Nicaragua - People and places: Marbles or chibolas

Marbles or chibolas

Nicaraguan children go through seasons of change with regards to the games they play. Right now, shortly after the rainy season starts, marbles seems to be the name of the game. Later they will get bored with marbles and move on. However, in the meantime, please enjoy these children at play....

Carlitos: Jugamos chibolas?

Jorge: No, mejor trompo.

Carlitos: Bueno, entonces juguemos trompo un ratito y después chibolas.

Jorge: Noooo, mejor trompo, que no ves que si jugamos chivolas nos revolcamos y después nos mandan para la casa castigados?

Carlitos: Va pues, juguemos trompo, pero a la salida jugamos chibolas. video

Most children understand the game of marbles the first time it is explained, but to make it easier, these drawings show the most common plays, such as frequently occur in marble tournaments.

In studying these diagrams imagine that two children are going to play a game. To determine who shall play first each child lags with his or her shooter marble. printer-friendly version

Figure 1 - LaggingFIG. 1: To start a game of Ringer the children lag from a line, drawn tangent to the ring, to a parallel line across the ring, which would be 10 feet away. The child whose shooter comes nearest the line has the first shot. Players must lag before each game. Practice lagging, as the first shot may mean the winning of the game before your opponent gets a shot. In lagging, a child may toss his or her shooter to the other line, or he or she may knuckle down and shoot it.

Fig. 2 - The game begins.

FIG. 2: This shows child No.1 who won the lag, preparing to knuckle down. His knuckle has not quite reached the ground, which is necessary before shooting. he can take any position about the ring he chooses. Notice how the 13 marbles in the ring are arranged at the start of the game.

Fig. 3 - Success!

FIG. 3: child No.1 knocks a marble from the ring on his first shot and his shooter stays in the ring. He picks up the marble. As he has knocked one from the ring, he is entitled to another try. Players are not permitted to walk inside the ring unless their shooter comes to a stop inside the ring. Penalty is a fine of one marble.

Fig. 4 - Preparing for his next shot...

FIG. 4: Here we see child No. 1 continuing play. He "knuckles down" inside the ring where his shooter stopped on the last shot. This gives him the advantage of being nearer to the big group of marbles in the center of the ring for his next shot. Expert marble shots try to hit a marble, knock it out of ring and make their shooter "stick" in the spot.

Fig. 5 - Oh darn!

FIG 5: On this play, No.1 hit a marble, but did not knock it from the ring. At the same time his shooter, too, stays inside the ring. he can not pick up the marble, neither is he allowed to pick up his shooter. He must leave the shooter there until the other child has played.

Fig 6 - Now it's my turn!

FIG. 6: child No. 2 may start by "knuckling down" anywhere at the ring edge. In this case he may shoot at the 11 marbles in the center or if he wishes, he may go to the other side and try for No.1's shooter or the marble that No.1 almost knocked from the ring.

Fig. 7 - I win!

FIG. 7: child No.2 chooses to try for No. 1 child's shooter and knocks it out of ring, winning all the marbles No.1 has taken and putting No.1 out of that game. Or he could shoot as shown in Fig. 8.

Fig. 8 - Turn over!

FIG. 8: child No.2 hits a marble but does not knock it out of the ring yet his shooter goes thru the ring and stops outside. The marble remains where it stopped in the ring, and as No.2 did not score, it is now the turn of No.1 to shoot again.

Fig. 9 - The game goes on

FIG. 9: No. 1 "knuckles down" inside the ring where his shooter stopped (Fig. 5). he is going to shoot at the marble nearest his shooter. By hitting it at the proper angle and knocking it from the ring he can get his shooter near the center of the ring for his next shot.

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