When most people think of dice games, one of the first to come to mind is likely Yahtzee. Yahtzee has been a classic board game for a long time. It has shaped the whole dice game genre in a lot of ways. There have been quite a few different Yahtzee games created over the years. Many are re-themed versions of the original game, but there have been some that have actually tweaked the gameplay. Yahtzee with Buddies has been a pretty popular phone app, and it was also the inspiration for the game that I am taking a look at today Yahtzee: Frenzy Dice & Card Game. The game takes the normal Yahtzee gameplay and combines it with a free-for-all where all of the players compete for the same combinations. Yahtzee: Frenzy may not be the most original dice game and it is honestly too short, but it is a surprisingly fun game as you race to complete combinations before the other players.
Yahtzee: Frenzy consists of six rounds. In each round a number of combination cards will be placed out on the table. These cards will feature dice combinations that you have to roll in order to claim them. All of the players play at the same time. Players can choose which combination(s) they will go for, but only the first to roll it gets to claim it. You can roll as quickly as you want and can save numbers that you roll. Once you have rolled the corresponding combination, you can claim it. Each card is worth a number of points at the end of the game, and some even give you special abilities that will help you in the next round. The player that scores the most points at the end of the game wins.
Heading into Yahtzee: Frenzy, I didn’t really know what to expect out of the game. I have never had particularly strong feelings either way towards Yahtzee. The game is a fine dice game, but I don’t know if there is anything about it that really makes it better than any other dice game. I also had never played the Yahtzee with Buddies app that the game is supposedly inspired by. After playing Yahtzee: Frenzy I will admit that I was a little surprised by it.
Don’t get me wrong, Yahtzee: Frenzy is not a perfect game. In many ways it shares a lot in common with a lot of other dice games. While I can’t think of a specific game that plays exactly the same, many of the elements of Yahtzee: Frenzy have been utilized by other dice games in the past. The game even shares quite a bit in common with the original Yahtzee. Most of the dice combinations are versions of rolling the same number or rolling numbers in numerical order. While there are differences, your feelings towards the original Yahtzee as well as other dice games are likely to apply to Yahtzee: Frenzy.
The main thing that differentiates Yahtzee: Frenzy from the original Yahtzee is the speed element. The original Yahtzee has no time restraint. You can take your time choosing which dice you want to keep as well as which scoring combination that you want to use. In Yahtzee: Frenzy everyone plays at the same time. As you are racing to complete combinations before the other players, you don’t have time to spend thinking about what you want to do. You need to make decisions quickly and roll your dice as fast as possible. If you don’t, another player will likely take the combination that you were trying to roll before you are able to.
If you aren’t into frantic speed games, this may turn you off. You need to be at least decent at speed games in order to do well in the game. If you can’t roll dice fast and decide which you want to keep, you will struggle. You likely will be a little overwhelmed by the game as well. You need to keep moving. So if this doesn’t sound like your type of game, it likely won’t be.
As a fan of speed games though, I actually liked it. While fun, Yahtzee can be kind of dull at times. Much of this has to deal with just sitting around waiting for the other players to take their turns. This is no longer an option in Yahtzee: Frenzy. You don’t have a lot of time to just sit around and think. You need to roll your dice, quickly come up with your plan, and then just keep rolling the dice as fast as you can. Combinations can be claimed within seconds, so there is no time to waste. The fast pace of the game makes it surprisingly more fun than I expected it to be. Rounds are quick as most will likely take a minute or two at most. There is something quite satisfying about claiming a combination seconds before another player(s).
This makes Yahtzee: Frenzy a perfect filler game. I would guess most games will take around 15 minutes to complete. You don’t have time to sit around and think about what you are going to do. You just need to do it, and hope for the best. In many ways the speed works well for Yahtzee: Frenzy. The game doesn’t drag on, and it forces you to think quick on your feet. If you don’t have much time for the game, it is perfect as you can complete a whole game in 15 minutes at most. The short length also makes it easy to play a quick rematch.
In some ways though I think Yahtzee: Frenzy might be a little too short. I don’t think the game should have been significantly longer. If the game was too long, it would have started to drag. While playing Yahtzee: Frenzy though, it feels like it ends as soon as it begins. You are just getting into the game, and then it suddenly ends. I think the game could have benefited from a couple more rounds. The game would still have been really short, and yet it would have likely added something to the game.
Part of the reason why I think the game should have been longer is the fact that you don’t actually use most of the cards in the game. In one game you will use between 18 and 30 cards. The game includes 66 cards. Therefore at max you will use half of the cards included in the game. This allows you to quickly play a second game without having to shuffle the cards. Also it keeps the cards from getting repetitive. It just feels like the game could have had more to it though. You could play twice as many rounds, and still not use all of the cards.
At this point I want to bring up the Power Up cards. In theory I liked the idea behind them. I generally like when games give you power ups which add a twist to the gameplay. They give you the ability to use them for an advantage in the game. In theory I liked the idea for Yahtzee: Frenzy as well. In practice though, I had more mixed feelings about them.
They will make a difference in how you play the game. Cards that allow you to draw a Power Up card are really powerful in the game. This is because most of the power ups are overpowered. They usually give you a big advantage in the next round, and sometimes this comes at the expense of another player(s). If you can acquire a power up card, you usually want to. Some of these can be gamebreaking where they greatly increase your odds of winning the game.
What is weird about the mechanic is that it just doesn’t come into play all that often. Of the 66 challenge cards, only eight allow you to draw a Power Up card. This makes sense since there are only eight Power Up cards in the game. With only about 12% of the cards giving you a bonus power, they usually don’t come up all that often. In fact in one three player game, I think we went the entire game without drawing a single one of them. While this might help the game due to the power ups being kind of overpowered, at the same time it feels like a wasted opportunity. The mechanic is rarely even used.
While on the topic, it should come as no surprise that Yahtzee: Frenzy relies pretty heavily on luck. Rarely do dice games not rely on a lot of luck. Outside of having a dice rolling method that increases your odds of rolling specific sides, you don’t have much direct control over what happens in the game. No amount of strategy or fast dice rolling is going to overcome you not rolling the right numbers. The player that rolls the best is going to have a big advantage in the game which will be hard to overcome. If you like more direct control over your fate in a game, Yahtzee: Frenzy may not be the game for you.
Maybe the biggest reliance on luck comes from what the other players in the game end up doing. While playing Yahtzee: Frenzy you don’t really have time to monitor what the other players are doing with their dice. If you do pay attention to what they are doing, you likely will slow yourself down to the point where it will limit the number of cards that you are able to collect. This means that you just kind of have to hope that they don’t pursue the same cards that you are going after. Getting close to claiming a card and then having another player steal it before you can be hard to overcome. You likely will have some cards taken right before you in the game, but if it happens too often, you won’t win the game.
Ultimately Yahtzee: Frenzy is a frantic little dice game that can be pretty fun in the right groups. If you are looking for a heavily strategic game, it is not going to be for you. What the game excels at is being a fun fast little game. The game is really easy to play. If you have ever played a dice game similar to Yahtzee before, you could probably jump right into the game with no real problems. I would guess it would only take a few minutes to teach the game to new players. The game has a recommended age of 8+, which seems about right.
As for Yahtzee: Frenzy’s components you basically get what you would expect. The game just comes with cards and dice. The dice are very generic. They are a solid quality, but nothing too special. The artwork on the cards are pretty simple. It kind of works though as the cards aren’t filled with unnecessary information. The game includes plenty of cards as well like I mentioned earlier. All of this comes in a cardboard box which is pretty small. There isn’t much wasted space in the box which is always a plus.
I didn’t really know what to expect heading into Yahtzee: Frenzy. I have never really been a big fan or hater of Yahtzee. The premise behind the game seemed similar to quite a few other dice games that I had played in the past. In many ways it does share a lot of similarities with other dice games. It kind of feels like what you would get if you added a speed mechanic to Yahtzee. The game is a frantic race to beat the other players to claim the cards. This kind of surprised me as it was more fun than I expected. The game is easy to learn and play. You can just sit back and enjoy it without putting too much thought into what you are doing. The game plays really quick to the point where it might be too short. Yahtzee: Frenzy also tends to rely on quite a bit of luck.
Ultimately your opinion of Yahtzee: Frenzy likely will depend on your opinion of dice games like Yahtzee as well as speed games. If you don’t care for one of them or already own several games in the genre, I don’t know if Yahtzee: Frenzy will be for you. If you like simple quick speed dice games though, I think you will enjoy Yahtzee: Frenzy and should consider picking it up.
Year: 2022 | Publisher: Hasbro | Designer: NA | Artist: NA
Genres: Dice, Family, Speed
Ages: 8+ | Number of Players: 2-4 | Length of Game: 15 minutes
Difficulty: Light | Strategy: Light | Luck: Moderate
Components: 66 Combo cards, 4 Dice Tracker cards, 8 Power Up cards, 20 dice (5 dice in 4 colors), Round Keeper Board, Round Keeper token, instructions
- A fun twist on the original Yahtzee with the addition of a speed mechanic.
- Really easy to play where the whole family can enjoy.
- Not much different than some other dice games.
- Relies on a lot of luck.
Recommendation: For fans of Yahtzee-like dice games combined with a frantic speed element.