The new youth games book
Sample from this book:
Here
are a couple of sequences from the New Youth Games Book from Alan
Dearling and Howie Armstrong:
Marble games
We thought that it was strange that it took us from 1979 right
through to 1994 to find a place for 'Marbles' in the Games Book.
But it's here now, and we have had some fun trying out some of
the halfforgotten forms of the game.
Thinking back to our own childhood days of playing marbles, the
game was simple. One person would roll their glass marble along
the ground, often using the gutter of the road or the pavement
as the playing arena. Then, the other player would try and hit
the first marble with their own. Taking alternate turns, the game
would continue until one person managed to hit the other's marble.
This hit would win the loser's marble. This version of marbles
is commonly called 'Capture'. The only main variation
was when one player had a 'special' marble, which was either larger,
more ornate, or a ballbearing. These special marbles would be
classified as 'twoers' or 'threeers', which meant that they
had to be hit more times before they could be won and change ownership.
Historically, marbles were also made of wood, stone and plastic.
Marble
games tend to be played avidly as 'craze' by kids. For a time
it becomes an all consuming passion, which, like most other passions,
subsides after a while. For youth workers or parents, it is a
simple game to introduce, popular, and requires little equipment
or expense. Very nicely made, traditional marbles, can be cheaply
purchased at many toy and gift shops. Many of these are often
referred to as 'alleys' because of the flecks of colour which
swirl through the white or clear glass, rather like the colours
which flow through a person's eye.
Finally, before moving on to describing some of the games you
can play with marbles, a quick word about the ways in which you
can 'shoot' or roll your marbles.
We know of three ways of propelling the marble on its way:
1) The simplest is just to hold the marble in one hand and roll
it in the required direction.
2) Shooting requires more dexterity. The marble is held as in
the drawing below, with the player's knuckles placed firmly on
the ground. The marble is shot forward by a flick of the thumb.
This technique is sometimes called 'knuckling'.
3) A third method is simply to flick the marble from its position
on the ground with the thumb.
But, on to some of the games variations.......................
SPANNING
This is played the same was as 'Capture' but with one significant
rule change. Either player can elect to 'span' the two marbles
if they are close enough together. Spanning is undertaken by a
player placing their thumb on their own marble and a finger on
the opponent's marble, and then flicking them together. If a span
is successful, the 'spanner' captures the opponent's marble, if
unsuccessful, the player loses their own marble.
RING O'MARBLES
Two circles must be drawn of the ground to play this game. We
have used chalk on the pavement and we have also played it on
a sandy beach. The inner circle is about a foot in diameter, the
outer circle approximately 6 or 7 feet. Any small number of players
can participate, with each putting two of their marbles into the
inner circle.
Each player takes it in turns to shoot from any point outside
of the outer circle. Their aim is to knock marbles out of the
inner circle. In different versions of the game, they then either
win these displaced marbles or get an extra shot.
Each succeeding shot is taken from where the player's marble
last came to rest. Another twist in the game is to allow player's
to also shoot at their opponents' marbles, and if they hit them
they are captured. An additional rule makes any marble that comes
to rest in the inner circle a target. That player then starts
with a new marble from outside of the big circle. Play continues
until all the marbles have been removed from the inner circle.
WALL MARBLES
As you've guessed from the name, this game requires a wall!
Players take turns to roll their marbles towards the wall so
that they hit the wall and rebound back towards the players. Each
player then takes their turn with the aim of hitting opponents'
marbles on the rebound, in which case all of
the marbles played are captured. After the first round of play,
players shoot their marbles from the position where they first
landed. In different versions of the game, the marbles may either
still be required to hit and rebound off the wall or may be played
as in capture. In the latter version of the game, only one marble
at a time can be captured after the first round.
BOMBS AWAY
This game is different. A small circle is marked on the ground
and each player puts one or more marbles into the circle. They
then take turns to stand above the circle and carefully drop a
marble down onto the circle. The aim is to knock marbles out of
the circle, which they then capture. If a marble is knocked out
of the circle, the successful player also keeps their original
marble; if they fail, they must add the marble they have dropped,
into the circle.
TARGETS
There are numerous target games which can be played using marbles,
and it is fun to improvise your own. Most can be played indoors
or out of doors Ideas for such games include:
1) Line up an agreed number of marbles with at least two marble's
space between them (say, one from each player.) This line should
be at least six feet away from the shooting line. Players then
take turns to shoot at the marble line. Any marbles
hit are captured, and a hit gives the player an extra shot.
2) Toy soldiers, lego figures, or similar can
also be used for targets in a target game, and it can be fun to
place obstacles in the line of fire to deflect the oncoming marbles.
Knocking over a figure scores an agreed number of points.
3) An archboard can be constructed, or bought,
which provides a target for a marble scoring game. Such a board
can be made of wood or stiff cardboard. Players can either roll
alternate marbles and keep their scores as they go, or roll up
five or ten marbles as a 'go'. The winner is the person with the
highest score at the end of an agreed number of rounds.
4) 'Hundreds' is quite a popular game and easy
to organise. A playing area of about 610 feet is agreed and a
circle is drawn or small hole dug for a target area. Players then
take turns to try and roll their marbles into the target. Each
successful marble scores ten points and gives the player an additional
turn. A miss doesn't score and play moves on to the next player.
Newspaper walk
This sequence is lively, active fun. It's very popular with all
younger groups and it's a good sequence for parties as well. Mums
and Dads and youth leaders etc. should all have a goit's not
that easy! It is best played in a school hall or a scout hut,
where there is a shiny wooden floor.
Each player needs two sheets of newspaper. Players should have
taken their shoes off, otherwise the paper tends to rip. All the
participants line up, placing one sheet of newspaper under each
foot. At the word 'Start', players must try to cross the room
heading for the previously agreed finishing line. If any part
of player's body touches the floor, they have to go back to the
start.
