Zonk - a Fun and Easy Dice Game Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Zonk - a Fun and Easy Dice Game

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Okay, so you've got a group of friends over sitting around in conversation, drinking your favourite concoctions, when someone suggests playing a game. Don't want to spend hours trying to find all the tokens for your Monopoly board? Tired of getting part-way into conquering the world at Risk, only to have 'real life' remind you it's the start of a new work week? Want to just keep it simple and have fun? This game is for you then.


You've already got a small convivial crowd at the dining room table. All you need to add to the mix is a batch of five standard six-sided dice, a score pad, and a pencil. Go get them now and let's get started!


Be the first person to score 10,000 points using five six-sided dice. This will seem much more attainable once you review the dice scoring, because you won't have to tally each dot on the dice as a single point.


Decide whether to go around the group clockwise or counter-clockwise; the direction doesn't matter, only that there's a consistency for accounting of points and turns. Each person initially rolls all five dice on a turn, attempting to garner 'scoring dice' (see below) with each progressive roll. The minimum requirement to get successive rolls of the dice is that at least one die will have a point value. Any single scoring die, group of individually scoring dice, triple set, or run of all five dice allows that player to choose another roll with the remainder of the dice, or to end the turn and keep the accrued points.

The player need not tally all the dice scored, using more dice to better the odds for scoring the next roll. If the player fails to roll a 'scoring' dice or combination on the turn, it is considered a 'zonk' and should be announced loudly by all other players, whereupon said player relinquishes the turn. To start accumulating scored points, each individual player must first amass 1,000 points, without getting zonked in the process. After that, a player can choose to continue to roll and accrue points as long as each roll has 'scoring' dice and no zonk occurs. Therefore, a single player's turn may yield from several hundred to several thousand points, through multiple cycles of five-dice rolls, depending on his willingness to risk his accrued points.

Point Values (by spots on dice)

550 pts (as a single die)Forfeit on zonk, accrue on stop
1100 pts (as a single die)Forfeit on zonk, accrue on stop
2,2,2200 pts (as a triple on one roll)Forfeit on zonk, accrue on stop
3,3,3300 pts " " Forfeit on zonk, accrue on stop
4,4,4400 pts " " Forfeit on zonk, accrue on stop
5,5,5500 pts " " Forfeit on zonk, accrue on stop
6,6,6600 pts " " Forfeit on zonk, accrue on stop
1,1,11,000 pts " " Forfeit on zonk, accrue on stop
1,2,3,4,51,000 pts (only on 5-dice rolls)Safe from zonk, roll all again
2,3,4,5,61,000 pts (only on 5-dice rolls) Safe from ZONK, roll all again
0No scoring dice rolled = zonk!All points forfeit, but safe/accrued

Sequence of Play

  • First player rolls all 5 dice.

  • If no zonk, player chooses dice to keep for score (minimum one).

  • Player chooses to stop (after initial 1,000 pts logged), or rolls remainder of dice.

  • If no zonk, player chooses dice to keep for score (minimum one).

  • If all dice are scored during one turn, player may continue, starting over with all five dice.

  • When player chooses to stop, or gets zonked, all dice go to next player and score is tallied.

  • Next player takes turn to roll points.


Ensure the notepad has columns for each player's name or witty moniker. Use half of each column for 'first' and total score; use the other half column for the current tally per turn. Simply add across the previous total with the current tally, and write the new total below the previous. Add only points that accrued during the turn without a zonk, and/or those points considered safe by virtue of a five-dice straight (Safe 1,000 pts). Do not register to score any points lost because the chowder-head took the gamble and didn't get any scoring dice on the next roll. That's a zonk, and you should all remind him/her!

Parting Shot

Be aware that the game can become quite raucous, what with all the shouting of zonk and heckling the competition. Also, dice are notorious for skipping across tabletops, scampering across flooring, and hiding in hard-to-reach spots under furniture (we have Murphy to blame for that). Please understand that adding alcoholic beverages to the milieu will only complicate matters. Remember: Don't drink and dice!

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