(brief version)


Object of the game: knocking over a set of wooden pins one by one and reaching the goal pin first.

Requirements: 1. Set of wooden pins from the Finnish yard game Mölkky, including 12 small pins numbered 1-12 and one large pin (pic of pins). 2. Play area suitable for throwing wooden pins, such as a beach (preferably empty), park, forest, cliffs, playground (without customers), etc.

Number of players can be anything between 2 and 11, but 4-7 is preferable to create an enjoyable experience (for larger groups, playing in teams is a good idea). The game is suitable for all players capable of throwing the pins, but sometimes it is recommended to limit the size of the play area or distance between sequential pins to balance out any differences in strength.

Preparations: At first, the small numbered pins are divided into throwing pins and hole pins depending on the number of players. In a game of 4 players, for example, pins 1-4 are throwing pins and 5-12 are hole pins. The large pin is the goal pin.

Next, players determine the borders of the play area and choose a starting point for the game, such as a rock, a tree or a park bench. After this, the hole pins are randomly given to the players for placement inside the play area. This should be done individually, with no observation of other placements. The pins should stand on their base in an upright position whenever possible. They can be placed almost anywhere where they can be knocked over somehow — a 45° tilting is sufficient for a successful knock-over. In the first game of a session, the goal pin is placed by the player with the most experience, or the one living closest to the play area. In the following games, the previous winner places it.

This is followed by an inspection of the placements; what does the course look like? Are all the hole pins properly placed?

Finally, the throwing pins are randomly assigned to individual players.

Playing the game: The players take turns to knock over the hole pins in numerical order. Every player has one throw remaining at the start of his/her turn. They are awarded one additional throw from each hole pin they manage to knock over. After each turn, the player’s throwing pin is left on the course, standing on the spot where it stopped after the last throw.

The idle throwing pins can also be knocked over to gain more throws. Each throwing pin can be used once by one of the players during each hole, except the first hole. If possible, it’s usually a good idea to attempt combos by knocking over multiple pins with a single throw.

To start the game, the player with the throwing pin number 1 begins by throwing his/her pin from the pre-determined starting point towards the first hole pin; in a 4-player game, this would be number 5. If s/he manages to knock over the hole, it is lifted back to an upright position where it stops, and s/he may continue, from the point where the throwing pin stopped, towards the next hole, number 6. If s/he misses, player number 2 is up, etc. The game proceeds in this manner until all the players have knocked over the goal pin. The winner is the player who knocks over the goal pin first.

Players may tie by knocking over the goal pin during the same round of turns. For example, if player 1 reaches the goal on his/her turn, and player 2 does the same on the very next turn, they are tied. If player 3 reaches the goal first, player 4 may still tie with him/her, but players 1 and 2 may not. The ties are broken by shoot-outs: 5 attempts to knock over the goal pin from a distance of 6 meters (20 feet), followed by a sudden death. Shoot-outs are used to determine all undecided results, not just the winner.

Throwing must be performed by touching the point where the throwing pin last stood by some part of the body, maintaining contact until the pin is released (the tip of the shoe is by far the most popular option). In the very first throw, contact is maintained with the starting point. In very short throws, the players must remember to release the pin before it hits its target, or their throw is disqualified. Otherwise, style of throwing is free.

For all enthusiasts and wannabe-champions, reading the full version of rules is recommended! :)