So who knows what Snobs is?

You've all heard of, if not before played the game Jacks but who has heard of Snobs?

Snobs is a traditional children's game played the world over for which there is no formal organising body. Consequently, rules vary from country to country and place to place.  

The game is also known by a variety of names including Jackstones, Chuckstones, Dibs, Dabs, Fivestones, Otadama, Tally and Knucklebones.

Jacks is a variant of Snobs which uses a ball. These rules are comprehensive instructions for friendly play.

They are not a complete set of standard regulations encompassing all situations that might be encountered. If in doubt, players should always abide by locally-played or house rules.

Description of equipment

All that is needed to play the game of Snobs is five small clay squares.   Alternatives to the squares can be pretty much anything of a similar size - originally sheep knucklebones were used.

The Play
To start a turn, the player throws five snobs into the air with one hand and tries to catch as many as possible on the back of the same hand.  The snobs that were caught are then thrown up again from the back of the hand where they came to rest and as many as possible are caught in the palm of the same hand.  If no snobs end up being caught, the player's turn is over.
If, however, at least one snob was caught, the player prepares for the next throw by keeping one of the caught snobs in the same hand and throwing all remaining snobs on the ground.  The player then tosses the single snob into the air, attempts to pick up one of the snobs that was missed and then catches the snob that was tossed, all with the same hand.  The player repeats this until all the snobs have been picked up. 
That done, the player throws down four of the snobs again, throws the single snob in the air, attempts to pick up two snobs with the same hand before catching the tossed snob.  This is repeated again and a final toss sees the player picking up the last snob.  The process is then repeated for three snobs followed by one snob and finally, all four snobs are picked up before catching the single tossed snob.
For skilful players, the game can continue in an agreed way with further permutations and challenges according to the player's whims.  For instance, the other hand could be used to throw, the player may have to clap hands before doing the pick up or perhaps slap both knees.

Copyright © 1999 Masters Games. All rights reserved.

Here at The Forgotten Toy Shop we do have the version of Jacks but I am still on the look out to get the version of Snobs in to The Forgotten Toy Shop's store... I will keep you updated as to when I do.

UPDATE** We now stock our very own Wooden Cube Snobs. You can buy them here


just been trying to explain to grandson how we used to play snobs every playtime at school still remember basics at a ripe age of 56 yrs old, give me the old games anyday


Hi, I’m glad I found you. I used to love playing snobs when I was a kid, I’m 80 next month. I’m helping my granddaughter with her WW2 homework and mentioned snobs. She says if I can find some and she can afford it, she might buy some. So how much are they? Please email the price under SNOBS. thank you..

Alan Grocock

ps… I used to call the rounds onsies, twosies etc too Kerry.


Hi ,I have been looking for these for years, to show my children and grandchildren.
I played them in the 1950’s in the North East of England. It is the same game, but we called them Chucks.Miine were corrugated chalk squares, in pastel colours.
Today, I am sooo excited as I have been given a set by a friend. They are exactly how I just described them, but are called Dibs. Have been playing with them all afternoon and I havn’t forgotten how! My friend had bought them along time ago on ebay.
I have come to the conclusion, although the game is the same, the name changes in each area.


I also have been trying to locate some snobs without success. My daughter happened upon some for sale on eBay in may and bought them for my birthday. They were in the original box bit one of the pieces had seen better days. However it still allowed me to show my grandchildren the game. My 8 year old grandson then.made some out of air drying clay and baked them gently for a couple of hours. They seem to do the trick but there’s nothing like the real thing. The box says ‘made in China’ and are called dibs. No other info on the box. Hope this post is of interest.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.