By Dan Beard
Make a ring that will measure a foot and a half or two feet across the center. Then draw a straight line through the center from top to bottom, and another straight line from right to left at right angles to the first through the center of the ring, thus dividing it into quarters (Fig. 9).
Each player lays in a duck, that is, puts a marble in the ring. Where only two play, place one duck on the right and the other on the left hand side of the ring. If four boys play, place a marble at the end of each cross line, and if more boys are in the game put the marbles around the ring, one for each player.
Beginning the Game.
About ten feet away from the ring scratch a taw or tie line to shoot from. Here the first player places his knuckle dabster, knuckles down and shoots at the marbles. If he is a good marksman and knocks a marble out of the ring he shoots again from the spot where his taw or shooter rests and so continues to shoot until be makes a miss, pocketing all the ducks he knocks out. When he has failed to hit and knock out a marble, his turn is over and he must allow his shooter to lie where it rolled.
Number Two's Play.
Number two now takes his turn. Knuckling down at the taw line, he shoots as number one did, or if number one's taw is within range, be shoots at that, and if he is fortunate or skilful enough to hit number one's taw, then number one must hand over to number two all the ducks he (number one) has knocked out of the ring. If number two's luck still continues and he is able to hit number one's taw again, then number one is considered "killed," that is, he must put his taw in his pocket and quit playing until another game is started.
When number two misses, number three knuckles down at the taw line and shoots at in the ducks in the ring, or at his opponent's taw, if that marble is within range.
When only two boys are playing if one "kills" the other, of course the killer wins the game, and more ducks are laid in and a new game started. The first man killed is the last to shoot in the next game, and the second man killed is next to the last to shoot, etc. In some sections of the country when three boys are playing the third boy is required always to shoot his taw across the ring, whether he shoots at the other taws or at the ducks.
The Uncertainties of "Yank."
It will not take a beginner in this game long to learn that his safety lies in keeping his own taw as far as possible away from his neighbors', and when he shoots in their direction he will shoot hard. One player may secure all the ducks but one and then miss, and the next player by striking the first's taw compel him to turn over to him all the ducks be has knocked out.
It does not require much wit to see that there is more to be gained by shooting at your neighbor's taw if the neighbor has been lucky than there is shooting at the one lone duck in the ring.
It sometimes takes good players a half, three quarters, or a full hour to finish one game. Often two or three unlucky players will combine against a lucky one and peg away at the lucky one's taw until he is compelled to give up the ducks he has knocked out. Another way to play this game is to make the player whose taw is hit replace in the ring all the marbles he has previously succeeded in knocking out.
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Last modified: October 15, 2016.