These are the most
recent Official Rules of the National Marbles Tournament Inc.
- THE EQUIPMENT
- MARBLES - Marbles are the playing
pieces. There are two distinct types of marbles.
- THE SHOOTER - Each player has his or her own shooter,
which should be distinctively different from all other marbles in the
- MATERIAL - The shooter can be either
manufactured out of glass or ground out of stone, e.g. agate,
flint. They cannot be made out of any metal.
- SIZE - The shooter shall be not more than
¾” in diameter and not less than ½” in diameter. All contestants’
shooters should be checked for size prior to the beginning of the
- CHANGING SHOOTERS - The players may change
shooters only at the beginning of a game. The shooter used during
the lag (see II.C) must be the same shooter used during the rest of the
game. The penalty for changing the shooter during the game will be
forfeiture of all the marbles knocked out in that turn.
MARBLES - These 13 standard
marbles are all identical to each other.
- MATERIAL - Target marbles shall be
manufactured out of glass.
- SIZE - The target marbles used shall be
standard 5/8” marbles.
MARBLES - What to do when a
marble breaks during the game:
- SHOOTERS - The player may exchange one
shooter for another when it breaks. If the largest broken piece
lands inside the ring the player may continue by replacing that piece
with a new shooter. If the largest piece lands outside the ring
then, at the beginning of his next turn, the player may use a new
shooter. The player is credited with all points received during
that turn but may not continue the turn.
- TARGET MARBLES - If the target marble
breaks, the largest piece will determine where the target marble
actually stopped. (see II.D.9)
- THE RING - This is the playing board
- MATERIAL - The Ring shall be made of
concrete with a wood border.
- SIZE - The Ring shall be 12 foot square
with a border extending above the playing surface approximately one to
two inches. Centered on the square surface will be painted a ten
foot diameter circle. There will be a mark to indicate the center
of the circle. The pitch and lag lines will be marked on this
surface (see I.C.1)
LAG LINE -Two lines will be painted on opposite sides of the ring,
tangent to the circle and parallel with a border.
- THE GAME
- SWEEPING THE
RING -At the beginning
of any game the players may request the referee to sweep the ring free of
debris. The players may also ask the referee to clear any debris
from their line of shot during the game.
- SETUP - The 13 target marbles are placed
in the middle of the ring and in the shape of an 'X', one target
marble in the middle with three on each leg spaced three inches
apart on center. A template called a RACK will be used to keep the pattern
uniform. The player who shoots first may place the marbles at the
angle of his or her choice.
- LAGGING - A lag is when the players toss
their shooters: whoever is closer to the lag line is the winner.
This process is used to determine who shoots first for a particular game
or set of games and may be used to determine a winner in the case of a
tie. There may be a practice lag if either player wishes.
MARBLES - The target
marbles shall be in their starting position inside the rack (see II.B).
- STANCE - The players may either stand or
kneel on the ring at the edge of the circle furthest from the lag line
and he or she must have at least one foot touching the wood border.
- PROJECTING THE
MARBLE - The players
release their shooters towards the lag line at the same time. They
may do this by either shooting, lobbing underhand, or rolling their
shooter. If there is a noticeable difference in the release time
between the two shooters, the referee may disqualify the second player
since that player may have waited to see how the first player’s shooter
- DISQUALIFICATION - In addition to not following the
above rules, a player is disqualified if his or her shooter hits the rack
or the wood border or if the shooter is cupped during the lag. If
both players are disqualified they will perform the lag again.
- SHOOTING - Shooting is when a player releases
his or her shooter at a target marble.
- POSITION OF
PLAYERS - There are
two players in the game, the shooting player (the player whose turn it
is) and the non-shooting player. At no time may either player may
leave the shooting are nor may he or she walk through the ring except the
shooting player who may walk into the ring to retrieve the shooter.
The players may not leave the ring except to get into position for a shot
or to retrieve a marble. Penalty will be forfeiture of one
point. Neither player may walk through the ring to retrieve his or
her shooter or that of the opponent or for any other reason. The
shooting player may enter the ring only for a continuation of his turn
(see II.D.10). The first offense will be a warning; the second
offense and all others will be the forfeiture of one point.
- THE SHOOTING
PLAYER - This player must
stay outside the ring in a crouched or kneeling position (exception – see
II.D.10) to begin his or her turn. The player may be kneeling on
one or both knees.
- THE NON-SHOOTING
PLAYER -This player must
stay out of the way. He or she may not walk around or in any way
distract the shooting player while the shooting player is preparing to
shoot. If the shooting player feels that the non-shooting player is
being a distraction he or she may inform the referee who will then ask
the non-shooting player to stop.
- POSITION OF
HANDS - The player’s shooting hand must stay outside the ring
with a minimum of one knuckle touching the playing surface. A
knuckle is either or both of the first two joints on any number of the
fingers on the player’s shooting hand. The player’s non-shooting
hand may be within the circle. If, at the time of release, the
referee determines that the shooting hand was not correct the player will
forfeit his or her shot.
- POSITION OF
MARBLE - The shooter must
be positioned in the hand between the thumb and one or more fingers in
such a way that, at the moment of releasing the shooter, it is not above
or inside the circle. If, at the time of release, the referee
determines that the position of the marble was not correct the player will
forfeit his shot.
SHOTS - The shooting
player may make up to two practice shots during the initial shot of each
inning. These shots must be performed completely outside of the
ring. If at any time his or her shooter enters the ring it will be
considered a shot.
- DROPPING THE
MARBLE (SLIPS) - If the shooter slips from the player’s fingers after the
shooting hand has touched the ring, and the shooter has traveled more
than ten inches’ the player’s turn is then over. If his or her hand
is not touching the ring or the shooter has not moved more than ten
inches then the player may attempt another shot. The shooting
player may not pick up the shooter to stop it from moving ten
inches. If he or she does so it will be considered to have moved
more than ten inches and the sot will be forfeit.
- HUNCHING - Hunching is when, during the
release of the shooter, the player’s hand moves in a forward position to
help propel his or her shooter. The penalty is forfeiture of the
- MARBLES HITTING
THE PLAYER - If, after taking a shot, the shooter hits the player whose
turn it is, then that player’s turn has ended. The player may keep
any target marbles knocked out during that shot but the turn passes on to
the other player. If a target marble hits the shooting player then
that target marble is placed back where it was before being hit.
Any other target marbles knocked out of the ring on this shot will be
credited to the player but the tun is ended.
- WRONG SHOOTER - If the shooting player shoots
with another shooter, an opponent's shooter, a target marble, or
anything other than what he or she started the game with, the turn is
then forfeited. Any target marbles that were knocked out that turn
must be returned to their previous places before he shot them. If
that spot cannot be found to the satisfaction of the referee then they
are returned to the center of the ring.
- SCORING A
POINT - After the player has released the shooter it may hit one
or more target marbles. If any of these marbles at any point travels
outside the circle then the player will be awarded one point per marble
that has left the circle.
- CONTINUING A
TURN - If the player
has knocked out any target marbles and on the same shot his or her
shooter has not left the circle then the player may continue the turn. If
the player’s shooter rolls outside the circle then points are awarded in
accordance to II.D.9 but the turn ends. Before continuing, all
marbles (target marbles and shooter) must come to a complete stop.
When taking the shot the player must be in or above the spot where it
came to rest. If the player picks up a moving or spinning shooter
that player forfeits the remainder of his or her turn.
- MISSING A TARGET
MARBLE - If the player or fails to knock at least one target
marble out of the circle then that player's turn is over and the next
player's turn begins.
- ON THE LINE -
If a marble has stopped on the circle line then a decision must be made
as to whether it is outside or inside the circle. The referee will
decide this by observing the position of the marble in question. If
it is more than half is out of the circle it will be declared out; if
more than half of the marble is in then it will be declared in. If
it is resting directly on the line so that no determination can be made
then it shall be considered in the favor of the shooting player, i.e. if
it is a target marble it is out, and if it is the shooter it will be
STICK - If the shooting
player knocks out seven or more marbles in the first inning then he or
she is determined the winner. This is called a 'stick'.
- WIND RULE -
If, during a shot and before all marbles come to a complete stop, any
marble is set in motion by the player's shot can be blown about the ring
by the wind. Target marbles blown out of the ring are credited to
that player. Any marbles not set in motion by the shot but moved by
the wind must be returned to the original spot. If the original
spot is not known the marble should be returned to the center of the
RULE - Cupping is when a player protect his or her shooter from
being moved about by the wind. Placing hands or kneepads around the
marble can protect the shooter. The shooter may not touch the hands
(or kneepads) or the turn is over. To verify that the marble has
not touched, an opening must be maintained at all times for the referee
to view the shooter. Target marbles may never be cupped.
Penalty for cupping a target marble is that the target marble must
returned to the center of the ring and the forfeiture of the continuation
of the shooting players turn. The shooter may never be cupped
during the lag.
- HELPING THE
PLAYERS - No player may receive help during the game.
Coaches are asked to meet with their players before and/or after each
game to offer advice. Coaching a player while a game is in progress
is not permitted. People should remain silent during the game
except for words of encouragement. The penalty for breaking this
rule is: first offense – warning, second offense - expulsion of the
person giving advice from the playing area.
MARBLES - After completing their turns, players must pick up
their shooters and may pick up any target marbles knocked out of the
ring. To avoid accidentally kicking marbles, players must walk
around the ring and not through it. The penalty for breaking
this rule is: first offense – warning. If after a warning the
player walks through again and kicks a marble the referee may impose a
penalty of a forfeiture of one point.
- FORFEITURE OF
POINTS - Whenever there is a forfeiture of points one marble per
point must be returned to the ring. Whenever marbles are returned
to the ring it is placed in the center spot of the ring. If this
spot already has a marble in it then the referee must place the marble as
close to the center as possible. If there is a forfeiture of points
and the offending player does not have any points scored then that player
must forfeit his or her next turn.
- INNINGS - An inning is when both players
have shot once from the edge of the ring.
- HOW MANY - There are six innings in a
game. If in the seventh inning there is a tie score the game will
continue for up to two more innings. The tie-breaking inning must be
completed. If there is still a tie score then both players must lag
and the winner of the lag will determine the winner of the game (see
- FINALS -There is no limit to the number of
innings per game during the finals. Each game is over when a player
knocks out seven target marbles.
- SPEED UP RULES - Due to the large number of
participants the National Marbles Committee may decide to shorten the
number of innings per game to cut down the length of time the tournament
- WINNING - A player wins the game by
shooting out the most marbles before the last inning is over. The
player may also shoot out a total of seven marbles throughout the game
and be determined the winner.
- ELIGIBILITY –The National
Marbles Tournament is an Invitational Tournament. The Board of Directors
reserves the right to determine who is invited to participate form year
- To be eligible
for the National Tournament, the boy and girl shall be the local
champions, representing a City, County, or State. Those areas approved
may bring 1 boy and one girl. Areas that have the approval of the
committee may also bring a second place finisher for both their boys’
and girls’ tournament as well. Contestants must be between 7 and 14
years of age on June 10th (a player turning 15 on June 11th or after is eligible). Local
tournaments are conducted by various agencies, organizations, civic
clubs or businesses, etc., and shall be conducted in an appropriate and
fair manner according to the local organizations rules and
the bylaws of the National Tournament[AS1]. Marble demonstrations,
classes, practices and tournaments must be publicly announced through
newspaper articles, local news media, etc, and open to the general
public for participation.
- The local
tournament official shall request permission from the National Committee
by April 6th to enter
the National Tournament that year. Local Tournament organizers
will be responsible for providing transportation to and from the
tournament for the champion(s) and appropriate escorts and for all
needs while at the tournament. Each local tournament organizer is
responsible for paying a registration fee for each champion and escort
or any other person approved by the National Committee to help cover
expenses. Those who do not stay at the hotel will be charged a
$100 registration fee per player.
- The National
Marbles Tournament and Committee are not responsible for any accidents
during the national tournament.
- The escorts and
local tournament organizer will be accountable for all persons representing
their area at the National Tournament.
- In order to have
equal representation from throughout the country and maintain the
current playing schedule, the National Tournament reserves the right to
assign geographical regions and limit the number of champions
representing each region. Should this clause ever be invoked, it
shall be up to those jurisdictions affected to submit a plan to the
National Committee with a date, time and place for a regional tournament
to represent that area at the National Tournament. If the
jurisdictions cannot come to a new arrangement, their participation
shall be revoked until the discrepancy is resolved to the National
Marble Tournament’s satisfaction.
- Groups that do not use all of their
authorized slots will not be penalized in future years
- CONDUCT - Each player is a champion and
represents his or her city, county, or state. Good sportsmanship
should be maintained throughout the tournament. Penalties will
include, but are not limited to, reprimand, forfeiture of points,
forfeiture of game, or expulsion from the tournament. These rules
will be enforced by the referees and the National Marbles Tournament
- THE REFEREE - The referee's decision is
final on all rules during the game.
- RULE CHANGES AND INTERPRETATIONS -
The National Marbles Tournament Committee is the final arbiter on the
interpretation of all rules and may change or amend these rules at its