Albany Style Zonk

This variant was submitted by Herbal Essence.

He or she writes:

i first learned of zonk at syracuse university in the spring of 1993. they played with five dice, with three of one color and two of another color. if all three same colored dice were rolled as a three of a kind, then a courtesy hit was awarded. there were no socials, no rebuttal, noadditional bonus,only 5150 and 6900 as special numbers, and no shaharazads.

And now, the rules.

Standard Rules

basic scoring

  • 5's are worth 50 pts.
  • 1's are worth 100 pts.
  • Three of a kind are a hundred times the number , except for 1's ,which are 1,000 pts.
  • Four of a kind initiates a "social" no additional points are scored , for example four 4's would score 400 pts., and four 5's would score 550 pt's. All players receive a hit.
  • Five of a kind are a thousand times the number, except for 1's, which are 10,000 pts.
  • straights are worth 1,500 pts.

Courtesy hits

we use three sets of different colored dice, two pair and single (the lynch pin). If the lynch pin matches with either pair of dice in a three of a kind, a courtesy hit is earned and may be given to anyone around.

Turn procedure

During a players turn they start by rolling all five dice.

If they roll no scoring dice, the player has zonked, and their turn is over.

If they do have a scoring die/dice the player may opt to retrieve dice, but they must leave at least one scoring die/set off dice.

The player may continue their turn as long as they roll scoring dice..

if when rolling less than five dice no additional points are scored, the player "bloads", their turn is over, and they have scored no points.

If during a players turn they have scored on all five dice (including the fourth die of a social, even if it is a "non scoring" die, it is considered part of the social), they have "vanna"ed, and must retrieve all five dice, and begin the rolling process again, adding the previous total to what ever else they score.

If the player rolls no scoring dice after a "vanna", they have zonked, their turn is over and they score no points.

During a players turn, they may choose to "call" their score, except when a "vanna" has occurred.

If the player correctly calls their score, the score keeper adds this to the players total score.

In order to "open", and be able to score points, a player must score 350 points or more.

earning hits

a player earns a hit for every 1,000 total points they score

the first player to 5,000 points, earns a hit

the first player to 10,000 points, earns a hit

a hit is earned when a players total score matches the "flair" numbers. Those numbers are, 3,050, 4,200, 5,150, 6,900.

a hit is earned for winning

at the end of the game zonks are tallied, the player/s with the most zonks earns a hit

at the end of the game hits are tallied (including the hit for zonks, but not hits for bonus round

all end game hits are considered to have occurred in the last round of the game, for the purposes of "three in threes"s

if a player earns three hits within three turns, that player earns a hit for a "three in three". That hit is counted as the first hit in the next "three in three", in other words the player has two turns to earn two hits to earn another "three in three".

Bonus round

when any player reaches halfway (5,000), and finish (10,000), a bonus is played. A bonus round is played for every player that reaches either halfway or finish that round

bonus round is a one round highest score roll-off for a hit

the rolling order is opposite, starting with the scorer (scorer always goes last, except for bonus)

all etiquette rules are off, except for dice on the floor

bonus points are not added to the players total score, nor do the count for "three in three"s


if a player fails to score in seven consecutive rounds they are awarded a sympathy hit. The hit is optional, and does not count as an earned hit

if the player fails to score in their next five turns they are awarded another sympathy hit

if the player somehow fails to score in their next three turns they are awarded another sympathy hit

for every round following this futility that the player does not score they are awarded a sympathy hit


if a player has at least 8,500 points, and someone crosses 10,000 points after them, the player receives a rebuttal roll to attempt to to tie or win the game

there is no rebuttal in league play


if more than one player reaches 10,000 points, the player/s with fewer points may request shaharazad. If the player with the highest score accepts, then a game to 2,500 points is played to determine the winner of the first game. The player with the highest score goes first, and needs 200 points to open. The next highest score goes second, and needs 250 points to open, etc.

League Rules

these are our albany league rules other than basic play mechanics.


  1. dice that cross the edge of the table plane are considered sloppy- loss of turn
  2. dice retrieval must be clean (no sliding, pushing, dropping, etc. of dice)-loss of turn
  3. no stacking of dice- loss of turn + next 2 turns
  4. rolling of dice must fluid (no "sticky" dice or dice rolled early, etc.)- loss of turn
  5. dice must be retrieved with one hand and rolled with that same hand- loss of turn
  6. once dice are retrieved they cannot be put down, unless they are rolled- loss of turn
  7. touching dice out of turn is right out- loss of next turn
  8. error pick (retrieving down dice, or picking all current scoring dice (except "vanna"s)) this includes not clearing a "vanna"{this call must wait till incomplete "vanna" retrieval is rolled}- loss of turn
  9. player must correctly call their turn score- loss of turn
  10. ingestion, no eating the dice- automatic disqalification + 1 game suspension
  11. vanish, if while rolling, a die or dice is lost- loss of turn, + next turn
  12. no use of force or schwartz- banishment
  13. tampering, no effecting other players dice- loss of next turn, if intentional lose next to turns
  14. interference, non-incedental contact during another players rolling motion- lose next turn,if intentional lose next 2 turns
  15. when a player earns an HSI, the next player must wait till that player exhales their first earned hit, or gives consent to roll on- loss of turn
  16. hissy-fit, complaining, or excessive grousing- loss of next turn


  1. hits earned must be smoked-in by the beginning the players next turn- loss of turn
  2. player must roll in a timely fashion, 2 minutes after end of previous players turn, 30 seconds on following rolls, after infraction player must be given a visible 10 second countdown- loss of turn
  3. timey wimey, no use of temporal manipulation devices (i.e. tardis' flux capacitors, etc.)


  1. knocking dic;, dice that change face become new showing face (whether scoring or not, although scoring dice that change to non-scoring dice are still considered scoring dice for retrieval purposes and "vanna"s
  2. bonus etiquette rules
    1. dice that leave table plane; void bonus
    2. ingestion; void bonus
    3. vanish; void bonus
  3. etiquette infractions or "sloppies" must be called before next roll settles

match rules:

  1. game play
    1. first round; games of three are played, with one player from each team (at least two games)
    2. second round; one game consisting of the player from each team with the highest HSI, plus a player from the team with the highest first round total
  2. teams must have 2 players to play a match
  3. teams roster; between 4 and 7 players
  4. "vanna" defense; player must remain seated, and not contact the table with upward motion

originally we tried to have four teams, with two four player games between two teams, consisting of two players from a team at each table. we couldn't quite get that to happen, so we folded two teams together and moved to our three player games format. we hope to expand and move back to the two teams a match with two games of four. there may be addendum to these rules, we'll send them along. thanks

peace out,
herbal essence



  1. miss score; if there is a discrepancy in score recording- scorer loses next turn
  2. mal-score; if scorer fails to inform players of earned hits, correct number of earned hits, impending 3 in 3's, or bonus round- scorer loses next turn
  3. score update; if requested for a valid update, scorer must comply at end of round (score updates can only occur every third turn( update at halfway is mandatory))
  4. scorer must use offical zonk names initially

bowl maintenance;

  1. bowl must be repacked promptly after cashing
    1. if player still has HSI earned, bowltender has 1 minute to pack bowl- bowltender loses next turn
    2. if no player is qued for HSI bowltender must have bowl packed by next hit- bowltender loses next turn
    3. bowltender has 1 minute grace peroid after cash- bowltender loses next turn
    4. if bowltender at the beginning of their turn still has earned HSI to take, and the bowl cashes before their 2 minute period, bowltender receives an additional 1 minute to time period- bowltender loses turn
  2. bad ju-ju; handing a player who has earned HSI a cashed bowl is not cool- bowltender loses next turn
  3. losing, or eating bowltender paraphenalia bowltender loses next turn



  1. table must be between 6 sq. ft. and 16 sq. ft.
  2. table must be one plane
  3. playing surface must be uniform
  4. table cannot be excessivley unstable
  5. table must be at least 2 ft. wide, and no longer than 4 ft.


  1. home team chooses music
  2. any sensory interaction with Dave Matthews during match time will result in automatic disqualification for the transgressing team
  3. home team must supply beverages
  4. home team to supply smoking area within reasonable distance from match area, or allow a 5 minute break at halfway
  5. home team must supply mascot