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Rating: 4.2/5 (312 votes)
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zilch.jpgArtbegottiAh, summer camp. What happened to the good old days of spending a week in the woods, singing songs, swimming in the lake, telling ghost stories, and learning new dice games from the girl with red hair? Oh yeah, summer jobs. Luckily, at least one of those memories can be relived when you play Zilch, a dice game of luck and strategy. Race against the computer (or another friend) to 10,000 points, and rightfully claim the last marshmallow for another s'more.

Best of Casual Gameplay 2008Each turn starts by rolling all six dice. You can earn points by rolling 1's and 5's (worth 100 and 50, respectively), or by rolling 3 or more of a kind, or several other special configurations worth big points. After each roll, you have the option to bank the points you've currently earned (with a minimum of 300 points) and ending your turn, or re-roll all of the dice you're not using for your points total with the hopes of getting even more points. If you can successfully score with all six dice on one or more rolls, you can pick up all six dice and start racking up more points, but any throw in which you do not roll any points counts as a Zilch: You lose all your points earned so far in the round, and your turn ends. To add to the risk, getting three Zilches in a row costs you 500 points.

This is where luck turns into strategy. How many points are you willing to risk by rolling that last remaining die in order to roll all six dice again? Is it better to re-roll some of your dice worth points, in order to try to get a three-of-a-kind? Should you bank now in order to avoid getting that third Zilch?

Analysis: Zilch is definitely one of those games that's "easy to learn, hard to master." Games usually run about 5-10 minutes long, which make it an excellent lunch break diversion. The interface is very nicely set up with a nice wooden tabletop theme, subtle sound effects, and one hundred twenty achievements to unlock (so you'll be playing for a while, to say the least). There are three levels of computer difficulty to choose from, a two-player mode, and the promise of online play to be coming soon.

Are you ready to let it roll?

Play Zilch

Cheers to Chris, Tonypa, Katie, Klaser and Treniac for sending this one in!


I actually know this game as Farkel (or Farkle, depending on who you're asking). It's a great easy dice game in real life, and there's even a version for the iPhone which I have wasted many a boring train ride on.


I thought it seemed really familiar. You're right, its farkle.


Interesting game concept. A little fuzzy at the beginning if you don't know it from the real life, but actually quite fun, and for me for a change something which feels really new.


Ooo i like this! Could someone explain whats happens in the final round though? I missed the explanation.


not much if you started and get 10000 the other gets his fair chance to take the lead in his remaining last turn.

Bloatedsack November 10, 2008 3:44 PM

I bought this years ago in a games store under the name 'bupkis.'

potatoface November 10, 2008 3:45 PM

I love farkle, and this good, but the best part about farkle was stealing the other players' points by taking their dice. This game gets dull quickly without that sinister twist.


haha, love the acheivments scheme on this one. reminds me of... oh, the name escapes me. the one with the different types of goo that you slash with your awesome giant sword! (haha, wish i remembered the name, i wanna play it again now.)
this game also has "kongregate fetured game" written all over it. cant wait for the online multiplayer update :)


Also very similar to the classic stoner dice game Cosmic Wimpout.


Impressive implementation of a variant of a game I know as "10,000" which belongs to that odd substrata of games which are very popular but never get entirely codified. Problem is chances of any implementation exactly matching your own house rules are slim...


It's interesting to hear everyone's story about this game. When I first learned it, it was just called "Dice," and it was played with only five dice, which made it harder to get higher-scoring rolls. You also had to nail 10,000 on the nose... I lost too many games by being at 9,950, and not being able to roll only a single five to win. XD


When we used to play this years ago, we called it: 10,000

And it's my favorite Dice game ever. Even better than Yahtzee, because of the simplified score keeping involved.


Great game, but I don't see people playing it as much as Amorphous+ to get that many achievements. It's not THAT interesting.


I think I'd rather play this in reality. "Cautious" is suspiciously lucky.


Ha, I've played several variations on this game, mostly Boxcar (3 pairs is a box car, since they line up into a boxcarish rectangle) where you can piggyback (also a rail term) when you have the option of rolling off your opponents dice after they stop. They keep whatever points they have, but you can potentially increase the points. It adds some more strategy, since you don't want to stop with a high score and several dice remaining, because your opponent could get even more.

OrigamiMarie November 10, 2008 11:43 PM

That was entertaining. But playing dice games against a computer is . . . kind of hopeless. I won against Reckless the first round, so I tried cautious. Who of course whooped me. And you can never tell whether it's because the computer cheats (and there are so many subtle ways the computer can cheat) or if it's because computers can be the perfect odds-players -- it's just a matter of playing the statistics perfectly. But it was a bit of fun anyway, thank you!

Cap'n Pants November 11, 2008 1:39 AM

Considering that the computer just threw a 7000 point hand against me on Reckless (Four instant Free Rolls in a row, capped off with four ones), I think the RNG might be a touch off. 14700 isn't a reasonable score to try to beat on the last round.

WolfgangDS November 11, 2008 4:21 AM

Computer cheats. I haven't encountered anything as bad as what Cap'n Pants ran into, but it WILL consistently launch its score by ridiculous amounts and rearely EVER does it score CLOSE to the 300 point minimum for banking.

And yes, this happens on Reckless.


I enjoy this game quite a bit... the only small suggestion I'd make (if the developer is actually reading this) is for it to tell you what awards you have won at the end of your game, rather than having to go back to the main menu and then to the awards screen to find out.


The worst thing about this game: you have wait through an add just to get back to the main menu. What's up with that?


Ha! I just won the "Good Score" Badge for "winning a game with more than 11000 points" ...even though I lost! Reckless rolled a 4000 pointer on its last-ditch chance to catch up.


I have started winning - o yes, I'm now beating the CPU with some regularity. And the creator of the game have some answers for those whining, not winning - via Kongregate, like this: http://blog.playr.co.uk/2008/11/bored-repetitive.html


Well, after a few hours of "play" I think I can say that it does not feel like a game of chance. The CPU is heavily favored on both upper levels despite what the creator says. It really could be a contender with a few tweaks.


I know it isn't "rigged"? Yes, I read the creators comments.

But it just isn't fun when all I get is single "5's" 50 points per roll - not enough to bank and watch the computer get 2000 and 3000 points per roll. It is a "quick" lose though so it's not so drawn out and boring.

I beat the computer twice in a row by just a few points each game. The computer has beaten me about 6 times each game by several thousand points.

Interesting.... It is a really good game though. Just long enough to get stomped several times during a lunch break and feel real good about myself the rest of the day!! :D


Okay like...
My awards are:
Red Faced - Losing by 2000 points or more! :)
Egg on Your Face - Losing by 3500 points or more! :)
Full English on Your Face - Losing by 5000 points or more! :)
Whee!!! But there is more....
Falling on Your Face - Losing by 6500 points or more! :)
Oh Joy!!!

Wow!! I am number one at losing! Wheeee!

I think I am about to get the Narcissist Award for constantly looking at my awards. :D


Having not ever played Zilch (or Farkel-Farkle/Bupkis/ "10,000") before, here are some of my game stats so far:

Total losses 18. Total win 18.
Playing against Reckless: Won 10. Lost 4.
Playing against Cautious: Won 4. Lost 12.
Playing against Realist: Won 4. Lost 2.
Highest game score 12550.
Max score on one turn 3850.

This maybe tells me that I am not a very cautious player, but not at all reckless either. Almost human at my best, I'll say ...

(And I have this award: " U R Teh Zilch!!!11one: 10 wins in a row".
But also this one: " Eh, Eh…Eh…(No Face): Losing by 8,000 pts or more". )

Yeah. A dice game of skill and chance.


Just lost...

My Award????

Be still my heart....

Eh, Eh... Eh... (Noface)

Noface?? That was a great character in "Spirited Away" - great - no, super great anime Film. Almost as good as Totorro.


Can people list their awards so far? I don't know if it merits spoiler tags, but perhaps some enjoy the mystery. Mine are

low roller=250 dice rolled
paint roller=500 dice rolled
zilcher=20 total zilches over all games
alright score=taking 2000 points in one turn
run of bad luck=2 losses in a row
squasher=winning by 2000 or more
squeezer by 3500 or more
crusher=win by 5000 or more
decimator=winning by 6500 or more
obliterator=win by 8000 or more
red faced=Losing by 2000 points or more
Egg on Your Face=Losing by 3500 points or more
Full English on Your Face=Losing by 5000 points or more
eh, eh...eh(no face) losing by 8000 or more
frugal roller=winning in 15 turns or less
thrifty roller=winning in 13 turns oe less
clock watcher=game lasts 18 turns or more
time waster=game lasts 20 turns or more
aeon watser=game lasts 25 turns or more
time lord=game lasts 30 turns or more
your first zilch=3 zilches in a row
unlucky=4 zilches in a row
really unlucky=5 zilches in a row
have you looked at the rules=7 zilches in a row
noooo=10 zilches in a row
socialite=you looked at your awards


if ever anyone earns all 120 awards, (Wow what an achievement!) it would be rather useful to us all if you could:

post a 'walkthrough' of all the awards and how you get them, as I have earned the kongregate Card & 1st Badge (10,000 points) and am now aiming for Badge 3 (100 badges) because im sure that it shall include the 2nd badge (3000 pts on 1 turn) but:

If anyone ever gets just 100, however, it would be equally useful if you post a 'walkthrough' of the ones you get; as this would allow others to achieve the 2nd badge.

Thank you for your time :)

I spoilered it because there are a lot of random words that I just paired up :D


Cooley, here is a cheat I use.

for the awards that are wins in a row, reload the page if you're playing a game you know you won't win. it does not reset the win counter

Otherwise, watch what the computer does. I noticed 2 behaviors that seem counter intuitive, but work for the computer, and increase the score. When you think about it, this game is more than just luck in rolling the dice and is more about statistics. Sometimes you have to aggressive in trying to get the free role.

1) If it rolls two fives early in its turn, it takes one five, not 2, as this increases the chance of a higher score, and a free role.

2)The computer seems to push for a free roll early on more aggresively, and if I am ahead by a ot.


I just want to say that I love this game. Kudos to the creator for a fine, easy to use interface, and to those who suggested the game for this site. I've played it at family get togethers for years (I've always known it as "Zap).

I enjoy playing, and the awards give it a little bit of incentive for replay. I'm working on getting my Zilch-free awards right now. I gotta say though, it sure is heartbreaking to get a Zilch when you're in the 9000's!


In response to thecrwth's advice for Cooley123:

My family and I have played this game at home for many years, and if I roll two 5's and nothing else, yes, I will take only one. However, this game does not give you the option of taking just one--if you've rolled fives, they are lumped together. If the computer is taking only one, that is an opportunity not afforded the Human player, and is therefore very unfair.

So, while good advice, it's not usable in this game.

P.S. We call it "Farkle", since there seems to be an unmentioned poll.


Really? Oh, awesome!

I had seemed to incorrectly remember something from the tutorial about only picking the pop-up pages. Thank you thank you.


In the game of zilch how do you score 6 ones rolled in one roll?


How am I supposed to believe it's not rigged? I was winning by 4000 points and the computer got THREE 1500 point rolls in a row and passed me. REALLY? It just HAPPENED to get THREE in a ROW? Just in time to catch up to me and ultimately won the game. For real?

That's very very silly.

[Edit: Yikes! Easy on the language! And besides, the author of this game has already addressed this several times on his website. Veball kindly linked to one of the pages above. -Art]

Nick_01 July 6, 2009 1:08 PM

You can choose one five at a time. Don't click on the tag, click on the dye. Or die. I don't know how to spell it, but that's how to do it.


@*Jacob* & Cooley123

You *can* select only a single five by clicking on the die itself to select it


I LOVE this game! Below I have PROS & CONS. Pros & perks:
It develops your strategy, & yes you do need smarts & a strategy to win.
It gives you levels of difficulty, rather than just giving you a random CPU opponent of random skill.
You can play other people, locally OR online.
Online, you can just type what you want & chat that, rather than canned chat.
Tons of awards to keep you playing, plus they have titles that hint you as to what they are.

Some awards are easy to earn ACCIDENTALLY!
This isn't much of a perk, but the award titles are funny.
The CPUs get unreasonably hard, like Realist rolling 5000 points on ONE TURN!
Every time you go to the menu, you have to sit through the ad again.
Overall, fantastic game that could take some tweaking.


Some additional in-game awards, I'm up to 87 of them so far.

They generally come in groups of 3-5 based on categories.
Points scored over all games:
1 point collector 50,000
2 point hoarder 100,000
3 point trader 250,000
4 point master 500,000

Dice Rolled:
1 low roller 250
2 point roller 500
3 high roller 2,000
4 hard shoulder 5,000
steam roller

Total Zilches over all games:
1 zilcher 20
2 regular zilcher 50
3 common spotted zilcher 100
pincher zilcher

?? run of zilch-free games, maybe?
zero zilcher
negative zilcher
anti zilcher
allergic to zilching
what's a zilch

Zilch-free wins:
1 hero zilcher 1
hiro zilcher
iron zilcher
steel zilcher
i accidentally the whole zilch

Win a game with more than X points:
1 good score 11,000
2 great score 12,000
stunning score
crushing score
impossible score

Taking X points on 1 turn:
1 alright score 2,000
2 ok score 3,000
3 good score 4,000
sweet score
ma-hoo-hassive score

Wins in a row:
1 run of luck 2
2 better luck 3
3 plucky luck 5
4 british spirit 7
5 U R teh zilch!!!11one 10

Losses in a row:
1 run of bad luck 2
2 very unlucky 3
3 what a loser 5
mega loser
massive loser

Wins total:
1 got the hang of it 3
2 getting comfortable 10
3 zilch-adept 25
zilch pro
lifetime zilcher

Losses total:
1 still learning 3
2 almost got it 5
3 struggling 10
4 can i haz fail? 25
epic fail!

Games finished:
1 zilch player 25
2 zilch playa! 50
pilchard slayer
zilch fiend
gold plated zilch machine

Winning margin of X points or more:
1 squasher 2,000
2 squeezer 3,500
3 crusher 5,000
4 decimator 6,500
5 obliterator 8,000

Losing margin of X points or more:
1 red faced 2,000
2 egg on your face 3,500
3 full english on your face 5,000
4 falling on your face 6,500
5 eh, eh... eh... (noface) 8,000

Win a game by just X points:
1 coarse finish 200
2 smooth finish 100
3 tight finish 50

Lose a game by only X points:
1 dropping the baton 200
2 scraping the barrel 100
3 scraping your knuckles 50

Win a game in X turns or fewer:
1 frugal roller 15
2 thrifty roller 13
3 miser roller 10
4 bah humbug! 9

Win a game in X turns or more:
1 wasteful roller 18
2 splurge roller 20
3 rollin' like there's no tomorrow 25
4 never ending games! 30

Any game lasting X turns or more:
1 clock watcher 18
2 time waster 20
3 aeon waster 25
4 time lord 30

Wins vs. reckless:
1 reckless damage 2
2 reckless endangerment 5
3 reckless history 10

Wins vs. cautious:
1 overly cautious 2
2 cautious steps 5
3 take caution 10

Wins vs. realist:
1 more human 2
2 too human 5
3 inhuman 10

Zilches in a row:
1 your first zilch 3
2 unlucky 4
3 really unlucky 5
4 have you looked at the rules? 7
5 noooooooooo... (jazz hands) 10

Consecutive wins vs. reckless:
1 reckless driving 2
2 reckless endeavors 5
3 reck-ing ball 10

Consecutive wins vs. cautious:
1 cautiously optimistic 2
cautious steps
no longer cautious

Consective wins vs. realist:
1 humanity 2
oh the humanity
oh the huge manatee

1 award chaser 20
2 award maestro 50
award montego a goat please

Lawman: read the rules
Accountant: read the scoring guide
Informant: read the about page
Socialite: looked at awards page

JCShutout June 21, 2010 6:31 PM

I think the game is too weighted to give the computer an advantage. After being annoyed a few games in a row, I played 10 games in a row in which I logged the amount of times I or the computer were able to either roll again automatically, or scored 2000+ points (4 1s) automatically (meaning without strategy).

In those games I went 3-7, and had 14 of those good rolls, or 1.4 per game.

The computer went 7-3 and had 36 of those good rolls, or 3.6 per game.

Just sayin, those numbers are way too lopsided.

FWIW, in the 3 games I won, I had 3 of those good hands and the computer had 4.

In the 7 games that I lost, I had 11 of those hands and the computer had 32.


I don't hate this game for what it is - I hate it for what it says it is.

The creator markets it as a game of skill and chance, but there is almost no skill involved in the play.

OK, there is skill involved but it is NOT rewarded nearly as much as blind luck and reckless risk-taking.

If you pick the dice smartly and play the odds, you'll maybe eke out 50 or 100 points a roll and end up with 500 at most in one turn. But if you get lucky just one time, you'll find yourself (or, more likely, the computer) getting 2000 or even 4000 points in a single turn.

If streaks of decent rolls (i.e. the smart rolling, avoiding zilching and not going for outrageous combos) were rewarded - with combo multipliers perhaps - the game would be one of skill more than one of chance. I realize calculating rewards for different styles of play is difficult, though.

As it stands, however, this game is pretty much a proverbial flip of the coin.

dsrtrosy July 14, 2011 5:42 PM

Oh noes!!! I play this game about once a week and today when I try to click, I'm getting an error page. Is it gone?

[Nope, not gone. I've updated the links. Thanks for the note! -Jay]

WolfgangDS October 29, 2011 12:53 AM

I know it's been ages and this game is old, but I thought I'd play it one more time.

Between the computer's constant success at either rolling high or rolling free and my inability to do the exact same thing with the exact same frequency, I am not convinced that this game isn't rigged, nor will I be convinced.

I hate to have to call someone a liar and a troll, but I'm calling the creator of this game a liar and a troll.


Hi Wolfgang,

This continues to be one of my favorite games, too, and I keep coming back to it.

It's funny, though. Most dice games that we post tend to get similar comments as yours and I am not convinced that any developer would want to rig the outcome of their game. For what purpose? To make the people who play their games angry and upset for losing all the time? No. I don't buy it.

What's more likely is that you've just hit a spell of bad luck with the game, which happens with any game with a significant element of luck.

Keep playing. I'm sure your luck will change. If it does not, change your strategy. I can win this game more times than I lose. :o)


I'm baffled by the folks who think the game is rigged - has it occurred to you that you're just not very good at it? I have a backgammon game on my phone that got many similar comments.

There is a phenomenon in human cognition where we tend to notice the bad things and discount the good.

It's quite possible to beat the game; I'm currently 14-10 against the "Realist" opponent, 24-15 overall. My maximum single turn score is 4000. Yes, you get runs of bad luck, but all in all your record will be reflective of your skill, not the chance rolls of the dice, which even out pretty quickly. Even the very rare events (like a 4000+ point roll) can only win you one game - so regression to the mean comes quickly.

Don't play the game, or enroll in a statistics course, but don't accuse the game makers (who have released all the relevant code, even) of rigging a game when they zero incentive to do so, and when doing so would significantly increase the difficulty of coding the game. It's crazy.

heather.backman March 25, 2012 11:21 AM

Augh! Some new update seems to have gone through, and now the game interface has changed such that I can no longer see the opponent's scoresheet when it's my turn. (To clarify - I can still see the total score but I want to look at the details.) Is there a way to see this that I haven't figured out? Anyone know how to contact the game designer to offer comments? (I know it's a small change but given how I play the game it is a really annoying one!)

heather.backman March 25, 2012 8:39 PM

Well, that was fast... as of this evening the change seems to have reversed itself!


Under my account, this game seems to regularly lose my progress (under My Awards). I had all but about 10-12 of them and then BOOM...zero awards (Zilch?) Not a big deal but it's the 2nd time it's happened. Anyone else experiencing this?

Patreon VIP abfdrumz August 9, 2014 9:09 PM

sdterp: Where are you playing the game? Not to suggest that there's anything wrong with the progress "memory" on any particular host (especially JiG), but just as a data point, I never lost progress playing on the developer's site at playr.co.uk .

On a completely different note: what Jay and Evan Murdock said above, thirded. I've seen the "RIGGED!" cries before as well with another game of "luck": the mobile Monopoly game, which you should be able to win 95% of the time on the hardest setting if you know what you're doing, but which legions of players are nonetheless convinced is cheating. It's just not so. There's no logical reason for it to be so, nor does any of the "statistical" evidence I've seen presented for it hold water, in that case or this one.

Seems to me that if one is going to accuse a game developer of being "a liar and a troll," one had better be VERY sure one knows what one's talking about. (Otherwise it just can't be good karma.)

sdterp January 11, 2015 11:21 AM replied to abfdrumz

I'm playing in the US and it's happened again. All my previous game awards are gone (which means the "Realist" AI level of play is locked until I win 10 games again). Not sure why this keeps happening. :(


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