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You will need a score sheet, print copy below or just write out your own, and five dice.
Any number may play or a good solo game.
Each player in turn tries to score the highest possible amount for each of the twelve categories on the score sheet. In each turn a player has up to three throws rolling the dice, setting aside any they wish to use for a category and rolling the remainder. They do not have to use all three throws and may stop after the first or second. Players must fill in a score for a category after each turn but once it is used they may not change it. Categories may be filled in any order.
After each player has had twelve turns and all the categories on the score sheet have been filled, the scores are totalled, and the player with the highest total, wins the game.
1 Ones Score one point for each 1 thrown. Maximum of 5 points. 2 Twos Score two points for each 2 thrown. Maximum of 10 points. 3 Threes Score three points for each 3 thrown. Maximum of 15 points. 4 Fours Score four points for each 4 thrown. Maximum of 20 points. 5 Fives Score five points for each 5 thrown. Maximum of 25 points. 6 Sixes Score six points for each 6 thrown. Maximum of 30 points. 7 Little Straight 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Scores 30 points. 8 Big Straight 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Scores 30 points. 9 Full House Three-of-a-kind and a pair. Scores total value of all dice. 10 Four of a Kind Scores total value of the four dice. i.e. 6, 6, 6, 6, 2 scores 24 points. 11 Chance No pattern required. Scores total value of all five dice. 12 Yacht Five-of-a-kind scores 50 points.
For example a turn might go something like this. A player rolls all five dice resulting with the numbers 6, 6, 6, 3, 3. They could score for a full house without any further throws. But if the full house category is already used they would set aside the three 6s and roll the remaining two dice to try and gain a good score for the sixes category. The remaining dice are rolled again and come up as a 4 and 6. The 6 is kept making four-of-a-kind and the remaining die rolled as the last throw. It is a 6 as well making a Yacht (five-of-a-kind) and scores 50 points which ends a very lucky turn. It is common for a player to enter zero for a category and players often use the 1s for this because it is low scoring.
Variations: Yahtzee is played as described above but the score sheet is divided into two sections. 1s through to 6s as the first section, and the remaining categories as the second. At the end of a game you score a bonus of 35 if the 1s to 6s section totals 63 or more. Additionally the definition of a big straight is any run of five consecutive dice values and a little straight any run of four consecutive dice values. Players score 40 for a big straight not 30.
General is played as described above for Yacht but with the following differences.
There is only one straight scored in General and can be either 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. It scores 25 points if made with only one throw and only 20 points if made on the second or third. For this category Aces (1s) are wild and may represent a 2 or a 6 if either or both are needed to make a straight.
The full house scores 35 points if made with one throw and 30 points if made on the second or third.
Four-of-a-kind scores 45 points if made with one throw and 40 points if made on the second or third.
The Yacht category is know as a general. If it is made with one throw then it wins the game with no further play and is known as a big general. If made on the second or third throw it scores 60 points and is known as a small general.
When played for stakes the winner receives the difference between his score and that of each of the other players at a pre-arranged sum for each point.