Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de



Heinz Meister

Noris Spiele

No. of Players:
2 - 4



The average German gamer will raise an eyebrow when he first sets eyes upon the new dice rolling game Yay! from NORIS SPIELE. The English word "yay" certainly is not commonly used in Germany, and so it takes a look into an online dictionary to find out that "yay" is a word used in the context of cheering. So, author Heinz Meister seems to want players to cheer when playing his game, and this certainly invites a reviewer to find out whether the author's expectations are met by his audience.

Three common-six sided dice are used in Yay!, but instead on the table the active player rolls these dice into a wooden "frame" which has been placed in the middle of the table. Before the game starts, a sheet of paper showing an 8x8 grid of free spaces has been placed at the bottom of this frame, and during the course of the game the players will use different coloured pencils to note the results of their dice rolls in these free spaces. So, unlike games like Yahtzee where a scoring pad is used to record the results, the results in this game are actually noted on the gaming surface itself.

The game follows a few simple rules, but most important is the rule that a player must note the combined result of his roll in a free box which is touched by one of his three dice. If all three dice a touching only boxes already filled with numbers, it's bad luck and the player's turn is over! However, if one or more of the dice are touching empty boxes, the player next has to check if the combined result of the roll is higher than all horizontally and vertically adjacent results of his fellow players. If this should be the case, the player will write his combined result into the empty box, and he will be allowed to cross out all the lower results of the other players in adjacent boxes. If, on the other hand, the adjacent boxes contain one or more higher results, the player may cross out the empty box and end his turn, or he may roll again, hoping for a higher result but running the risk of being forced to cross out one of his previous results if the roll is not higher than the last.

The game ends when one horizontal and one vertical row of the playing grid have been filled with results and/or crossed out boxes. Now all players will count how many boxes they have filled with a valid result, and the player with most boxes will have won the game (mind you - the results are NOT added up, but it's just a count of the boxes!)

Playtesting revealed that the desired result of a cheering crowd grouped around the gameboard could not fully be reached, but the players in different testing groups still responded quite positive to this imaginative new family game. Heinz Meister has made a clever move by combining a classic dice rolling mechanism with 2-dimensional positioning aspects, and taken as a whole his new game can convince with its quick gameplay and entertainment value. It's especially noteworthy that the game outdistances the already mentioned classic Yahtzee by the fact that the players have to decide on taking risks on the more solid basis of the combined result of all dice, and at the same time the game even allows for a bit of trick rolling if players want their dice to touch a specific box. This will - of course - often go awry, but the gameplay is nonetheless more diverse than in comparable dice-rolling games. Over all, Yay! has a potential to replace Yahtzee on the list of ideal games for a short gaming interlude!

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Copyright © 2013 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany