(The Triangle Trend) — Though the winters in central NC don’t rival those of our northern or midwestern neighbors, we’re still thrilled to welcome spring with open arms when it finally arrives. As we make our way outside to bask in the warmth (and, I suppose, the pollen) of this beautiful season, don’t forget the yard games. These stress-relieving diversions are fun to play, easy to learn, and will keep you, your family, and friends entertained until the tiki torch flames are extinguished.
Known as Tiki Toss, Bimini Ring Toss, and Ringing the Bull, this simple yet addicting game has its roots in a myriad of places. Ringing the Bull is connected to Roman-occupied or medieval Britain, perhaps when peasants heated and bent horseshoes into rings and tossed them at iron pegs driven into the ground. The Bimini Ring Toss has been linked to Ernest Hemingway. The story suggests that Hemingway invented the game during one of his many and heralded fishing trips to the Bahamas. And, most recently, Tiki Toss is connected to, of all things, an App for your phone. Its success compelled the development of the three-dimensional version played today.
Toss the ring (on a string) so it latches onto the hook. Players take turns tossing the ring 10 times, scoring a point every time the ring connects. Play continues until someone scores 21 ringers. Because you don’t need a lot of space to play, one can mount the ring and hook in a garage, screened porch, deck, or patio.
Commercial versions of this game are easy to find online and retail for around $30 or less, but with the essential components of this game being a ring, a piece of string, and a hook, one could easily create the game for a fraction of the cost.
Kubb (pronounced “Koob”)
The origins of this Scandinavian lawn game are both interesting and disturbingly funny. It’s thought to have its origins with the Vikings and has been nicknamed “Viking chess.” But, this is no board game. Legend has it that when the Vikings played Kubb, it didn’t involve wooden blocks set out on the lawn. Rather, the skulls and femurs of their
defeated enemies were used. Fast forward to the 1980s where a more civilized society manufactured Kubb sets out of hardwoods. Availability increased, people played, and once you play, you’re in. If your interest wasn’t already piqued, Wisconsin, which calls itself the Kubb Capital of North America, hosts the US National Kubb Championship.
Often described as a combination of bowling and horseshoes, Kubb is easy to learn and played between two teams made up of one to six players. The first team to knock down the King wins. But, to get to that point, you have to knock down your opponents’ five (5) kubbs before they knock yours down. Consult the official Kubb rules for a thorough guide.
Kubb sets consist of 10 kubbs, 12 batons and 1 king. These sets are readily available online and retail for around $40-$50.
Molkky is a Finnish lawn game invented in 1996 with its roots in a centuries-old game called Kyykka. It’s another game of tossing (i.e., with some similarities to bowling) and scoring.
Twelve (12) numbered pins are placed upright in a set order. Players stand about 12 feet away and toss the baton at the pins. Scoring is based on knocking pins down. If you only knock one down, you are awarded the number of points for the number on the pin. If you knock more than one pin over, you simply score the number of pins and not the number on the pin. The pins are then set upright exactly where they fell and the next player tosses. Play continues until someone reaches 50 points. It’s important to note that you must reach 50 points exactly. If you exceed 50 points, your score is reset to 25 points and you continue from there. As always, consult the official rules.
Molkky is readily available online but can sometimes be found at local retailers like Target or Walmart (check with them directly). Retail prices range from around $22 – $50.