Farkle Cribbage ("Farkle Crib")

Invented by Howard Fosdick © BestFreeNewGames.com

Overview: Farkle harkens back to the Middle Ages. Also known as 5000, 10000, and Zilch, it's an exciting game for small groups, and new players can learn its rules in minutes.

Farkle Crib takes this venerable dice game and adapts its scoring to a cribbage board. This transforms the game from a matter of accumulating points into a race in which all players watch their positions as the game evolves. (It also eliminates the tedious chore of keeping score with pen and paper).

The rules to Farkle Crib are nearly the same as regular Farkle.

Equipment: 6 dice. Any number can play the game, though 2 to 5 seems to work best.

You'll also need a cribbage board. They come in 2-, 3- and 4- lane versions. Ideally you have a board with one lane for each player. If not, play with two players per lane, and use different colour pegs to distinguish them.

Goal: Be the first person to move your peg from start off the end of the cribbage board.

Play: Roll to determine who goes first. In his turn, each player --

  1. Throws all 6 dice.
  2. Sets aside any scoring dice he cares to.
  3. If the player does not have at least one scoring die to set aside, his turn ends and he scores no points for the turn. This is called a farkle.
  4. If the player has one or more scoring dice to set aside, 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 -- makes a throw that does not score -- the turn ends and scores no points.
  6. A player’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.
  7. When his turn ends, the player passes all dice to the next contestant.

Scoring is based on the dice you select for each roll. You can not earn points by combining dice from different rolls. Each roll is a separate scoring event.

Score points as per this chart:

---Dice------Peg These Points---
 Each 5  1
 Each 1  2
 Three 2's  4
 Three 3's  6
 Three 4's  8
 Three 5's  10
 Three 6's  12
 Three 1's  20

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 1-2-6-3-3-3, you could keep any of these combinations as scores, put them aside, and roll the remaining dice:

One 1 @ 2 points  --or--
Three 3’s @ 6 points  --or--
One 1 @ 2 points plus three 3’s @ 6 points for 7 points total

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

One Peg per Hole: If you're playing with more than one peg per track, you could have a situation in which the hole your peg is supposed to move to is already occupied. In this case, place your peg in the next available hole short of where you were supposed to move to.

End: The game ends when at least one player has moved his peg off the board and all remaining players have all had a chance to complete their final turn in that round.

Whoever has run his peg off the board with the highest score wins the game.

Optional Bonus Scores: Once you get familiar with the basic game, add one or more these special Bonus Scores -- your choice. They spice up the game and make it more exciting and unpredictable.

---Dice------Peg These Points---
Four of a KindValue of Three of a Kind +10
Five of a KindValue of Three of a Kind +15
Six of a Kind,
aka The Bomb
Player's Choice: Either Exchange Your Peg Position with the Leader's, or peg the Value of Three of a Kind +20
Three Pairs10
Full Straight (1-2-3-4-5-6)25
Full House (eg, 2-2-3-3-3)15
3 Farkles in a row-10

How to Track Scoring: If you farkle during a turn in which you've piled up some points, it's easy to lose track of where your peg started from in the turn. An easy way to remember this is to use two pegs. Keep one peg where it was when you started your turn, and move a second peg forward as you score points. If you farkle during the turn, just remove the second peg and you're back where you started.

Tips for Play:

Start by playing the basic game and getting a feel for it. Then, liven-up play by adding the Bonus Scores.

Luck rules, but you can definitely affect your score by knowing and playing the odds. Adapt your play to your position on the cribbage board. If you're behind, play more aggressively and take more risks to catch up. If you're well ahead you may choose to reduce your risk, score consistently, and avoid farkles.

If you fail to roll at least 3-of-a-kind, a common tactic is to keep the minimal dice and roll as many as possible as you continue. For example, say you roll 1-1-5-5-4-6.

You could keep all scoring dice (1, 1, 5, 5). Then roll two dice again (4, 6). The trouble is that the 1-1-5-5 only scores 6 points. You might consider instead just keeping a 1, then rolling the other five dice again, hoping for something much better. It all depends on how much risk you want to take given your current position in the race.

The highest single roll is six 1's. Note that whenever you roll 6-of-a-kind, instead taking points, you can alternatively swap your peg's position with that of the leader. Your choice.


To convert Farkle Cribbage scores into traditional Farkle scores, multiple the Farkle Cribbage score by 100 and then divide it by 2. For example, three 4's score 8 points. Convert this into traditional Farkle scoring as 8 times 100 = 800, then divide by 2 = 400.

Farkle Crib scoring is mathematically accurate in its proportions to standard Farkle scoring. Since Farkle is an ancient game, sources differ about the scores for 4-, 5-, and 6- of-a-kind, as well as Three Pairs, Full Straight, and Full House. I've chosen values on the low side for some of these rolls. Statistical analysis shows that Three Pairs and Full House score too high in many Farkle rules.

Not all sources penalise players for three consecutive farkles, but we feel this rule useful in restraining overly aggressive players.

The Bomb with peg exchange is a new concept I've introduced that's missing from traditional Farkle. It spices up the game considerably.

Sources: Rules were compiled from numerous internet sources, then analysed and checked against each other.

License: Feel free to print, copy, and distribute these rules, so long as you retain this paragraph. Invented by Howard Fosdick © 2023, distributed under Creative Commons License BY-ND.      HOME