Shooting marbles - Not drugs

This tournament is open to champions from any tournament who meets the requirements of an AMERICAN MARBLES sanctioned marble tournament. Tournaments can be located anywhere. There will be no more than three tournaments in any geographic area.

Currently our game is played on a 7 foot diameter marble ring. The playing surface is indoor/outdoor carpet. In the center of the ring thirteen marbles are placed in the shape of a "X". One target marble in the middle with three on each leg spaced three inches apart.

The traditional name for a game shooter is a “Taw.” A taw shall be round and made of any substance except steel or any other metal. A taw shall not be less than one-half inch nor more than three-fourths inch in diameter. The Judge will decide if a marble is the right size. The target marbles shall be round and made of glass. All target marbles in any one playing ring must be of uniform size. The standard size shall be five-eights inch in diameter. The Judge may allow slight variations for manufacturing fault.


Players are eligible if they win first or second place in a marble tournament that is sanctioned by AMERICAN MARBLES. A player must be no younger than 7 and have not reached their fifteenth birthday by June 1st of the year of the tournament.


The lag decides who will start first. To lag, the players stand at the edge of the court, or knuckling down at the edge of the court, and toss or shoot their taw toward the opposite edge of the court. The Player whose taw comes closest to the edge of the court, wins the Lag.

The Judge will tell the players when to toss or shoot their taw. Players must lag at the same time. The player who does not follow instructions and lags later will loose the lag. If either taw strikes a marble or other obstruction on the court, that player loses the lag. If both taws strike an obstruction the players lag over. The player who wins the lag shoots first.

Players must use the same taw in the game that was used in the lag. A player can not change his taw during the game. He may choose a new taw on each lag, provided he uses that taw in the game following the lag. The Judge will disqualify the player from the game if another taw is used. When a player's taw breaks, the Judge may permit a change. The Judge must decide if the damage is bad enough to keep you from making a good shot.


A Player propels the taw into the ring, by flicking the thumb or finger, causing the taw to knock target marbles out of the ring. The taw must be held in the hand. Under no circumstance will it rest on the carpet. The taw can not be pinched. The player’s shooting hand and taw must be outside the ring edge. One of the knuckles on a finger must be touching the carpet. There will be no movement of the contact knuckle (forward or backward) before or during the shot. If the referee decides that these conditions are not met, the player will forfeit the shot. There will not be a warning. Marbles knocked out on that shot will be placed back on the ring.

Each player is responsible for the results of backspin. The taw on its return will not strike any part of the player’s hand or body. The player will lose the turn but keep any marble already knocked out on the turn.

When the taw slips from a player's hand, he should call "slips." The taw can not go more than ten inches. The Judge will enforce the rule about slips strictly. If the taw travels more than 10 inches, the player picks up his taw before it stops, or the player does not call “slips,” the Judge will say that the player has made a shot and the turn is over. If the Judge believes that it is a slip, he may order "no play" even without the players call. The player will shoot again. The Judge’s decision is final.

A player can not shoot with one of the target marbles. The player will lose the shot. If a player knocks out a target marble with an illegal taw, the Judge will put it back on the court.

A player can not take practice or warm-up shot into the ring. Any marble shot “INTO” the ring will be considered a turn. Players may take practice shots on the surface outside the ring.

Each player shall be responsible for keeping informed as to the progress of the game. If a player mistakenly believes that he has lost the game and he throws his marbles into the ring or picks up the target marbles, the Judge will forfeit the game to the other player. The score of the forfeited game shall be 7-0.


When a player is not shooting, he may not walk around or make any other distraction while the shooting player is getting ready to shoot. If the shooting player is being distracted, he will inform the Judge who will direct the non shooter to stop.

Neither player will walk through or enter the ring, unless he is continuing a turn. Any marble that goes out of the ring because of deliberate external force by the shooting player (jumping on the court, moving the court or fanning a marble) will be reset. Non-shooting player action will result in a point scored for his opponent or taking the shot over. The Judge's decision is final. If, before a shot, something moves a target marble, the Judge shall put the target marbles back. A player must allow any target marble or taw set in motion during a shot to continue until it comes to a full stop. The target marble or taw is "dead" once it comes to a complete stop. If a target marble moves thereafter, the Judge will put the target marble back. Players are cautioned not to walk on the court during a shot.

Sportsmanship will be observed throughout the tournament (even during free time). Those champs who are on their best behavior will compete for the “Best Sport” award. Penalties for bad behavior may include a reprimand, forfeiture of points, forfeiture of a game or expulsion from the tournament.


The players will take turns knuckling down at any point just outside the Ring Line. If a player is able to knock one or more target marbles out of the ring and keep the taw inside the ring, he continues to shoot. When a player's taw goes outside the ring, or fails to knock a target marble out, the turn is over. For each target marble knocked out by a player gets the score of ONE. A turn is complete when both players takes a shot. The game ends when one player knocks seven target marbles from the ring. The player, who has the most target marbles out after seven innings, is the winner of the game.

The ring line is the inside edge of the black line marking the ring. If a target marble or taw stops on the ring line, the Judge will call whether it is in or out. The Judge will decide if a marble’s center is outside/inside the ring, or exactly on the ring line. If the Judge decides that a target marble’s center is exactly on the ring line, it will be declared “OUT.” If the Judge decides that a shooter’s center is exactly on the ring line, it will be declared “IN.” A Judge’s decision is final.

A player can not pick up any taw or target marble while in motion. This can only be done after a Judge says that a target marble is “OUT.” The Judge may rule that a taw is still “IN” because the taw was stopped. Each player must pick up the target marbles he knocks out of the ring. Each player may use his own judgment as to whether to pick up his target marbles after each shot or wait until he finishes the turn.


A player can not talk or signal in any way with anyone during a game. If a player is actively seeking advise during a game, the Judge, after a warning, will return all of the player’s target marbles to the game and place the target marbles on the “X.” A spectator will not give suggestions or instructions to any player during a game. No “Pep Talks” are permitted. The Judge will give one warning. If coaching continues, the spectator will be ordered to leave the court area.


The Judge is in charge of the play. He can decide any thing not in these rules. He can disqualify any player for unsportsmanlike conduct. The Judge can order a spectator from the ring or the area around the ring. He may also tell others to leave the ring area if they do not behave. The Judge shall keep a record of the game. He will keep score for each player, shot by shot. Players will not shoot until after the Judge gives permission to shoot. Shots made without permission will not count and the player will forfeit target marbles knocked out. During the game the Judge will tell the players the score. At the end the Judge will announce the winner. The Judge will enforce the rule against coaching.

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Shooting American Marbles, Mountaineer Style