The game was popular with the kids ("5 dice?!") and many had played Yahtzee so there was not a lot of explaining necessary. I wanted to experiment with 2 rolls instead of 3 rolls.
To introduce the game, I talked about how mathematicians like to notice. We rolled five dice and talked about what they noticed. The scoring rolls were chosen to provide more relationships to notice as well as some computation practice. The dice pips are a good support to the third graders who were novices at the multiplication, and the 5th graders were really seriously considering which scoring slots were related to what they had rolled. One team of girls played cooperatively instead of competitively, and that worked well.
|God bless you, Professor Yaht!|
image Josh Kenzer @ Flickr
I think the game has some replay value - due to the brilliance of the Yahtzee designers. Dice randomness plus getting better with more familiarity with the scoring is good for repeat business. The math is reasonable for looking for and increasing automaticity with computation. Let me know what works for you and what variations you might try if you give it a go.