There must be at least 101 ways to play marbles. The single most important thing you need to know is this - have fun! Check out the links to ringer on the left, or the video. It is important to agree on the rules when you play marbles, so nobody accuses you of cheating. If you want to "play for keeps", then you should talk about it at first and agree that the winner gets to keep some marbles. Playing keepsies is fun until you loose your favorite marble!
Keepsies - you keep marbles that you win.
Friendlies - you get all of your marbles back at the end of the game.
Any kid who ever had a collection of marbles has favorite marbles. If you are willing to risk your marbles in a game of keepsies, you had better either be a good shooter, or be a good sport.
When playing marbles on the ground, you'll want to "knuckle down" to shoot. Pinch the marble in your index finger and the flick if with your thumb. This video will show you how to do it. In other marbles games, you might want to just roll it on the ground, or drop it like a bomb between your thumb and finger.
Marbles are fascinating and the can be found in very many different styles. You might have some ordinary marbles, but if you watch you can collect some really cool ones. One of the funnest things about marbles is looking through your marbles collection. Every marble has a story. Maybe you won it in a game, or bought it on vacation, or found it buried in the playground at the school yard. Building a collection of marbles is fun because you can remember things about the marbles and imagine them in the game. Marbles like those below can be found on ebay or at yard sales. There are also some great marbles stores, like this one in Kansas - Moon Marbles.
Marbles is a great game because you can play it anywhere. All you need is a flat place to play, such as a sidewalk, floor, table, or rug. The surface you play on will affect your game because a smooth surface will make marbles roll far and fast. Playing on a rough surface like a baseball infield will make the marble bounce off course. If you will draw a circle for your game, you can use chalk or string. Chalk works best for outdoors because it washes off. If you are playing in the dirt, you can just draw a line with a stick. Where ever you play, keep track of your marbles and have fun!
Traditional marble games are played around a circle. In fact, at the National Marbles Tournament held every year in Wildwood, New Jersey over 1200 marbles games will be played around large circles in a park. The game played around these circles is called ringer.
When you want to play marbles the game can be as simple as tossing your marbles at the opponent's marbles. This is a good game for outdoors fun because you can put marbles in a circle in the dirt and try to knock them out by dropping or tossing the shooters. In this video you will get the idea.
Did you ever have a friend with a cool steelie? A steelie is a marble made of steel. They are hard to find because you usually needed to know a truck mechanic to take one from the wheel of a truck for you. If you had a friend with a steelie or another marble that you really want, you'd start asking, "how many marbles would i have to give you before you gave me that cool steelie?"
If your friend was like mine, he would say, "I want a whole coffee can of your marbles for this one!" You might even trade your whole collection to get that coolest marble. Trading marbles is a lot of fun. Check out these old marbles with a John Deere logo printed on them - an american icon. How many marbles would you trade for one of these?
Although circle games are the most common, there are other ways to play marbles that are just as fun.
Lagging - Players draw a chalk line on cement, or a line in the dirt. Then they draw a taw line about ten feet away and stand behind it. They take turns rolling their marbles at the other line. After every player has a turn, the winner is determined. The player who's marble is closest to the line without going over is the winner and collects all of the opponents' marbles.
Kids often adopt and share specialized vocabularies for playing games. There is a complex and enormous set of jargon that have used by kids for playing marbles. The vocabulary of marble playing is different in different regions and times. Marble playing used to be common for school aged children. To become an expert requires rigorous practice, hours of patience, and dirty knees. Kids who play marbles learn and share many of these special words. You will find those words in use throughout this web site.
("The Vocabulary of Marble Playing" The American Dialext Society, 1955.)