Marbles, locally known as Holen or jolen, is one of the traditional games played by Filipino children which is slowly being forgotten due to the rapid advancement in technology to amuse, entertain, and occupy kids these days.
Signs of marble-playing have been found in countries all over the world and according to historians, marbles may have been played by children in Egypt, Rome, and North America during ancient times. Marbles used by people during those days were not like those of today. They used stones, clay balls, bones, polished nuts and fruit pits. In modern times, marbles evolved into marbles made of glass, china and real chips of marble.
Object of the Game
There are various types of games using marbles. Two of the most common variants of these games are: first, the type in which the players try to knock their opponents’ marbles out of a circle with their own marble (and so win them); and second, the type in which the players try to hit a target and roll their marble through a hoop or into a hole by rolling, throwing or knuckling the marble.
Among the many techniques mastered by those who play holen is “shooting”, done by holding the marble between the bent index finger and the knuckle of the thumb then flipping the marble forward towards its target by the straightening action of the thumb. This must be done “knuckles down” which means that the knuckle of the hand doing the shooting must be pressed to the ground when the marble is released.
Object of the Game
There are various types of games using marbles. Two of the most common variants of these games are: first, the type in which the players try to knock their opponents’ marbles out of a circle with their own marble (and so win them); and second (a race), the type in which the players try to hit a target and roll their marble through a hoop or into a hole by rolling, throwing or knuckling the marble.
In the race game to the finish line, depending on the playing ground--number of holes (called "beck"), each player/team must race to roll their marble into the ground hole and proceed to the next hole. Upon reaching the last ground hole along the line, the players then reverses and goes back the same way rolling the marble in the same set of holes to get to the finish line which is the first hole. The last player/s to reach the finish line will be penalized where the winning player/s is given a specific number of strikes (pre agreed) to crush the losing players marble--called Achuy.
How to Play:
1. Since its a race to the finish line where each player gets a turn to play one after the other, the players are allowed to knock off the opponents marble as they progress through out the game to level the playing field. You either have the skills in rolling the marble into the hole or hitting/shooting an opponents marble to get to the finish line.
2. If you decide to roll the marble you must not come up short or allow your marble to become a target. On the other hand, before deciding to shoot an opponents marble you must be good at hitting the target/marble otherwise your marble will be shot too far from the playing ground and you will have a hard time inching your way back at every turn to roll your marble in the hole.
3. If a player decides to shoot an opponents marble, his hand must rest on the ground or be lifted at a height of 1 "dangkal". When shooting, the shooter must not thrust his hand forward to gain advantage and draw him closer to the target. If this is not followed the hit will not count. Since the jerking action when shooting is unavoidable, a line must be drawn by the shooter and the shooter moves back an inch or two to compensate for the jerking action.
4. If an opponents marble is hit, the opponent goes back to the starting line on his turn and loses all progress gained and starts from scratch.
5. Going back the same way after reaching the last hole in the line is a tricky part in the game since you will be heading towards the players who are behind you and leaving you open as a target to beat you to the finish. In most cases, throwing or placing your marble away from the opponents line is the smartest move and allow them to move forward and not give them a chance to shoot your marble. If you are a good shot, the easiest way is to just shoot them and clear your path straight to the finish.
6. The fastest way to win the game is called "Kulto Finish". Its not common but it does happen where a shooter accidentally hits an opponents marble and the opponents marble goes into the hole.
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- UK Online. (accessed on April 04, 2008).