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The Farkle Principle: How I Lost Millions because of My Big BUT!

Don’t worry, this isn’t a post about any gross or humorous bodily functions.

I learned how to play Farkle, a dice game, when I was five years old, maybe even earlier. That was way back in 1978. Since then I have taught almost every friend I have how to play. It’s a very simple dice game.

If you want to skip the rules of the game and go straight to the point of the post skip the italicized paragraphs.

The only equipment you need is six dice, a piece of paper and a pencil. Ones equal 100 points. Fives equal 50 points. Three of a kind in one toss of the dice equals 100 times the face value of one of the dice. Thus, three fours is 400 points. If you role four of a kind that doubles. Thus, four fours is 800 points. Five of a kind doubles it again. Thus, five fours equals 1600 points. If you roll six of a kind in one toss, you automatically win. Since a single one is already 100 points, three ones is 1000 points and each additional one doubles it. If you roll a straight with all six dice, that is 1500 points.

You start with six dice and roll. You pull out the point dice you want and keep rolling. If you end up with all six dice having points, you then pick them all up and keep rolling. Before you can actually start recording your score for the first time, you have to get to at least 1000 points. With a 1000 points you can get on the board. Then you can quit at any time. Beware, if you toss the dice and have no points, then you lose all the points you have earned that turn. Once you are on the board and it comes to your turn again, you can then stop at any point you want, whether you have 50 points, 500 points or 5000 points. 

The first player to 10,000 wins. However, once one person crosses the coveted finish line, the dice makes one final pass around the table to see if anyone can surpass your score. So, if folks are close, you want to go out big. If someone goes past you, you don’t get another chance to beat them.

That may sound confusing, but it is really quite simple. It is also extremely fun. I could tell you some great gaming stories about my family and friends playing this game over the years. However, I’m not writing this just to teach you to play a simple but fun game for the whole family. I’m not writing this to share family memories with you. I am writing because for years, I have occasionally thought, “You know, I ought to figure out a way to package and market this game.” But I always came back with, “Yeah, BUT you don’t know anything about breaking into the game market.” Or “Yeah, BUT who would want to spend money on a game that really only needs six dice, some paper and a pencil?” There was always this little nagging part of me that thought I should do something about it, however, I always let my big BUT get in the way.

Just a few weeks ago, while perusing Barnes and Noble, I passed the game table and something incredible caught my eye. A packaged game entitled Farkel. The rules were slightly different and they  spelled it differently than I always had but it was the same game. Search the internet and you will find Official Rules and all kinds of other stuff. Someone even came up with a party version. How cool is that?



Because I always let my big BUT get in the way. 

I have now learned the Farkle principle. If it’s a good idea, someone is going to capitalize on it. Might as well be me. Now I just need to have another good idea.


August 5, 2008 Posted by | Making Mistakes, Our big BUT, regrets, Success | , , , , , | 5 Comments