Rules for Ringer (A Marbles Game)

When you think of kids playing marbles, you are probably picturing Ringer in your mind – a circle on the ground and kids shooting at the marbles within.

The rules for Ringer are given below. You might want to review marbles terminology before going through them. There are house rules and other variations which can be added. These are very simple rules to make it easy for Cub Scouts to learn the game. Traditionally, there are two players, but you can let up to six beginners play together.


The first person to shoot in a game of marbles is determined by lagging:

  1. Draw a line on the ground.
  2. The players shoot at the line from 10 feet away.
  3. The player closest to the line goes first.

The Game

  1. Draw a ring (a large circle – usually about 5 to 10 feet across) and put 13 marbles in it . The marbles should be in a cross and spaced 3 inches apart.
  2. Each player shoots in turn from outside the circle, trying to hit a marble out of the ring while keeping his shooter inside the ring.
  3. If the shooter has a miss, his turn is over and he picks up the shooter.
  4. If the shooter has a hit but the shooter also rolls out of the ring, he keeps the marbles that rolled out and his turn is over.
  5. If the shooter has a hit and the shooter stays in the ring then player shoots again from the place where the shooter stayed.
  6. On each new turn a player shoots from anywhere outside the ring.
  7. The person who collects the most marbles is the winner.

14 Responses to Rules for Ringer (A Marbles Game)

  1. steph September 11, 2012 at 7:03 AM #

    my school teacher asked me if i could print out the instructions for ringer and this website has given be so much info. thanks

  2. howarthe November 24, 2012 at 1:04 AM #

    Awesome! I’m going to take this game to the pack meeting next month.

  3. Dave Daly January 1, 2013 at 11:20 AM #

    I have made marble mats out of felt. I use a 2 yard by two yard piece of material and draw the 5 foot circle on it. I then use a straight edge to draw the lag lines. I have been teaching marbles at the scout level and school enrichment level since 2004. I go to summer camps and special functions. My group and I guess we have brought the game to over 4000 people in that time.Thanks for your info. Good Luck to those that want to host a Pack marble tournament. I have had more then one boy say he likes it better than the pinewood derby because he does all the work. I also have sibling mats so the brothers and sisters can play along. Larger marbles you can buy also make great trophies.

    • Aprille April 11, 2014 at 4:36 AM #

      Thanks Dave…. I was looking for information on how to make a mat… this will really help me 🙂

    • Aprille April 11, 2014 at 4:44 AM #

      One more thing… I’ve never seen a marble mat. Could you please tell me where you draw the lag lines with relation to the circle? Many thanks

  4. nyeem January 26, 2013 at 1:28 PM #

    very nice info thx

  5. Mike January 26, 2013 at 2:43 PM #

    very nice

  6. Rose Ann February 11, 2013 at 8:02 PM #

    I have a low pile carpet and use a piece of chalk to draw the circle on the floor. After den meeting the chalk vacuums up quite nicely. The boys loved the activity.

  7. Laura E. February 15, 2013 at 12:53 PM #

    I purchased a round plastic tablecloth from the Dollar Tree (for $1) and marked the marble start areas with a permanent marker. That way it is portable and we do not have to mark up the floor of the meeting place.

    HTH! Happy Scouting!

    • Scouter Mom April 15, 2013 at 10:15 AM #

      Great idea!

    • Gena S. January 20, 2014 at 10:57 AM #

      I was happy to stumble upon this site while looking for the rules to Ringer… and your idea is fantastic! During our recent Pinewood Derby, they boys were kept busy by playing marbles at the back of the room and earning their Marbles belt loop at the same time. Your idea will definitely be passed on!

    • Aprille April 11, 2014 at 4:42 AM #

      Wow, Laura, that’s sounds amazingly simple and inexpensive. I think you just saved me a couple hours of time this weekend. Thanks for sharing your ideas!

  8. Izz April 12, 2013 at 7:08 PM #

    How many marbles are needed for that game. I have to get marbles for the whole den……but how many per child? Many thanks!

    • Scouter Mom April 15, 2013 at 10:12 AM #

      It is usually 1 on 1, so each pair of Scouts will need to share 13 marbles and each have a shooter (taw) for Ringer. They could share the shooter also though.

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