Slow and steady does not always win the race in the Farkle dice game when you've got lucky friends. Your aim is to build as many points as you can from your dice rolls, making snap judgments on when to keep rolling and when to stop and keep your points. Get it right and you can score thousands of points; get it wrong and you won't score any. The game doesn't take long to learn, is portable for trips, adapts to a wide number of players and ages — and rolling snake eyes can be a good thing.
Patch Products manufactures a Farkle game set that comes with everything you need. However, you don't have to buy the game to play -- all you need is six regular dice, paper and a pen to record scores, and a dice cup if you want to use one. Have every player roll a die; the one with the highest score starts the game. Choose a player to keep score and decide whether gameplay will run to the left or right, though official rules say to go to the left.
Farkle Dice Scores
In Farkle, only ones and fives have individual scores; all other scores apply to number combinations.
- One = 100 points
- Five = 50 points
- Three ones = 300 points
- Three twos = 200 points
- Three threes = 300 points
- Three fours = 400 points
- Three fives = 500 points
- Three sixes = 600 points
- Four of a kind = 1,000 points
- Five of a kind = 2,000 points
- Six of a kind = 3,000 points
- Straight (one through six) = 1,500 points
- Three pairs = 1,500 points
- Four of the same number plus one pair = 1,500 points
- Two sets of three numbers = 2,500 points
If you're real unlucky and don't roll any scoring dice, you throw a Farkle. During the first round or rounds players have to reach and save a score of 500 points before they can go on the score sheet.
Farkle Game Rules
Roll all six dice. After the roll, you work out which points you want to save and whether you want to continue rolling. For example, if you roll five twos and a three, you may decide to bank your 2,000 points and finish your turn. Alternatively, if you roll three twos, a six and two fours, you score only 200 points -- to earn more, you can put the three twos to one side and roll the remaining three dice again. You can stop rolling and record your score after any throw -- points on the score sheet are always safe -- but, if you throw a Farkle, you lose any points you've earned in that turn and the next player steps up. If you have all your dice being able to be counted for points, you can re-roll all the dice.
The Farkle Winning Round
After any player at the table reaches 10,000 points or more, the game enters the final winning round. All the other players take one more turn to try to beat the score of the player with the 10,000+ points. The player with the highest score at the end of this round wins the game. A "playing it safe" strategy of stopping just after 10,000 might come back to haunt you here, if the score is close and your fellow competitors take big risks that pay off. You may want to pad that total.
Your game tactics depend on how much risk you're willing to take and how high, or low, your scores are. If you want to win big -- and are willing to take the risk that you may lose big -- you can keep rolling to try to build higher scores. If you want to play safe, you can stop your turn and record your score when you have a couple of dice left. It's worth keeping an eye on how other players are doing. If you’re lagging way behind in points, it may be worth taking more of a risk to try to catch up.
Patch Products produces other versions of Farkle, including mini and card games. Its Farkle Frenzy game has all players play at the same time; Farkle Around makes you match dice rolls with scores on cards. You can also customize the rules of the game rather than sticking with the official version. For example, you can drop the rule that players have to bank 500 points before they can record scores. Or, for a quicker game, set a lower winning round score of 5,000 points. Kids may like a rule that any player who throws a Farkle must shout "Farkle" before the next player takes their turn or lose 1,000 points. You can also deduct 1,000 points if a player throws one or two Farkles.
Carol Finch has been writing technology, careers, business and finance articles since 2000, tapping into her experience in sales, marketing and technology consulting. She has a bachelor's degree in Modern Languages, a Chartered Institute of Marketing.certificate and unofficial tech and gaming geek status with her long-suffering friends and family.