So who knows what Snobs is?

Posted by Karen Dorn on

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

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  • My mum always goes on about this game and how much she used to love playing it as a child. She has tried multiple times online to find it but has been unsuccessful! So this year for Christmas I am determined to find it and buy it for my mum! So please, does anybody know where I would be able to buy ‘snobs’ from?
    Thank you!

    Lauren roche on
  • I used to play snobs as a child and absolutely loved it- it was so addictive.
    I remember calling the rounds onesies, twosies etc.
    I would love to play it again with my children but can not find where to buy them.

    Kerry on

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