Dotzee! No its not yahtzee…

Recommended Age:6+
Play Time:10 - 30 minutes
Objective:Score 10 points.
Contents:16 Giant Dice
Wooden Game Board
Official Site:products/dotzee
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Though it does involve dice. Lots and lots of dice! BIG ones too! It is a little more complicated than just rolling them though. Strategy is involved and understanding patterns like Four of a kind, Two pair, Small Straight and Flush.  Of course there is a little bit of dice rolling. No its not poker with dice I promise. Well…I guess it is a little like that but without the gambling and need for “poker” faces. Just smiles in this game!

My son loves dice so this game was a hit before we even got it out of the box! The game is meant for ages 6+ and my son just turned 5. The first thing I wanted to make sure of is that he understood the various patterns involved for scoring. We went over how a Small Straight was just 4 numbers in a row (in any order), and a Flush was all the same color. He knew what a pair was so it was easy explaining what Two Pair was and he knew Four of a Kind was just 4 of the same number.

If they cannot identify these patterns than that is your first mission. you could set the board up so that each row only needs one dice to finish its pattern and have the child roll the die and tell you where it should go and what pattern it will complete. This helps him learn the various patterns while still making it a game.

I will assume your child understands the patterns needed for this game and proceed to telling you more about it. Neat huh?

Set  Up:

To set the game up simply place all the dice on the game board blank side up. Ta-da! Easiest set up EVER!


Roll to see who goes first. Take turns in the normal clockwise fashion. On your turn select 1 die from the outside edge of the board and roll it. Has to be on the outside edge. Once you rolled you have choices.

    • You can return the die to its spot with the number rolled face up.
    • You can place it at the end of a row and slide the other dice into the empty spot. (its previous spot)
    • If you have created any points you can count them up.

Once you have placed the die and counted (or not) points your turn is over. Sounds easy but there are a few rules of course.

    • You may want to go over these scenarios one by one so your child understands better. I set up the board to have random numbers in it and we covered all the rules with demonstration. Then I asked which dice he could play, where he could play them and what if there was only one blank one. My son, like most kids, learn better with visual aids and experience. I think most people learn better with experience so going through everything and setting up scenarios is something I highly recommend. You can only select dice from the outside edge.
    • You HAVE to play a blank die from the outside edge if there are any.
    • If you roll a blank side you still have to put it on the board as is so choose wisely.
    • You cannot play a die that was just put down by someone else unless it is the ONLY blank on the outside edge.

Scoring:Scoring Combos

The patterns or combinations need to be in a row but they can be horizontal, vertical or diagonal and they don’t need to be in exact order in the row. The dice need to create one of the following patterns:

    • Four of a kind – 4 of the same number. Color does not matter
    • Two pair – Exactly that. Two sets of two numbers.
    • Small Straight – 4 dice that go from either 1-4 or 2-5
    • Flush – Any numbers but all the same color

You score 1 point for each combination you create with your die. Keep in mind though that you cannot score on combos that previous players left. It IS possible to score more than 1 point on your turn but you have to watch for opportunities and plan ahead.

The first person to score 10 points wins! Of course you can adjust that as needed. For example if you are playing with a child who doesn’t quite understand strategy and puts the dice wherever and you are trying really really hard not to slaughter him in the game…you might want to play to 5 instead.

This game, like most in our collection, is educational in some way as well as fun. Kids not only learn patterns, counting, basic math skills, taking turns and other social etiquette skills. They also learn strategy and how to plan ahead. One more thing they can learn is consequence which, honestly not enough games teach kids these days. If they put the dice in the wrong spot someone else can score points or they mess up their previous set up and not be able to score points.

I believe I have said it before that I don’t let the kids win every game. Granted they win most but not all. I think its important to teach them that it is ok to lose and this game of random rolls is a perfect opportunity for that. Use it to your advantage to teach them that sometimes you can’t control the outcome and that is just fine and fun too.


“Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning.”
~ Fred Rogers

Author: sandyz