In this post, we’ll share how to play one of our favorite dice games using 6 dice, the number included in our portable pocket-size Travel Dice design: 1000/5000/10,000 (a.k.a. Farkel / Farkle). Farkle can be played with any number of players (2+) and all you need is dice, scratch paper and a pen. These are the complete rules of play, plus a free printable business-card sized Farkle scoring crib sheet.
How to Play 1000/5000/10,000 (aka Farkel / Farkle)
Although it has many names and some variations, this is the basic version of the game that we play. More complete rules on the Wikipedia page for Farkle.
Object of the Game
The first player to score over 10,000 points becomes the winner* (or, as the names indicate, whatever milestone the players agree to at the outset: 1000, 5000, 10,000, etc).
*We play a variation in which, after the first player reaches the milestone, every other player gets one more chance to top that player’s score with an additional turn, and whoever ends with the highest score over 10,000 wins the game.
- We play a variation in which all players are required to achieve a certain threshold score in their opening turn or turns, before they can begin scoring — we have always used a threshold of 500. At the beginning of a game, each player must continue throwing in their turn until they either farkle (see below) or bank a score of at least 500 points. After having reached the threshold once, they are free to stop throwing in subsequent turns whenever they choose.
- At the beginning of each turn, the player throws all 6 dice at once.
- After each throw, the player reviews the dice for scoring. One or more scoring dice must be set aside for scoring (more on that in a minute) — or — if no score is possible from the newly-thrown dice, then the player has “farkled” and all points for their turn are lost.
- Once setting aside the scoring dice from their throw, the player must choose whether to end their turn (“stay”) and bank the score accumulated so far by writing it on the scratch paper, or to continue to throw the remaining dice as before in pursuit of a larger score.
- If the player has scored all six dice, they have “hot dice” and may continue their turn with a new throw of all six dice, continuing to add to their turn’s cumulative score. There is no limit to the number of “hot dice” a player may roll in one turn.
- Whether they have banked a score or farkled, at the end of the player’s turn, the dice are handed to the next player in succession and they have their turn.
The most-used, basic scores are:
- A single 5 is 50
- A single 1 is 100
- 3 of a kind (rolled in one throw) are 100x the face value of the number: so for example (3) 3’s are 300, (3) 5’s are 500. However, (3) 1’s are 1,000.
So for example, if a player throws a 1–2–3–3–3–5, they could do any of the following:
- score three 3s as 300 and then throw the remaining three dice
- score the single 1 as 100 and then throw the remaining five dice
- score the single 5 as 50 and then throw the remaining five dice
- score three 3s, the single 1, and the single 5 for a total of 450 and then throw all 6 dice again as “hot dice”
- score three 3s, the single 1, and the single 5 for a total of 450 and stop, banking 450 points in that turn
There are some additional scores for special combinations, and there are a lot of variations about this (see more variations on the Wikipedia page). We play with the following two additional score combinations:
- A straight (1–2–3–4–5–6) is scored as 1500
- Four, five and six of a kind are doubled with each additional matching die. For example: (3) 3’s = 300 points, (4) 3’s = 300 × 2 (600 points), (5) 3’s = 300 × 2 × 2 (1200 points) and (6) 3’s = 300 × 2 × 2 × 2 (2400 points)
Use our free printable “cheat sheet” for game play and personal use. It has the basic scoring rules and when printed out at 100%, is the size of a standard business card:
Inspired by the pocket games soldiers carried in WWII, our handcrafted Travel Dice are small enough to be portable and lightweight but large enough to be legible and substantial in the hand.
Made from high quality, natural materials, the (6) included dice are stored in a solid brass travel tube, secured with walnut wood, and carried with a beaded brass-plated chain that can be worn as a necklace or carried as a keychain.
Play dice, dominoes and more travel games on-the-go with your family and friends using our creative, handcrafted travel-sized versions. Check out all our handcrafted travel games:
About Walnut Studiolo
Walnut Studiolo crafts original modern designs by hand in our Oregon workshop using only natural materials. We are a family-run company located on the North Oregon Coast. Learn more about us on our website: https://walnutstudiolo.com
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