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Cards And Dominoes

On this page --           Dice Games --


Fast and exciting! The national game of Cuba.


Great dice game that dates back to the Middle Ages.  Also known as 5,000,
10,000, Zilch, or Zonk, its tense dynamic intrigues everyone.


A partnership dice game invented by John Scarne,
the great games writer and inventor.


Another unique rare game from John Scarne.


Download a free 55-page book of dice games.


Alphabetically lists most dice games.


Farkle harkens back to the Middle Ages.  Also known as Zilch, 5000, and 10000, its a great group game for two or more players. It works well with any odd number you might have ready, such as three or five players.

As with any game of its age, there are many Farkle variants .... even the name sometimes differs, as it’s written as Farkel.  Here we’ll give one set of rules we’ve found to be highly enjoyable.

Basics --

You need a set of six dice to play Farkle. If you have dice cups, fine, but they’re not required. You do need a flat, contained area to throw the dice.  Any number can play the game, though two to five seems to work best.  The goal is to be the first person to attain a target score (usually 5000 or 10000, hence those names for the game).

Play --

Once you determine who goes first -- typically by rolling a single die -- the play is straightforward. Each player in turn follows these steps --

1. The player throws all 6 dice

2. The player sets aside any scoring dice he cares to.

3. If the player does not have at least one scoring die to
     set aside from the throw, his turn ends and he
     loses any points thus far accumulated in the turn.
     This is called a farkle.

4. If the player has one or more scoring dice to set
     aside after the throw, he may choose  to continue
     throwing the remaining dice to accumulate more
     points. While he can add to his score by continuing,
     he also risks a farkle and loss of all points for the turn.

5. If the player gets to the point where all 6 dice
     score points, he may choose to add to that score
     by taking up all 6 dice and continuing his turn.
     He can “roll on” like this for as many times as he
     scores all 6 dice.  However, if he farkles and ends
     the turn, all score for the turn is lost.

5. The person’s turn ends either when he chooses
     to voluntarily terminate it (retaining any score he
     has achieved) or when he farkles and loses all
     points for that turn.

6. At the end of his turn, the player passes all dice
     to the next player, who then follows these rules
     for his own turn.


Scoring --

Score dice as per this chart -- -

--- Dice ---

--- Points ---



Each 5


Each 1


Three 2’s


Three 3’s


Three 4’s


Three 5’s


Three 6’s


Three 1’s



Dice can be scored however the player likes... he just states his preference.  Making these decisions is a key part of the game.  For example, if you roll 1-1-2-3-3-3 on your first throw, you could keep any, some, or all these combinations as scores, put them aside, and roll the remaining dice --

               One 1 @ 100 points, two 1’s @ 200 points, three 3’s at 300 points.

Of course you could also “stick” -- keep your current score and terminate your turn. Thus another key decision in the game is when to call it a hand and stop with your current score, and when to continue. Continuing could mean either a higher score for the hand, or an inglorious farkle that ends your turn without score. 

End --

The game is most exciting when each of the remaining players gets their last turn after the leader breaks the game-winning score (of 5000 or 10000 total points across turns).   Whoever has the highest score over the game-ending objective wins the game.

Variations --

Probably the most popular rule variation in Farkle is simply to add more scoring combinations. Here are some of the most popular.  Select which you’ll use from the list by mutual agreement prior to starting your game --

--- Dice ---

--- Points ---



Four of a kind

2 times value of Three of a Kind

Five of a kind

4 times value of Three of a Kind

Six of a kind

8 times value of Three of a Kind

Three pairs


Full Straight (1-2-3-4-5-6)


Scoring Pad --

Here is a Word-format file that contains a Farkle scoring sheet you can use.   You can also find the scoring pad on our web page that contains board game layouts here.  The Word-format file is preferable because it includes a scoring summary at the bottom of the page.

More Information --

The Wikipedia article on Farkle has rules, odds charts, and scoring and play variations.  DiceGamers.com has good clear rules and lists major variations.


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