard depositories and associated data can be included in a personal will to be bequeathed to a loved one. The World Yahtzee Institute also accepts these records and will incorporate it into its master archive. With foresight and proper management, your Yahtzee scores can live on forever and you can take pride in your contribution to both Yahtzee history and its continued development.