July 5, 2011 | by Ben Crawford
I’ve long been a fan of Farkle though I didn’t know the exact name as it has a few other names like Zilch on Kongregate. So, Farkle is an easy, fun, and quick dice game that can keep you occupied at a moment’s notice and finished in that same bathroom break. The idea is to score enough points by rolling dice to reach a goal, usually 10000, before your opponent. In a sense, it is fairly similar to Yahtzee in the ways you can score, but it adds a much quicker pace and a little less brain power. It’s a great offline two-player game for Android as well in a field of few competitors.
The gameplay requires very little attention, quick-thinking skills, or eye-hand coordination, but it’s the subtle choices which help you win or lose. You begin by rolling six dice. If you score, you get to select the dice you want to keep, and roll again. You are able to roll until you Farkle, which is scoring nothing in a roll, or until you decide to stop rolling and score the points you’ve accumulated. Rolling and scoring on all 6 dice (whether in one roll or multiple) will allow you to roll all six dice again. You could conceivably use one turn to win the game, but I doubt this would ever happen. From there, you and your opponent take turns trying to score as many points as you can before handing the dice back to the other person.
You’re able to score by rolling a 1, 5, or multiples of any other number. The trickery comes in where you have to decide if you want to “stay” or roll the dice again. For example, you roll three 1s, two 5s, and a 6. You have the option of keeping the 1s and 5s, scoring it, and changing turns or rolling that last die; or, you can keep just the 1s and roll the three other dice; or, you can keep the 5s (they score lower than 1s), and roll the rest; or you can keep only one of the scoring dice and roll the rest. You have to select at least one scoring dice each turn though. Also, if you Farkle three times, you are deducted points. It is a very simple premise, but different rolls can bring up new opportunities; where you might have been down by 1000 points, you could score 3000 and win.
This particular version of Farkle offers a few ways to change the settings of the game, but is lacking in any advanced graphics or animations (by comparison, the Zilch game in the Kongregate Arcade has a pencil/cartoonish scheme). While I do wish for cooler animations, the gameplay remains solid. This version also tended to be a little on the easy side with the computer being more cautious without any options to change the difficulty (EDIT: Click players, under Player 2 you can select computer type). The Deluxe Version seems to have multiple computer difficulties though I haven’t tried it. However, as an offline, two-player game, it is a lot of fun, especially in quick doses like sitting in line or waiting on something. I like dice and card games because they can take up any boring time, and basically require no prior skill-set. Farkle is one of these types of games that will get you through a few minutes of boredom, especially if you have to share those minutes with someone else.
App: Farkle Dice – Free
Cost: Free/US $0.99 Deluxe
Developer: Smart Box Games