Games are a great way to have fun with your family, especially if they are impromptu. Playing games is not only entertaining, but can teach your children new skills, such as counting, matching, planning, developing strategy, and problem-solving. Playing games together leads to a lot of good conversation and sometimes even leads to family jokes that last well beyond game time. It is a way for spouses to strengthen friendship and rekindle the romance. Zonk is a great family game and only takes 5 dice to play.

Here's how.

  1. Everybody rolls 1 die to see who goes first, or start with youngest and go clockwise.

  2. Players must accumulate 650 points to open and begin scoring.

  3. Starting with first player, all five dice are rolled.

  4. Scoring is as follows: 1 = 100; 5 = 50; 3 1s (in one roll) = 1,000; 3 2s (in one roll) = 200; 3 3s (in one roll) = 300; 3 4s (in one roll) = 400; 3 5s (in one roll) = 500; 3 6s (in one roll) = 600; 1,2,3,4,5 or 2,3,4,5,6 (in one roll) = 1,500

  5. The player must hold onto scoring dice and rolls the remainder, trying to achieve the 650 necessary to open and begin scoring.

  6. If at any time a player rolls no scoring dice, they lose all points for that turn and pass the dice to the next player.

  7. Once a player has reached at least 650 to open, they may decide to go on and risk it, or stop and score.

  8. When the player has opened with at least 650 points, each turn after that is their choice. They may roll as long as they roll at least one scoring die. They can stop with as few as 50 points for a 5 or they can continue and accumulate lots of points. They just risk losing it for a non-productive (no scoring dice) roll.

  9. If all 5 dice have scoring numbers, player may roll all 5 again.

  10. Players must keep at least 1 scoring die to count towards the total on each roll until they are finished with their turn.

Sample plays:

Player 1

1, 3, 3, 3, 6 (He can either keep the 3 3s for 300 or the 1 for 100 or all 4 for 400, but must roll the 6 to continue to try to get the 650 to open.)

Player 2

2, 2, 4, 6, 6 (No scoring dice, turn over.)

Player 3

1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (He scores 1500 and is now opened and scoring. He may continue to roll and risk the open score or he can stop on that turn. He rolls again and gets 1, 2, 5, 5, 6, scoring 200 for the 1 and 2 5s. He keeps that and has earned 1700 for his turn and passes the dice.)

Player 4

1, 1, 2, 4, 5 (He keeps the 2 1s and decides not to keep the 5 to better his chances of scoring something on the roll of the remaining 3 dice. He has 200. Rolling the other 3 dice, he gets 3, 3, 3 for 300. He now has 500. Since he has scored on all 5 dice, he is eligible to roll all 5 again. He rolls again and gets 2, 2, 3, 4, 6 with no scoring dice and so loses the 500 he had accumulated because it is not the necessary 650 to open. The dice are passed to Player 1 again.

The game ends with the first player to reach 15,000. Or, whatever number you choose. You can even keep a running game in a notebook without a limit.

If you don't have dice, pick up a set at the dollar store or borrow them from other games.

This game is loads of fun and it surprising how often someone who takes forever to open winds up leaping ahead.

If you are playing with small children, you might lower the opening number to 350 to make it less frustrating.

My family and I have played this game for decades and love it.

Close Ad