How to Play Marble Games

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Marble games are a fun way to relax with friends. All you need to enjoy a game of marbles is plenty of marbles, chalk or a marker to draw with, and a friend to make the game competitive.

Marble games can be played in numerous ways. This article is going to cover some of the more popular ways to play with marbles.

How to Play Classic Marble Game Ringer

The conventional and most popular way to play with marbles is the ringer method. This is the method known and used by most children and it is possibly the easiest form of marble games to grasp.

The method is pretty straight forward. 

  • A large circle is drawn in the sand (usually big enough to contain 13 marbles, which could mean about 6 – 11 feet in diameter). The marbles should be positioned in a crossed and spaced 3inches from each other. 
  • The first player begins by trying to hit a marble out of the circle while keeping the shooter in the ring.
  • If the player misses, the player’s turn is over and the shooter is picked up. Also, the next player gets a chance to hit marbles out of the ring. 
  • If the shooter hits a marble but also rolls out of the ring. The player keeps the knocked-out marble(s) and ends the turn for the next player. 
  • If the shooter hits a marble and also stays in the ring, the player proceeds to shoot again from the position where the shooter ends. 
  • Each new turn sees the shooter take a new position from anywhere outside the ring. 
  • The player with the most collected marbles is the winner of the game. 

A Breakdown of How to Play the Classic Marble Game: Ringer

For easier understanding, here is an illustrated breakdown showing how the Ringer is played. 


Marbles Rules 01

To begin a game of Ringer, all participants will lag from the line that has been drawn tangent to the circle towards the parallel line drawn across the circle which is 10 feet away.

Whoever has the shooter nearest to the line will have the first shot. This is usually the best way to start the game.

A piece of advice to players is to practice lagging because it is possible to win the game before your opponent even has a chance to take a shot.

While lagging, a player can choose to toss their shooter across the line or just shoot it across. 


Marbles Rules 02

In this image, the first player marked No.1 won the lag is getting ready to begin the game by knuckling down.

It is, however, important to note the knuckle shouldn’t hit the ground yet which is a requisite for shooting.

At this point, any position around the circle can be taken before the shot has been taken. Also, notice the arrangement of the 13 marbles within the circle properly spaced. 


Marbles Rules 03

In this image, the first player has hit a marble from the circle with the first shot and the shooter still remains in the circle.

The marble has been picked up. Also, taking into account the marble knocked out of the circle, he gets to have another round shooting at the marbles.

Players are not allowed to walk into the circle unless their shooter stops rolling within the circle. The penalty should a player break this rule is one marble.


Marbles Rules 04

Here, the first player continues to play on because of the knocked-out marble. He has knuckled down within the circle on the exact location where his shooter stopped after his previous shot.

This move allows him to be nearer to the larger group of marbles places in the center of the ring for his next shot.

Seasoned marble players aim their shots to hit a marble, take it out of the circle while making the shooter remain in the spot. 


Marbles Rules 05

In this image, the first player hit a marble but it was not knocked out of the ring. Also, the shooter remains within the ring.

The player cannot pick up the hit marble and neither can the shooter be picked up.

The shooter is left there till every other person has had their turn. 


Marbles Rules 06

The second player begins by knuckling down in any location along the edge of the circle.

In this scenario, the player could aim and shoot at any of the 11 marbles located at the center of the circle. He could also choose to aim at the shooter or the marble hit but not knocked out of the circle by the first player


Marbles Rules 07

Here, the second player has decided to aim at the first player’s shooter and hits it out of the circle.

This has allowed the second player to win the marbles taken by the first player, effectively taking out the first player out of the game. 


Marbles Rules 08

Here, the second player hits a marble but also fails to knock it out of the circle but the shooter goes through the circle and stops outside.

The marble remains where it stopped in the ring and the second player did not get a point. It is the turn of the first player again. 


Marbles Rules 09

Here, we have player one knuckling down within the circle where the shooter stopped from image 5. He is about to shoot at the marble closest to his shooter.

By hitting the marble at the appropriate angle and eliminating it from the ring, he can get his shooter closer to the center of the ring against the next shot. 

Here is a video explaining in detail how to play Ringer.

Other Marble Games

Should you be interested, here are some other marble games you might want to check out:


While playing boss-out, the first player shoots at one marble. The second player then tries to hit the marble of the first player. If successful, the second player collects both marbles.

If the marbles don’t hit but are close, the player uses his or her thumb to span them. Spanning refers to when a player places his thumb on a marble and his index finger on the marble of his opponent.

Subsequently, he draws his hand up while bringing both fingers together. If the player is successful, he gets to keep both marbles.

When this attempt fails, the first player is allowed to shoot at either marble on the playing field. 

If any player claims the last marble within the circle, he has to shoot a different marble for the second player to shoot at. 


This name is used to define two different marble games. The first game is miniature golf played with marbles.

The rules are simple here. The players create a miniature course and take turns shooting holes through each hole. The first player to shoot through all nine holes on the course wins. 

The second version of nine holes is played using a bridgeboard.

Players go around in turns shooting marbles through the arches in numerical order and arches shot out of sequence are disqualified.

Successful shots through the right arch allow the shooter to take another round.

The winner is the first player to shoot all marbles through the nine holes in the correct sequence. 


To play bunhole, a foot-wide hole needs to be dug in the middle of the field.

Players are tasked with attempting to shoot a marble as close as possible to the middle of the hole without the marble going in.

Players are eliminated when their marbles fall into the hole till a winner is crowned.

They are also allowed to knock competing marbles into the hole.


With bridgeboard, a board with nine cuts along the edge is placed on its edge to create nine arches.

The following numbers: “6, 2, 3, 1, 5, 8, 7, 9, 4” are written above each arch, with each number linked to an arch.

Players then attempt to shoot through the arches and win the number of arches written above the hole.

Players who miss their shots hand over their marbles to the board owner.


Here, players attempt to shoot marbles into a hole. If both players have their shooters fall into the hole, they have to start over.

If one player’s marble falls into the hole and the other doesn’t, the player with the fallen marble gets 10 points.

In case neither player has their shooters fall into the hole, the first player starts another round by attempting to hit the marble of the second player.

If the marbles hit, he earns another 10 points and a chance to shoot his marble into the hole for 10 points.

If he missed his opponent’s marble, the second player then attempts to hit the first player’s marble for 10 points and a chance to get the marble into the hole for an additional 10 points. 

Whenever a player’s marble goes into the hole, the game restarts with both players going again from the starting line otherwise all shots have to be made from the position where the marble stopped rolling.

The game ends when a player reaches 100 points. 

Frequently Asked Questions

As we round up, here are some frequently asked questions about marbles and marble games.

What is the marble game called?

There are numerous marble games that can be played. Examples of marble games are: Boss-out, Chassis, Poison, Black snake, Newark killer, Off the wall, puggy, Skelly, Dropsies, Bridgeboard, Nine Holes, Bunhole, Ring taw, Cherry pit…

How many marbles are in a set?

The number of marbles in a set depends on the kind of set. When playing ringer, 13 marbles are placed in the set while other kinds of marble games require varying numbers of marbles. 

What is a shooter marble?

A shooter marble refers to the marble used by each player to knock other players out of the circle or into the hole depending on the type of game being played.

How to play marble solitaire

With marble solitaire also known as peg solitaire, the goal is to move a peg over another into a hole.

You get to move your pegs either vertically or horizontally and pegs that are jumped over get removed. Hence, pegs are only removed per move.

The aim of this is to have one peg left on the board when the game is over. 

When were marbles invented?

According to some historians, round stone balls were identified around 2500 BCE near the Mohenjo-Daro in what is known to be Pakistan today.

Marbles have also been referenced in roman poetry like Ovid’s poem “Nux”.

There have been several examples highlighting the presence of marbles throughout human history, each made from different substances ranging from glass to stone or even clay. 

What can you do with marbles?

Marbles can be collected either for nostalgia or for art purposes because of its colorful nature but the major use of marbles is to be used to play all manner of games.  

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