The name of the game is Farkel. You could easily confuse it with Farkle, which wouldn’t be a major mistake. In fact, you could just as easily confuse it with 10000, 5000, Buzzball, Greed, Hot Dice, Oh Crap, Squelch, Wimp Out, Zilch, or Zonk. And you’d be perfectly entitled, insofar as they are each and all names for basically the same game – a dice game, played with six dice, that is most definitely not Yahtzee.
However, the subject of this review is not Farkel, but Pocket Farkel, as a matter of fact. (One of my very favorite game names, that I find myself obliged to repeat in rapid succession many times each time I open the game box).
Speaking of boxes, that’s perhaps the key to what makes Pocket Farkel so fun-worthy. It’s a handy little box, with the dice fitting snugly into their little foam niches, and the scoring rules (which are difficult to remember for the novice Farkeler) so clearly printed on the inside of the lid. And, as you would assume, it fits tidily into your pocket. Yes, all you really need are six dice. But the package here is the product. Its elegance, its accessibility all invite play, making the game into something unique.
The rules of Pocket Farkel are slightly different than those of your regular Farkle – simpler, more scoring possibilities, more engaging. On your turn, you first roll all six dice. You then set aside any of dice that score (see the ever-so handy scoring combination chart on the box lid), and then you roll the rest of the dice. But you have to have to score to go on. If you don’t score, you Farkel. And to Farkel is to lose all those conceptually hard-earned points you thought you were getting for that round. As in, “O, Farkel!” Which is another way of saying, no matter how disappointed you get, you just can’t take it seriously.
And so the game goes, people scoring. People Farkeling. There’s laughing. There’s muttering. And then there’s more laughing. For a family with kids who can keep score – and not care too much about it – it’s something you might want to take with you everywhere.
The Pocket Farkel people make an astounding variety of Farkel sets – there’s Pirate Farkel and Froggy Farkel and Moose Farkel, Bear Farkel and Equine Farkel and Gator Farkel. There’s Glow-in-the-Dark Farkel and Full Contact Farkel, Fat Free Lo Carb Farkel, and no matter what they’re called, they’re all Farkel. The dice might look different, but the game’s the same. Enticing. Engaging. Major FUN.