Duck in a Hole




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By Dan Beard

This game is played with three shallow holes in a line at right angles with a taw line which should be about ten feet distant from the first hole. The holes are three feet apart. The object of each player is to shoot his marble so that it will go in and remain in the first hole. If successful in this be is allowed to place his thumb on the edge of the first hole, and using his hand as a pair of dividers, by a twist of the wrist he describes, that is, traces with the ends of his fingers, a curved line on the ground.

This is called taking a span, and the player then knuckles down on the span line and shoots for the second hole. Taking another span he shoots for the third, and if successful he now takes a span back toward the middle hole and shoots for that. If he again succeeds be takes a span and shoots for the first bole, and if he fails not in this he is a "duck" and can take two spans from the spot where his marble lies every time he shoots. When he has gone forward and backward twice he is allowed three spans, and when he has gone backward and forward three times he is a "King Duck" and can take four spans.

If the first player misses the first hole, player number two shoots. If number two's marble rolls in the first hole and stays there he looks around for the first player's taw and when he discovers it, if he feels certain he can bit it: he takes a span, knuckles down and cracks away at number one's taw. If he hits it he places his own marble in the second hole and proceeds to try for the next until he misses. Then the next player tries his luck.

When number one's turn comes around again he shoots for the first hole, knuckling down on the spot to which number two knocked his (number one's) taw.

King Duck.

Each player strives to be King Duck first. Each time one player hits another player's taw the lucky player counts one point, and the one hit loses a point.

When one player is King Duck it is hard on the others, because as soon as they miss a hole he is on them. For his four spans from the nearest hole will almost always bring him within short shooting distance of any marble that has missed a hole, and when he hits that marble he generally manages to hit it hard enough to send it flying.

By the time three boys have won the title of King Duck the game is over. At the advent of the second King Duck the first monarch divides with him and gives him one of the end holes to command, and he keeps the other two. When the third man is King the first King assigns him the remaining end hole and retains command of the middle hole, but by this time the boys are ready to stop for a rest. Each time a player hits a marble it counts one point, and the game may be for ten points or ten thousand points.







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Last modified: October 15, 2016.