Farkle Crib   -- An Original Dice Game

Invented by Howard Fosdick (V 2.1) © BestFreeNewGames.com

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

Yet it retains interest after extended play. So it makes a great party or pub game.

Farkle Cribbage (or "Farkle Crib") maps this venerable game onto a cribbage board. This transforms it from tedious scoring with pen and paper into an exciting race.

We've added a few twists to spice up the game.

Players: 2 to 5 individuals. Or 4 or 6 players paired into partnerships.

Equipment: 6 dice with optional tossing cup.

A cribbage board. Ideally with one lane for each player. Or use different colour pegs in the same lanes.

Goal: Move your peg from Start off the end of the cribbage board.

Roll two dice. Highest total goes first. Others take turns clockwise after the leader.

Play: To start his turn, a player --

1. Throws all 6 dice.

2. Sets aside any scoring dice he wishes. He is required to set aside at least one scoring die.

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. Assuming he hasn’t farkled, now the player has a choice to make. He may either:

(1) Throw the dice he has not set aside in an attempt to increase his score for the turn
(2) Accept his current total as his score and end his turn.

5. The player may choose to continue this process of rolling remaining dice, then setting aside one or more scoring dice for as long as he is able. However, if he ever rolls and does not turn up at least one scoring die, he has farkled.

6. Thus, a player’s turn ends when either:

(1) He chooses to voluntarily terminate it (retaining any score he has achieved)
(2) He farkles and scores 0 points for that turn.

7. If the player gets to the point where all 6 dice score points, he may choose to end his turn with that score. Or he may try to add to that score by taking up and rolling all 6 dice as if he just started his turn.

This is called a roll over. You can roll over as many times in a turn as you are able.

However, if you farkle at any time -- make a throw that does not include at least one scoring die -- your turn ends and you score no points at all for that entire turn.

8. When his turn ends, the player passes the dice to the next contestant.


Scoring is based solely on the dice you roll. (Dice that have been set aside or frozen never participate in scoring for that roll.)

Score points as per this chart:

---Dice------Peg These Points---
 Each 1  1
 Each 2  2
 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.

Example: Say you start your turn by rolling 2-3-3-3-4-6. You could keep any of these combinations as scores, and put them aside as frozen:

One 2 @ 2 points  --or--
Three 3’s @ 6 points  --or--
Three 3’s @ 6 points plus one 2 @ 2 points

Now, you choose to either “stick” -- keep your current score and terminate your turn -- or roll the dice you haven't frozen. You could score more points, but you risk farkling and ending your turn without any score at all.

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 runs his peg off the board the furthest wins the game.

Once you become familiar with the basic game, we strongly recommend adding the Advanced Rules below.

Advanced Rules:

Bonus Scores: These special Bonus Scores spice up the game and make it more exciting:

---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
Straight (1-2-3-4-5-6)25
Farkling in 3 Consecutive Turns-20

5 Dice Roll Over Rule: In the basic game, when a player has 5 scoring dice, if he elects to continue his turn, he needs to roll either a 1 or 2 with the remaining die, or else he farkles.

It's more exciting if his chance of success is 50%. Thus, if a player has 5 scoring dice and decides to try for a roll over, we recommend that rolling a 1, 2, or 3 means success, and that a 4, 5, or 6 means a farkle.

Alternate Rules:

"The Long Game" -- For a longer game, go down and back on the cribbage board (peg 241 positions, instead of the 121 for the shorter game).

"Find a Loser" -- Game continues until only one player is left on the board. That player is the designated loser and buys drinks or snacks for his opponents.

"Partners" -- For 4 or 6 players, play as either 2 or 3 partnerships. Partners take turns rolling the dice for their team and must make all decisions jointly.

Tournament Rules:

How to Track Scoring: For easier scoring, 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.

How to Track Farkles: Three consecutive farkles scores -20 points. You can track farkles across turns by using the "game scoring" section available in most cribbage boards.

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 that hole, and move the previous occupant one hole back. (By prior agreement, you can instead bump the previous occupant 5 holes back.)

Tips for Play:

Start by playing the basic game and getting a feel for it. Then, liven play by adding the Advanced Rules.

Luck predominates, but you can definitely affect your score by intelligent play. This means both knowing and playing the odds as well as adapting your play to your relative 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 on your first roll, a common tactic is to keep the minimal dice and roll as many as possible as you continue. For example, say you roll 1-1-2-2-4-6.

You could keep all scoring dice (1, 1, 2, 2). Then roll two dice again (4, 6). The trouble is that the 1-1-2-2 only scores 6 points. You might consider instead just keeping a single 2, 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.

If you roll 6-of-a-kind, you can either take points ***or*** swap your peg's position with that of the leader. Plus you can optionally continue your turn with a roll over.

Click here for a Summary Scoring Chart.


Rolling either a 6-of-a-Kind (the Bomb), a Straight, Three Pairs, or two 3-of-a-Kinds means a player is immediately able to roll over and continue his turn by rolling all 6 dice (if he elects to continue his turn.)

Not all sources of traditional Farkle penalise players for consecutive farkles, but we feel this rule adds interest by providing a downside for overly aggressive players.

The Bomb with peg exchange is a new concept I introduced that's missing from traditional Farkle. It gives players way behind a chance to catch up and get back in the game. It certainly spices things up.

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 relative to traditional Farkle scoring. Since Farkle is an ancient game, sources differ about the values of the bonus scores. I've chosen values on the low side for some of these rolls, as statistical analysis shows that some special scores are valued too high relative to their occurrence in traditional Farkle.

Sources: Farkle rules were compiled from numerous internet sources, then analysed and compared 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