Thursday, February 11, 2016

Review of Yahtzee at

Before I get to it, let me just say that despite what I say and complain about here, I still love the game, the author and the website. The games aren't something we have to download. They're not something we have to have an account for. They're not something that requires us to watch ads for. They are just the old fashioned games and that's that. For this reason alone, they're all worth playing. I give the author, Einar Egilsson, kudos for giving us these great games for free.

I've played others, but this one is about the Yahtzee game. There are similarities in the other games, but those are for another post on another day. I just want to talk about this one today.

Normally I'm an option girl. I want options. I want to be able to choose single player vs. other players. I want to customize my cards and backgrounds and so on. These are plain and options are limited. I'm okay with that. They're clean, free and ad free. For this reason plain is good here.

There is just one problem, probability. The author insists that it is not written to favor the computer and maybe it isn't. Only thing is, it does favor the computer and I kind of have the proof. Let me show you.

You'll need to click on it to see it better. On first glance, it looks fair. I have a higher high score, I've lost fewer games (only by 1 though) and won more games (only by 1 though). There is a problem though. The numbers are skewed.

Take a look at how many abandoned games I've made. Those games, are because he was about to win and I was mad. Yep. I get mad and rather than give the inanimate object the satisfaction of winning, I click the New Game button. In those instances, he had Yahtzee every single time as well. Well, except for one, which was by accident. If you look at your stats in the middle of the game (which I just learned making this screen shot), you abandon the game. In any case, my abandoned games jumps his numbers up tremendously. This would mean that he has had 105 wins and 79 Yahtzees. That is a huge number compared to my own. 

What are the odds that he would have that many Yahtzees in that many games? Well (if I did this right) according to this calculator he has a 60.97% chance of winning and a 67.21% chance that he'll get a Yahtzee in that game. 

Am I a bad player? Maybe, and one could argue that's the reason behind this, except that when I roll, I get less. For example, if he rolls 3 sixes on the first roll of a single turn, you can bet he'll get Yahtzee by the third roll of that turn. If I roll 3 sixes on the first roll of a single turn, I nearly always still only have 3 sixes on the third roll of that turn. 

If he rolls a Small Straight on the first roll of a turn he will get a Large Straight before his turn is over, nearly every time. For me, the odds are against me. I'd say of all the Small Straights I roll, maybe 1 in 7 times I'll get a Large Straight.

His probabilities are much, MUCH higher than mine. This isn't a physics controlled roll, it's just a button. This means that there is no way that I'm rolling badly, or whatever. Just by looking at the number of Yahtzees is proof that Bill is favored over me. 

Try it and see if you agree. I'll be interested to know the averages you get compared to mine. Also, keep in mind that I didn't know how to play Yahtzee when I started playing. It was trial and error to start with so my averages should actually be a bit higher. If I reset it, I'm sure they'll be better now. Still, it's the odds are lose/lose. 

Again, this doesn't mean that I won't play. This doesn't mean that I'm trying to complain. I fully appreciate the time, money and effort Mr. Egilsson has spent providing us with a clean and non-intrusive game. For this reason I'm actually thankful! I just wanted to share the reality of it all.


Update: As soon as I posted this I went back to play. I want to show you my screen cap of it. Look how many rolls we have and who got Yahtzee on only the second turn! Do you see what I mean? This is the very first game after my post here! First!!!!


Update #2: Take a look at this one, the same game a few rolls later.

As soon as I got the bonus, look who got ANOTHER Yahtzee. I mean, it was his very next roll. When it hands the dice back to me, it keeps the numbers Bill has just rolled. Notice that both of Bill's Yahtzee rolls were all fives. What are the odds of that happening? I'm not even sure how to figure those odds. In any case, the proof is in the seeing. Here you have it very clearly to view. I'm destined to lose this game.

Oh yeah, and I did. I resisted the urge to abandon the game, because it was clear that I was going to lose and since I'm not playing a human there is no reason to continue. Notice that he got everything. That is, he manged to roll himself a Full House and so on.

Here's my very last roll, so this is turn 13. Now after turn 12, I zeroed out Full House. The whole game I didn't get a single Full House, but look at the very next roll AFTER I zero it out (this was for the Yahtzee turn):

A Full House when I need a Yahtzee very badly. Needless to say this game alone proves that it favors Bill. This is what you get nearly every game. As proof, here is a screen cap of my new statistics. Please compare to before:

Yep. One game.

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