The Game of Snobs

The traditional game of Snobs is 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.

Snobs are made from five small clay or wooden cubes. Orginally sheep knucklebones were used.

A more modern variant of the game is Jacks, which is made up of ten 6 point metal or plastic pieces and a small ball.

There is 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.

These rules below are a comprehensive set of instructions for friendly play. 

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.


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