Saturday, March 24, 2007

Yahtzee !

Yahtzee ! • this painting is sold
E.S. Lowe filed Yahtzee as a trademark with the U.S. Patent Office on April 19, 1956. The first commercial usage of the name Yahtzee was a few weeks earlier on April 3. Lowe classified his product as a "Poker Dice Game".

According to Hasbro, the game was invented in 1954 by an anonymous Canadian couple, who called it "The Yacht Game" because they played it on their yacht with their friends. Two years later they asked toy and game entrepreneur Edwin S. Lowe if he would make up some sets to be given as gifts to their friends who enjoyed the game. Lowe perceived the possibility of marketing the game, and acquired the rights to the game from the couple in exchange for 1,000 gift sets. This story is expanded by E.S. Lowe in the 1973 book A Toy is Born. According to Lowe, the game did not initially do well commercially, since the rules and appeal were not easily conveyed in an advertisement. Eventually he had the idea of organizing "Yahtzee parties" where people could play the game and thereby gain a firsthand appreciation for it. The idea was successful, and enthusiasts quickly popularized the game through word of mouth.

However, the overall concept of Yahtzee traces its roots to a number of traditional dice games. Among these are the Puerto Rican game Generala, and the English games of Poker dice and Cheerio. Most notable is the dice game named Yacht which is an English cousin of Generala. This game is fully explained in The Complete Book of Games by Clement Wood and Gloria Goddard (1940). This predecessor is extremely similar to Yahtzee in both name and content. The game's rules differ from those of Yahtzee in the following ways:it does not have an upper section bonus, both straights are a sequence of five (must attain 23456 and 12345), full house is scored by summing all dice, there is no three-of-a-kind category, and the highest possible score is 302. Wood classifies Yacht and a similar three dice game called Crag as sequence dice games.

The E.S. Lowe company sold Yahtzee from 1956 to 1973. During Lowe's ownership, a number of changes were made to the game's packaging, contents, and appearance. Between 1956 and 1961, the game's advertising slogan was changed from:

The Game That Makes You THINK While Having FUN

to the new slogan

The FUN Game That Makes THINKING fun!

According to current owner Hasbro, fifty million Yahtzee games are sold each year.

If you would like to purchase this 6" x 6" oil painting on stretched canvas, please email me. This painting is priced at $100.00 plus s/h.

Thank You!


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