David G. Cox Esq.
Do what you can, with what you've got, where you are.
Zilch is a fun game that is suitable for two, or more, players. The game is very simple and consequently this will be a fairly brief review. The concept behind the game is very similar to the popular pub-game, Pass the Pigs.
I will not say very much about the rules as it is possible to download a complete set of the rules from the Zilch Files on BGG. All you need to play the game is ‘6’ dice plus paper and pen to keep a tally of the score.
When playing the game the object is to be the first player to score 5000 points. Each player will roll the ‘6’ dice. Some combinations of the rolls will be worth points. Some times a single die will score points and other times combinations of ‘3’ dice or ‘6’ dice will score points. The active player removes as many of the scoring dice as they wish. They then decide wether or not to keep the score OR to risk the score by rolling the remaining dice. If, after rolling the dice, you have rolled a “zilch” result you score nothing – you lose the scoring dice that you set aside earlier. Furthermore, if you score three “zilches” in a row you will lose 1000 points from your score. Once a player reaches or exceeds 5000 each other player has one more turn to try to beat the top score.
It is basically a game where you ‘push your luck’ and decide whether your score is worth keeping or worth risking. If you manage to score with all ‘6’ dice, you then can re-roll all ‘6’, adding more points to what you have already scored.
The game has more strategy and tactics to it than you would initially think.
If you get close to the 5000 mark, you might decide that it is not a good idea to go just over it and then finish, especially if your opponent(s) are close to you. It might be better to stop just short, so that you then can have two or three attempts at getting a really good roll to put you way past the 5000 mark.
If your opponent(s) is close BUT has just rolled two consecutive “zilches” you might decide that now is a great time to push your luck and try to put more pressure on them.
I find that when I play I take into account how many points the other player has and it will have a large bearing on the decisions that I make regarding keeping a score and risking it to maybe gain a bigger score.
In regards to the tactics of the game sometimes you might decide, if for example you have two scoring dice, to just put one of them aside so as to give you an extra dice to re-roll, hoping that will give you a better chance of getting a ‘multi-dice’ scoring roll.
The game works well with two players and can be quite intense. The more players the more down-time there is between turns but it works well as a party game as there is no limit to the number of people who can join in.
The game works very well as a light finish to a night’s gaming or as a starter if you are waiting for some people to arrive before you start the serious gaming. Games can be quite quick and as all you are doing is rolling dice and writing down the score, it is easy to interrupt a game and then continue it some time later.
If you enjoy fast, light games give Zilch a go – you might like it!
“Dead Men Tell No Tales – But They Would Like To Roll Dice.”
- Last edited Thu Mar 6, 2008 12:18 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Wed Mar 5, 2008 11:04 pm
My wife and I enjoy this as a easy, fun two-player when we feel like a light game without too much thinking. It is fun because of the push-your-luck nature of the game. Of course, as a dice fest it is heavily influenced by luck. There is no limit to the number who can play. But, because of down-time, we've found it best if we don't exceed 4 players.
This is a good, fun short game that I know about because of BGG and worth more people giving a try.
Thanks for this review to bring it to the attention of others.
I have been playing this game for 30+ years. Loved it as a young kid, and I still love it now!!