Dice games have been around for thousands of years, yet our fascination with them has never waxed or waned. Sic bo has been played in the east for millennia. We've been playing craps in the west since the time of the Crusades. Even well into the 20th century, new games were being developed that depended heavily on dice. Where would Monopoly or Dungeons and Dragons be without them? Now, in this modern age of social networking, the dice game has been re-invented again.
Farkle is a very simple dice game on Facebook that has you attempting to earn points by cashing in certain combinations of dice. You'll be given six dice to roll, and you'll remove dice after you've taken their points. You can then use the remaining dice to try and earn more points, but if you fail it's a “farkle” and you'll lose all the points that were attached to any of the six original dice. It's sounds far more complicated than it actually is. You do this for 10 rounds. At the end of the game, your score from all 10 rounds is totalled up and you'll see how you've done against your friends.
Farkle comes in two flavours: Farkle Simple and Farkle Original. If you're looking for an engaging social experience, get ready to be aggravated. Farkle Simple is a single player game that will track your high scores against your friends like many other Facebook apps. Farkle Original is a multiplayer game that will let you square off against other live opponents in a race to 10,000 points. The catch? You need to be a Farkle Pro member to play Farkle Original, and that means you'll have to pay.
Farkle Pro will set you back either $9.99 or 10,000 chips. You'll earn chips by playing Farkle Simple, but it's going to take you a LONG time to reach the 10,000 needed to upgrade to Pro for free. Once you get into Pro, you'll find that it's not really all you'd expect from a premium service. You can't even challenge your friends directly – you'll need to arrange to meet them in the lobby at a set time and try to pick them out from the crowd. It's a shame too, because two player Farkle adds a wonderful new dimension to the game that Farkle Simple people are simply going to miss out on.
In terms of actual gameplay, there isn't much variety in the combinations of dice you can cash in. In fact, there are only 4 real types of hands available for play. The most common (and the one your play will likely be centered around) is rolling a 5 or a 1. Both of these offer up a point value, and you're almost certain to land one of these each roll. Up from that are three-of-a-kind, three pairs, and a 6-die straight. You can't earn off of 1 or 2 pairs. You can't earn off of a 4 or 5 die straight. And since you can't hold certain dice to try and build a better hand like you can in Yahtzee, your chances of ever getting a 6-die straight or three pairs are slim to bupkiss.
In a lot of ways, Farkle feels like an over-simplified Yahtzee. Both are dice games. Both rely on poker-inspired combinations. But while Yahtzee requires a certain level of skill and knowledge to make the best possible hand, Farkle relies entirely on luck and greed. Do you take the score you have now, or risk it all on one more roll? It's an exercise in self-control, and it's an addictive one at that. That's the reason that Farkle is one of the most popular titles on Facebook. It's easy to learn, it's fun to play, and it's hard to put down. It just doesn't offer the level of strategy you might expect from a dice game, and that disappointed us a tad.