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CASINOS STORY

FARKLING addictive!

When Maria Pierides was first introduced to the game of Farkle she wasn’t sure if it was a joke, and didn’t know quite what to make of it. She is now addicted, and the rest of the Gambling team are quickly following

Farkle is one of those games where the rules all gradually fall into place as you play it, so bare with us while we take your hand and guide you through this newfound online delight (available at Bwin.com). This page may look like a Latin transcript at first, but it will read like a comic strip once you’re familiar with the game.

If by any chance you’ve played the offline old-fashioned version of Farkle (yes, apparently it does exist, and it’s actually rather popular), then this is just a modernised online version. It is a slightly different take on Yahtzee, which is played with five dice as opposed to six, and if we may say so ourselves, is far less addictive than Farkle.

So, before any more confusion ensues, the aim of the game is to gain more points than your opponent. Bwin will simply pair you up with someone, with the winner being announced at the end of the tournament, so while it’s a head-to-head game, you are essentially playing alone. “So how do you get points?” we hear you cry. Six dice are rolled, and if you have any of the winning combinations (clearly displayed to the right of the screen for constant reference, and shown here as Figure 1), you simply select which dice you want to hold on to (namely the predetermined winning combinations), and roll again to try and build up your score.

So that’s the basics, but why is it called Farkle? A ‘Farkle’ occurs when no winning combinations are rolled. But the plot thickens. Like a lot of games, a Farkle can be both good and bad, depending on when in the game it happens (think queen of spades or hearts in the classic Hearts card game.) Still with us? Don’t worry, it took us as a while too.

If you roll a Farkle in your first go of any new round (meaning there are no winning combinations), then that amounts to 500 bonus points, and you are entitled to roll again. However, once you have selected your first combination and you have less than six dice to roll with, a Farkle turns into a bad thing, and all of your points that you collected that round will be void. Three Farkles in a row results in 500 points being deducted from your score, so this should be avoided at all costs.

Before you start thinking that you can be tactical and collect your points as soon as they come in, you must have a minimum score of 300 on each round before they can be collected. This means that sometimes you could be a mere 50 points away, but with only, say, three dice left to roll, the odds for a winning combination may not be in your favour.

The fact that the score sheet is always there with the combinations clearly indicated, makes for easier understanding. Another feature which novice players may find useful, is that the dice shake if they can be used as a match. However, the game doesn’t spot all the possible combinations you could make; it merely acts as a tool to help you roll the dice again and avoid a ‘farkling’, so to speak.

When we first tried our hand at it, we began to wonder how much ‘skill’ was actually required in this ‘dice skill game’, but once you get into the Farkle spirit of things, tactics will start to run riot in your brain. As the hints section of the website only advises you not to get three Farkles in a row, which we could have worked out ourselves, all tactics are individual to the player. There are websites out there offering Farkle hints and optimum strategies, should you wish to seek them out. But it’s just as fun to work it out as you go along.

The game got everyone at Gambling HQ hooked, and it soon became a team effort, to make sure the opponents knew that we were not to be farkled with!

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