Friday, September 24, 2010

marbles, part 1

Isaac and his friends at school like to play marbles. At break time, they find a suitable dust patch and proceed to play. It is an incredibly complex game with almost incomprehensible rules and its own language. I'm sure that each school and group of kids plays it differently but this is a simple version of Isaac and his friends' way of playing.
  • Up to six people can play. The goal is to hit another player's marble three times.
  • You begin by digging a little hole in the dirt or grass.
  • Each person announces their position by calling "firstys", "secondys", "thirdys", etc...
  • You begin with each person shooting their marble as near to the hole as possible. Whoever is closest gets to go first. The order then proceeds as first announced.
  • Let's say that I was that closest person. I now get to try to get in the hole. If I get in the hole I am now "poison" and can hit other players and try to take their marbles. On the turn that I get in the hole, I can shoot out on the same turn.
  • I now go after other players.
  • If I hit a player that player then has to "place themself" which means that they choose a place to be shot at. I now get a chance to hit them again. If I hit, I get another chance. If I hit again then I get that marble and that player is out.
  • If I miss, the other player is back in the game but has to go back in the hole to become poison again. If the player was not poison to begin with, they have to get in the hole twice.
I hope that this makes sense. It took me a while to make sense of it. I will add all the calls and how to play with multiple marbles for each player in another post.

Here is Isaac demonstrating the three ways to hold a marble for shooting.

For a big marble, you use an underarm toss like this...

For a small marble, you can hold it in either of the following two ways.

Here the marble rests on the tip of the index finger and is shot by the thumb...

Here the marble rests in the crook of the index finger and is shot by the thumb...


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