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Marbles: Section guide

• Marbles home
• Marbles 101 (intro)
• Glossary of terms
• Tournament play
• Marbles discussion

The Games: Section guide

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The biggies
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Girl power
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Other games
• Baseball cards
• Marbles
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• Running around

Tools of the trade
• Spaldeens (and other balls)
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Marbles 101: Class is now in session

Our friends at have located this vintage marbles primer and have allowed us to use it here. It's adapted from the instruction sheet which accompanied circa 1930's "gift tins" produced by the Akro Agate Co., a major manufacturer of marbles which, sadly, folded in the 1950s.

These diagrams have been drawn to illustrate different points of play in the game of "Ringer" as they might occur during the course of a regular game. More marble games are described in our marbles glossary.

Most boys and girls understand Ringer the first time it is explained, but to make it easier these drawings have been made by an artist to show the most common plays, such as frequently occur in championship games.

In studying these diagrams imagine that two boys are going to play a game. To determine who shall play first each boy lags with his shooter.

Figure 1 - Lagging To start a game of Ringer the boys lag from a line, drawn tangent to the ring, to a parallel line across the ring, which would be 10 feet away. The boy whose shooter comes nearest the line has the first shot. Players must lag before each game. Practice lagging, as the first shot may mean the winning of the game before your opponent gets a shot. In lagging, a boy may toss his shooter to the other line, or he may knuckle down and shoot it.
Fig. 2 - The game begins. This shows boy No.1 who won the lag, preparing to knuckle down. His knuckle has not quite reached the ground, which is necessary before shooting. He can take any position about the ring he chooses. Notice how the 13 marbles in the ring are arranged at the start of the game.
Fig. 3 - Success! Boy No.1 knocks a marble from the ring on his first shot and his shooter stays in the ring. He picks up the marble. As he has knocked one from the ring, he is entitled to another try. Players are not permitted to walk inside the ring unless their shooter comes to a stop inside the ring. Penalty is a fine of one marble.
Fig. 4 - Preparing for his next shot... Here we see boy No. 1 continuing play. He "knuckles down" inside the ring where his shooter stopped on the last shot. This gives him the advantage of being nearer to the big group of marbles in the center of the ring for his next shot. Expert marble shots try to hit a marble, knock it out of ring and make their shooter "stick" in the spot.
Fig. 5 - Oh darn! On this play, No.1 hit a marble, but did not knock it from the ring. At the same time his shooter, too, stays inside the ring. He can not pick up the marble, neither is he allowed to pick up his shooter. He must leave the shooter there until the other boy has played.
Fig 6 - Now it's my turn! Boy No. 2 may start by "knuckling down" anywhere at the ring edge. In this case he may shoot at the 11 marbles in the center or if he wishes, he may go to the other side and try for No.1's shooter or the marble that No.1 almost knocked from the ring.
Fig. 7 - I win! Boy No.2 chooses to try for No. 1 boy's shooter and knocks it out of ring, winning all the marbles No.1 has taken and putting No.1 out of that game. Or he could shoot as shown in Fig. 8.
Fig. 8 - Turn over! Boy No.2 hits a marble but does not knock it out of the ring yet his shooter goes thru the ring and stops outside. The marble remains where it stopped in the ring, and as No.2 did not score, it is now the turn of No.1 to shoot again.
Fig. 9 - The game goes on No. 1 "knuckles down" inside the ring where his shooter stopped (Fig. 5). He is going to shoot at the marble nearest his shooter. By hitting it at the proper angle and knocking it from the ring he can get his shooter near the center of the ring for his next shot.

All the marbles stuff on Streetplay!

Marbles 101: Rules for the basic game
Glossary of terms and game variations
Rules for tournament play (circa 1931, very elaborate)
Marbles discussion board

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