Thursday, September 24, 2009

Today's Farkling Post

Note:  This post from 2009 seems rather quaint now that we have Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja to rob us of our free time.  I'd like to note that I've never actually played either of those games (imagine my morally superior squint).  Just don't ask me about Chuzzle...

I briefly mentioned the dice game Farkle in an earlier post. At that time I likened it to a combination of Yahtzee, Pig, and crack. After a few weeks' reflection, I stand by that comparison. I'm playing the Facebook version in another window right now; I've taken a break only because I realized that I haven't blogged in a couple of days. So what am I writing about while I'm taking that break? Farkle. And I mean farkle. It's no coincidence that the name of the game sounds so conveniently like an unpleasant swear.

If you've never played, don't start. For the love of God, save yourself. Take up knitting, or join a grass-roots political organization, or go for a long walk in a dangerous neighborhood. Anything, really, to avoid getting hooked on this innocuous, deadly game that combines strategy, nerve, and luck. Oh, you'll probably be able to walk away. Chances are you'll find it to be an entertaining diversion, an amusement to while away a spare quarter-hour before returning to the productive routine of your life. You'll think of it - when you happen to think of it at all - with fondness and mild, non-invasive interest. Your perspective on the game will be reasonable. Chances are.

There is, however, a risk - slight, but undeniable - that Farkle will work its way into your brain like a melon baller digging into the soft flesh of a ripe cantaloupe. That you'll sit down to play "a round or two" and find yourself still rolling the dice three hours later, muttering "just one more game." That your eyes will start jittering in their sockets, searching for ones and fives, pairs, straights, threes of a kind. That you'll work out personal strategies for achieving high scores that border on superstition: "Don't take a five on the first roll." "Three twos are bad luck." "If you get 'hot dice' but only get one scoring die on the next roll, always bank." If you have no idea what I'm talking about, it's not too late for you. But if you do...if you do, then Farkle may have already taken hold of your mind. And your very soul.

I had never heard of Farkle until I saw friends playing it on Facebook. But Wikipedia says it's a folk game of unknown origin and has been sold commercially since at least 1982. I consider myself fortunate that we didn't cross paths earlier; it's entirely possible that I never would have gone to college, married, or started a family. Instead my rolling hand would be gnarled and misshapen from years of gripping a cup containing six dice, my back hunched from bending over to tally my score, my health ruined by the cumulative effects of hundreds, even thousands, of ill-timed farkles. That may be my fate yet. I'm hoping for an intervention, divine or otherwise, to wean me from the dry rattle of the dice and the thrill of the hunt for a new personal best score. Until then, I Farkle, and hope I don't farkle.

The rules are simple: Roll six dice, and add up your score. Ones are worth 100 points, fives are worth 50. Three of a kind net you 10 times the value of the number you rolled, and a one-through-six straight adds 1500 to your score. You roll as long as you like, adding to your score as long as you can, unless you make a roll that includes no scoring dice - and if you do, you lose all your points for that roll. That, my friend, is a farkle. Farkles are bad. Farkles are to be avoided, nay, to be loathed. And if you farkle, there's only one thing you can do. Keep rolling. Keep rolling, damn you.

It's such a simple game. Simple and harmless. Wouldn't hurt a fly. Certainly wouldn't take over your free time and cause you to lash out at loved ones who ask if they can finally use the computer. Because it's just a game. Just a farkling game. And now I have to end this post. I have to go check my Facebook account. Maybe update my status. Take a quiz. And, you know, play just a round or two of Farkle. Because I have better farkling things to do than to farkling farkle all farkling day. And I can stop whenever I farkling want.

1 comment:

  1. Now that you have heard how great the game is and how to play, you can play a fun game of it at:


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