GoCampingAmerica.com | Posted March 4th, 2013

Farkle: Perfect Family Game That's Low Maintenance

Happy Camper Blog

Farkle is an ages-old dice game that has many other names, like Greed, 10,000, Hot Dice, Squelch, Zilch, or Zonk. All you need to play is a set of 6 dice and some paper for scoring. It’s easy to learn, easy to play, easy to score and can be enjoyed by players of all ages. You need at least two players, but the game can be played with as many players as you wish – the more players the more fun.

How to Play

Each player rolls one die to determine who goes first. The player that rolls the highest die goes first. In case of a tie, roll again until a winner is determined.

Farkle is played in rounds. Each player takes turns rolling the dice. In the beginning rounds, each player must score at least 1,000 points in a round before they can start accumulating points. If no dice can score, the round is over and the player has “farkled."

After accumulating 1,000 points in a single round, points are scored by “setting aside” selected dice and then rolling the remaining dice for additional points. The player does not have to select all of the dice that are worth points. But he must select something that is worth points before he can roll again. Play continues until the player either gets no points on a roll (farkles), or the player ends his turn voluntarily and takes the accumulated points for the round. If all of the dice are scored, the player can pick them all up and roll all six dice again or end his turn. If a player farkles on 3 consecutive turns, the player is penalized 1000 points.

A game is finished after a player reaches (or exceeds) 10,000 points AND the other players have taken one more turn to see if they can score a total greater than the first player to reach (or exceed) 10,000. After each player takes their turn, the player with the higher score is the winner of the game.

Once one person reaches (or exceeds) 10,000 points, the other players get one more turn. After that turn, the person with the most points wins. If there is a tie, each player that tied gets one more turn to accumulate the most points.

In the event of a tie, the tying players will continue with full rounds until one player has a higher score than the other(s).


There are only two numbers that can be worth points on their own:

  • a 1 is worth 100 points
  • a 5 is worth 50 points

For other numbers, combinations have to be made. 1's and 5's can also have combinations. The possible point combinationis are:

  • Three of a kind is worth 100 times the number. For example, Three 3's are worth 300 points. Three 1's are a special roll and are worth 1,000.
  • Four of a kind is worth twice what 3 of a kind is worth - Four 3's are worth 600 points
  • Five of a kind is worth twice what 4 of a kind is worth - Five 3's are worth 1,200 points
  • Six of a kind is worth twice what 5 of a kind is worth - Six 3's are worth 2400 points
  • One of each number (1-2-3-4-5-6) is worth 1500 points
  • Three pairs is worth 500 points - For example, 1-1-2-2-4-4

All scores above are based on a single throw of the dice. You cannot earn combined points from different rolls. For example, if the roller sets aside one die with a 1 and counts 100, and then on the next roll comes up with two 1's, the player cannot count 1000 for three of a kind (he may set aside the additional as two single 1 spots for 200 points).


It is better to leave yourself with three or more dice for a throw than it is to take single scoring dice. For instance, if you have set aside a 2 die already, and then throw two single scoring dice (say, a 1 and a 5), then you should only take the single 1.

If you are significantly behind, it is better to play aggressively than to play conservatively. Conversely, if you are significantly ahead, then it is better to play conservatively than aggressively. Some players are always aggressive or always conservative, but the adaptive player is the one most likely to win.

Throwing all six dice will almost always lead to at least one scoring die. Only the ultra-conservative player will stop rolling with all six dice in their hand. An exception to this rule is the first round, since scoring the first round is much more difficult than subsequent rounds.