iYacht Yahtzee Dice Game

iYacht (AppStore Link)
User Reviews
Developer: iQuickie Games, Inc
Price: $0.99 Download on the App Store

iyacht yahtzee iphoneI already know how to play Yahtzee, so I didn't think I would need any time to figure out how to play Scott Voyek's iYacht, a Yahtzee dice game. I should have started by reading the FAQ, as Scott suggests when I first launch the iYacht.

Instead, I bypass the help stuff and iYacht takes me directly to the preferences page, where I can enable shake & roll detection, bonus tracking, sound effects and auto-select last score. I want all those things working so I make sure they're all switched on.

I tap the Done button and iYacht takes me to a scoreboard with a row of two-dimensional dice across the top, spaces for scores for Aces, Twos, Threes and all the other poker-style score options.

Okay, since I haven't played the game yet, I decide to move on and tap the Info icon in the bottom left corner. That takes me back to Preferences, so I tap Done and go back.

This time I tap, the Menu button and up pops a list of buttons: New Game, Play Again, Select Player, Hall of Fame & Shame, Rules, FAQ's [sic], About and Cancel. Nothing here I can't handle, so I tap New Game, followed by 1 Player, followed by a Select Player list with "Guest" already on the list with a check mark next to it.

I can add or edit names but Guest is good enough for me, so I poke it, followed by done. I arrive at the Settings screen once again. I tap Done and I arrive at the scoreboard again, when it finally dawns on me that I'm also looking at the playing field.

Shaking iYacht or tapping in the die in lower right corner causes the die aligned across the top of the screen to spin. Tapping the die in the right corner stops the spinning dice. I tap the dice I want to hold and tap the die in the lower corner again to spin the rest. Soon, it's game over. To replay, I have to tap menu and go back and select the New Game or Replay buttons.

Navigating and playing iYacht is a chore. Good thing there's a 31-page FAQ's [sic] to guide you. The help pages are sorted into categories explaining what shake and rolling dice is all about, what the smart score sheet does and how to play the game with up to five players (on the same device). I skim through several pages and click done. I'm back at the Scoreboard screen.

The UI and graphics on iYacht are not on par with other Yahtzee and dice games in the App Store.  I'll admit at $1.99 it's cheaper than those other dice games, but even so, I can't recommend it at this time. It would have been fine in the early '90s but iYacht just doesn't float my boat.

Image Gallery: iYacht

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  • http://www.iquickiegames.com Scott Voyek

    Immediately after reading Michaels review, I began working on an update to address the issues that it revealed. The new version (v1.2) is now available for download on the App Store.

    Michael started out by saying “I should have started by reading the FAQ, as Scott suggests when I first launch the iYacht.” Yes, that would have helped. But the fact that Michael didn’t read the FAQs revealed a flaw in my design. If Michael, a professional iPhone app reviewer, was going to skip reading the FAQs, then there’s a very good chance that a lot of other people were going to also.

    Why was it so important to read the FAQs?

    Because iYacht is different from other dice games…

    When you play with real dice, you shake them and then you roll them. In other words, shaking and rolling the dice are separate actions and iYacht recognizes that. To distinguish between shaking and rolling, iYacht requires you to make an intentional throwing motion to roll the dice, similar to throwing dice at a craps table. Without reading the FAQs, there is no way anyone could figure out how to do this. It’s easy to figure out that you can shake your iPhone, but once you stop shaking, the dice start spinning – this is how iYacht tells you that it’s waiting for you to either shake the dice more, roll the dice, or restore the dice (undo the shaking). A person who hasn’t read the FAQs wouldn’t know this and would be confused, maybe even think the game wasn’t working properly. They might try pressing the “Shake & Roll” die located on the bottom right of the screen, which would make the dice stop spinning. That’s because the “Shake & Roll” die can also be used to shake and roll the dice. A person who has done this might think “Ok, it’s not broken… but what a chore! Shake the iPhone, then press a button.” But you don’t have to do it that way. You can, but the intent is to either shake & “throw” your iPhone or use the “Shake & Roll” die – not both.

    If you're playing a real dice game, like Yahtzee, and you start shaking the dice, you can always stop shaking and put the dice back to how they were, and then change which dice you’re holding. iYacht is the only game I’m aware of that provides the ability to do this. With others, once you start shaking the dice, there's no going back. With dice games that let you shake your iPhone to shake/roll the dice, it’s very easy to accidentally shake/roll the dice before you want to. Because they don’t distinguish between shaking and rolling, they can’t let you “undo” an accidental shake/roll. If they did, you could repeatedly “undo” until you got a Yahtzee.

    The new version does not ask new users to read the FAQs first. Instead, it uses pop-ups to explain things that are important for the user to know. For example, the first time they shake their iPhone, iYacht uses a pop-up to explain how to “throw” the iPhone to roll the dice.

    Michael stated “I arrive at the scoreboard again, when it finally dawns on me that I’m also looking at the playing field.” I agree that launching straight to the playing field could be confusing. So, when launching the new version, instead of taking you straight to the playing field, iYacht will take you to a new Menu page with fun animations.

    Michael also indicated that there were a couple of times that iYacht took him directly to the Preferences page. It was not programmed to do that. There was an Info button on the score sheet page for accessing the Preferences page. This button was located directly underneath the Done button on other pages. I have to assume that Michael was double tapping the Done button? But double tapping is not a normal action used on an iPhone. So, what he was really doing was tapping the Done button and then the Info button. Regardless, the Info button has been removed and the Preferences page is now accessed from the main iYacht Menu page.

    Michael wrote “The UI and graphics on iYacht are not on par with other Yahtzee and dice games in the App Store.” While the graphics aren’t fantastic, one of my primary goals with iYacht was to provide unique, innovative and useful features, rather than “frills”. One feature that is unique, innovative and useful is distinguishing between shaking and rolling the dice. This provides the user with as many opportunities as possible to “Undo”. Another unique, innovative and useful feature is Bonus Tracking, which keeps you informed of what affect your scoring selections have towards getting the 35 point bonus associated with the Aces through Sixes scoring categories. And another useful feature is having the entire score sheet on one page. I didn’t want users to have to constantly scroll or flip pages. These features all support the main goal - provide a quick and fun gaming experience. I wanted iYacht to be a game that you could play when you find yourself with a few spare minutes. I felt that fancy graphics could always be added. After reading Michaels review, I decided that now was a good time to go ahead and make some improvements with the UI and graphics. I added an animated Menu page, animated pop-ups and relabeled some of the buttons with more common/user friendly labels.

    Lastly, Michael said “It would have been fine in the early ’90s but iYacht just doesn’t float my boat.” I believe it would have been pretty awesome in the early ‘90s. I don’t recall any dice games that allowed players to shake and “throw” their device to shake and roll the dice!

    In summary, I think Michaels review was very helpful and has led to improvements that make iYacht even better.

    Visit http://www.iquickiegames.com for more details about iYacht.

  • Jon


    I past phone was a treo that i have now replaced with an iPhone. I had a yahtzee type game that passed the time while waiting for movies to start and planes to take off.

    I want one for my iPhone and it has been difficult to determine a clear winner of thos offered. When I read your response to the reviewers criticism, it swung me in favor of buying your version. You seemed committed to making your game be as good as possible.

    One concern I have, and that I witnessed in the previous version I had on my Palm Treo, was that the game did not really seem truely random. Combinations and play did not seem to follow in the random fashion the real dice provide.

    Have you devised an algorithm and data base that solves this problem or at least hides it?

  • http://www.iquickiegames.com Scott Voyek


    Thanks for the comment.

    To answer your question, iYacht uses a pseudo-random number generator to generate the values for the dice. I think of this as a very long list of numbers. When you start iYacht, it goes to a spot in the list based on the current date and time. When changing the value of a die, I get the next pseudo-random number from the list. This is a very simple and common way of doing this. I’ve done a couple of things in iYacht to improve on this.

    First, I made shaking the dice and rolling the dice two separate actions. When a user “shakes” the dice, their values are changed to the next sequence of pseudo-random numbers in the list. When the user “rolls” the dice, their values are changed to the next sequence of pseudo-random numbers in the list. So far we haven’t improved the randomness. Now, because shaking and rolling the dice are two separate actions, I am able to allow the user to control how much they “shake” the dice. Each time they “shake” the dice, we assign values to the dice and move down the list. This allows the user to influence the randomness of the dice by how much they “shake” them.

    The second thing I’ve done is based on a comment from a user review. The user stated, “sometimes no dice roll but a turn is counted”. Unfortunately, I have no way to contact this person, so I have not been able ask them for details, but the only thing I can think of that may be happening is that the dice that should be rolled are being assigned the same value that they already are. This would appear as if the dice did not roll. I always knew that this could happen, but felt that the same thing can happen with real dice. You roll them, pick them up and roll them again and get the same values. This is more likely to happen when rolling only one or two dice. What I’ve done in the v1.2.3 update (currently in development, hopefully ready to submit to Apple for review this weekend) is to ensure that a die’s value changes each time it is “shaken”/”rolled”. In addition, the roll logic was modified slightly. A “roll” was always just another “shake”. Now a “roll” is two “shakes”, making it possible for a die to be “rolled” to the same value, but the user sees visual confirmation that the die’s value did change.

    I wouldn’t object at all to trying to improve it more. Have you had much opportunity to play with it yet and see what you thought about the randomness? Unfortunately, the version you have doesn’t have the second improvement. If you are interested, I wouldn’t mind having you beta test for me. You can send me an e-mail at support@iquickiegames.com. I wouldn’t mind opening a channel of communication with you. Don’t worry, I won’t spam you or anything!

  • http://www.iquickiegames.com Scott Voyek

    It’s been nearly 5 months since Michael published his review for iYacht. This review was a major factor in iYacht becoming the app that it is today. Since releasing the latest version (v1.2.3), iYacht has received many great reviews from customers who really enjoy playing it. One of my favorites is titled “Ranks #1 of the four paid yahtzee apps I’ve tried”, which included iYacht, Yahtzee Adventures, iZee and Maxi Dice (formerly Yatzy Twist, an app that was also reviewed on this site). And there are many more on the iTunes App Store, with titles such as “Awesome”, “Kickin’”, “Excellent” etc.

    I’m proud of what iYacht has evolved into and wanted to thank Michael for his brutally honest review and the role it played.

  • Jack K

    I think this is the most refined Yachtzee games out there. I read a few of the reviews above and find it hard to believe someone finds this a chore to navigate. Really, if you know yachtzee, this is the game for you!