OFFICIAL MARBLE PLAYING RULES
THE NATIONAL MARBLES TOURNAMENT
RINGER is played in a ring 10 feet in diameter, with 13 marbles arranged in the
center in the shape of an "X. The object is to shoot these marbles out of the ring,
the player with the largest number of marbles out of the ring in any game being the
winner of that game.
No less than two and no more than six may play in one game of RINGER, except
in tournament championship matches where only two may play. All tournament
play is "For Fair" (all marbles must be returned after each game).
EQULPMENT, the playing surface shall be a smooth, level area of ground, hard
clay, or other suitable substance. The Ring is inscribed upon the area 10 feet in
diameter, and all play within this ring. (Outline of this ring shall not be so deep or
wide as to check the roll of the marbles in play.)
With the center of the Ring as a point of intersection, mark two lines at right
angles to each other to form an "X," which shall be a guide for placing the playing
Place 1 marble at the intersection of the "X" and 3 marbles on the 4
branches of the "X." Each marble must be 3 inches apart.
The LAG LINE, is a straight line drawn tangent to the Ring and touching at one
The PITCH LINE, is a straight line drawn tangent and touching the Ring
and directly opposite and running parallel to the Lag Line.
Playing marbles shall be round and made of glass. All marbles in any one playing
ring must be of uniform size. The standard size shall be five-eights (518) inch in
diameter. Slight variations may be allowed by the referee for manufacturing fault.
Shooters, shall be round and made of any substance except steel, or any other
metal, and shall not be less than on-half (ln) nor more than threequarters (314)
inch in diameter, as determined by the referee.
PLAN OF PLAYING.
The Lag is the first operation in RINGER
To Lag, the
players stand toeing the Pitch Line, or knuckling down upon it, and toss or shoot
their shooter to the Lag Line across the Ring. The player whose shooter comes
nearest the Lag Line, on either side, wins the Lag.
Players must Lag before each series of games. The player who wins the Lag
shoots first and the others follow in order as their shooters were next nearest to the
The same shooter that is used in the Lag must be used in the game
following the Lag.
On all shots, except the Lag, players must knuckle down so that at least one
knuckle is in contact with the ground. They must maintain this position until the
shooter leaves their hand.
Knuckling down is permitted, but not required in Lagging.
Starting the game,
each player in turn shall knuckle down just outside the Ring Line, at any point the
player chooses, and shoot into the ring to knock one or more marbles out of the
A player continues to shoot when he knocks one or more marbles out of the ring -
provided the player's shooter remains inside the Ring.
When a player's shooter
passes outside the Ring, whether or not the player has scored on the shot, they
hall cease to shoot.
The player shall be credited with the marbles they have
After a miss, a player picks up their shooter, wherever it lies, until their next turn,
and then it's permitted to take rounders and shoot from any point of the Ring Line.
Marbles knocked out of the Ring shall be picked up
by the player who knocks them out.
Whenever a marble or shooter comes to rest on the Ring Line, if it's center is
mide the Ring Line, or exactly on the Ring Line, it shall be considered out of the
Ring. If it's center is inside the Ring Line, it shall be considered inside the Ring.
If a shooter knocks out two or more marbles in a combination play, he shall be
entitled to all points on the shot.
When a shooter slips from a player's hand, if the player calls "SLIPS" and the
referee is convinced that it is a slip, and if the shooter did not travel more than 10
inches, the referee may order "No Play" and permit the player to shoot again. The
referee's decision is fmal.
The game shall end when one player has knocked seven marbles from the Ring.
At the National Marbles Tournament there are seven inning played in each game,
with the exception of a tie. If at the end of seven innings both players have the
same score, the game is extended to nine innings, with the winner of the original
Lag shooting first.
If a game is still tied after nine innings and it is preliminary play, each player must
Lag. The winner of the Lag wins that game. In the finals at the tournament, the
players continue regular play until a winner is reached by a score of seven points,
regardless of the number of innings it takes.
SCORING. For each marble knocked out by a player, they shall be credited with
the score of ONE point.
The player having credited the largest number of marbles at the completion of the
game shall be the winner of that game.
In a game where more than two players are engaged, if two or more players lead
with the same score, those in the tie shall play a new game to break the tie.
A player refusing to continue a game, once it is started, shall be disqualified.
The score of a forfeited game shall be 7-0.
OFFICIALS. The officials shall be a referee and a scorer, if a scorer is available,
otherwise the referee shall also keep score.
The referee shall have complete charge of the play. He shall interpret these rules
and have power to make decision on any points not specifically covered by these
rules. He shall have the authority to disqualify any player for unsportsmanlike
conduct. He shall have the authority to order fiom the ring or its vicinity the coach
or other representatives of any player who conducts himself improperly.
The scorer shall keep a record of the game, making score of each player, shot by
shot, and at the end of the game, shall notify the referee of the score and the
referee shall announce the winner. The scorer shall assist the referee in enforcing
the rule against coaching, and call to the attention of the referee any infraction of
PENALTIES. A player shall NOT:
Lift hisher hand forward until the shooter has left that hand. This violation is
known as "HUNCHING."
Smooth or otherwise rearrange the ground or remove any obstacles. A player
may request the referee to clear obstructions. PENALTY: If any marbles were
knocked out or dislocated on the violating shot, they shall be restored to their
place and the player shall lose his shot.
Changing shooters during the course of a game. A player may choose a new
shooter on each Lag, provided helshe uses that shooter in the subsequent games.
PENALTY: The player shall be disqualified ffom the game.
Communicate in any way with their coach during the course of a game.
PENALTY: Forefeiture of all marbles that have been knocked out of the Ring,
said marbles to be returned to the game and placed on the "X".
A coach shall not give instructions to either hisher own or any other player
engaged in a game. PENALTY: Coach shall be ordered from the playing
field, if after being warned once, they continue this violation.
Players must not walk through the marble Ring. PENALTY: After a player has
been warned for this violation, the referee MAY require the forfeiture of one
marble to be returned and placed on the 'X".
ADDITIONAL RULES: In Lagging, players shall Lag together and at the same
time. If either shooter strikes the backboard, or the marbles or rack in the Ring,
that player loses the Lag, If both players strike an obstruction, the players Lag
BACKSPIN: Each player shall be responsible for the result of backspin. If the
shooter on its return strikes any part of the player's body, the shooter shall lose the
turn, but shall be entitled to any marbles knocked out on the shot.
MARBLE IN ACTION: A player shall not pick up any shooter or marlbes while
in motion and shall not stop a shooter's or marble's motion. Violation of this rule
shall be considered a fou and the player shall lose hisfher turn.
PRACTICE SHOTS: A player shall not take practice or wann-up shots into the
Ring while a game is in progress or ready to start. Violation shall be considered as
a shot. Players may take practice shots on the surfhce outside the Ring.
BROKEN SHOOTER: A player may not change shooters during a game
EXCEPT if a shooter is broken. The referee may permit a change, if the shooter
has become damaged enough to impair good shooting.
WIND ACTION: If, before a shot, the wind moves a marble, the referee shall
return it to its original position. However, any marlbe or shooter set in motion
during a shot shall be allowed to continue until it comes to a fill stop and if the
wind carries it out of the Ring, it shall be considered out. The marble or shooter
shall be considered dead once it comes to a complete stop. If the wind moves it
therafter, it shall be returned to position.
WRONG SHOOTER: If any player carelessly shoots with one of the playing
marbles, helshe shall lose the shot and any marlbe shocked out with the illegal
shooter shall be returned to position.
PICKING UP MARBLES: Players may use their own judgements as to whether
to pick up their marbles after each shot or wait until they are finished shooting,
excepting any marble that has bounced back into the Ring, must be picked up
FORFEITING GAME: Each player shall be responsible for keeping informed as
to the progress of the game. If before the actual completion of a game, a player
mistakenly believes helshe has lost and throws hisiher marbles into the Ring, that
player shall be considered to have forfeited.
SLIPS: The rule regarding "Slips" shall be strictly enforced and whenever the
shooter travels more than 10 inches it must be considered a shot. If a player pickes
up hisiher shooter on a "Slip," beforee it has stopped, it shall be considered to have
traveled more than 10 inches and the player loses hisher shot.
THE LAG: Players shall Lag before each set of games and the winner shall shoot
first in all odd-numbered games.
The National Marbles Tournament, Atlantic City, New Jersey, 1928.
Ohio Winners and Runner-Ups of The
National Marbles Tournament