Recommended Links

James Brandon

Outdoor Family Games

Every family, once in a while, needs to spend some quality time with one another. Not just parents, but even children these days have tons to worry about. With work, school, and chores at home, it won’t be wrong to say that hardly anyone gets to eat a meal together. If this is the situation at your place or you are the kind of family that loves to spend their weekends having some fun and adventure, then you should organize some outdoor family games. Kids used to play out before the invention of video games and cell phones. But now, all that has changed and they have become less active. You can kill two birds with one stone. Playing fun games will not only provide everyone with a great physical fitness, but also bring your family closer. So what are you waiting for?

Games for Families

One of the best things about planning a family reunion or a family weekend together are the games. Family games are fun for all ages and give you a chance to interact with one another. Check out these great outdoor games.

Musical Chairs
For this game, you will need one less chair than the total number of people participating in the game. To play the game, have someone (who doesn’t wish to play) hold a small boom box. Arrange the chairs in a way that every alternate chairs face the same direction. Ask the person who has the music to look the other way and turn the music on. Everybody stands in a line and as soon as the music starts to play, walk around the chairs lined up. When the music stops, sit on the closest chair in front of you before anyone else gets a chance. Whoever is left standing, they are out. Take one chair out again and follow the same instructions. Whoever is left sitting on one chair in the end, wins.

Crossing Steps
In this game, you’ll need to make a grid of 10×10 on the sidewalk. Now, each player will stand in 1 square and when the game begins, the players will move to an empty square. You will need to time every move as you cannot cross over someone or come to stand in a square which is occupied. If you can’t find an empty square and are stuck for more than 1 round (meaning other players have already crossed and you’re the one remaining), you’ll be out of the game. The game keeps going until there’s one player left in the end.

The Fruit Basket
To play the game, ask everyone to stand in a tight circle, without leaving any gaps between one another. Each person has to choose a fruit (banana, tomato, grape, apple, cherry…). One person will be standing in the middle of the circle who’s called It. Now It will call out a fruit’s name. Everybody else who choose that fruit will run to a different area from where they were standing; preferably an empty area left by another player of the similar fruit group. You can stand directly next to where you were standing before and nobody can stand in their same spot. It will try to get into one of the empty places left by the players, leaving another person to take It’s position in the middle. If It didn’t get a chance to step into an empty space, he/she has to do this thing all over again, with a new fruit.

Pick My Pocket
Take a large cloth (unused or one which can be cut) and make as many strips as the players. Now, all the players will keep 1 strip in their back pocket, with a little piece hanging out. When the whistle blows, everyone will try to grab the strips from each other’s pockets. The player with the maximum strips will win the game. In the game, if your strip has been taken, you still have a chance to get someone else’s back in order to stay in the game.

Scavenger Hunt
To organize a scavenger hunt, you need to divide the players into 2 equal groups. Plan ahead as you will have to hide all the clues for your hunt beforehand. Make 2 maps of the entire area of where the hunt will take place, making sure to keep it in a safe neighborhood or park. Write down all the clues in small pieces of paper and hide in unimaginable places. If you have organized the hunt, don’t participate. Instead, be a judge for the game to make sure no one cheats. Whichever team comes back with all the clues solved, wins a prize.

Capture the Flag
This game is really simple to assemble, but tough to play (physically challenging). You need 2 flags for this game and divide everyone in 2 groups. Now on the field, place the flags at both ends, as far as possible, and keep a goalie. When the whistle blows, the players of 1 team will try to take the flag of the other team, and vice versa. Here, apart from stealing other team’s flag, you will also have to defend your flag. Whichever team manages to keep their flag safe and steal the other team’s flag the most, wins.

Marco Polo in the Pool
Marco polo is one of the most popular games as you can play it in the pool and on the ground as well. Everybody chooses It who has to be blindfolded or closes his/her eyes. All the players scatter in the swimming pool and asks It to duck into the water. As It comes out of the water, he/she has to shout Marco loudly. Other players who are at different corners of the pool will reply saying Polo. The players have to save themselves from being tagged by It. Whoever gets tagged has to become to new Marco.

No, I’m not asking you to paint the balloons. What we are doing is altering the game of paintball. Instead of using a paintball gun, we will use balloons filled with colored water or better yet, Kool-Aid. Divide yourselves into 2-3 teams and fill the balloons with colored water or Kool-Aid. Now the trick here is, each team will choose 1 color to represent themselves. Let’s say you have 3 teams, then team #1 will use red, team #2 will use blue, and team #3 will use green. Once the whistle blows, hide and navigate yourself to the opponents and get them drenched with your color.

The main idea of organizing these amazing games is to bring everyone together and have a great time. Bring snacks and plenty of fresh fruit juices to your outdoor family fun, and enjoy playing some family fun games.

How to Play Mumblety-peg

Mumblety-peg game rule
Wars were constant in the 19th and 20th century, and recession was always around the corner. Not every kid on the block could afford a ball or buy a baseball bat. But knives were pretty much affordable, and almost every kid had them. Pocket knives were used by kids for self-protection in those lean times. It was used to test the manliness of every kid who didn’t want to be called chicken. The game of mumblety-peg was derived from here.

Mumblety-peg involves throwing a pocket knife deep into the ground. The position at which it hits the ground―sideways or straight up―decides the number of points. It involves different stunts that can be performed, which obviously gets more points. The name of the game is derived from a stick driven into the ground by the winner using a pocket knife, which the loser has to pull out using only his teeth, while mumbling curses at the winner.

Versions of the Mumblety-peg Game
Although the basic version of the game involves throwing a pocket knife into a circle in the ground, a variant of this involves two people standing away from each other and throwing a knife near their own foot. Whoever throws the knife closest to their foot without getting hurt, wins. If the player moves his foot, the opposing player wins.

Another version of the game involves throwing the pocket knife from different angles, and the other player tries to imitate the same and land it successfully at a straight angle with the blade thrust into the ground.

The last variant of the game is called ‘Chicken’. The player is asked to keep some sticks between his feet. The other player then throws the knife as close to the center of the gap. The first player then moves his foot to the place where the knife is stuck. This goes on till the player reduces the gap between the feet with the least amount of knife throws. If the player decides to forfeit or thinks he’s about to lose, he’s termed chicken; hence the name of the game.

Playing Rules
Let’s follow the basic version of the game of throwing a knife deep into the ground. To make it interesting, there are 24 different trick tosses that one can perform. If you forfeit or are unable to perform more tricks than the opposing player, you lose the game.

▶Close the fist of your right hand, with the back of the hand facing the ground. Place the knife on your palm, with the blade pointing towards the right. Now, with your hand close to the ground, swing the knife in a semicircle continuously, so that it falls to the ground with the handle sticking upright. Now perform the same toss, but with your left hand.

▶Hold the knife blade between the thumb and forefinger of the right hand. Now flip it with a downward motion, so that it spins and lands in the ground. Now perform the same trick, but with your left hand.

▶Hold the blade of the knife as described in the above trick, in your right hand, and bring it close to your left ear so that the handle touches it. Now let the other hand touch your right ear. Now throw the knife so that it flips once and lands in the ground. Now do the same trick with the left hand.

▶Hold the knife blade as told in the above trick, and let the handle touch your nose. Throw the knife and let it flip through the air and stick in the ground. Perform the same trick, except bring the handle close to your right eye. Continue to do the same by holding the knife near the left eye. It can be done by either hand.

▶Place the blade on top of the head, with the forefinger holding the knife upright. Using your forefinger, strike a blow to the back of the handle, so that the knife spins in the air and lands on the ground with the blade embedded inside. This can be done by either hand.

▶Hold out your left hand with the fingers pointing up. Now place the blade of the knife on the thumb of your left hand, with the handle being held by the forefinger of your right hand. Using your forefinger, hit the handle, and make the knife spin and land on the ground, with the blade embedded in the ground. Repeat this with the left forefinger, left middle finger, left ring finger, and left pinky. Now repeat the same trick by holding the blade on the thumb of your right hand, with the knife being held by your left forefinger.

▶For this trick, sit with your knees up. Place the knife point on your right knee, with the knife being held by the right forefinger. Throw the knife using your forefinger, so that the it lands in the grass, blade side down. Repeat the same trick with your left knee and forefinger.

▶While kneeling down, hold the blade point between the thumb and forefinger of your hand, and toss it behind you, in a backwards toss, so that it lands in the grass.

▶The last trick is known as ‘plowing the field’. With the knife stuck in the ground from the last trick, land a blow on the handle so that it spins and lands a yard farther.

If you perform all the tricks successfully and faster than your competitor, you win. Mumblety-peg has become extinct, and is rarely played due to people losing a toe or getting stabbed in the foot. If you still wish to play, it would be advised to do so under proper supervision.

Rules to Play the Four Square Game

Four Square can be played on an official court, or the squares can even be drawn on any hard surface using chalk. This is a game that’s enjoyed by children and adults alike, using a minimum setup. In the following sections, we shall learn how to play the Four Square ball game, through its rules and some variations.
Four squares
Four or more players
8-inch diameter ball
To keep hitting the ball using only your hands, into the opponent’s square, without letting it bounce twice or committing a foul, while defending your own.
The Court
The court should be square-shaped, which measures 16 square feet.
The court is divided into 4 quadrants, with 8 feet on each side.
There should be a clearance area of 6 feet around the court, or a distance of 12 feet between multiple courts.
The squares can be named after celebrities, movie stars, numbers, or anything else just to make it interesting. In this scenario, let’s name them with numbers.
The numbers are marked clockwise, from 1 to 4, with 4 being the highest ranking number in the game. The square marked 4 should have a diagonal line across it to mark the server’s position. The positions of 3 and 4 are reversed, so that the lowest and highest ranking numbers are diagonally opposite each other.
The person standing in square 4 is the captain, and he makes up the rules. It could vary from closing your eyes after you hit the ball, to spinning in the same spot after you hit the ball. The aim of every player is to be in the highest ranking square.
The person standing in the highest ranking square is the server, and serves the ball after letting it bounce once and hitting it into another player’s square.
Players can use any part of their hand to hit the ball, including the wrist, tips of the hand, as well as the back of the hand. The ball can be hit with open or closed fists.
Spinning the ball is not allowed. As long as the ball is hit and it spins because of the force of the hit, it is fine.
The receiver can hit the ball into any of the remaining squares.
Players who strike the ball incorrectly are eliminated. When this occurs, the rest of the players move up one square, and the empty spot is filled by a new player. The play continues till only one player remains.
Hitting the line between the squares with the ball.
Hitting the ball overhand or sidearm.
Stepping into another player’s square to play the ball.
Catching or carrying the ball.
Letting the ball bounce in your own square twice.
Failing to hit the ball when it lands in your own square.
You can try these variations to bring the excitement and fun to a higher level in the game.
Upball: Players must hit the ball above their heads.
Underhanded: All the hits must be made underhanded, as suggested.
Out-of-pocket: Players must step outside their square after hitting the ball.
Airball: Players must jump a feet in the air before hitting the ball.
Jedi: Players must close their eyes after hitting the ball.
Flamingo: Players must choose a leg to stand on, and play the entire game on one foot.
Common injuries incurred in this sport are abrasions and bruises to the knees and elbows. So, it’s advised to wear knee and elbow pads to prevent such injuries. The game is popular enough, that it has its own world championship, that takes place in Maine every winter.

How to Play Freeze Tag

Freeze tag game
From Fun to Anguish
In 2004, a school dinner lady in Dorset was partially paralyzed when a boy playing tag rammed into her. Unfortunately, her claim for damage was ruled out by 3 Court of Appeal judges.
Tag is a game that is enjoyed by the young and the old, the quiet and the noisy, the big and the small, and everyone in between. It has been played for as long as we can all remember, and whether you were in the U.S, in Britain, in France, China, or India, you have played some form of tag or the other. Because of its versatility, the rules, requirements, and end goal, it can be played around with and shifted about, and today we have over 20 different versions of this game, including the likes of Zombie Tag, Blind Man’s Bluff, Laser Tag, Duck, Duck Goose, Flashlight Tag, Cops and Robbers, Chain Tag, Shipwrecked, Kick the Can, and Paintball – all exciting and colorful forms of the classic.

But by far, one of the most popular of them all is Freeze Tag, which back here was called “Ice and Water”. We bring you the instructions on how to play freeze tag, which can turn out to be a delightful use of a lazy Sunday afternoon!
HOW TO PLAY FREEZE TAG: Step by Step Instructions

What You’ll Need
– A group of 4 or more people
– A large, open space
– Time on your hands
– And some stamina!

You caught us there, we were trying to be funny with the last bit!

The Idea
Just like a basic tag game, freeze tag too has one player who is “It”, who has to chase around and tag (touch) other players. In this version, the player who is tagged by “It” freezes in his/her place. They cannot move until another player tags them, which “de-freezes” them. The game continues till all the players are frozen. Have a pep talk about playing the game in true spirit without any rashness before you start.
Step 1
Gather your posse and decide which member will be “It”. He or she can take a count till 5, while the other players will disperse, and then begin to chase them.
Step 2
When whoever is “It” tags a player, he freezes. Another player has to come to the rescue of the frozen one, tag them or give them a high-five, which acts as a “melter” or “de-freeze”.
Step 3
This goes on till all the players are frozen. Based on how you choose to play, either the first player caught, or the last player frozen becomes the new “It”.
So how easy was that? To spruce things up, this game can be turned on its head and played in a couple of different ways.
In your alternate version you can change a couple of things. If you’re up for a serious game, you can allot a time limit. Within that time limit, if all players are frozen, then “It” wins. Alternately, the team wins, if “It” fails to complete his task.
If there is a large group, you can have two players acting as “It”, this will make the game more challenging, and thus more interesting.
You can also give the person who is “It” a fair chance to win the game by setting the rules such that the player who is frozen cannot be rescued by their teammates.
You can also have a person who is tagged/frozen thrice in a row to be the new “It”
Another fun version, sometimes called Tunnel Freeze Tag is a form where to rescue a frozen player, a teammate has to crawl between their legs and tap them, which releases them from the freeze position.
In a version called Chain Freeze Tag, freeze tag is merged with its counterpart, the Chain Tag. In this mode, a player can be rescued by tagging him, and the latter links hands, thus forming a chain. They run together, rescuing other frozen teammates on the way. If “It” tags one person in the link, everyone else simultaneously freezes, until they get lucky with a free player who will “melt” them.
Tag is a fun game where age or occupation never acts as a barrier, and you can enjoy this game with friends and family any time of the month, and through any season! Go tag!

Outdoor Team Building Games

Outdoor games can be a great way to refresh stressed out minds and bodies. The games not only help to instill team spirit, they also motivate individuals. It is a great way to appraise an individual’s ability of making split second decisions, management and leadership skills. I will try to list some outdoor games, which are really fantastic for team building.
Outdoor Activities for Adults
Outdoor games are always fun for kids. Even adults love to join in outdoor activities and have pure fun. Team building activities help build relationship between co-workers, who generally interact only during work-related activities. It helps people learn more about the people they work with. This makes the general atmosphere in the office healthy and open. Some of the outdoor games that can be played by adults are as follows:
– Amoeba Race
This is a fun-filled race which requires close physical contact, group co-operation and competition. The group forms a biological cell, that is, cell wall, protoplasm and nucleus. A person who has good eyesight can be made the nucleus. He is supposed to sit on someone’s shoulders as a look out. Others can stand together surrounding the nucleus. These people become the protoplasm. Some team members should surround the protoplasm and face outwards. Their elbows should be linked together forming the cell wall. Try to build a block or maze and ask the amoeba group to travel along the given track. The group should then split into two amoebas and the new group should have its own nucleus. Have an amoeba race to spice things up.
Zoom and Re-zoom
This activity helps build communication and problem solving skills in the team. A problem is given to the team. A story is made up, which contains the solution. The team is handed out pictures in a sequence, linked to the story. Each team member tries to explain his picture and find a link among the group. This requires patience and good communication skills. The story is linked and a solution to the given problem is found out.
Helium Stick
This activity is a good team building exercise. Bring a long, lightweight helium stick. Helium weighs lighter than air, thus, can float in the air. Ask the team members to stand in a straight line. Place the helium stick on their extended index fingers. Make sure they do not hold or pinch the stick between their fingers. The task is to lower the stick to the ground. The stick floats up rather than moving down. The group needs to be patient, work in tandem and try to bring the stick down (which is easier said than done!). The trick is, there is no helium gas-filled in the stick. The collective pressure that is exerted by the fingers is more than the weight of the stick. This causes it to float up mysteriously.
-Limited Senses Game
This is a rather difficult game but one which will be lots of fun. The obstacles should be removed from the area, where the game is supposed to be played. Hand over each participant one number, which they are to keep secret. Try and jump the series, for example, 1,2,4,5,3,6,7,10,8,9 and so on. Blindfold the participants and ask them to find the numbers before and after them without seeing or talking to each other. They can clap, stomp or do anything to find the missing link. It is great to see many people come up with innovative ways to express themselves.
– Welded Ankles Game
This activity leads to communication, leadership skills and teamwork. Mark a straight line with bright paint or use a bright-colored rope. The game is that the team has to walk from start to finish, maintaining contact of the ankles. If anyone from the group loses contact, the game has to be re-started.
– Relay Bicycle Race
You can even try different sports activities to build team spirit as well as individual strengths. These activities include a game of archery where one measures the level of concentration and strength, relay races on a bicycle or small motorbike. Plain old musical chairs is also a fun game to play outdoors. Charade ideas can also be tried to build team spirit within the group.
There are many conventional sports like basketball, baseball or even beach volleyball which help develop team spirit.
You can try many other activities like treasure hunt or rafting. Outdoor team building games are stimulating and help members know each other better. Leadership skills, problem solving attitude and many more hidden attributes are discovered through outdoor games. These games not only help in developing a team, but it is also a great break from the daily mundane tasks.

Easy-to-understand Rules for Beginners to Play Cornhole

Rule for beginners to play cornhole
Cornhole is a game in which players toss corn bags at a raised plywood platform placed about 9 yards (27 feet) away, with the intent of lodging the bag in a circular hole in the platform. Landing the bag in the hole nets a player 3 points, while landing the bag on the board alone gives 1 point. The team to reach the 21 points first, with a difference of 2 points, wins. The game consists of two rounds, or as is popularly called, ‘innings’.

The history of cornhole is unclear, though it is said to have originated in Germany in the 14th century, and rediscovered in Ohio later. There are rumors that a local Iowa farmer by the name of Jebidiah McGullicutty discovered it in the 19th century. Historians agree that several Native American tribes played similar games for entertainment. Since then, the game has rapidly spread throughout America, and has become very popular.

The wooden board is a slanting platform, with its one side higher than the other. A circular hole, which is the main target, is nearer to the higher end. The cloth bag used for tossing contains corn feed. The other names for this game are Tailgate, Bean Bag, Bean Toss, Corn Toss, and even Bag-O.
Cornhole Rules
Kids playing cornhole
☞ The game can be played in two teams of one or two players each.

☞ The cornhole boards must be separated by a distance of 24 feet for casual games and 27 feet for official competitions.

☞ The game begins with a coin toss to decide which team will begin. Alternately, the winning team of the previous game can start.

☞ The front edge of the cornhole board will be regarded as the foul line, behind which the player must stand while throwing.
☞ Teammates have to stand opposite to one another, beside each board and have to toss bags at the board opposite to them. The player must pitch the corn bag with an under-hand throw.
Equipment Dimensions
Cornhole Board
Cornhole board
➔ The board must be 24″ by 48″ in dimensions. A 6″ circular hole needs to be made, the center of which is at a distance of 9″ from the top of the board and 12″ from the sides. The back of the board must be raised at a height of 12″ from the ground to the playing surface. The front of the board should be raised at a height of 3 – 4″ from the ground to the playing surface.
➔ Each corn bag should be made from a 6″ by 6″ square fabric with a double-stitched seam at each of the four edges. The filling should be about 1 pound in weight.
☞ The area beside each cornhole board is called the pitcher’s lane. Players have to stand in this lane and throw their corn bags at the board on the opposite side. They must stay in this lane for the entire game.

☞ The bags have to be thrown alternately by players of the same team. After all four bags have been pitched, the players of the opposite team start tossing their bags in the same manner. This concludes one round of the game.
How are points scored?
♐ A bag that lies on the board, even if it hangs on the hole or the sides, will get you 1 point (called a ‘Woody’).

♐ A bag that passes through the cornhole will get you 3 points (called a ‘Cornhole’).

♐ A bag that touches the ground in any way will not bring in any point (called a ‘Dirty’ bag).

♐ If a bag hits another bag and knocks it off the board, the fallen bag will be placed back in its old place and the thrown bag will not be considered for any point.

☞ The points are counted depending on the position of the bags at the end of each round. The total of the losing team will be deducted from the total of the winning team, and the difference will be added to the score of the winning team. For example,

Team A has 2 bags on the board (2 points) and 1 bag in the hole (3 points). Their total is 5 points. Team B has 2 bags on the board. They get a total of 2 points. The difference (3 points) will be the score of Team A after the first round. In subsequent rounds, this will be added to anything they score .

☞ The winner of one round will start play in the next round. In case of a tie, the winner of the previous round starts.

☞ The game will continue until either team reaches or exceeds 21 points.
What is considered a foul?
✘ When a player’s foot crosses the foul line while pitching.

✘ A bag thrown out of turn.

Any point the player gets on fouling does not get counted.
Useful Tips
☀ Tossing the bag at a higher arc may net you a cornhole.

☀ If a couple of bags are lying on the board in front of the hole, tossing at a lower height will knock them into the hole.

☀ While tossing, stand with the knees bent, leaning slightly forward.

☀ Try to aim farther than the hole, taking into consideration that the bags slide back down due to the slope.

☀ Take your first step with the leg opposite to your pitching arm.

☀ Try to toss the bag in a pendulum-like motion, rather than throwing it with brute force.
Before you rush to label it a ‘kiddie’ game, let me inform you that throwing a 1-pound bag into a 6-inch hole that is almost 30 feet away is not a piece of cake. But still, cornhole is fun and can be enjoyed by people of all ages, including kids. It’s great for family outings, and can basically be played anywhere.

How to Play Kick the Can With Your Friends

Method of playing kick the can with your friends
Quick Tip
While playing ‘kick the can’, the can need not be an actual can. It could be any designated object that can be placed in the center of the play area to be kicked every time the game reaches a turning point.
Spending a fun-filled evening with friends is something that all kids look forward to. Why kids, even adults love to unwind with those who are fun and great company to be with. As far as kids are concerned, enjoying the outdoors is a perfect way to let your child refresh his/her mind after a day of school work. Outdoor activities and games are essential to a child’s life as they are silent teachers of lessons that go beyond the confines of a classroom.

‘Kick the can’ is a classic outdoor game. It is a great game to learn teamwork, garner good sportsman spirit, and even develop leadership traits. These must-have ideals in life are instilled in kids by interacting with other kids and socializing with them for a cause. So, without further ado, here’s how to play kick the can. Go through the rules of this game with your child so that the playtime is fair and enjoyable.

How to Play Kick the Can
Step #1
Gather all your friends together to play this game. More the number of friends, more fun this game becomes. After all, there is a reason why they say more the merrier!
Step #2
Select a can to serve as the most important part of this game. If you cannot find a can, then pick an object that can serve as a can or one that can be kicked.
Step #3
Demarcate the play area and lay down the periphery that will be used while playing the game. This is an important step which must not be missed. If an area is not demarcated, the players will get ample of scope to hide in inaccessible or far off areas, which will make the game never-ending.
Step #4
Out of the group of kids willing to play the game, pick one to play ‘it’ who will search for other kids. There are various methods of picking the ‘it’ person. You can rely on a round of rock, paper, scissors, or ‘1,2,3 or not it!’. The ‘it’ person will seek all those who hide.
Step #5
Place the can roughly in the center of the play area. Next the ‘it’ person should close his eyes and count to a hundred so that the other kids get enough time to hide. Once the counting is over, ‘it’ has to find everyone who is hiding. Likewise, when ‘it’ is on the move searching, all the other hiding kids have to move around in a stealthily manner to prevent being caught.
Step #6
As the ‘it’ seeks out all those in the hiding, prevent making any big moves. This will help you be in the hiding for a longer time.
Step #7
When the ‘it’ spots someone, he or she will dash to the can, place one foot on it and call out ‘I spot… the spotted kid’s name’. The kid whose name has been called out will have to come out of the hiding, and be ‘jailed’.
Step #8
As ‘it’ goes around searching, and a hider is ‘jailed’, the other players in hiding have to try to free their ‘jailed’ fellow hider, by sneaking up and kicking the can before ‘it’ notices or spots him/her. However, if the seeker finds the others in the meanwhile, the game ends. But, if the jailed person is freed, then the game begins all over again.
These were the eight simple rules of playing kick the can. Playing this game in the night or after the sun goes down can be fun, but dangerous when kids are involved. Thus, ensure all the safety measures are met with, and the play area is safe and protected. Lastly, do remember to play the game fair and square!

Tips for Winning Jenga

Tips for winning Jenga
An electrifying and exciting game, Jenga tests your mental prowess as well as dexterity. The game can be played by any number of players, and has no time duration to it.

Those who are familiar with the game can scroll down for some tips.

While those who are not familiar, the prime objective of this game is to build the tallest tower using only 54 pieces or blocks stacked one above the other. Each player/s receives a chance to remove one and only one block from any level of the tower (except the last and penultimate level) and place it on the top, thereby, increasing the height of the tower. A couple of things to remember here is each player/s is allowed to use only one hand while removing a block, and his/her turn is complete only when one block is removed from the bottom and placed on top.

So much so for the playing essentials. If the tower collapses during or after a move, the player causing the collapse is declared as the loser.

Now, you may have played the game at a friend’s house party, and you couldn’t get enough of it. So, you finally buy it for yourself, and now, you wish to become a pro at it. Keep the following tips in mind that are sure to give you an edge over your opponent, the next time you play Jenga.

1. Push the blocks, don’t pull
When you pull a block out, the motion of lifting the block disturbs the balance of the tower, and causes it to topple over. Whereas, pushing or gently tapping a block out, distributes the load of the tower gradually, thereby, maintaining the stability of the tower.

2. Eliminate blocks at the center first
Removing blocks from the sides of the tower is riskier than eliminating blocks from the center. The reason behind this involves some technical stuff (cantilevers, balancing beams, etc.) which is rather beside the point. What you need to remember is, remove blocks from the center, thereby, compelling your opponent to eliminate blocks on the sides, which is a potentially risky move.

3. When you run out of center blocks, shift side blocks to the center
Gently tap both the blocks on the side to move them towards the center. Once one of them is exactly at the center, get rid of the other tactfully. The key is to maintain the center of gravity with that one block, to hold the tower in place. Ensure that the block is exactly at the center, as the stability of the remaining blocks above depend on it.

4. Out from the left, in from the right
If you eliminate a block from the right side, place it at the top of the tower on the left side. Likewise, a block from the bottom left should go to the top right. At times, where you eliminate blocks from the center, check which side needs to be balanced more, and accordingly, place the block on the appropriate side. For example, if you feel the tower is about to topple towards the right, place the block that you just removed from the center, on the top-left side of the tower.

5. Size (and thickness) matters!
The blocks slightly vary in thickness. Naturally, the thinner ones are less likely to bear the load of the tower than thicker ones. Shift the thinner ones to the top to ensure a stable tower. As the game progresses, the blocks that were tightly stuck at the beginning, would loosen up. Look out for those blocks, and eliminate them first.

6. Focus on individual moves
If there is any strategy and plan to win at Jenga, then it is to focus on one single block and move at a time. In your quest to build the tallest Jenga tower, you may plan a couple of moves ahead and chart a course for your game. But your plan is sure to get altered because of the moves your opponent makes.

7. Use your non-dominant hand too
Simultaneous use of both hands to remove a block from the Jenga tower is not allowed. However, skillful movement and alternative use of both the hands, when required, not only improves dexterity of the hands, but also helps to balance the tower more effectively.

8. Take your time
The best thing about this game is that there is no time constraint. (You could, however, devise a variation in which each participant gets only a limited amount of time to complete his turn of taking out a block from the Jenga tower; it would speed up the game and make it more interesting and exciting). Since there is no time limit, relax, breathe, and make your move. Don’t take too long though; you might ruin the moment and excitement for the other players.

9. Avoid strategy
When we say ‘avoid strategy’, what we are really trying to say is don’t plan multiple moves at one time. Between your current move and the next move you have planned in your head, the game will change drastically, as your opponent shifts and eliminates blocks from the tower. Every Jenga tower (every single Jenga tower!) is built differently. No two Jenga towers are the same, and for that matter, no two Jenga blocks are the same. It is not guaranteed that the strategy you applied during your last Jenga win, will ensure a victory again.

10. Psychological warfare
Concentrate on the game, and don’t get distracted; not only during your turn, but also during your opponent’s turn. Keep an eye out for blocks that loosen up when your opponent is eliminating blocks. Also, I asked you not to get distracted, I didn’t ask you to not distract! Everything is fair in love, war, and Jenga. Make your opponents laugh when they are trying hard to take out an extremely difficult block, talk to them, distract them, just so that they fumble and you win. You are in it to win it, right?

Golden Tip
Your aim should be to prevent the tower from collapsing, and not building the highest Jenga tower. Maintaining stability of the tower by ensuring proper removal and placement of singular blocks would automatically lead to the creation of a taller and more stable tower. At every turn, before you decide which block you want to eliminate, test the tower first. Do this by gently tapping blocks with your fingers and look for blocks which are not perfectly stuck and can be easily removed. As the game progresses, the blocks which were earlier perfect-fits in the tower, would become loose blocks and vice versa. The trick is to continuously keep checking for loose blocks that can be easily moved, and get rid of them first, before your opponent does.

These tips might help you improve your Jenga tactics and the way you play it, but a steady hand, sheer concentration, extreme patience, and lots of practice are the keys to being a winner at Jenga. That, or a sober you and drunk and intoxicated opponents!

Step-by-step Instructions to Play Jacks

Jacks is a commonly played game, whose origins can be traced back to ancient Greece. Evidence of this, is found in the Greek texts of the Iliad and the Odyssey. These texts contain passages describing a similar game. In Greece, this game was mostly played by women and children, and was known by the name of “pent alit ha” or “five-stones”.

This game is played by tossing an object in the air, and picking up ‘jacks’ before the object touches the ground. Many variations of this game have developed over the years. For example:- “Tropa”, where the object of the game was to throw the knuckle bones in such a way that they landed in a hole, dug up for the purpose of the game. Another variant of this game included the throwing of astragaloi onto a flat surface, and then counting the values of the sides on which the bones fell. The different faces of the bones, fetched different points. The convex side scored 1 for the narrow part, and 3 for the broad part. Similarly, the concave side scored 6 for the narrow side, and 4 for the broad side. Later, more variations for the throwing of bones were developed, and given specific names such as Midas, Alexander, Venus, King, Vulture, etc.

Jacks: Requirements

It is played using a rubber ball and 6-12 small six-pronged, metal or plastic jacks. Alternatively, seeds and small stones can also be used.
Ideally, it should be played on a uniformly flat and smooth, hard surface like a table top. Alternatively, a hardwood or linoleum covered floor may also be used.
Number of players is not defined. The game can be played solo, as well as in small or large groups.

Jacks: Rules and How to play

Step 1: To decide who starts the game, all players take equal number of jacks in their hand and toss them in the air, with the objective of catching as many as possible on the back of their hand. The player with the maximum jacks on his hand is the first to begin the game. Thereafter the game proceeds clockwise. This can also be decided by a coin toss or by playing a round of rock-paper-scissors.

Step 2: The first player scatters the jacks uniformly on the playing surface, takes the rubber ball in his hands, and lightly throws it upwards. This action is called a “jockey”. As soon as the player does this, he must pick up one jack and while managing to catch the ball before it bounces back.

Step 3: The jacks must be in hand while catching the ball. After the ball has been caught, the player transfers the picked up jacks to the other hand, leaving his hand free for playing the next turn.

Step 4: If the player is successful in the first turn, he throws the ball again, but this time he must pick up two jacks before the ball bounces. For each turn the number of jacks to be picked up, increases by one, till the turn is reached where the number of jacks being picked up totals 10.

Step 5: Each turn has its own term depending on the number of jacks being picked up. The first round, where you pick up 1, is called “onesies”. When 2 jacks are picked up, that round is called “twosies”. In this manner the rounds that follow are “threesies”,”foursies”, and so on till the last round of “tensies”.

Step 6: A player commits a foul, if he fails to catch the ball before it bounces, or if he is unable to collect the exact required number of jacks before the ball hits the surface.

Step 7: It is also considered a foul when the player collects more jacks than required, drops one that he has picked up, or if he accidentally moves any jack from its original place.

Step 8: The occurrence of a foul causes that players turn to end, and passes the turn on to the next player. When the turn comes back to a player, he must resume playing from the same level that his previous turn ended on.

Step 9: The player who reaches the highest round, wins the game. Alternatively, each jack may carry points and at the end of the game, the player with the most points, wins.

Step 10: The game can also be played using small stones or seeds.

Jacks: Game-play Variations

Bouncies – Letting the ball bounce once before grabbing it.

Double Bouncies – Allowing the ball to bounce twice, before it is caught.

Black Widow – Player goes from “onesies” to “tensies” in one turn. If the player fouls and ends his turn, he must start from “onesies” again, when his turn arrives.

Around The World – The player makes a circle in the air around the ball, after it is thrown, and then picks up the jacks.

Dump – Player puts 5 jacks in a heap, and picks one up without disturbing the other four. He tosses it in the air, scoops up the other four, and then catches the tossed jack in the same hand.

Clicks – This is an addition to the other variations, where, while collecting the jacks, they must make a clicking sound.

No Clicks – No noise should be made when collecting and catching the jacks.

Punishments – These can be any actions such as clapping, that have to be performed while the ball is still in the air, before collecting the jacks. The players collectively decide the action before the game begins.

Jacks: Game Versions

❥ The people of Cork, Ireland play a version of this game, called “gobs”, using the small quartz pebbles, that are easily found on the beach.

❥ Native Africans play a version of this game, using pebbles and without the use of a ball.

❥ “Kugelach” or “Hamesh Avanim” is played by Israeli children. They play using 5 metal, dice-shaped cubes.

❥ This game is called “chucks” in England, and in Korea, it is called “gonggi”.

The materials that are used to play this game can be changed according to the players preference. Also, the rules and variations can be molded according to the player’s imagination. Its versatile nature makes it an easy game to play, whenever, wherever.

Basic Rules to Play Rummikub

Rules to play Rummikub
Rummikub is played with 104 tiles classified into four colors: red, blue, yellow, and, black, plus two jokers. Each color is further divided into two sets of one to thirteen numbered tiles. Players are required to make specific sequences from a randomly chosen group of 14 tiles, aiming to exhaust all of them.

Only the first meld or the ‘initial meld’, as it is called, is determined beforehand, wherein a player is required to form a sequence summing up to a minimum of 30 points. The point value of each tile is equal to its face value; if jokers are used, their value is equal to the tile they substitute. The initial meld is necessarily supposed to be a fresh sequence; a player cannot lay off tiles to an existing sequence on his/her first turn.

Given below are the instructions to play Rummikub. Check them out!

How to Play Rummikub

✦ To play Rummikub, it is essential that you understand the type of acceptable sequences or sets. A player can place tiles on the table (play area) only by forming ‘groups’ or ‘runs’.

✦ A group typically includes three or more tiles of the same number, and each with a different color.

✦ Runs comprise a sequence of three or more consecutive numbers, all belonging to the same color.
(Note: In a run, number 1 is considered to be of the lowest rank, and can’t follow 13 in any case. For instance, 1-2-3-4 is a correct run, whereas 11-12-13-1 is not.)

Beginning Play
✦ Rummikub requires a minimum of two to a maximum of four players to play. The objective of the game is to place all the tiles on the table in appropriate sequences, and the first player to do so wins the game.

✦ To begin playing, place all tiles face down on the table. Each player would then select 14 tiles at random from the pool.

✦ Once all the players are done with picking the tiles, they should form the initial meld, summing up to a minimum of 30 points (as mentioned above).

✦ After a player has formed the initial meld, he/she on his/her subsequent turns can do any of the following:

– Form new melds.
– Build up the existing melds.
– Manipulate the existing melds to open up avenues for creating new melds.

✦ In case, a player doesn’t wish to play on his/her respective turn, he/she must pick a tile from the pool before passing his/her turn.

✦ If all the tiles in the pool get exhausted, and nobody stands a winner, all players get one last chance to get rid of the maximum tiles possible. After this, all the players compute their points, and the player with the least points wins. In this case, the value of a joker is 30 points.

Types of Manipulation
When manipulating the existing sequences, the following possibilities can be considered.

✦ Building an existing set by adding tiles.

✦ Taking the fourth out of a set and building a new set.

✦ Splitting one run of five tiles into two by adding one or more tile(s). For instance, 1-2-3-4-5 would split as 1-2-3, and 3-4-5; here we added an extra ‘3’ tile.

✦ Splitting two or more sets into multiple sets.

✦ On a turn, it’s always beneficial to think about manipulation first, and then about building new sets.

✦ If you have a set of four tiles, which you wish to place on the table, it’s better to place three, and keep the fourth for the next turn. This is anytime better than not having any set to play, and picking up a tile instead.

Try to look for even the slightest manipulations possible; they are sure to help you further in the game. Also, try to pick as less tiles as possible from the pool. Using the right strategy is surely going to help you win the game. You could visit the Rummikub game website and play it for free.