Online Content to support Marbles For Good March / 2020

You can learn to shoot marbles

 Anyone, large or small, athletic or not, boy or girls, old or young, geek or not, can win playing marbles. – Rich Maxwell

Ringer is a marble game you will see played  everywhere. Scouts are awarded a badge or pin for learning the game and  teaching it to someone. Ringer is played at local and national  tournaments.

In the early 1930’s over 3 million boys and girls ages 7 to 14,  competed at local tournaments to decide who would go to the National  Marbles Tournament. Ringer has been the official game played at the  tournament held in Wildwood, New Jersey each year in June, since 1922.

How to play: To begin a round, set out 13 target marbles, in the shape of a cross or plus sign (“+”) in the middle of a circle.


The two players lag their shooter marble across the ring to a line or  the edge of the marble yard. The player whose shooter lands closest to  the line or edge goes first. Player One takes his first shot from  outside the ring, “knuckles down” –  at least one knuckle touching the  ground flicking their shooter with their  thumb.  If you knock a target marble out of the ring, and your shooter  remains inside the ring, you shoot again from where your shooter lands.  If you miss or your shooter goes outside the ring, your turn is over.  (If you’re using a hula hoop for a ring, touching the hoop is  out-of-bounds.)  The first person to knock seven marbles out of the  ring, wins.

Official Ringer tournament rules also include the following:

  • Only glass or stone shooters, ½” to ¾” in diameter, are permitted.
  • If your shooter goes outside the big ring, your turn is over.
  • Your shot doesn’t count if you lift or move your shooter hand forward while you are shooting. These are called a lift and fudging.
  • You can only call “slips” (Page 5) once per game.

Organize a marbles tournament. Pictured below are  3-feet square “marble boards”, which I use to practice shooting knuckles  down and playing Ringer, at festivals, after-school clubs and during  tournaments.

Set up double-elimination brackets, making sure players are paired  according to age and level of experience. Or divide the group into  experienced and inexperience divisions and challenge players to play one  game with everyone in their division.

Keep track of everyone’s score. First place goes to the player with  the most wins and/or points. Second place and third place point are also  recognized at an award ceremony, complete with prizes, ribbons or big  rounds of applause!

As a child we played “marbles”.   Players would ante  up 3 or 4 marbles, which were placed in the middle of the circle drawn  in the dirt. Everyone carried a favorite shooter, a ball bearing, called  a “Steele” or a stone marble, called an “Aggie”, which you guarded  with your live. We “played for keeps”, which means you take home what  you knock out of the circle. This is also where the term, “Lost your  marbles” originated.


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Rich Maxwell, MS ED