>I have recently been hooked on a game on Facebook. Actually, I’ve been hooked on a couple (I think I may have a mildly addictive personality…), but the most recent one is called Farkle. Farkle is a dice-game a lot like Yatzee in that it uses dice. That’s really the only similarity between the two games. Here’s a quick rundown of the rules according to the Facebook version:

1) You start with six dice.
2) In order to keep rolling, you have to score something on each roll.
3) Once you use a die as a part of a score, it gets taken out of the next roll.
4) You have to have 300 points before you can end your turn.
5) If you do not score on a roll, then the round is over and you get no points.
6) If you roll a one or a five, you get 100 or 50 points, respectively. These two numbers are your best friend because as long as you have at least one of them in a roll, you can potentially keep playing.
7) You can also score by getting three-of-a-kind in any number, three pairs, or a straight (1 through 6).
8) There are ten rounds in each game.
Now, so far, the online, Facebook version will show me the top scores from my friends, but it will not allow me to play against them live. It’s basically a one-player game right now. My top score is listed, and my goal is to beat my top score (and the top scores of my friends). Okay, so that’s the background information. Hopefully it wasn’t too tedious. If you’ve made it this far, then you are actually interested in what I have to say, or you skipped the rules above. Either way, please continue…
So, with Pandora jamming to the Lifehouse station, I give you…
Life Lessons from Farkle
Life Lesson #1 – Sometimes in life, it’s just you trying to beat your best. Competition is healthy, for the most part. It challenges us and pushes us to go one step beyond what we thought we could do. More often than not, our only limitation is the obstacles that we have placed in front of us.
Life Lesson #2 – Things happen that we have no control over. Isn’t that the truth? There are not many more explicit signs of this than when we play a game with dice. I cannot control what gets rolled when those dice come out of my virual hands. If I don’t have 300 points, I have to keep rolling. A lot of the time, I end up getting Farkled before I’ve even hit the minimum points. I’ve even gotten it on the first throw before! There’s no way to control it. You just pick up the dice and start over. On the flip side, if you get a straight, you get 1,500 points. The only way to do this is right out of the gate on the first toss of the round. There’s no strategy, no way to make it happen. It just does. Good things happen, bad things happen. That’s life.
Life Lesson #3 – While we don’t have control over some things, there are other things that come down to a decision that we make. If I’m sitting at 450 points in Farkle, I can take the points and end the round, or I can decide to continue to roll. Now, hypothetically, I would have already rolled 4 one’s and 1 five to put me at 450 points. I still have one die left to roll. I know that I need to roll either a one or a five in order to continue my turn with any hope of scoring points. I have a decision to make. I know the odds, but the odds mean diddly-squat at that moment. I have to decide whether or not I’m going to take the points and run, or if I’m going to risk them for more.
Life Lesson #4 – Knowing all the facts doesn’t make the decision any easier. It certainly doesn’t hurt to know that I have a 1 in 3 chance of getting the needed value, but it doesn’t make that value appear when I do decide to throw the die.
Life Lesson #5 – Our past sometimes helps our decision making. If I’ve already thrown one Farkle, I am hesitant to take a chance on getting another one. Getting three in a row causes the player to lose 500 points. Do I really want to put myself in a position where I might get that third Farkle in a row and lose those points?
Life Lesson #6 – Keeping an eye on the future also helps our decision making. If I’m on the final round of my game, and I still haven’t topped my high score, I’m rolling those dice until I either a) beat my high score, or b) get a Farkle. I think even if I were playing against a live opponent, I would have to make this decision. Because if you aren’t going to take a risk from time to time, you aren’t going to win. Oops, I think that’s #7….
Life Lesson #7 – If you aren’t going to take a risk from time to time, you aren’t going to win. Sometimes you have to take a risk in life. Sure, it may be easier to play it safe, but if the result is just going to be pedestrian, then why bother? Average is all right from time to time, but there are times in life when we have to be willing to take a risk and become better than average.
Life Lesson #8 – It’s not over until that final Farkle. There is always hope. Even if you are 2,000 points behind in that last round, you can hit a hot streak and rack up some serious points. I’ve had a few rounds go over 2,000 or even 3,000. That’s when taking a risk pays off. What would’ve happened if I didn’t take that final risk? I would have lost anyway.
Life Lesson #9 – And finally, when things are going bad or something happens that completely works against your ultimate goal, there is no need to cuss. You can just shout out, “FARKLE,” pick up your dice and get on with life.