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Yahtzee Deluxe

For: Mobile

Though the streams are swollen, keep them dogies rollin, Yahtzee!

Product: Yahtzee Deluxe | Developer: EA Mobile | Publisher: EA Mobile | Format: Mobile | Genre: Card/ board game | Players: 1 | Format: J2ME | Reviewed on: D600 other handsets | Version: Europe
Yahtzee Deluxe Mobile, thumbnail 1
Things you grow out of as a child: furry slippers, food that's been pureed, nappies, large-print books.

Things you grow into as a senior citizen: furry slippers, food that's been pureed, nappies, large-print books.

Can you spot a pattern emerging here? To that list we're ready to add Yahtzee, the dice game that's somehow able to occupy those of a diminished mental capacity and for who coordination's a problem.

Based on little more than the combinations you can make when rolling five dice, it's a little bit like poker but with even more of the eventual outcome being dependant on luck and randomness.

You and the other players take it in turns to roll five dice, with three rolls available per turn. From those three rolls you can save particular dice (a bit like the Hold button on fruit machines, something most septuagenarians are familiar with) to make combinations with the second or third roll, aiming for pairs, triples, quadruples, full houses, straights and so on.

Get all five dice to come up the same number (five sixes, for instance) and you get a Yahtzee. Each of these combinations are worth points, with the game ending on the first person to get all the required combos.

It's a game that works in the real world because it's easy on the brain, can be played after a well-lubricated Christmas dinner, and is good for families.

It's not a game that works on mobile phone in the shape of Yahtzee Deluxe when you're more likely to be playing it on your own. In fact, we'd go as far to say that fun's about as absent as anything we've played.

We should clarify that statement, so to elaborate, Yahtzee Deluxe is not inherently a bad game. The visuals are bright, cheery, crisp and polished, though there is a limit as to what can be achieved within a game that's founded on five dice.

Additionally, the developer has made an effort to come up with fresh ways of playing, with two new modes of Yahtzee (Rainbow, where you also match colours, and Duplicate, which is more like poker) to accompany the Classic version that's been on sale on the high street ever since we can remember.

Even the sound's not all bad.

It's just that Yahtzee, as a concept, doesn't transfer at all well to mobile phone. It's like trying to condense War and Peace into a Reader's Digest compendium; the very thing that makes Yahtzee the game it is is lost in translation.

We can't see why you'd play it on your own – there's not even a computer player to beat, for the obvious reason that, in a game of chance, you're never sure if the game's rigged or not.

And, if you play with a friend, the constant passing the handset back and forth leads to a very insular pocket gaming experience. It's not at all conducive to social play.

Which is a shame because despite falling slap bang between the two age groups mentioned at the beginning of this review, we hold something of a soft spot for Yahtzee, and it's nostalgic recollections of past days when mobile phones were the size of bricks and used by pretentious yuppies.

Maybe we'll save our Yahtzee set from charity shop ignominy. They'll be getting Yahtzee Deluxe, though.
Yahtzee Deluxe
Reviewer photo
Mike Abolins | 31 October 2006
Nice try at converting a diverting board game but fails to capture its essence
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