A few years ago, I received Farkle as a gift. I remember playing it with my sister soon after receiving it and really enjoying it. Years of living alone meant that it sat on the shelf and rarely got played. Now that there's a husband in the picture, I decided it was time I taught him to play Farkle!
The game of Farkle is not super-complicated. If you buy a copy, you will likely be shocked at just how simple it is. The version I own features a cup for rolling dice that also doubles as game storage, six dice, and a set of rules in two different languages. If you have dice in your classroom, you don't even need to buy the game!
On your turn, you will roll all six dice. Any scoring dice are set aside. If you want to keep that score, you stop. If you want to attempt to raise your score, you re-roll the non-scoring dice. If these re-rolled dice score you points, these points are added to your total. If you score no points with these newly rolled dice, you have "Farkled," and you lose all the points you had been accumulated. Points earned from previous rounds are safe.
Here is a visual summary I created of how you score points in Farkle.
3 of a kind, 4 of a kind, etc must be earned on a SINGLE roll. You may not combine the results of multiple rolls to earn these points. If you earn points from all six dice, you also get to roll again.
You must score 500 points to "get on the board." And, the first player to reach 10,000 points wins. If you want to read the full instructions, here is a link. If you get to doing a lot of reading and research, you will soon learn that there are many different versions of the game with different scoring rules.
As Shaun and I were playing Farkle, we found ourselves stopping the game to discuss and calculate various probabilities. For example, we often found ourselves in the situation where we had one die left that we could roll. What is the probability of Farkling with one die? Well, with one die, the only way to score is by rolling a 1 or a 5. We have a 1/3 chance of rolling a 1 or 5, so we have a 2/3 chance of farkling. If we have two dice, then our chance of farkling is (2/3)^2. If we have three dice, we have a (2/3)^3 chance of not rolling a 1 or a 5. Should an 8/27 chance of farkling be enough to keep you from risking it?
We ended up playing four different rounds in a single day. Shaun said the game reminded him of Pass the Pigs (affiliate link) which his family is a bit obsessed with. He said he actually prefers Farkle to Pass the Pigs because the game involves a bit more strategy. Of course, it still involves a lot of luck!
After this day full of Farkle, I decided I definitely want to incorporate playing Farkle into our probability unit in the non-AP statistics course that I teach every other year. Even though I'm teaching trig instead of stats this year, I decided to go ahead and design a Farkle score sheet to use with my students.
Here's what I came up with:
After I had designed this score sheet, I remembered that I had recently purchased 11 x 17 dry erase pockets (affiliate link) for my classroom that I hadn't had a chance to use for anything yet. I have a set of 9 x 12 dry erase pockets (affiliate link) that we use for SO many different things. I'm excited to be able to make bigger reusable activities. I have a package of 11 x 17 white cardstock (affiliate link) that I use for making lots of posters, now I'll be able to use it to make jumbo sized activities as well!
So, I reformatted my 8.5 x 11 score sheet to make an 11 x 17 score sheet.
Here are my new jumbo dry erase farkle score sheets ready to go.
I was SO excited about them, I had to take a selfie with them to post on twitter!
Of course, when my students saw I had made these score sheets, they insisted we try them out. Here are some action pics.
This group used a plastic cup instead of the Farkle cup that came with my original game because another group was using it.
I love that you can play this game with your students as long as you have access to dice! A few years ago, I asked my school to buy me 500 dice (affiliate link) for my classroom. They have come in handy so many times since then.
I have posted the 8.5 x 11 and the 11 x 17 version of the Farkle score card I created here.