Dice Games Zilch: Play Zilch Dice Game

Learn how to play Zilch die games in our Zilch dice game guide.


Have you ever played Zilch?

Are you looking for tips and tricks for the Zilch dice game?

How easy is it to play?

When you’re looking for fun dice games Zilch is a great option. “Zilch” is a word that tends to mean “nothing” in popular slang. The word became well-known in the 1960s and 1970s in the United States, and although it’s not used as often anymore, it’s still commonly recognized.

In the context of the dice game, the word “Zilch” has a lot to do with the gameplay. This offer is possible to roll badly and score nothing for an individual round—meaning you have “Zilch!”

What exactly is Zilch?

Zilch is also known as 6-Dice, Ten Thousand Dice, Dix Mile, Dice Ten Thousand, Ten Grand, Crap Out, Boxcar, Foo, and Bogus. Farkle is a game that plays almost exactly like Zilch, but with a few subtle changes that make it slightly different as well.

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This game is very easy to learn how to play as long as you know how to follow the point-scoring rules. It’s a good game for kids and adults to enjoy together since it poses a challenge for both age ranges.

In this article, we’ll show you everything you need to know about how to play Zilch, even if you’ve never heard of it before. You’ll learn the steps and materials necessary to have the perfect game in no time.

Read on to find out more!

How to Play Zilch

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Players Needed: 2 or more, although it may be more enjoyable with 4 or more

Materials Needed:

  • 6 six-sided dice
  • Paper and pencil for keeping score
  • Table or other surfaces for dice rolling
  • Optionally, dice rolling cup


  • Begin by having everyone sit around the table. You don’t have to sit in a circle, as long as everyone can easily reach one another for passing the dice.
  • Players should take turns rolling all six dice together and counting up their totals to determine who goes first. In the event of a tie, tied players should roll a single die to find out who goes first.
  • Make sure everyone has a piece of paper for point counting purposes. If anyone in the group needs some help with math, provide calculators or allow them to use their phone’s calculator for adding their points.
    • Note: If you’re using this game to help kids with their math skills, it may be more beneficial to encourage them to add on their own.

How to play:

  • This game functions a little bit like Yahtzee with some other game mechanics included as well. It’s a bonus to have an understanding of how to play Yahtzee before you begin playing Zilch, but you don’t necessarily have to.
  • The first player rolls all six dice at the same time. Depending on what they roll, they may score a different number of points.
  • The first goal of the game is to score at least 500 points in a single roll. If a player scores at least 500 points, then they can continue tallying their score and write down whatever their total is for that round.
    • So for example, if a player rolls 2 ones, 2 twos, 1 four, and 1 six, that player only scores 200 points. The player scores 100 points per each 1 rolled but don’t score anything else for the 2 pair, the 4, or the 6. Therefore, the player cannot take any points for that round, since they didn’t make at least 500 points. That player earns Zilch for the round.
    • On the other hand, if a player rolls 2 ones, 3 threes, and a five, the player scores 500 points evenly. The player scores 100 points per each 1 rolled, 300 points for the 3 threes, and nothing for the 5. Even though it’s an even 500, the player can earn these points for the round.
    • Let’s look at one more example. If a player rolls 3 sixes, 2 ones, and a four, the player scores 800 points. The 3 sixes alone are worth 600 points and are enough to allow the player to score for this round. Therefore, the player can continue adding points to determine their total for the round.
  • From there, if the player has made 500 points or more, they may choose to continue rolling. If the player doesn’t score at least 500 points in the next round, however, they lose their points and must pass play to the next person.
  • For this reason, sometimes it pays to be a little greedy, and sometimes it’s not worth it!
  • Keep in mind that a Zilch does not mean that the player loses all of their points in total. It only means that they lose their points for this round.
  • Adult players may choose to place bets or involve some drinking game rules in their Zilch game, although this isn’t required.
  • Note: If a player drops a die or it rolls off the table because of the way they rolled it, then they automatically “Zilch” for that round and cannot score any points. Some players choose to enact this rule when picking up the dice as well.

How to keep score:

  • The scoring system is as follows:
    • Ones are always worth 100 points and fives are always worth fifty points.
    • Three ones are worth 1000 points.
    • Four ones are worth 2000 points.
    • Three twos are worth 200 points.
    • Three threes are worth 300 points.
    • Three fours are worth 400 points.
    • Three fives are worth 500 points.
    • Three sixes are worth 600 points.
    • Five dice in numerical order (also called a Straight) are worth 1750 points.
    • Three pairs of any kind are worth 1000 points.
  • There is a lot of math involved in keeping score in Zilch, so it’s a good idea to give everyone some scrap paper so they can tally their points for each turn. It may also be useful to give everyone a printed paper with the rules for scoring, at least until all players are very familiar with the game.

How to win:

  • The first player to score at least 10,000 points (although it’s okay to go over) wins the game.
  • It may seem easy to score this many points, but this may actually take some time for a single player to achieve. If you’re looking for a shorter game of Zilch, you can lower the number of goals. However, it’s more fun to leave it as-is when possible.


Do you understand a little more about how to play Zilch? As you can see, most of this game focuses on random chance and dice rolling probability. But is there any strategy to it as well?

With a little practice, you may be able to strategize and improve your skills at Zilch. Some players heavily consider the probability and statistics of rolling what they need for any rolls after their first, and in this way, you can use math to reason out the odds of getting the dice hand you’re looking for. Other players practice perfectly rolling the dice to have them land more often than not on the right numbers. Although this skill takes a lot of practice and effort, it can really improve your Zilch game in the long run!

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