Dice…lots and lots of dice. If I’ve ever complained in the past (which I have) about not having spare dice lying around the house…I won’t be anymore. Oh, and dice cups. I won’t be running out of those anytime soon either. Why? Because…Farkel Party.
Farkel Party is a dice game in which players compete against one another in an attempt to reach 10,000 points first. Along the way, players will be forced to make some hard decisions…that is…having to choose between their own greed and playing it safe. Let’s take a quick look at what came in this tin case and how the game is played before heading into the review.
Dice & Cups – There are thirty-six dice of six different colors with matching cups accompanying them.
Score Pad – The game comes with a score pad so that players can keep track of their score as the game progresses. A scoring guide is included at the top of every sheet.
Editor’s Note: In looking for Farkel Party’s manual online (which I couldn’t find), I found rule sets that involve slightly different scoring tables and endgame conditions. The rules that I’m about to touch on briefly may differ from the ones you are used to, depending on the version of Farkel / Farkle you own. It’s also worth mentioned that I have no idea why some games are marketed as Farkle and others as Farkel…the general idea for both games look the same to me. Perhaps someone who has the time to research (I don’t) and explain the reason can leave a comment. For the sake of this review, I’ll be referring to everything as “Farkel” since the game I am reviewing uses that word in its manual.
Each player receives a cup and set of dice of their color. They roll one die initially to determine who goes first (highest roll) and who keeps score (lowest roll).
To sum up the rules, a player will start by rolling all of their dice. They then set aside any number of dice they wish, so as long as the die or combination of dice scores points. At that point, the player can choose to end their turn with the points they’ve earned, or keep rolling with the dice that haven’t been scored yet. So as long as a player continues to roll combinations that score, they can keep going and accumulate more points. If a player scores with all six dice, either all at once or after a few rolls, they can unfreeze their scored dice and start anew with the cumulative score they’ve earned so far. If a player rolls dice that doesn’t score anything (called a “Farkel”), they lose all of the points that they may have accumulated.
At the beginning of the game, players must earn at least 500 points in order to get “in the game” and after that point, can stop rolling anytime they wish. Until they roll that initial 500 minimum however, they score nothing.
When a player reaches 10,000 points, the other players will have one last chance to pass them up. After that, scores are compared and the person (or team) with the highest score wins!
Farkel is a lot of luck, but its gameplay mechanics incorporate a strategy element that I didn’t expect. Players will be pressing their luck often and have to decide when it is and isn’t a good idea to do so. Normally I play it safe in games of chance, but I found myself taking more chances when others passed me up in score. I often had to step outside of my comfort zone, just so that I wouldn’t fall behind. Those who can balance the odds well and get the most out of their rolls before quitting will find themselves pulling ahead…though luck will sometimes laugh in the faces of even the best of players.
As I mentioned above about finding all sorts of different rule sets online, players can customize this version to best suit their needs. If you want a shorter game, for example, you can play to 5,000 points instead of 10,000. You can introduce new mechanics and make up your own scoring table, if you wanted to. Be creative!
Overall, I’m happy with the purchase, but think that the case could have been designed better. The scoring tablet does not fit in the tin without being folded…needless to say, my OCD kicked in all the way into overtime. If you find yourself playing a lot of dice games (like me) and want a “dice kit” that includes cups and dice of different colors, then feel free to pick this up. If you don’t play a lot of dice games and being fancy isn’t a deal breaker, then I’d say research a rule set that best suits your group & tweak it to your heart’s content, buy six dice for a buck at your local dollar store, and have at it.
Final Verdict: 6/10